My Journey to Find the Ham by KQ4ERC

Member Subm, Testing


I have to admit I wasn’t interested in Amateur Radio for a long time. I always thought it was kinda cool but never looked into it further. It wasn’t until my partner got involved that I started to look a little more closely but the testing seemed like a lot of work. 

One day, my partner showed me a video about someone’s antenna setup and I noticed the person was in a park (POTA) using Morse Code to make contacts. I didn’t know you could do that outside. I looked into Parks on the Air (POTA) and Summits on the Air (SOTA) and how they combined radio contests with the great outdoors. I decided then and there that I would buy a radio, get my license, and learn Morse Code. I ordered the Elecraft KX2 Shack In a Bag but it would take 12 to 16 weeks to get to me. At least I had plenty of time to get my license. I studied for a couple of weeks using the All Ham/No Spam book, Hamexam.org and one of the free study apps and passed my Technician exam. 

After the exam, I was told it would be beneficial to get at least a General license to be able to use all the KX2 had to offer. I started studying again using the same resources as before and passed my General exam. 

I looked into applying for a vanity call sign but the one I wanted was only available to Advanced licenses and above. Back to studying I went. I used the HamStudy app to study for those. It has a small cost but includes all the information that was in the books as well as flashcards and practice exams. It took me another few weeks of studying to pass the exam and get my Amateur Extra license.

I still have a while to go before I get my radio and hear back about the vanity call sign. I now have time to learn and practice Morse Code so I will be ready to go once my radio arrives. I already know several letters and can even pick them out in some of the POTA/SOTA videos I watch. I am very excited to get out into the parks and get some contacts but I still have a lot to learn before I’m ready.

So far, Amateur Radio has given me a great sense of accomplishment from passing all three exams in this short amount of time. I look forward to learning more about this new hobby.

 

Amateur Radio Worksop Recap

Amateur Radio, Testing, Workshop

 


Thanks to the Triangle Torah Fellowship. for hosting the Amateur Radio Workshop and exam on Saturday 12/10/2022.  Also thanks to the FCVET consisting of KQ4DRZ, KE4VNC, W2CK, NY4NC, and Thanks to K3UI for  being the session manager since I had a prior engagement. Congratulations to the 5 new technicians and 3 upgrades to general.  Thanks to the volunteers helping answer questions.  I haven’t heard anything about the food but the past events the food had been outstanding.  Here are photos from the event.



FCVET November Activity

Amateur Radio, Testing

Five County HRE November Report

Tycho Lycos NC State Rocketry Club Exam Session

 

 

It has been said blank (fill in the blank) is not rocket science. But for one group of our applicants in November they plan to use their amateur radio in rocket science. Congratulations to all one student left early so he didn’t mark the group shot.



Congratulations to the newly licensed amateur radio operators of the Tycho Lycos NC State Rocketry Club. As you hear them on the radio be sure to welcome them to the hobby.

KQ4EJO Nathan Potvin

KQ4EJP Frances McBride

KQ4EJQ Benjamin Lewis

KQ4EJR Muhammad Aman B Anas

KQ4EJL Michael Pudlo

Thanks to the FCVET of KQ4DRZ,KO4LRJ,W2CK,K3UI, N4MQU, K4EUP, KX4ZQ, WA4GIR, N8DHZ for volunteering to support the exam on a short notice.Thanks toLaurel VEC for allowing us to administer no charge amateur radio exams.   

Banks Road Third Thursday Results November

Congratulations to the new amateurs and thanks to the FCVET of K4WCA, W2CK and K3UI for another 100% got what the came for testing session at Banks Road. Thanks to Laurel VEC for offering no charge amateur radio exams and thanks to Supreme T-shirts and Apparel for hosting.
The new amateurs are
Jacob Brown Stephens KQ4EPO of Cary
Gerald Sullivan KQ4ENQ of Cary
Lee Irvin KQ4ESK of Cary
Joseph Zambon KQ4EOG of Raleigh

Be sure to welcome them as you hear them on the radio.

JARSFEST 2022 Laurel VEC Activity

Five  team leaders from Laurel VEC came to support the examination at JARSFEST in November.  The teams included RARS VE, W4CEC, CenCar, Piedmont Triad and FCVET. Looks like we have six new amateurs as a result of this effort and 6 upgrades. Thanks for the support and volunteering.  This was our second year in supporting JARSFEST by providing no charge amateur radio exams.

