Waiting to take my Tech test, need help prepping!

Started by diesel_jeff, February 14, 2014, 02:30:36 PM

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I plan to take my Tech test mid-March (the next available in my area) and then the General ASAP, but I feel like time may be running short, so I wanted to get some help jump-starting my hardware selection process (as well as acquiring the necessary knowledge). 

My goal is to be able to maintain reliable communication with local (within 20 miles) and long-distance (200-1000 miles) family members in the event of TEOTWAWKI.  I live in a rural area of northern California and feel it is a good location to bug-in.  I recently bought 2 Baofeng U5R+ units and gave one to my daughter who lives about 160 miles away (Sacramento) - not sure how that would work out unless we could take advantage of repeaters/relays, at least as long as they stay online, with the idea of sharing vital info and assisting with her bug-out to my location if necessary.  I have bought the USB programming cable and got the CHIRP program up and running, but don't have the info I need to populate the spreadsheet and get the units working - I'm working on that.

Also, I'm thinking about an HF system that would not be too hard for a beginner to use, offer adequate performance, and not break the bank (say, $2,000 total).  I came across this site when reading a piece at http://gilblog.com/?p=1711 that seemed like it was just what I need, but it doesn't seem to be complete yet (gotta love that opening pic!).  First off, since I seem to live in a telecomm "black hole" (outlying, low elevation, surrounded by trees) will I need some kind of tower to mount my antenna on - at least for the VHF/UHF units?  I came across a 90' crank-up for under $1K if that would help.

Thanks in advance for any and all help, and don't worry about hurting my feelings - I'm ignorant and I know it. (Well, maybe I know just enough to be dangerous!)


Welcome to the forum, glad to have you aboard. Good luck on your tests (even though you don't need it since you've studied the material ;) ), let us know how it goes.

PS: not sure if I'd believe anything from that Gil character in the link you posted. 8)
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin



Good luck on the test and welcome aboard, Jeff.  Take your time. Get with a ham club out there and get some friends in amateur radio, read these threads and all will be OK.  Terry


Well, for HF, there isn't much of a choice other than 10m, which isn't really reliable. I would suggest trying to pass the General, even if you don't feel ready. It isn't much harder. Try anyway, there is no penalty for failing. You could of course go on 40m CW (Morse code) with your Tech license, but of course you'd have to learn it, which you should anyway ;-)



Welcome aboard Jeff !!!

Practicing for the tech is no problem, if you have a smart phone there are some free apps that will help you get ready for the test. I used Ham radio exam Tech and General by Roy Watson. I would use it during break and lunch time at work. It also tracks what sections you are lacking on and you can go back to your book and study those sections. I made the mistake of not taking the general after taking the tech, know I have waited so long that I need to relearn every thing. There is a lot of cross over between Tech and Gen. Even if you think your not ready try it, nothing lost if you do. Eham.net also has practice exams you can take.


I am also in Northern California, I live in Marysville. Don't know how far we are from each other, But if we are close enough we could get together and go over gear selection and other things.