Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Amateur Extra - One Year Later

I wasn’t really in a rush to pass the amateur extra exam. I was hoping to get my code speed up to a respectable 20 wpm before taking the written test. But then the FCC decided that Morse code proficiency was no longer required to be qualified to hold an amateur radio license. No, I wasn’t one of those folks that was waiting for the code test to go away to take the written exam, I had already passed the only required code test at the time, the 5 wpm element one test. I wanted to pass the extra exam before they dropped the requirement. Why, just to have some motivation. So, I passed my extra exam on February 17, 2007 and the code test requirement for general and amateur extra class amateur radio licenses was officially dropped on February 23, 2007.

Some of the things I wanted to do in the past year were to get my code speed up to 20 wpm and build a transceiver. I’ve accomplished neither, unless you count the pixie II transceiver that I built as a soldering warm up before starting the Elecraft K1. My code speed went downhill but I am working on a plan to improve it, but I’ll need to finish the K1 first. I was doing a good job listening to code practice for a while, but a change in jobs has knocked me off track. I can still copy fairly well at 10 wpm under ideal conditions, but that is the same speed I was copying when I first started learning code.

So my ham radio goals for 2008 are to improve my code speed, finish my NE3R QSL card, and finish the Elecraft K1 transceiver. I also want to improve the local APRS network and help our county ARES members get more proficient with handling NTS traffic.

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