Capital City Amateur Radio Club, Inc
Technician Self Training Courses and Materials 2020

There are currently three classes of Amateur Radio Licenses issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Technician, General and Extra Classes. With each license comes additional operational frequencies and privileges. The license classes must be taken in order with the Technician Class being the entry level license. In other words, someone wanting the General Class License must pass both the Technician and General Class exams, which can be taken separately or at the same time. The Technician license gives you operational privileges above 30 MHz allowing you to communicate locally and worldwide using VHF/UHF frequencies, amateur satellites and many of the new digital amateur radio modes.

Today there are many instructional aids available on the internet to assist in studying for the amateur licenses. The recommended method of studying for the Technician Licensing exam is to obtain a license manual and study the exam questions in the current FCC question pool. The question pool consists of 350 questions broken down into 10 sub-categories. There will be 35 of these multiple choice questions from the 10 different sub-categories on the FCC license exam. When purchasing a Technician license manual or other study materials, be sure it has the latest study question pool issued in 2018 and good through 2022. Older books are sometimes advertised on the web for a cheaper price but they don’t have the current question pool making them useless for studying for a current exam. As you become familiar with the questions, it is also recommended to take free on-line practice exams to determine when you’re ready to take an actual FCC licensing exam. These are a number of websites offering free practice exams which can be found with a simple google search. Two web sites that have been used by a number of local Hams include https://hamexam.org/ and http://www.eham.net . hamexam.org also offers a flash card method of studying and separate practice exams on each of the question pool subcategories. Taking practice exams is highly recommended prior to taking your actual exam. Students who have done that, usually score about the same score on the actual exam as they do on the practice exams.

License Manual

The recommended book for studying for the Technician exam is the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Ham Radio License Manual fourth edition http://www.arrl.org/shop/ARRL-Ham-Radio-License-Manual-4th-Edition-Softcover/ It is also available in a spiral bond book and kindle edition. It can be purchased from the arrl.org website and Amazon. A current copy can also be found in the Lewis and Clark Library.


Copies of the softcover books can be obtained from the Capital City Amateur Radio Club for the list price, saving you postage. Contact John Geach KS7R if you are interested in purchasing a book.

Video Training Courses

There are also several free on-line video lecture training courses that follow the ARRL License Manual chapter by chapter. These include David Caster ARRL Training https://dcasler.com/ham-radio/training/ and Gary W4EEY’s course https://w4eey.com/youtube-channel.html

A number of local students have used both courses successfully to pass their license exams.

Other study sources

No Nonsense Study Guides https://www.kb6nu.com/study-guides/ This is a PDF study guide that is shorter and less comprehensive than the ARRL manual. The videos listed above don’t follow this course but could be used to supplement the material. The effectiveness of this study course is not known in the Helena area.

Scheduling a licensing exam

Exams are given by many area Ham Radio Clubs including Bozeman, Great Falls and Helena. The schedule for these exams is usually posted on their websites. In Helena, rather than having a set schedule of exam dates, exams are normally given on an appointment basis. If you wish to schedule an exam, please contact John Geach KS7R 442-7107 or jcgeach@gmail.com to arrange for an exam. The current exam fee is $14.

Club Activities

Members of the Capital City Amateur Radio Club meet every Saturday morning for a coffee chat session at the Staggering OX Restaurant in Helena. This is an informal session with members arriving at about 9:30 AM and leaving about 11:00 AM. People come and go throughout the morning, so don’t feel obligated to stay the entire time. This is a good gathering to discuss or ask questions on any aspect of Amateur Radio.

The Club also has a monthly business meeting on the first Monday of the Month. We meet in the Salvation Army Church building on the corner of Henderson and Hudson. If the first Monday of the month is a holiday, the meeting moves to the second Monday. Meetings start at 7:00 PM and are normally over by 9:00 PM.

Please feel welcome to join us at either of these activities.

Additional Questions

If you have additional questions, please contact John Geach KS7R at 442-7107 or jcgeach@gmail.com
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