To see if you have any no charge amateur radio exams near you see Laurel VEC website.

FCVET November Stats

Totals for November:
Applicants: 18
Technician (passed): 11
General (passed): 2
Extra (passed): 4
Failed all exams : 1
Total Applicants: 18
Total elements taken (all three sessions): 29

Laurel VEC activity in November for North Carolina 

According to the FCC 29 applications were granted in North Carolina processed thru Laurel VEC.

 

 

Exam Results for Third Thursday 2022

Amateur Radio, BRTC, Testing

Thanks to the FCVET team of KK4QEF, KK4QDZ, K4WCA, K3UI, and W2CK We had a successful third Thursday exam session. Thanks to the Laurel VEC for allowing us to offer no charge amateur radio exams.

Congratulations to K4ZXX on upgrading to General 

We have the following new individuals to welcome to the amateur radio fraternity.

  1. David Brown KO4YRT of Durham
  2. Frank Rinaldo KO4YRU of Raleigh
  3. Paul Jameson KO4YRV of Greenville
  4. Haoze Du KO4YRW of Raleigh 
  5. Elena Jakubikova KO4YRX of Raleigh 
  6. Daniel Brown KO4YRY of Durham
  7. Allan Meadows KO4YRZ of Holly Springs

Be sure to answer their call as they get on the radio.


FCVET March 2022 Testing Session Report

Test, Testing

Thanks to the FCVET Volunteer Examiners consisting of KK4QEF, K4EUP, K3UI, KX4ZQ, N4MQU, KO4TWA, and AI8U we had a successful exam session Saturday March 5, 2022. It was the first session for K3UI. 
Thanks to the Wendell United Methodist Church for allowing us to use the facility for the testing.  Thanks to the Laurel VEC for allowing us to offer no charge amateur radio exams.

The following amateurs upgraded to Extra

WD4RDT Wilbur M Gross, Jr of Raleigh 

KN8DAP David Peterson of Knightdale

KN8DAP David Peterson of Knightdale 

KN8DAP David Peterson of Knightdale

We recognize the following new amateurs to the amateur radio fraternity. Be sure to answer the new voices you will be hearing on the radio.

KO4YGD David Bass of Cary

KO4YGD David Bass of Cary

KO4YGF Grayson Morris of Nashville

KO4YGF Grayson Morris of Nashville

KO4YGG Daniel Bennett of Wilmington

KO4YGG Daniel Bennett of Wilmington

KO4YGE Jimmy Blythe Jr of Creedmoor   

KO4YGE Jimmy Blythe Jr of Creedmoor


KO4YGH Johnathan Webb of Elm City

KO4YGH Johnathan Webb of Elm City

 

Banks Road February 2022 Amateur Radio Exam Report

BRTC, Testing

The FCVET famous monthly third Thursday weekday exam was another great success thanks to the VE’s W2CK, K7RLH, K4WCA and N4MQU.  Thanks to the Laurel VEC for allowing us to offer No Charge amateur radio exams. All of the applicants happened to be from Durham. Congratulations to Danna Lapple (KO4JYN) on upgrading to Extra.

Dana Lapple (KO4JYN)

We have three new General amateur radio operators.  That’s correct from no license to General.  All the VE’s were impressed.  Robert McFarland (KO4WVN), Jason Burns (KO4WVO) and Deepayan Banerjee (KO4WVP)

Robert McFarland (KO4WVN)

Jason Burns (KO4WVO)

Deepayan Banerjee (KO4WVP)

K4WCA, and W2CK Waiting for paperwork. (N4MQU behind the camera)

The applicants reported study materials included Ham Study and No nonsense study guide

The Bank’s road campus is continuing its famous tradition see the First year article for more information.

Are you a member of FCHRE?  Join up on our Membership Registration page and reply when you receive the group io invitation.

