Technician Class Series – Going Solo – Your First Amateur Radio Transmission

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Hello everybody and welcome back to Everything Hamradio! Today we are going to continue our series on the Technician Class License Question Pool! Today we will be talking about Going Solo – Your First Amateur Radio Transmission.

As always, the correct answers will be in bold. I also recommend that you only read the correct answers when studying for your test. If you do this, when you take your test and you see a question, there will be a better chance that the correct answer will jump out at you easier. Some say that this approach is kind of like cheating, but the way that I see it, you will always be learning something in this hobby and you don’t have to know everything there is to know about the hobby to get your license.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the Technician Class study book that this series is:

Let’s move on to the good stuff, shall we?


T4B02 Which of the following can be used to enter the operating frequency on a modern transceiver?

  1. The keypad or VFO knob
  2. The CTCSS or DTMF encoder
  3. The Automatic Frequency Control
  4. All of these choices are correct

Twenty or so years ago, the only way to tune your radio to a certain frequency was to turn the VFO knob. That was it, there wasn’t any other way. With the advances in technology, there is now an easier way to do it. Most, if not all, modern radios have a DTMF keypad on the mic or radio itself on hand held radios. If you know the frequency that you want to tune to, you can just enter the frequency on the DTMF pad. Some radios you have to enter the entire frequency, some you just do the last four or so. For example, if I wanted to tune my mobile radio to 145.490, a local repeater where I live, I would type 5490 on my keypad and it would automatically fill in the 14 before the frequency if I had the 2 meter side selected. If I had the 70 cm side of my radio selected it would change my frequency to 445.490. Some radio even have up an own buttons on the tops of the mics like mine does.

Answer B is not correct, because CTCSS and DTMF encode has nothing to do with the frequency that you are talking on. and Answer C is not correct because for one, I’m not even sure there is such a thing and two because how is your radio suppose to know where you want it to tune to. Maybe one day we will just have to think of a frequency and it will automatically change to it, or maybe say the frequency, but we are not to that point yet. So, Answers B and C not being correct, Answer D is definitely not correct. So the answer to the question for be A. The keypad of VFO knob.

 

T4B03 What is the purpose of the squelch control on a transceiver?

  1. To set the highest level of volume desired
  2. To set the transmitter power level
  3. To adjust the automatic gain control
  4. To mute receiver output noise when no signal is being received

One any frequency there is what is called a noise floor. That is the general electromagnetic noise that is one a frequency. Some people call it white noise. If you have your squelch knob or setting turned all the way down to zero, you will hear that noise just like you would if you press the monitor button that is on a lot of radios now-a-days. When someone keys up to talk, the noise goes away and your hear the person talking, because their signal over powers the noise. The optimal place to set your squelch control is just above where the noise stops. So turn your squelch control all the way down until you hear the noise floor then turn it up slowly until you don’t hear it anymore. This will give you a quiet radio when you are not talking to anyone but give you a good chance of hearing farther away stations.

All this being said, if you are talking on a frequency, normally on simplex, and the person that you are talking to starts to get really noisy and you just cant hear them anymore for whatever reason. You can turn your squelch control down and you will be able to hear them again. Granted you will also hear the noise floor in there as well, so you will not hear them as clear as you did before, but if you are trying to hear what they said and they are just not making it to you, you do have a little better chance of hearing them or deciphering what they are saying if you turn your squelch down. This does take practice for your ear to be able to “pick them out of the mud”, but with practice you can do it. Doing this on purpose will even help you out when you decide to upgrade and start talking on the HF bands. On the HF bands, your may hear a faint station in the background of the noise and you will have a better chance of understanding them the more you practice.

T2B03 Which of the following describes the muting of receiver audio controlled solely by the presence or absence of an RF signal?

  1. Tone squelch
  2. Carrier squelch
  3. CTCSS
  4. Modulated carrier

This question basically asks the same thing as the one above just from another point of view. See the explanation above.

 

T2B01 What is the term used to describe an amateur station that is transmitting and receiving on the same frequency?

  1. Full duplex communication
  2. Diplex communication
  3. Simplex communication
  4. Multiplex communication

Only one person can talk on a frequency and be understood at a time. If more than one person keys up, then you will either hear just jiberish or the more powerful station will overpower the weaker one and you will hear them but not the other. If you are transmitting and receiving on the same frequency you are using what is called Simplex Communication.

 

T2B12 Under what circumstances should you consider communicating via simplex rather than a repeater?

