Author Topic: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well  (Read 706 times)

Offline DDJ

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 300
  • Karma: 17
  • New TSP Forum member
Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« on: January 24, 2020, 11:26:56 AM »
My wife and I are working on getting our Technician and have some questions.

1) Should we hold off until we are ready to take both Technician and General.  I am not 100% on the advantages of getting the general and what they mean in reality.  Is there someplace that the plusses are really laid out?  I am sure I am missing something in the details.
2) My wife is struggling with the usage.  We know that during an event or shortly after it concludes there will be void in communications that HAM will fill.  Is there a place that lays some of that out?  We talked about how the internet and cell phones require infrastructure between point A and B that at any point could be broken eliminating usage.  (AKA a power outage at a critical point could shut it all off even if you and your destination are in the clear radio just screams past it at the speed of light)

I can articulate the following but what am I missing.
     - News of event range/impact
     - News of the world around you (non event aka change of subject)
     - Relayed communications to family for safety reports
     - Requesting help
     - Human contact
     - Coordination of events / support sites
     - Identification of new risks

Knowing where and what usage, as with everything prepping, can assist in making decisions as to what you need, and more importantly, do not need to invest in.

Offline armymars

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 840
  • Karma: 23
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2020, 01:37:57 PM »
  If you are comfortable with taking the General test just do it, but you don't have to wait. What are the advantages? HF. There are some things you can do on HF that you can't do on VHF. If the repeaters go down your range on VHF is very limited. Don't get me wrong VHF will handle about 80 percent of all your tactical communication. The limits of HF will be band conditions and frequency. NVIS will mean low frequencies (large antennas) of about 1.9 MHz to 5.5 MHz depending on time of day. Plus you must buy a whole new radio system. There's a lot of good used radios for HF, but your still talking $300 to $450 plus antenna system and power supplies.
  The good news is if you take the general test and pass it with your technician it doesn't cost any more and you can wait on the other. 

Online FreeLancer

  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 6542
  • Karma: 809
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2020, 01:42:51 PM »
Technician privileges are primarily in the VHF/UHF bands that typically function line of sight within a local region, and the radios and antennas necessary to communicate are relatively cheap and simple to acquire and operate.  In my opinion, pretty much anyone should be able to pass the Tech exam and effectively operate a VHF handheld or mobile radio.

Going from Technician to General greatly expands privileges into the HF bands, which is the best option for communications at a global scale.  But this requires more complex and expensive radios,  antennas that that need to be longer and higher, and much more investment in time to get the experience to operate effectively.  Most motivated people can cram enough to pass the General exam and it often makes sense to take both at the same time or close together, because there's a significant amount of overlap in the test questions.

I got mine a month apart and found it much easier to pass the tests than to actually operate.  I spent a bunch of money but don't get on the air much, mostly because of the difficulties around setting up appropriate antennas in my location. 

Offline fritz_monroe

  • The Defenestrator
  • Administrator
  • Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 8474
  • Karma: 154
    • The Homestead Fritz
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2020, 05:50:29 PM »
I just got my license in November.  Took the technician and decided to take the general. It really isn't that difficult.

Get one of the practice apps and just work through the questions.  The club that does the tests in my area don't charge for the tests.  Worst case is you are out the cost that your local club charges.

Offline DDJ

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 300
  • Karma: 17
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2020, 10:48:44 AM »
We got into a General class and are starting to get into the swing of the General work that then opens Pandora's Box.

Where to go with a radio and antenna? 

As a Prepper How do you decide where to tune your antenna to and what bands are you planning expecting to be usable.  I know that the answer is it depends on what the event is and what affects it has on other things.  the more I look the more I do not see a directions.

I know UHF/VHF FM for local.  I have even purchased a Bofang (don't hate).

I was thinking 20meter for longer range because it is less affected by the sunspot cycle (who knew that sunspots were good for communication).  However there is so little band with in 20meter any traffic volume will have to be somewhere else or there will be a pile up.  Is 40 Meter the place to plan to be?

Wish me luck tests are on March 23rd.

Offline fritz_monroe

  • The Defenestrator
  • Administrator
  • Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 8474
  • Karma: 154
    • The Homestead Fritz
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2020, 03:39:13 PM »
Good luck.  I have yet to make my first contact.  Got my license in December.  What drew me to get my license is the electronics and possible projects.  I bought a kit to build, built most of it and have stalled.  I'll print a case for it shortly and get it built and tested out.

Offline Bradbn4

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1352
  • Karma: 38
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2020, 05:52:19 PM »
There is a good chunk of overlap between the tech test and General....I did take the tests separate and a few years back.

The testing location was a flat fee for as many tests as I wanted. As in, pass one exam and then take the next.

Tech is real good for line of sight, the general gives you options.  The extra does add some additional benefits, so might as well go for that (sort of kidding, but not). 

Offline fritz_monroe

  • The Defenestrator
  • Administrator
  • Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 8474
  • Karma: 154
    • The Homestead Fritz
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2020, 08:06:50 PM »
There is a good chunk of overlap between the tech test and General.
Agreed, when I took the test in December, I decided to give General a shot.  I was thinking of taking Extra, but the test is this week and I can't make it.

Offline fred.greek

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 776
  • Karma: 41
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2020, 04:27:43 PM »
I opine that general is clearly worth the extra study.

The most helpful to me was a youtube channel "the ham whisperer".


Offline fritz_monroe

  • The Defenestrator
  • Administrator
  • Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 8474
  • Karma: 154
    • The Homestead Fritz
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2020, 05:07:28 PM »
Keep in mind that all the questions and answers are published.  I know it's not the "right" way to do it, but simply memorizing the answers will result in a passing score. 

The Android App Ham Radio Prep was useful for this.

The way I look at studying for something like this, who cares if you know which parts of the band a General can use but a Technician cannot?  I have a band chart that tells me this.  If I need to know, I'll look at the chart.  Same goes with a lot of the other material.  I have an electronics background, but I would guess that the vast majority of hams do not build their own gear, what difference does it make if they are able to identify a P-N-P transistor or can tell which is the Anode or Cathode of a diode?  You can easily look this up.

The vast majority of your learning will be done after you have your license.

Online FreeLancer

  • Global Moderator
  • Survival Veteran
  • ******
  • Posts: 6542
  • Karma: 809
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2020, 05:09:57 PM »
Keep in mind that all the questions and answers are published.  I know it's not the "right" way to do it, but simply memorizing the answers will result in a passing score. 

The Android App Ham Radio Prep was useful for this.

The way I look at studying for something like this, who cares if you know which parts of the band a General can use but a Technician cannot?  I have a band chart that tells me this.  If I need to know, I'll look at the chart.  Same goes with a lot of the other material.  I have an electronics background, but I would guess that the vast majority of hams do not build their own gear, what difference does it make if they are able to identify a P-N-P transistor or can tell which is the Anode or Cathode of a diode?  You can easily look this up.

The vast majority of your learning will be done after you have your license.

This

Offline armymars

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 840
  • Karma: 23
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Working to get my Technician should I go for General as well
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2020, 11:05:11 AM »
I like to put the question with the answer together as a compound sentence. The answers then jump out at you during the test.