Soon after moving to the EU, I realized that my technician class license would not grant me much in the way of privileges here. The solution, I quickly determined, was to get off my butt and study in order to earn my General license. This solution would grant me more operating privileges in the US, but more specifically it would grant me a reciprocal license so I could at least get back on the air.
Fast forward to now… Well, I managed to successfully upgrade my license. *Congratulatory cheers all around!* I am now officially a General class operator. How did I study you ask? What sources did I use for study materials? Don’t worry just like I did for my technician license, I will tell you what I used and what worked for me. Spoiler alert: Because they worked for me on the Technician exam, I used some of the same resources I listed in that post.
The first resource I used was HamStudy.org. Their site is honestly the easy button for studying. If you’re like me, you probably found them and used them to practice for your technician exam. If you haven’t yet heard of them, well today is your lucky day! You can study the entire question bank for the exam, a group of questions if you’re struggling with a topic, or take an “actual” practice test. It will help you track the questions you have seen and your aptitude against those seen questions. As long as you aren’t in test mode, it’ll even provide you with information regarding the correct answer and why it is correct. To me, that is priceless. I kept studying and doing the practice exams until I was routinely reaching a score over 80%.
The second resource is also one I used while studying for my Technician class exam. It is Michael Burnette’s Fast Track Ham series, specifically his Audible.com audiobook for the current General exam. His books are an excellent resource for studying. He covers every question in the entire exam pool and goes over all of the correct and incorrect choices. While he does have a unique almost “Pavlov-ian” method of ringing a bell for the correct answers as he covers the questions, I have to say that it works. It has worked for me twice, for both exams I’ve sat so far, and for many other hams (including his wife) as well. I like his style of presentation and his scope of coverage on each question and topic. By the end of the book you almost feel as if you are long-time friends just sitting and conversing about the exam. He is full of helpful hints for determining the correct answer to questions. From ways to rule out the obvious, and sometimes not-so-obvious bad choices, to plenty of bad puns and metaphors. My favorite part about his book was that I could listen to it while I commute. With roughly 30 minutes of travel time each way every day, I was able to get through the entire book quickly and easily. The way I use his books is that I listen to the entire book end-to-end, and then I go back and listen to it a second time. On the second pass, I make sure I’m paying closer attention to the questions and answering them in my head if I know them. I will often repeat segments if I am having trouble answering them correctly, to listen and review the how/why behind getting the correct answer.
Using those two resources together I was able to pass my exam in about three weeks of studying and practice exams. If I can do it… So can you! Find some time like I did on your commute to work, or in the evening after the kid is in bed. You only need to spend a few minutes a day and you too can have your upgraded ticket in under a month.
Just for the record, I do plan on eventually upgrading my ticket again to the Extra class so I can have full access to all allowed bands. But that will be its own post once it happens. 🙂 For now, I’m just going to sit back and await the issuance of my reciprocal amateur radio license, so I can operate legally here.