  1. When the stations can communicate directly without using a repeater
  2. Only when you have an endorsement for simplex operation on your license
  3. Only when third party traffic is not being passed
  4. Only if you have simplex modulation capability

This question is kind of one of those DUH questions. Unless you get in trouble with the FCC somehow, there isn’t any endorsements that are on your license so Answer B is not right. Third party traffic can be passed on any frequency that you are licensed to communicate on as long as it’s not with a country that the US doesn’t have a third party agreement with so Answer C is not correct either. Answer D, is just there to throw you off with a big fancy wording. So the answer is A. If you are close enough to talk to your friend directly, then you should use simplex to talk. Some people that talk regularly, hang out on the simplex frequency all the time, but if you do that, you might not hear someone else that you might want to talk to on a local repeater. If you hang out on the repeater, you will hear more people that you might want to talk to. Once you have made contact on the repeater, if you are close enough to hear each other directly then you can switch or QSY to a simplex frequency.

One way to find out if you are close enough is to listen to the input of the repeater, if you can hear each other then you are close enough. Most radios even have a button that will do it for you which is normally label as the Reverse button. It will basically flip the input and output frequencies on your radio.  Let’s use a local repeater here as an example. The normal output frequency is 145.490 and the input is 144.890, the normal 0.6 MHz, or 600 kHz, separation on 2 meters. If I press the reverse button on my radio, I will be listening to the 144.890 input frequency and when I key up my radio, my radio will transmit on the 145,490 frequency.

 

T2A06 What must an amateur operator do when making on-air transmissions to test equipment or antennas?

  1. Properly identify the transmitting station
  2. Make test transmissions only after 10:00 p.m. local time
  3. Notify the FCC of the test transmission
  4. State the purpose of the test during the test procedure

When people are testing equipment, especially like when you test the SWR on an antenna, people will generally do like a five count or something and then clear with their call sign. The five count is not a FCC requirement but is more of a time to read and understand what the SWR meter is saying before unkeying. The only requirement that the FCC has is that you identify your station at the end of any transmission. So you could just key up you radio and just transmit what is called dead air or silence long enough to get your reading and then say your call sign and unkey.

 

T2A07 Which of the following is true when making a test transmission?

  1. Station identification is not required if the transmission is less than 15 seconds
  2. Station identification is not required if the transmission is less than 1 watt
  3. Station identification is only required once an hour when the transmissions are for test purposes only
  4. Station identification is required at least every ten minutes during the test and at the end of the test

Whether you are testing your equipment or talking to a friend the rules are the same. You must identify your station every ten minutes and at the end of your transmission. It doesn’t matter how long it is, or how powerful it is, rules are rules and should be followed. By not following the rules, you can get in trouble, big time, by the FCC. Check out this post, if you want to see what could happen if you don’t follow the rules.

 

T2A08 What is the meaning of the procedural signal “CQ”?

  1. Call on the quarter hour
  2. A new antenna is being tested (no station should answer)
  3. Only the called station should transmit
  4. Calling any station

CQ a code that is used to call any station. It gives the CW user an easier and shorter transmission time when trying to find someone to talk to. So is it only used on CW? No way! CQ is used on all forms of amateur communications. During contests, like Field Day which happens the last full weekend in June every year, you will hear people saying things like, “CQ Field Day CQ Field Day, this is K5CLM, Field Day”. This lets other people on the frequency know that you are wanting to talk to someone. If you do something like this though, make sure the frequency is not in use by anyone else before you call CQ.

 

T2A12 Which of the following is a guideline to use when choosing an operating frequency for calling CQ?

  1. Listen first to be sure that no one else is using the frequency
  2. Ask if the frequency is in use
  3. Make sure you are in your assigned band
  4. All of these choices are correct

All the answers on this question are correct so the answer is D. First and foremost, you always want to make sure that you are within the frequency ranges that you are allowed to talk on and even the part of the band that uses the mode that you are using. The bands are slit up into several different modes, like between frequencies X and Y are used for CW and between A and B are used for voice. There is nothing more embarrassing or frustrating, depending on which side you are on, when you are trying to talk using voice and someone is sending CW on the same frequency.

The second most important thing that you should always do, is to listen before you key up. In both my amateur and my law enforcement career, I have had many occasions where someone will be talking and then someone else will key up and just start talking. It may be a mistake but it makes that person look rude and disrespectful. It is kind of like when you and friend are having a conversation face to face and then another person comes walking up and just starts talking while you are talking. After you have listened for a little bit, key up and ask “Is the frequency in use, <Your Callsign>”. If you don’t get a response, then you are free to make your call.

 

T2A05 How should you respond to a station calling CQ?

