Amateur Radio is a very fun and rewarding hobby. Not only can a Ham build (or buy) equipment that will carry his voice all around the globe, but a Ham can take part in disaster relief operations and special events by providing invaluable communication services where needed. Amateur radio is not confined to the Earth either. Since radio waves work in the vacuum of space, a licensed operator can easily contact the astronauts onboard the International Space Station, or use Amateur Radio Satellites (AMSAT) as a wide range repeater, making long-range VHF/UHF communications possible. All that is required for a person to get involved is a license.
The Barstow Amateur Radio club takes pride in our dedication to advancing Amateur Radio. We regularly give exams to future hams and those looking to upgrade their current license. Our Volunteer Examiners are all accredited by the Greater Los Angeles Amateur Radio Group (GLAARG) Volunteer-Exam Coordinator (VEC). We have found that the GLAARG now offers their exams and processing services for the lowest fee, with shorter processing times, then all the other VEC’s.
Ok, so you’re hooked right? Your next question is probably going to be something like, “what should I study?”, or “who do I call to arrange a test?” By now, you might be wondering if I am a mind reader and the answer is no, I was in your place several years ago. I had the same questions, and I am hoping that the following resources might make the process a little easier for you.
The first step to getting into ham radio is to either find a local class or purchase (or download) a Technician study guide and start going through that in your spare time. The Barstow Amateur Radio club offers classes sporadically throughout the year. To find out when the next class is, you can look through the calendar of events on the BARC events page located under the “Club Information” navigation link at the top of this page. If you are planning to go the self-study route, the ARRL website has many helpful resources that will point you in the right direction. Their “Ham Radio License Manual” has been around for decades, and comes widely recommended. Click here for more details.
When you are comfortable with the material, I would recommend that you start taking practice exams online. You can find free practice tests at www.HamExam.org, www.ARRL.org, and www.eham.net, to name a few. Practice exam apps are also available on the Google Play Store, and Itunes.
Generally, it is recommended that you schedule an exam after passing the practice exams by at least an 85%. You can find scheduled exam sessions near you by visiting ARRL Exam Session Search, entering your location data and requested date range, and clicking the “Search” radio button. You will be prompted with a list of scheduled exams in your area. The GLAARG tests are listed here. Also, you can find out when the Barstow Amateur Radio club will be administrating a test by checking through the events calendar on the BARC home page wa6tst.org. If all else fails, you can use the contact us forum located to the right of this page to ask one of us directly, or contact our club President, Jock Soutar (KC6IIH), at 760-252-5596.
That’s it! Follow these directions, and we will catch you on the air in no time! Speaking of on the air, the members of the Barstow Amateur Radio club make excellent Elmers (Ham mentors), and would gladly point you in the right direction about purchasing your first Ham radio. On behalf of the Barstow Amateur Radio club, we wish you good luck and 73.