Ham Radio license test

I have been wanting to get my amateur radio license for about a year now. I find it interesting that there are so many people communicating all over the world. I did some studying and found that a test was being offered in Pensacola, FL on 3/8/2014.

I decided to make the trip and hopefully pass the test. My family and I decided to make a day of it and left on the 95 mile trip around 10:30am. I timed it just right so that we would be arriving in Destin, FL at lunch time. We wanted to grab some lunch at McGuires Irish Pub, one of my families favorite places to eat when in Destin, FL.

After lunch, we continued on our way to Pensacola to make it in time for the test at 2pm. We arrived exactly at 2pm and I met the guys hosting the test. The test consisted of 35 questions, which were fairly easy, although there were some curve balls in there. After passing the test, the guys told me I would receive my call sign by the end of the week. On Thursday, I checked the FCC site and learned that my call sign is KK4ZHH.

I have been listening to a local repeater in my area, but there isn’t much traffic. I have been doing some research and learned how to change some settings in my radio. There is a lot to learn and lots to experiment with, most ham radio operators love to create homemade solutions and improvements to their equipment.

A few things I learned this week:

  • How to set the frequency offset on my radio to connect with the repeater
  • That some repeaters require an inaudible tone transmitted by your radio to access them
  • How to set the access tomes on my radio
  • Protocol for making my first contact



  1. Steve Spence says:

    Welcome to the hobby!

  2. Jack_A_Lope says:

    I just so rarely turn on the 2M rig anymore because the band seems so dead. There’s nothing very challenging about the voice mode of 2M band other than configuring offsets and tones. Frankly, I’d rather communicate via simplex on 2M. The repeater system has some geeky cool factor, but it’s just not that challenging.

    Upon returning to the hobby, I have enjoyed learning and communicating on HF bands with low-power equipment using CW. It’s not for everyone, but CW comms and wire antennas seem to make the hobby much more interesting. The technical challenges of fielding an HF system add additional interest to the hobby. 73

    • Lots to learn for sure, especially from experienced people like yourself. I am studying for my general exam now.

      • Jack_A_Lope says:

        I am really not that experienced. After reading my comment, it seems a little pretentious. I didn’t mean to come off as a know-it-all. So sorry if I did. I just meant there’s more to ham radio than 2M repeaters. If you are studying for General, study the Extra right afterward and knock them both out if you can. I studied the questions on qrz.com. I just went through the tests over and over for General and then Extra. If you can pass both of those tests with about a 90 each time, you will pass both at an exam. It took a couple of weeks of evening review for both as I watched TV with the family. The night before the exams I just went through the entire question pools again. After awhile, you just have everything memorized and the actual exams were exactly like the QRZ tests. I finished the General in about ten minutes and the Extra in about 15. I heard them say I aced the General and missed two on the Extra, and I know which two I missed. haha. Good luck, Dennis.

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