We finished up the second and last day of our 2-day Ham Radio Technician License Class. The class ended with a VE test session, which was done by one of the local VE teams. We had 19 out of 21 students pass Element 2, qualifying them for a Technician Class License, for a 90% success rate. A handful of the students gave the General test a try and some passed that, too. We were very pleased with the level of interest in the class and the success rate on the exams.
Our learning objective was to have the students pass the Tech exam and know enough to be able to get on the air and operate a radio on the bands above 50 MHz.
The basic approach we used was to have two all-day classes, held on two consecutive Saturdays. We carefully developed a schedule that got us through all of the material and made sure we kept the class moving through it. We had originally looked at a one-day ham class but decided that was just too much material for one day. On the other hand, we did not want to go the traditional route of meeting once a week for 8 or more weeks. We didn’t think the instructors or the students would last that long! In the end, we chose an intense two-day approach, but made it clear to the students that they had to study the book in advance to be successful with this compressed approach.
We used the Gordon West Technician License guide, which is a very focused text, which ties the material directly to the exam questions. We also recommended the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual as another good reference book. The ARRL book provides a broader context and includes material that is not required by the Technician exam.
One important point: I found this to be a very fun and motivating activity. It forced me to take a fresh look at amateur radio and really think about how to efficiently convey the material. Seeing a group of students get excited about ham radio gave me a spark of energy. Think about this if you are looking for some way to get re-energized in ham radio.
We have a waiting list for our next class, so it seems we need to do this again…soon.
73, Bob K0NR