  1. Transmit CQ followed by the other station’s call sign
  2. Transmit your call sign followed by the other station’s call sign
  3. Transmit the other station’s call sign followed by your call sign
  4. Transmit a signal report followed by your call sign

Let’s say that you are scanning through a band and you come across someone calling CQ. You don’t know him/her, so what should you do. Since they are not calling anyone in particular, it’s your responsibility to call them, so you would transmit their call sign followed by your call sign. What if you know them though, do you still have to do that? No, not really. Remember the rule that states that you have to ID every ten minutes and at the end of your transmission? If you know the person, you could just say something like, “Hey Joe, <Your Call sign>”. For the purposes of this question though, its their call sign followed by your call sign.

 

T2A04 What is an appropriate way to call another station on a repeater if you know the other station’s call sign?

  1. Say break, break then say the station’s call sign
  2. Say the station’s call sign then identify with your call sign
  3. Say CQ three times then the other station’s call sign
  4. Wait for the station to call CQ then answer it

Even though you don’t have to say a person’s call sign to call them, you always have to say yours when it might be your last transmission. However, the answers to this question, is more of the best answer out of the four. Therefore, Say the station’s call sign then identify with your call sign would be the correct answer.

 

T3A01 What should you do if another operator reports that your station’s 2 meter signals were strong just a moment ago, but now they are weak or distorted?

  1. Change the batteries in your radio to a different type
  2. Turn on the CTCSS tone
  3. Ask the other operator to adjust his squelch control
  4. Try moving a few feet or changing the direction of your antenna if possible, as reflections may be causing multi-path distortion

Most of the time, this happens when you are driving down the road, or on your hand held. This would rarely happen while you are sitting still. So the best option, just like with a cell phone when you can’t hear someone, move a little bit or increase your power or direction of your antenna and try again. It’s like that old Verizon commercial, “Can you hear me now? Good.” If you on your home station and you have a directional antenna, you can try and move your antenna one way or the other and it could help, but if you are using an omnidirectional antenna, then there isn’t anything you can do other than increase your power, if possible.

You can do the same thing with your hand held as you can with a directional antenna. If you have your hand held on your belt and you are talking on a speaker mic and people cant hear you. Trying rotating your body around to where your radio is facing the person you are talking to. Your body deflects some of the RF energy, therefore if it is between you and the person you are talking to or the repeater, you won’t have as strong of a signal as if you turn around where you body isn’t between them.

 

T3A06 What term is commonly used to describe the rapid fluttering sound sometimes heard from mobile stations that are moving while transmitting?

  1. Flip-flopping
  2. Picket fencing
  3. Frequency shifting
  4. Pulsing

You know, I have been ham now for about 15-20 years. I think I got my license in 1995, so 20 years now and I have NEVER heard this term. So according to someone that has been a ham for longer than I have, Gordon West, He says that

“when a mobile station, whether they are using a hand held or a mobile radio, gets to the end of their line-of-sight range to a repeater, the signal will begin to flutter rapidly. This is caused by roadway signs and guardrails adding to and subtracting fro the ultimate signal strength.” Quoted from the Technician Class study guide by Gordon West with Eric Nichols

Thinking about it after reading that, I can see why it is called Picket Fencing. If you are looking at something that is one the other side of the fence and you are moving, you are only able to see the thing you are looking at when you are looking between the slats of the fence. It is kind of like looking at a flip book, you don’t get a clear view of the object because every flip is a chop in the picture. It is kind of fascinating though that road signs and guardrails could interfere with your radio transmission though see how they are so small in comparison to your radio waves, but hey, who am I to argue…

 

T2B08 Which of the following applies when two stations transmitting on the same frequency interfere with each other?

  1. Common courtesy should prevail, but no one has absolute right to an amateur frequency
  2. Whoever has the strongest signal has priority on the frequency
  3. Whoever has been on the frequency the longest has priority on the frequency
  4. The station which has the weakest signal has priority on the frequency

I can see two answers to this question, so the answer would be which is the best answer of the two. Signal strength shouldn’t even play a part in this question, although sometimes it does unfortunately. So the two that are left is A and C. I can see C being the answer because no one has the absolute right to an amateur frequency, so it is basically first come first serve. However, that being said, what if you are talking on an HF frequency and both stations have been talking on the frequency but neither of them could hear each other. Then the band changes some and they can hear each other, what do you do then? That is where the best of the two answers come into play. The amateur radio world is suppose to be a place where everyone is nice and courteous and everyone gets along. Yea, I know, doesn’t always happen but that is the way that I see it. So the answer would be A. Common courtesy should prevail….

