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Survival Communications: Setting Goals and Scheduling Your Test

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If you’ve been following the Tin Hat Ranch “Survival Communications” series you will have already seen information about the test and our initial review of our radio of choice, the Baofeng UV-5R.  If you’ve already decided that you will become a HAM your next step is to make a commitment.

The very first thing you should do after deciding to become a HAM is pick the date you will become one.  Set a goal.  As we’ve mentioned before, to become a HAM you will have to pass your test.  Setting a goal for the date you will take your test will be the motivation for study.  The National Association for Amateur Radio is the organization that coordinates all of the testing.  The tests themselves are conducted by volunteers, usually from local HAM radio clubs.  Finding a test in your area is pretty simple.  Click on this link, it will take you to the page where you can find a test in your area.  Please note that some tests require pre-registration and some allow walk-ins.  Regardless, I would suggest scheduling the test.  It will be your commitment to studying, taking, and passing the exam.  Remember, the testing should be no more than $15.

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Most experts suggest setting a test date between 2 to 4 weeks from your decision to become a HAM radio operator.  There are a few reasons for such a short time frame.  First, most people can pass the test with about 10 total hours of study.  If you break up your efforts into a half an hour per day between now and your test date you should be able to learn the concepts required within two weeks.  For a more leisurely approach you can break up your study over 4 weeks.  Second, quite a bit of the information you are learning will be HAM specific.  You can’t really use the information without being a HAM and most will forget what they’ve learned if spread out over too great a time period.

Over the next 4 weeks or so we will lay out the “Survival Communications” course with our tips towards becoming a HAM.  We’ve already given you a good study guide in the last article (click here for the PDF).  Here is another presentation that gives you a little more inside information.  If you do not have Power Point here is a Power Point Viewer that you can install.

Stay tuned!  Next we will start commenting on some of the actual test subjects.

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