Here's where you'll find useful links, articles, downloads, and other
resources to help you prepare for your amateur exams.
- 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
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
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.
Ham Radio and Instructor Resources - This site features
links to dozens of different study resources for that first license or
upgrade, as well as resources for teaching licensing classes, including
a number of excellent Powerpoints. Check it out!
– this site generates practice exams using the current
pools. When you can pass these, you will
to pass the real thing.
QRZ.com Eaxm Practice - We have some reservations about the QRZ practice pages. For the reasons why, see HERE.
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. However, we still do recommend the AA9PW site as
being the best for practice. We have no vested interest in either
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!
If "y'all ain't frum around here," you can locate an ARRL VE Session by searching here:
You can also seach for a W5YI session here:
BuckMaster Publishing New License Notification - If pass your Technician exam, you can register with Buckmaster Publishing HERE, 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.
Central Carolina Skywarn
- Start using your license for public service by becoming a severe
weather spotter. Opportunities for service in central North
Carolina can be found here.
Wake County, NC ARES
- ARES - the Amateur Radio Emergency Service - provides
communications when other systems fail or become overloaded, through
volunteer Amateur Radio operators. Nationwide and Statewide,
is sponsored by the ARRL, although ARRL membership is not required for
ARES participation. You can get information on all North
ARES organizations by starting here.
Amateur Radio Information
– for information on just about everything else to do with
radio, this site is the place! You could spend hours here!
TEARA's Own Club Page
– need we say more?
Smithchart ARS -
home of the Smithchart Amateur Radio Society, an ARRL Special Service
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
scares the living daylights out of most hams! However, once
move to move up to the really exciting world of high frequency (HF)
communications, you'll find a world of fun using Morse Code.
addition to the enhanced DX (long distance communications)
possibilities, there's the world of QRP (low power)
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
75 meter nets and want to move on to a new challenge, give code a
Here's one way to get
started! Go to G4FON's
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:
For "Pitch," select 750 Hz
For "Actual Character Speed," select 15 WPM (words per minute)
For "Effective Code Speed," select 5 WPM
Set "Noise Level" to off
might want to try to
set the effective code speed at 7-10 WPM instead of
will give you a head start in learning to copy off the air.)
Now comes the fun
the directions provided for learning the code by clicking on the
"About" button and learn that code! As a rule of thumb, once
have thorougly memorized the sounds of the characters (not
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
will only slow you down. Here's why...
Suppose you hear the
"dah-di-dah-dit." That's what the letter "C" sounds
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
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
dots and dashes, and you will learn faster and better.
When you have learned the
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 more information.
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
(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
And once you've made your
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!
WD8LQB Learning Morse Code Podcast Podcasts
- If you are just starting out with Morse Code, you can get a free Morse
code class via podcast at: