Resources for Prospective and New Hams
Here's where you'll find useful links, articles, downloads, and
other resources to help you prepare for your amateur exams, as
well as make the most of your licenses once you get it!
(These links open in a new tab or window.) Feel free to
browse, or click on one of the links below to get to exactly
what you want. There's also much more on our "Links of Interest
to All Hams" page. Be sure to check it out as well!
- Fred Benson has
assembled a number of study aids for all three amateur radio
license classes, and all are freely available for
download. Check them out!
- We recently
discovered an excellent set of PowerPoint presentations
developed by K3DIO that also cover all three license
classes. These are actually designed for use in a
licensing class, but they are equally useful for self
study. In addition, there is a very nicely done and
concise study guide available. All have been placed in the
public domain by the authors!
Just a few words of caution. The PPTs use macros, and the
author says they will probably work only with PowerPoint 2003
and later. Because VB macros are used, they probably
cannot be used with OpenOffice or LibreOffice as prepared, but
they could be modified. However, you should have no problem
using these with the free PowerPoint Viewer available HERE. The
link below will take you directly to a directory from which you
can download the materials. Be sure to read the
"Description of files.doc" before downloading.
Other Study Guides
HamElmer.com has another excellent study guide in PDF
format. Resources are also being developed for the General
and Extra exams, and they are looking for volunteers to help.
AA9PW Practice Exams
this site generates practice exams using the current question
pools and with the same number of questions as required for each
subelement. No matter how many tests you take, each one
will be different. When you can pass these,
you will be certain to be able to pass the real thing.
QRZ.com Exam Practice
We have some reservations about the QRZ practice pages because
we understand that they quiz on the more commonly seen questions
and not the entire pool. Also, if you do not allow cookies
from the site, we understand that you will get repeats of
questions you have already seen.
Update: Some of our candidates have reported that some of
our concerns have been addressed by site changes, so it may be
OK to use the QRZ.com practice tests, but you will need to sign
up for a free registration. However, we still do recommend
the AA9PW site as being the better site for practice tests
although we have no vested interest in either site.
Another Practice Exam Site
This was recommended by a TEARA membe, just in case the above
sites do not meet your needs:
Free Practice Exam Software
- This site has a really
neat exam practice package if you don't want to practice online,
and you can't beat the price!
A Volunteer Testing Site Near You
If "y'all ain't frum around here," you can locate an ARRL VE
Session by searching here:
You can also search for a W5YI session here:
BuckMaster Publishing New
- If pass your Technician exam,
you can register with Buckmaster Publishing ,
and as soon as the FCC issues your license, they will send you
an email notification. The service is free.
Once you pass your Technician exam, you don't have to wait for a
paper license. As soon as your new callsign shows up in
the database, you can begin operating immediately. Search
any of these sites for your new call.
The Official FCC Database -
Central Carolina Skywarn
Calls will show up here first, but this site is not
particularly easy to use.
ARRL Database -
This site usually has the information the next day after the
FCC but is easy to use.
QRZ Database -
This site is also a day or so behind the FCC, but is also easy
- Start using your license for public service by becoming a
severe weather spotter. Opportunities for service in
central North Carolina can be found here. And if you
attend one of our VE sessions, you just might recognize the
melodious voice of CC Skywarn, NC4VA!
Wake County, NC ARES
- ARES - the Amateur Radio Emergency Service - provides
backup communications when other systems fail or become
overloaded, through volunteer Amateur Radio operators.
Nationwide and Statewide, ARES is sponsored by the ARRL,
although ARRL membership is not required for ARES
participation. You can get information on all North
Carolina ARES organizations by starting here.
Amateur Radio Information
– for information on just about everything else to do with ham
radio, this site is the place! You could spend hours here!
Smithchart ARS (aka SCARS)
- home of the Smithchart Amateur Radio Society, an ARRL Special
There are lots of other great resources on the page in addition to what you see
Becoming A VE
Once you have obtained your General or Extra Class license,
you can become an ARRL accredited Volunteer Examiner.
Check out the following link to find out how!
Learning Morse Code
OK, as of February 23, 2007 you don't need to learn Morse code
to get any amateur license, but please read on...
For some reason, learning Morse code scares the living daylights
out of most prospective hams! However, once you move to
move up to the really exciting world of high frequency (HF)
communications, you'll find a world of fun using Morse
Code. In addition to the enhanced DX (long distance
communications) possibilities, there's the world of QRP (low
power) operating. And it is still possible to build your
own radios to send and receive Morse Code without breaking the
bank, whether from scratch (homebrew) or from one of many
available kits. So when you get tired of the 75 meter nets
and want to move on to a new challenge, give code a try.
Here's one way to get started! Go to to download the free G4FON Code Trainer.
This is an excellent code trainer that is ordinarily used to
teach Morse code using the Koch method. However, you won't
be using it as a Koch trainer just yet. Instead, you
should set it up to learn Morse code just enough to get you
started. Just follow these simple steps:
After you have downloaded the trainer, install it on your
computer and set it up as follows:
"Pitch," select 750 Hz
"Actual Character Speed," select 15 WPM (words per minute)
"Effective Code Speed," select 5 WPM
"Noise Level" to off
(NOTE: You might want to try to set the effective code
speed at 7-10 WPM instead of 5. That will give you a
head start in learning to copy off the air.)
Now comes the fun part. Follow the directions provided for
learning the code by clicking on the "About" button and learn
that code! As a rule of thumb, once you have
thorougly memorized the sounds of the characters (not the
dots and dashes), you are probably at a good 5 WPM, particularly
if you set you effective code speed a bit higher than 5 WPM.
As you begin to learn, DO NOT try to memorize "dots and
dashes." It just adds an unnecessary step that will only
slow you down. Here's why...
Suppose you hear the sound, "dah-di-dah-dit." That's what
the letter "C" sounds like. If you have learned the letter
C as "dash-dot-dash-dot," when you hear the sound
"dah-di-dah-dit", you will first try to translate that sound
to dots and dashes, and then translate the dots and dashes
to "C." I know.. that's how I started out, and it only
makes it harder to increase your code speed.
However, if you learn to associate the sound
"dah-di-dah-dit" and don't even bother with dots and dashes, you
will learn to recognize the letter C much more quickly.
Learn the sound of each character, not the sequence of dots and
dashes, and you will learn faster and better.
When you have learned the characters, try your hand at copying
the ARRL's slow speed code practice transmissions off the air,
or download them if you don't have an HF rig. Go HERE for
Once you can copy at 5 WPM, it's time to take the plunge.
Plug your code key in, get on the code portion of the bands and
start sending CQ. Don't worry if everyine you hear is
sending faster than you are. Most will QRS (slow down) if
you ask them to. As a matter of fact, you will delight the
old timers out there once you tell them you learned to code
after you got your general or extra. You'll be the darling
of the bands!
And once you've made your first few contacts, you can further
challenge your brain by using this software as a true Koch
trainer, as it was designed to be, and get that code speed on up
to hang with the big dogs!
Copyright 2013-2018 - Triangle
East Amateur Radio Association