Q Codes

Code Question Answer or Statement
QLE What is your expected signal? The expected signal is low…
QRA What is the name (or call sign) of your station? The name (or call sign) of my station is …
QRG Will you tell me my exact frequency (or that of …)? Your exact frequency (or that of … ) is … kHz (or MHz).
QRH Does my frequency vary? Your frequency varies.
QRI How is the tone of my transmission? The tone of your transmission is (1. Good; 2. Variable; 3. Bad)
QRJ How many voice contacts do you want to make? I want to make … voice contacts.
QRK What is the readability of my signals (or those of …)? The readability of your signals (or those of …) is … (1 to 5).
QRL Are you busy? I am busy. (or I am busy with … ) Please do not interfere.
QRM Do you have interference? [from other stations] I have interference.
QRN Are you troubled by static? I am troubled by static.
QRO Shall I increase power? Increase power.
QRP Shall I decrease power? Decrease power.
QRQ Shall I send faster? Send faster (… wpm)
QRS Shall I send more slowly? Send more slowly (… wpm)
QRT Shall I cease or suspend operation?/ shutoff the radio I am suspending operation. /shutting off the radio
QRU Have you anything for me? I have nothing for you.
QRV Are you ready? I am ready.
QRW Shall I inform … that you are calling him on … kHz (or MHz)? Please inform … that I am calling him on … kHz (or MHz).
QRX Shall I standby / When will you call me again? Please standby / I will call you again at … (hours) on … kHz (or MHz)
QRZ Who is calling me? You are being called by … on … kHz (or MHz)
QSA What is the strength of my signals (or those of … )? The strength of your signals (or those of …) is … (1 to 5).
QSB Are my signals fading? Your signals are fading.
QSD Is my keying defective? Your keying is defective.
QSG Shall I send … telegrams (messages) at a time? Send … telegrams (messages) at a time.
QSK Can you hear me between your signals? I can hear you between my signals.
QSL Can you acknowledge receipt? I am acknowledging receipt.
QSM Shall I repeat the last telegram (message) which I sent you, or some previous telegram (message)? Repeat the last telegram (message) which you sent me (or telegram(s) (message(s)) numbers(s) …).
QSN Did you hear me (or … (call sign)) on .. kHz (or MHz)? I did hear you (or … (call sign)) on … kHz (or MHz).
QSO Can you communicate with … direct or by relay? I can communicate with … direct (or by relay through …).
QSP Will you relay a message to …? I will relay a message to … .
QSR Do you want me to repeat my call? Please repeat your call; I did not hear you.
QSS What working frequency will you use? I will use the working frequency … kHz (or MHz).
QST Here is a broadcast message to all amateurs.
QSU Shall I send or reply on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz))? Send or reply on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz)).
QSW Will you send on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz))? I am going to send on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz)).
QSX Will you listen to … (call sign(s) on … kHz (or MHz))? I am listening to … (call sign(s) on … kHz (or MHz))
QSY Shall I change to transmission on another frequency? Change to transmission on another frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz)).
QSZ Shall I send each word or group more than once? Send each word or group twice (or … times).
QTA Shall I cancel telegram (message) No. … as if it had not been sent? Cancel telegram (message) No. … as if it had not been sent.
QTC How many telegrams (messages) have you to send? I have … telegrams (messages) for you (or for …).
QTH What is your position in latitude and longitude (or according to any other indication)? My position is … latitude…longitude
QTR What is the correct time? The correct time is … hours
QTU At what times are you operating? I am operating from … to … hours.
QTX Will you keep your station open for further communication with me until further notice (or until … hours)? I will keep my station open for further communication with you until further notice (or until … hours).
QUA Have you news of … (call sign)? Here is news of … (call sign).
QUC What is the number (or other indication) of the last message you received from me (or from … (call sign))? The number (or other indication) of the last message I received from you (or from … (call sign)) is …
QUD Have you received the urgency signal sent by … (call sign of mobile station)? I have received the urgency signal sent by … (call sign of mobile station) at … hours.
QUE Can you speak in … (language), – with interpreter if necessary; if so, on what frequencies? I can speak in … (language) on … kHz (or MHz).
QUF Have you received the distress signal sent by … (call sign of mobile station)? I have received the distress signal sent by … (call sign of mobile station) at … hours.

T2B10 Which Q signal indicates that you are receiving interference from other stations?

  1. QRM
  2. QRN
  3. QTH
  4. QSB

T2B11 Which Q signal indicates that you are changing frequency?

  1. QRU
  2. QSY
  3. QSL
  4. QRZ

T8C03 What popular operating activity involves contacting as many stations as possible during a specified period of time?

