Review of the HamTestOnline (HTO) Ham Radio Exam Courses

HamTestOnline (HTO) helps you learn more than required to earn your licenses in less time than every other method. HTO does it by maximizing your learning. That unique feature defines its super-power differentiating itself from every other approach.

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How To Get A Vanity Ham Radio Call-sign

  • Read this and this for an overview with relevant links
  • Read this to try to come up with a call-sign that sticks to the rules (coffee may be required)
  • Search for the call sign you want. If you find it already taken you can search for variations you might like. When you submit your application you can submit up to twenty-five new call-signs in order of priority for the administrators to use if your first choice is not available.
  • As of 2017-02-12 the application is free (a fee of zero dollars)
  • Go back here to walk through the electronic process of applying and wait for your application to start being processed
  • Check here to see how the application is proceeding
    • Check here for call-signs that are predicted to be approved
  • Find your new call-sign in the license search
  • Wait for your official paperwork confirming your new call sign
  • Enjoy your new vanity call-sign

Review of the The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual

The material follows a “flow of consciousness” writing style that is informal and wordy instead of concise and to the point, at times making the reading tedious. The order of topics covered mirrors the order of topics in the exam itself, instead of following the logical order, at times leaving the reader confused and frustrated. Because my “non-techie” friends don’t have the background they are probably unwilling to deal with it. My “techie” friends might be willing to put up with it but I wasn’t. So for both of them I would cautiously recommend it with the caveat that they need to be open to reading the book more than a few times, put up with its deficits and willing to take the exam as many times as required to pass. Another way to think about it is that you are getting a great deal if your time has no value.

Easily Program Your Amateur Radio

It is more fun to use a handheld ham radio when you can tell it to scan different frequencies and stop there if it hears anyone. Whatever your location there are places to hang out on certain frequencies. For example here are some of them around Milwaukee Wisconsin. The trouble is that wherever you go those places will change and it is hassle to program your handheld to know about them. Fortunately it can be done easily:

CHIRP makes it easy to program your handheld radios.