Archive for May, 2010

QSY to FM

In a continuous effort to prepare for the Economic Collapse*, I am now another step closer to independence with my ham radio technician license.  Ham radio — or amateur radio — lost popularity with the internet.  Before the internet, ham radio was THE way to communicate with others around the world, while situated in different locations.

Bee tee dubs, QSY is an archaic radio code that means change frequencies to.  Currently, the first level of amateur radio, technician class, is in the FM band.  The title of this post implies that I am ready to destroy all that is the internet and move to FM communication (which is a joke, Dude).

My interest to get a ham license rooted in volunteering at two recent trail running races.  The actual activity didn’t seem that interesting, but understanding the formalities of radio-speak intrigued me.

Once I looked at the test, I noticed there is a fair amount of applied theory in amateur radio.  I started taking practice tests, while searching for the concepts behind the questions.  That naturally led me to a tutorial site.  Within a few hours of learning the concepts, I felt confident in passing the test.  I am not good at memorizing; however, if you are good at memorizing you can just learn all of the 150 possible test questions which are published on the internet.

That may seem a slam on memorizing, but I acknowledge that a few nature lovers out there may solely want to communicate while in remote locations.  I hear you clucking, big chicken.  Daz cool!

But, for optimal retention, I suggest:

There are two levels beyond my current n00b status of technician.  I’m interested in going bigger, to learn about the theory.

*The Economic Collapse is part of a conspiracy theory that I acknowledge: not necessarily that I hope for or believe in, but something that I can visualize.  In my own words, we are becoming a society based on increasingly abstract concepts that started in currency and moved into credit as well as digital banking.  For a more concrete starting point, check out The Earth Plus Five.

Yes, all of this is nice, but it does not include my favorite experience in this process, more ice making.  The one test fee of $15 covers both the Technician and General (one step beyond Technician) tests.  When I first came into the room, I sat down in the closest-to-the-back-of-the-room seat that I could find.

Soon after, some Dude came in the room telling me that I was in his seat.  Seeing how “I got into a fight at the ham radio test” didn’t seem like an awesome idea,  I moved seats to the next closest which awkwardly looked right at Dude.  Dude finished his test before me.  And after passing his test, Dude elected to take the General (one step beyond Technician) test.  While Dude started taking his next test and the examiners graded my test, I opted to pile a plate with the recently laid out baked goods to eat.

As I returned to my seat, the Dude looked up at me in a state of confusion.  I responded to his look by saying, “Why would I take a test that I know I am going to fail when I can eat this instead?”  Zing.  I felt like I was living the scene in the barber shop in Police Academy.

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