One of my tasks for the weekend was to study for the HAM License and work on programming the Baofeng radios. I did get all the radios charged up and I am doing a test with a bit of manual programming from the site http://www.geekprepper.org/keypad-programming-the-baofeng-uv-5r/
I am testing out the local ham club freq. to see if I can hear the transmissions as I can’t transmit till I get my license. I downloaded a program called CHIRP which makes programming the Baofeng radio super easy if you have a computer and the USB cable for the radio. That cable costs about $8.00 from Amazon.com and I think it is worth it as it will save you a lot of time programing the radio. I know when I looked at the software the first time it was a bit intimidating with all those numbers and new acronyms but as I studied and learned a bit the intimidation factor went down and I saw how easy the software could make programing the radios.
I down loaded the 2010- study guide from the link at tinhatranch.com. Focus on the bold areas as those tend to be answers on the practice test I took. I found another site that had a practice test setup as flash cards called https://hamstudy.org/flashcard/E2_2010 What I like about the flash cards is if you don’t know is an answer and you can click the card and get an explanation of the question and answer. Plus it will bring up any questions you got wrong or answered “I don’t know” until you get the answer correct. I didn’t do to bad on my first practice test. I scored a 77% but I was trained on basic electronics in the Army a few years back and just needed a few reminders about Ohm’s Law and electronic schematics. I am also very good taking tests and don’t freeze or choke like some people. I’m not trying to come off as being as some sort of brainiac as I know a lot of smart folks that sort of freeze or get a brain cramp on tests, I just test well. I know speaking in front of large groups of people is one of the biggest fears people have and it never bothered me much. But I was very shy growing up and speaking to someone I did not know was very difficult. I have gotten over that now, but I can understand that feeling.
I would download the 2010 study guide and read it few a couple of times and then hit the flashcards/practice test. If you have a local Ham radio club go to a meeting or two and get to know the people that know their stuff. Join the club or not you will probably meet them on the radio and I think it is good to put names/faces to the voice you hear on the radio. One of the guys at the local club said if you hit 80% and above on a few practice tests you are ready for the real test and should pass it with no problems. The math portions are not difficult and requires basic multiplication and division. You need to know Ohm’s law but you can bring a calculator to the test.
There are some really cool things you can do once you get your basic Tech Lic. I saw an article that you could use a small SW radio to boost your wireless router range up to 5-10 miles instead of just a few hundred feet. Then there is radio packets that let you transmit data over the radio rather than cable or land lines. It’s slow relatively speaking but it works! With the government talking about “kill switches” for internet and cell phones I am sure you can see having backup communications that are not easily disrupted might be a good thing and like all of your preps communication is something you need to practice.