What It's Like Taking an Online Ham Radio Exam

Back when we started the Ham Radio Crash Course Podcast, I quickly realized this was a great scheme for Josh to get me to practice the exam questions so I would eventually become a ham after years of me saying, "Yeah, yeah, I'll get to it." 

On Thursday, I finally passed a practice exam on the podcast and as promised, I took the test. I have to give a big shout out to the HRCC admin team here because the moment they heard the podcast they helped me get scheduled. I think I would have dragged my feet a little bit out of nervousness but Chris at w8wot.us and Matt at hamradioadventures.com really encouraged me to make it happen quickly. 

On Friday, I scheduled my session on hamstudy.org, on Saturday I paid for my test, and by Sunday, I locked myself in our smallest bathroom with a laptop. I followed the link that Chris sent me to a Zoom meeting and logged in. Surprisingly, there were 4 VEs, luckily familiar faces. I spun my camera around the room to show I was alone with nothing else in the room and we started the process. 

I'm going to note that before you follow this zoom session, I suggest you close out anything questionable you might have open or viewable on your desktop because you will need to share your screen. Consider also clearing your browser history because you'll need to get into your web browser and type in the url for the testing page and you don't want anyone to see any embarrassing search history like, "Who gets a title in the British Royal Family?"

The VEs set me up on the exam site, I verified all my information and we got started. The VEs all turned off their cameras which really helped my nerves because I thought I was going to have to take the test with 4 faces staring at me. 

I started off strong, found a couple of questions I hadn't seen before, thanked Sterling from the YouTuber's Bunch for emailing me about rosin-core to correct Josh many months ago, got tripped up on some later questions and then got seriously worried I was going to fail. 

I submitted my exam and got my score. 

I yay'ed, Josh heard me and screamed from the living room, and Chris gave me a rundown of what would happen next.

I want to take a moment to say that the entire process is SO. WELL. DESIGNED. A lot of what I've seen in ham radio resources online seem to be very dated or require quite a bit of expertise but hamstudy.org with the scheduling, exam tools along with the VE team made this a foolproof experience. I can't thank everyone who helped me enough for making the process so smooth. I really encourage everyone who is on the fence about getting tested online to pull the trigger. Just do it! Schedule it now! 

I also want to thank all the listeners, reviewers, email contributors on the HRCC Podcast for the support and encouragement, as well as inspirational stories about you getting licensed or your partners getting licensed as you witnessed me fail test after test. Thanks to Gordon West for sending me prep materials that kicked my motivation into high gear. 

And of course, thanks to Josh for painstakingly explaining things to me, sometimes repeatedly, despite my lack of technical knowledge.

Less than 24 hours after taking the exam online, I got my call sign!

This is KN6NWZ, 73. 

17 comments

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  • Leah, your tech test journey has brought hours of enjoyment and encouragement to thousands of your listeners. You and J are really making amateur radio more accessible to a new generation. Congratulations and welcome to the club!

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  • royal family title… screw them… we already won that war

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