  1. Contesting
  2. Net operations
  3. Public service events
  4. Simulated emergency exercises

Do you remember a little bit up the page where we were talking about the Squelch Control and how turning it down can help you hear things on the HF bands. This question is what I’m talking about there. Contesting is answer to this question and there are soooo many different contest or special events that go on through out the year. There is normally several things a month, every month. Check back tomorrow for the list of contests and events that are going on next month as they are listed on the ARRL website.

There are contests like Field Day, which is the biggest, light house round ups, battle ship round ups, special events for different things, like the Olympics or an anniversary of something major or even just an anniversary of a club. If contesting or special events sounds interesting to you, there is plenty of opportunity to do it in this hobby!

 

T8C04 Which of the following is good procedure when contacting another station in a radio contest?

  1. Be sure to sign only the last two letters of your call if there is a pileup calling the station
  2. Work the station twice to be sure that you are in his log
  3. Send only the minimum information needed for proper identification and the contest exchange
  4. All of these choices are correct

According to Dictionary.com the definition of Contest is:

  1. a race, conflict, or other competition between rivals, as for a prize.
  2. struggle for victory or superiority.
  3. strife in argument; dispute; controversy:

A lot of people take contesting very seriously and want to win! In order to do that in amateur radio contests, you need to get more contacts than anyone else. If you are going to do that, you have to keep your exchanges short and sweet and to the point. Leave the rag chewing for another time. Basically you want to pass your station information and call sign and get off the mic so you can contact someone else.

 

T8C05 What is a grid locator?

  1. A letter-number designator assigned to a geographic location
  2. A letter-number designator assigned to an azimuth and elevation
  3. An instrument for neutralizing a final amplifier
  4. An instrument for radio direction finding

The world is broken up into a bunch of squares. They are used to help other stations locate where you are in relation to them or just where you are in general if they are not familiar with the town/state/whatever that you live. If you would like to find out what your grid square is, check out this Grid Square Locator Map by K2DSL.

ARRL Grid Map - Transmission
ARRL Grid Map (Click to Enlarge)

T3A02 Why are UHF signals often more effective from inside buildings than VHF signals?

  1. VHF signals lose power faster over distance
  2. The shorter wavelength allows them to more easily penetrate the structure of buildings
  3. This is incorrect; VHF works better than UHF inside buildings
  4. UHF antennas are more efficient than VHF antennas

The short the wavelength the better penetration you will have through walls, however the longer the wavelength the farther it will go in the open. So it really all depends on what you are doing to determine what band will be the best to use. At the local hospital here, I have had officers there that could not get out on our regular channel which is on VHF but if they switched to the 800 MHz UHF frequencies, they could get back to me with out any problem.

 

T3A05 When using a directional antenna, how might your station be able to access a distant repeater if buildings or obstructions are blocking the direct line of sight path?

  1. Change from vertical to horizontal polarization
  2. Try to find a path that reflects signals to the repeater
  3. Try the long path
  4. Increase the antenna SWR

So lets first talk about the answers that are not right. Changing your polarization wont help at all, it will actually make it worse and you will still have the building in the way. It kind of like trying to put an envelope into a slot, if you turn it perpendicular to the slot, is it going to go in? Nope, next! Increase the antenna SWR?! Really? First off you would have to mess with the antenna to do this and secondly if you increase the SWR, you will have less radiated power going out. Could that go with the Less is More philosophy? Nah! So that leaves two left. Trying the long path would work if you were on HF. The Long path is exactly 180 degrees off the direction of the person you are talking to. If the person is due north of you, you can turn your beam to face due south and you might be able to talk to him. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but you can always try.

So that leaves us with Try to find a path that reflects signals to the repeater. It’s kind of like in pool when you bank the ball off the side of the table in order to make it into a pocket. If you can bounce your signal off a metal billboard, water tower, building, etc, you can possibly make it to the repeater. Give it a shot if you have a directional antenna, it could be lots of fun.


So that brings us to the end of this section. Next week we will be talking about Repeaters! Please share my blog with your friends and if you have not done so already, please subscribe to my email list to get the latest and quickest notifications of any new post that I publish. You can sign up in the box on the sidebar. If you would rather, you can also sign up for my RSS feed. Also please like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter and Google+.

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions or comments about today’s post, please leave them in the comments below or shoot me an email a k5clm@everythinghamradio.com.

Until next time…

73 de Curtis, K5CLM

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  • Michael Belanger

    You might want to (slightly) change the wording on your explanation’s example of Question T2B12; you said, “The normal output frequency is 145.490 and the input is 144.890, the normal 6 MHz separation on 2 meters.” It’s 600 kHz separation (0.600 MHz), not 6 MHz.

    • Curtis Mohr

      Thanks for the correction.