Amateur Radio Exam Training a New Team

Amateur Radio, Testing

By:Mark Gibson (N4MQU)

King Public Library PTVET

UNDER CONSTRUCTION 

 

The first exam session is a pivotal movement for a new amateur radio testing team.  The new team leader KX4ZQ took the two hour drive to Fuquay-Varina multiple times to witness how established teams did their exam session.  In this case he had two teams and locations to learn from. Five County VE Team (FCVET) and Central Carolina VE Team (CenCar) do our testing session in similar but they both follow the rules under the administration  of Laurel VEC. FCVET followed the process we learned in developing CenCar.  Allow the potential new team leader to do everything.  Update the computer print documents give instructions work through the computer glitches.  I make it a practice to allow the VE’s on the team to learn how to do everything in the testing process. While training the CenCar team it got to the point doing exam sessions I was able to set back and observe. Giving the session  manager (the person that operates the computer) during the exam session seems to be the best way to train an individual.

Computer Tips

Computer issues during the exam is the biggest issue we’ve had.  The computer tries to update and slows down the section manager program. The teams computer should pause the update of the computer.  I found this article.  The biggest problem I had doing the early days was the printer. I kept plugging the printer to the wrong connector on the printer.  The printer I have now there is only one choice.  Another problem if you use your printer on the WiFi at home and connect it at the test session there seems to be an issue transitioning to the portable operation.

Distractions During the Exam

Sometimes it is necessary to communicate during the exam. Try to keep noise down while testing is going on between team members.  You can’t control noise inside the venue but you can do so within the exam site.  After everyone completes the exam it is important to remain as quiet as possible while the session manager is completing the paperwork.  Use the pass fail percentage chart to check your grading work. Don’t let errors get to your section manager. 

Before and After the Exam

Before the exam the team leader has to establish the schedule.  This will be based on venue and the teams availability.  

Advertising 

The next thing is advertising.  Initially the VEC’s website then ARRL’s website. After that any of the available ham radio sites QRZ, eHam, others. But don’t forget the community websites and Facebook community sites. We need to get the non hams to learn about the availability of people of all ages to get their license.

Customer Service 

When I first became a team leader I heard from applicants that thanked me for responding so quickly.  They had been to other teams and they never heard from them.  I decided at that time to respond within 24 hours.  I have a text document I saved with answers to frequently ask questions that usually answers all the questions.  I acknowledge the registration of the applicants with the venues address and study tips. After the exam I notify them individually with their call sign and information for new ham radio operators. One thing we need to do better is getting new hams on the radio.

VE’s Responsibility 

Notify your team leader as soon as you know you may miss the exam or if there is a possibility you may miss it.  Three VE’s is the minimum but I like six.  Review your policy manual frequently.  If you want more responsibility or a different job let the team leader know.

FCVET Job Titles

From Richard Hall (K7RLH) CenCar

K7RLH

Repeated  opportunities for operation of SM is essential to grasping the nuances of the software and easing one’s mind when operating as I did (by myself) for the first time without your presence on 5 June 2021.  I believe that, while everyone learns by different methods, this is the surest approach to retention of the process.  Call it ‘hands on’ or ‘OJT’ or whatever, but practice makes life easier and hopefully one will have a session without errors.

From Christopher Cancilla (W4CEC) W4CEC VE Team

W4CEC

Procedure is important.

Not my procedure or your procedure, the new team leaders procedure

Each person is unique, learns and understands a different way, but all of the way, the paths, we use will get to the same result.

The result is important, not the way you get there.
A core team is important.

Use the core team to train new VE’s

Do not train them yourself, you have enough to do.

Percentage Chart

Pre-Test Instructions

BLANK_TEST_SESSION_POSITIONS

From Tony Hall (WW4TCH) Deputy Director (CenCar)
My Amateur Radio journey has been an interesting one.  I was originally licensed as KB4LWW in 1984.  I was 12.  But school, scouts, college got in the way and I allowed my license to expire.  I tested with FCHRE on June 6, 2020 and passed my Technicians exam and became KO4EBO.  Then I sat back and said , “Now I have it, what am I going to do with it?”  I decided in August 2020 that I wanted to get involved with emergency communication and realized I needed at least a General Class license to be effective.  I tested with FCHRE on September 26, 2020 and passed my General.  Once glitch was that I had applied for a new vanity call and that was granted the day that I took the exam.  There was some confusion but the FCHRE Team and Laurel VEC worked it out.  On Monday, I was WW4TCH, General Class operator.  I initially was not interest in going for my Extra but was told that while it wasn’t required, Extra Class was encouraged to be as effective as possible.  So I tested with FCHRE on November 7, 2020 and passed my Extra Class exam.  Mark immediately asked me if I want to be a VE.  I believe in giving back to the interests I have and said yes.  On December 5th, 2020 I was a VE on my first session. 
Each session after that was a learning opportunity.  The more experienced team members took every opportunity to train the new team members.  People took different roles are different sessions so they were fully trained. The team would go over the requirements and no corners were cut.  Ever.  Paperwork was checked and rechecked.  No one took for granted what the testing requirements were.  That makes an impact on the team members that are training.
In summer of 2021, The CenCar testing group was established and Richard Hall as leader and he asked me to be one of his deputys.  On October 2, 2021 I served for the first time as the Session Manager with Richard Hall providing instruction during the session. It has been an extremely rewarding 11 months. 
I believe the success in building these teams comes from Mark’s passion which is infectious.  The whole team is enthusiastic and motivated.  That, I believe, is the “secret sauce”.  You can teach someone how to grade the exam, check ID’s, provide testing instructions and run Session Manager.  You can’t teach them to care, and be generous with their time.
I am very proud of what FCHRE has accomplished and am honored to be part of such an outstanding team.
Tony

