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General Upgrade Class

On Saturday, March 14th, the long mentioned General One Day Workshop was held at the SPARC clubhouse. This workshop has been in the works for a few months. The following 4 students attended the class:

  • Ray Farmer, KM4GHB
  • Sean Favata, KM4SFF
  • Alfie Shary, KK4MYO
  • Terry Simms, KK4TNA

The 4 students started studying back in January as this was not a cram session. Starting at 8:30 Saturday morning, the students, led by Tom Schaefer, NY4I and his fellow instructors, Kyle N4NSS, and Bob, N2ESP, were well-prepared with all having previously passed online practice exams. The goal of this session was to cover the material to offer a real-world view of it. Rather than just reading about elements on a Yagi antenna, the students were able to review the actual antenna at the club station. While having lunch, the students were able to get a hands-on look at different RF connectors (N, UHF and SMA). Again, the book covers this but giving the students the ability to touch the parts helps cement the concept. Plus it gets them ready for using that they learned on the air.

Kyle, N4NSS demonstrated PSK31 with an eye towards the bandwidth of the signals comparing them to SSB signals. Bob, N2ESP found a DX station and let the students listen to the DX station working split. Similarly, Tom were able to show the students forward and reflected power at the station with a live transmitter rather than simply reading about it. The format of this class clearly worked as their instructor is proud to report that when the SPARC VE team came in at 6:00PM, all 4 students PASSED and are now the new holders of a General class license!

This was a fun class to do as it lets the club help future generations of hams get on HF and enjoy more of what this wonderful hobby has to offer. The goal was to make sure the students feel comfortable using their new privileges. How about you? What’s holding you back from upgrading?

Given enough interest, the club is certainly willing to start a session for the Extra class test. If anyone is interested, please contact Tom Schaefer, NY4I to be placed on a list for a potential weekend workshop. No promises, but if there is enough interest, a similar session could be arranged for the Extra exam.

Thanks to all the members that helped with this class. Special thanks goes to Larry, AL4B for merciless promoting the class on the SPARC net and the SPARC VE Team: Donn, N4KII; Richard, N4BUA; Dave, KR4U; Dee, N4GD and Ron KP2N.

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