Tag Archives: FCC

Year and a Day

Personally, I subscribe to the “one year and one day” concept in matters of learning a vocation, skill, belief, or hobby. During that period, a person is considered an initiate, a neophyte, a newbie. They may know a few things, but they’re only learning. They can’t be promoted to higher levels of trust during this lockout period; they have to pay with time and dedication. By no means are they to be considered a journeyman or a master of their class.

So January 20 came and went, and I forgot to write up a thing. January 20 is the one year anniversary of my first amateur radio grant, a Technician Class license (General Class upgrade came in April). I’ve been a ham for over a year and a day. I’ve gone through a heavy bit of learning by the books to shore up my knowledge and comprehension of radio communications, but the true learning comes by experience. I have to actually do the thing to know the thing, and this past year has been a lot of that.

I wish I knew more, did more, understood more, talked more, made more contacts. Even at my age, I feel like I still need to earn my stripes to gain some levels of respect in myself and from others. If I’m going to be talking the talk, I better be walking the walk. People ask me for advice, but more than half of it isn’t backed by any personal experience. Without experience, I’m just a blustery blunderbuss spouting off what I believe to be true. In the back of my mind, I can feel the real pros rolling their eyes when they listen in.

On my anniversary evening, I was asked to host the AARC ElmerNet because the usual host, Jeff N5MNW, was down with illness. I was glad for the privilege to do so, and thankful that he thought well enough of me to ask for a fill-in. I think it’s apropos that this happened on my year-and-a-day.

I’m no longer an initiate. I’m set loose from the nest to fly on my own. Learning is life-long.

So, from my QTH, to the F2 layer, and down to you all. 73.

Futile Callsign Checking

Getting impatient. Seems the FCC is taking their sweet time granting me my ham license. I took and passed my Technician exam almost 2 weeks ago, and the examiner said I could have it as early as the following Thursday. The docs I’ve read said if it’s been over two weeks, feel free to call the FCC. Guh.

I know we’re in the perfect storm of events that are slowing down the licensing process. Yeah, I know. They just got off a Christmas shutdown and are catching up. They’re in an Administration change-over. There are no less than two federal holidays this week — Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and today is the presidential inauguration. I’m pretty sure the FCC offices won’t be open to process my CESC form.

I just wanna be able to transmit, dammit! From what I hear, this weekend is a national contesting event on VHF, everybody working the simplex frequencies to make as many contacts as possible over three days. Damn, that sounds like fun. Sure, VHF doesn’t go far past the horizon, but I’m sure there’s a good many hams in Austin that are playing. I wanna play!

I guess I’ll keep clicking “refresh” on the ULS page to see if my name and callsign show up. Le sigh.

Licensed

Good news is good news:

This morning, I took my Technician Class license test for amateur radio and passed. Out of the 35 questions on the exam, I missed 1 question (I bet it was that question about transmitting in international waters). So yeah, I passed!

The examiners gave everyone in the test session the option — if they passed their intended license class exam — of taking the next license class exam up. The three classes, from lowest to highest privileges, is Technician, General, and Amateur Extra. So when I passed Technician, they gave me the option to take the General test. I’m like, “Ok, I’ll give it a shot. It’s not like double-or-nothing, right?” Everyone laughed.

Out of 35 questions, with a passing requirement of 26 correct, I missed it by 1 and got only 25 right. Goddammit, so close. So close! So the examiners gave me the option to pay another $15 testing fee for a retake of the General exam with a different printed revision, since I was so close. I threw caution to the wind and went for it. Missed it by 2. Dammit.

But, at least I still have a Technician classification. At least there’s that. So, once my call sign is published on the FCC directory, I can begin transmitting. I can finally push the Push-To-Talk button. The earliest they expect it to be published is next Thursday, so here’s hoping, yeah?

Y’know, it’s kinda like winning second place. There’s a particular psychology of winning that affects how you feel about your victory based on where you stand on the podium. First place winners are the happiest and feel the most victorious. Third place winners are happy and feel grateful for being able to stand on the podium. But second place winners? They are the least happy because they were so close to making first. So close!

My brain is now fried, but at least I’m on the podium. Time to study for the General exam.