 

Editors Note:  Tony Hall is not related to Richard Hall. We had to do a manual entry for Tony’s general exam because the database we use hadn’t been updated.  A question on the 605 asks does the applicant has any applications before the FCC that had not been acted upon by the FCC.  The answer was no but it wasn’t updated in the db.  We had to do a manual application and Tony had to come back to sign the paperwork.  At the time I wasn’t sure what was going on.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION 

FCHRE Building on a Legacy

Amateur Radio, Testing

By: Mark Gibson (N4MQU)

The first document amateur radio operator in Wendell, NC in 1930.  W4AVT G.H. Wright, Jr.  He happened to be the post master of Wendell. Five County Ham Radio Enthusiast started testing in Wendell on July 3, 2021.  We have had 20 applicants testing so far.  9 have passed the technician exam, 6 have passed the general exam and 3 have passed the extra class exam.

Third Thursday of September Exam

Amateur Radio, BRTC, Testing

By: N4MQU 

KK4ZQ Jeffrey Webster Team leader Piedmont Triad VE Team

Thanks to the VE team KK4QEF, K4WCA, W2CK, N4MQU, KX4ZQ

We have three new amateur radio operators to announce!
KO4TIN of Raleigh
KO4TIO of North Myrtle Beach, SC
KO4TIP of Raleigh

Be sure to welcome them as they get on the air.

I love those weekday exams the new amateurs getting the call the same day as the exam. Thanks to KX4ZQ for being the session manager. Good luck to him as he establishes his new team in Winston Salem.

K4WCA, KK4QEF

Same no charge service two new locations

Amateur Radio, Testing, Weekly Report

By: Mark Gibson (N4MQU)

Next Saturday August 7 is the date when the new team of Central Carolina VE team will have their first exam at the American Legion in Fuquay the exam starts at 10:00 AM. Wendell will have the HF antenna workshop at 1:00 PM exam will be at 2:30 PM details for the Wendell event https://fivecountyhre.org/high-frequency-antennas-for-beginners/.

Registration for both exams 

https://fivecountyhre.org/study-tips-and-registration/

Five County expands to Virginia!

Not really but it sounds good.  My Virginia Fone Net friend Mark Horner (KX4ZG) started his own Laurel VE Team Westmoreland Amateur Radio Club VE Team and asked me to come up to train the new members.  I was blown away by Mark and his wife’s hospitality.  He had his first exam session and one of the applicants came away with Extra.  Be sure to send your friends in the area to that club.

KX4ZG and N4MQU

Berryville Hamfest 

The Berryville Hamfest came the next day after the exam session.  I didn’t buy anything but met a great many friends and even shook hands with Marv Hoffman (WA4NC). He is currently the NC section manager but is running for the Roanoke Division Director and would appreciate ARRL members  support.  We need more volunteers and I applaud anyone that steps up and run for office.
I took some video I hope to post on the website.

Sunday night at 7:00 PM

14 Repeaters are on the Raleigh Carolina 440 UHF Link System full time covering over 45,000 square milesof mobile coverage. In addition to the RF Linked repeaters *Expandable coverage using IRLP, AllStar and EchoLink are available. 

Thanks for reading.  Remember I know some post you are not interested in.  There are various options like muting the topic.  You don’t have to leave the group.
Mark Gibson