I am very happy for Jane today! She studied her tail off, and then passed, the amateur radio Extra Class exam. The material is rather complex and there is lots of it. A bunch of it deals with things like antenna and radio wave theories as well as radio related circuit mathematical calculations, etc.. If you’ve taken a calculus class and passed it with 100% – then you did what Jane just did! Jane scored 100% on this exam. THAT is rare!
Here is a photo of Jane’s study materials – you can see by the thickness of the books – packed with formulas and diagrams and such. Turns out that the math used to calculate and explain and understand the various portions and components of radio waves and their interactions with other materials like ground, water, air, antennas, coaxial cables, etc. really gets into it. Many formulas and many individual leanings to understand, categorize, memorize and recite at test time.
I told the examiners as we were departing the test site, “I’ve got a feeling this is going to cost me down the road…” with a big chuckle. I have a feeling, and a hope, that this will spur Jane on in her enjoyment of the hobby and use of her good operating skills for personal and public good in things like ARES / RACES, marathons, etc..
Jane used the outline of Larry, WB9KMW to navigate her way through two license exam prep books and a series of videos. She studied at home. The books are from ARRL and Gordon West. When Larry and his team took over instructing ham radio wanna-be’s from another team I challenged them to review materials other than the ones used at the time and do an audit / benchmark to determine what the best materials out there were. Larry selected both ARRL and Gordon West material and structured a review of those materials in the form of an outline.
Jane commented, to the effect, that she was glad both materials were used as one did a better job in one area than the other and visa versa. ARRL is more like a textbook she thought. Jane was a teacher, by the way, for 28 years…
Last time I checked something like 19% of hams (as of January 2014) with licenses were Extra Class license holders. That tells you it’s probably a kinda hard exam to pass. The story above should tell you that, with enough diligent effort – you probably can pass! I do warn you however – Jane studied on average about 4 – 5 hours a day, and and generally did reviews and tests at night. Her work was well structured and it paid off!
This sort of enthusiasm for things of interest is a big part of what sparked my interest in Jane. Being able to share the experiences with her is very special indeed! And yes, I know – since she got a 100% on the exam and scored a few points more than me – I can honestly say my wife beat me! Chuckle…
Thanks Fox Cities Amateur Radio Club for taking the time to administer the test process and to answer questions!
Until next time – stay radio active!
Jon E. Kreski – AB9NN
www.AB9NN.com – Please visit often!