If you don’t currently hold an Amateur Extra class license, upgrading should be one of your top resolutions for the New Year.

About half of the 700,000 amateur radio licensees in the United States hold the Technician license. It’s the de-facto entry point for radio hams, but it should never be considered a final destination. Upgrading your license is one of the easiest things you can do and it’s the ‘Open Sesame‘ to all amateur radio privileges.

That so many in the fraternity have no ambition to upgrade, despite the ease with which it can be attained, is an embarrassing pox on the service. Let’s not mince words here, if you’ve been stuck at anything below Extra class for more than two years, you might not have the right stuff to be one of us.

Amateur radio operators in your area volunteer hundreds of hours of their time each year to make it incredibly simple for YOU to find a convenient location for testing. We’ve gone to great lengths to simplify the exams and testing processes.

It’s a multiple choice test — with published questions and answers available for review before you take the exam. There are a dozen or more excellent sources of license prep material at your fingertips, and you can take practice exams online over and over until the answers have been permanently stamped into your gray matter.

Newer hams frequently grouse that more seasoned operators don’t cuddle or love them enough. Bah! It’s time to set that aside and move up already. If you’ve been licensed for more than two years and don’t have an Extra class ticket, I can’t even look at you — let alone talk to you.

Author: Jeff Davis


4 thoughts on “Upgrade”

  1. Don’t be so condescending. I upgraded to Extra years ago, but the *only* thing it got me was HF privileges and the ability to be a VEC. The only day of the year I use HF is Field Day, but the fact that I’m licensed for something higher than a tech makes zero difference the other 363 days of the year. Why should anyone else bother to upgrade if they didn’t happen to get into the hobby to talk to random old white guys on HF? I’m not sorry that the fact that my friends and I build VHF packet systems and UHF repeater systems doesn’t prove that we’ve got the right stuff.

  2. I’m an amateur radio operator going on 26 years now, upgraded to Extra about 15 years ago. Since then my interest in ham radio has steadily declined. I rarely get on HF & VHF. UHF is nearly dead around here… like Packet… On Packet you pick up a little APRS or messaging. Used to be on Packet extensively. I’ve used other digital modes as well as SSTV, satellites and the ‘ol standby by CW. Ventured into antique, milsurp and all around boat anchor gear. Build or repair from antennas to transceivers I’ve touched on most areas of amateur radio. I also hold the FCC GROL with radar endorsement. Maybe working in LMR helped burn me out.

    I’ll never totally divest myself of radios but they are taking a back seat to other activities. Passing the Extra test was not the end all…. or was it?

  3. Let’s see… I think I got my General in 1979 or 1980. I guess I am due. I’m just wondering if by now I’m too senile to focus on preparing for the exam.

    1. I believe in you Steve — you still can do it! Get the audio CD from Gordon West or pick up a study guide from Dan, KB6NU. In four weeks, with surprisingly little effort, you will have your Extra ticket. Good luck! 73, Jeff

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