Preparing for your Ham Radio Technician License

and then on to the next one or two licenses

There are three levels of FCC Amateur Radio "Ham" licenses: Technician, General, and Extra Class. At one time, there were five; the two additional are Novice, and Advanced. You can still find hams who have one of those two licenses.

To go to the ARRL website for an explanation of Ham Radio, click HERE.

What is it that you would like to do with your ham radio license? There are a lot of avenues:

Technician licensees may use:

1. VHF and UHF. Your Technician license allows operating on VHF frequencies from 50 MHz up through the microwave bands. You can set up and talk with hams aboard the International Space Station. You can communicate with friends locally through the repeaters or direct with your handheld radio, a mobile installation, or a base station. This operating includes working with local hams on community events like furnishing communications with the March of Dimes, or you can join others who prepare for emergencies including the local Alachua County Sheriff’s Emergency Center. You can also run slow-scan television, fast-scan (real TV) television, moon-bounce, meteor scatter, aurora contacts, etc. You can play with hidden transmitter hunting (fox-hunting), or become a weather-spotter as examples.
2. HF. You can talk on 10 meters on SSB, and if the band is open, you can reach out pretty much internationally. You can talk on CW on 10 meters, 15, 40 and 80. Learning morse code is not as difficult as it sounds.

Many new hams are not interested in doing more than that.

Or, you can upgrade to the next level called the General license. Then there are a lot more avenues:

1. Making SSB contacts on HF on more of the 10 meter band, and 12, 15, 17, 20, 40, 80, and 160 meters.
2. Making CW or digital contacts on those bands plus 30 meters. The digital modes include PSK (which is keyboard to keyboard), JT65, JT9, and a variety of unusual modes.
3. Make contacts on a variety of those modes with stations all over the world. That is “DXing.” You can run 1,500 watts output, or nothing more than 1 watt output and be surprised where you can reach. When you work 100 different countries, you qualify for the DXCC award.
4. You can try different antennas… everything from stealth antennas your neighbors can’t spot, up through large tower installations. Antennas make the difference. You can have efficient antennas on your car so you can operate from the woods or beach. You can stick a series of telescoping fiberglass poles into the sand at the beach, string up an antenna and work the world. The opportunities are plentiful for joining a local club or two, meeting for breakfast or lunch or dinner with hams in the nearby area, or participate in contests… the largest of those is field-day the last full weekend in June.

The top level of license is the Extra Class. Then you have all the priveleges on all the ham bands. On the lower end of the CW bands, there is extra territory. Also, on 15, 20, 40, and 75 meters, there are segments which are only allotted to Extra Class.

Here is the Ham Band chart (PDF) which is on the website: You can find which segments are provided for Extra Class (E), Advanced (A), General (G), Technician (T), and Novice (N).

The Tioga Wireless Club will be active in a number of on-the-air events. As a Technician, you can operate on the General and Extra Class frequencies if the control operator is nearby who has one of those licenses.

We also have other fun organizations you might be interested in. Here is a list of links:

Tioga Wireless Club – (we will be shifting over to eventually)
UF Gator Club –
Gainesville Amateur Radio Society –
Gator Amateur Society (W1GAS) –

....and to see who is connected to any call letters: You plug in anyone's callsign and find out about them and where they are. As an example, try W4GAL in the small box in the upper left-hand corner, and then hit the search button. Click on the picture in the upper right to make it larger. Several other calls to check: W4GJ, AA4FL, W4DFU, W9AKX.

To get started and go for the Technician license, we have five different websites to get prepared. They are the same five to use for the General, and also for the Extra Class license. You can start with the Technician and then decide as to how to proceed. We also have a quarterly one-day-crash-course to prepare for the Technician. It's a 9 AM to 3 PM class, and then we give the exam at 3 PM. If you choose that route, it is WAY BETTER to use one or more of the five preparation methods on the Internet and then come to the crash-class having studied.

To get an Explanation of our Tioga Technician One-Day Crash Course, click HERE.

When you receive your Technician License, you have a decision to make, now or later. You can stay with the priveleges you now have, or you can go directly on to the next license while you are at it. That one is known as the General License. Then you will have almost all the UHF, VHF, and HF privileges. You will be able to work with emergency planning, Red Cross, Easter Seal, and March of Dimes kinds of events and talk with your friends locally which you can do with your Technician license, and then you can also talk world-wide on SSB, CW, and the digital modes with the General.

We have very good connections on HF with Europe and Africa because we are close to a nice wet reflective surface known as the Atlantic Ocean. Repeated bouncing off the ionosphere is improved greatly when the bottom of the bounce is salt water.

As stated earlier, we have five different websites to offer to you to prepare you for the Technician, then General, then Extra Class. Four of them are free. The best one is the last one, and you have to pay for that one. The first one is my favorite free one because you can click on the corner of any of the questions and get an explanation. It also shows the right answer immediately. The questions for each of the exams are the same on all five websites. They are all from the same question pools. The explanations vary with each of the sources. Number five has the most comprehensive explanations as you might expect, if you don't mind spending the $24.95. So here they are:

1. Ham Study
2. eHam
3. Ham Exam
4. Exam Tests
5. Ham Radio License Exams

In addition to those five, if you have MS PowerPoint in your computer, we have some links on another page which will go to each one of the 18 PowerPoint Lessons from ARRL. We use these in our Technician All-Day Crash Course. You can study each of these sections and be very prepared for the Course. If you don't have PowerPoint, or don't have the time to commit to it now, almost all of the material in the PowerPoint slides will be explained in the Crash Course when you attend. These PowerPoint lessons are only available for the Technician course.

To get to the PowerPoint Lessons to study for the Technician License, click HERE.

However, for the Technician License, we have a slide that you need to memorize, no matter what. Bands and frequencies need to be memorized, even if you don't have time for anything else. This is not something that is logical and easy to retain. If you spend some time on this chart, you will remember it better. It's a head start. There is a link below for that page.

To get to the Bands/Frequencies Page, click HERE.

See you in class... or see you on the air.

W4GAL and friend in the Florida Everglades