The Sparky Examiner - The official newsletter of HamTestOnline

Online courses for the ham radio license exams.

Coronavirus & Online Exams, MayDay MayDay Sale, New Extra Pool, Team Updates, Oh My!

Ham radio coronavirus social distancing = 2 metersCoronavirus & Online Exams

While many in-person exam sessions have been canceled, numerous groups have started holding online exam sessions.  Hundreds of totally online exams have already been administered, and some of the VECs are discussing nationwide rollout.

If you are stuck indoors for the quarantine, there's a silver lining — more time to study!

Remember, when you study for the exams, you're also learning about the hobby.  We suggest that you use this shelter-at-home time to learn a lot more about ham radio, studying the exam levels ahead of you, all the way up to Extra.  Learn about digital modes, radio direction finding (fox hunting), grayline propagation, sporadic E, receiver overload — hundreds of topics that will be useful throughout your ham radio “career”.

By the time you've completed your studies, online testing may be widely available!

Watch our FAQ page for updates about online testing.

MayDay MayDay Sale!

May 1-10 only!

 To help your quarantine budget, we've temporarily knocked $10 off each course, and $15 off renewals!

  • Technician — $19.95 (33% off the $29.95 list price).
  • General — $24.95 (29% off the $34.95 list price).
  • Extra — $29.95 (25% off the $39.95 list price).
  • Renew all previously-purchased courses — $14.95 (50% off the $29.95 list price).

For those who previously purchased a subscription, but never got around to upgrading, this is the perfect opportunity — you have time to study, and course renewals are half price!

Extra Pool Changeover Warning

CAUTION:  The Extra pool is changing, effective July 1, 2020.

Good news:  The new question pool is 13% smaller.  There’s never been a better time to upgrade to Extra — 621 questions instead of 712!

The new Extra question pool is available on our system now.  All active subscriptions to our Extra course automatically include both the current and new question pools, and students can switch freely between them on the Choose Topics screen.

Coronavirus 911 call transcript

Getting Radioactive!

Got your license, but not yet active on the airwaves?  Why not participate in ham radio nets?  Combat lockdown loneliness, and get your feet wet in ham radio at the same time!

Hundreds of local clubs across the country have regular nets (daily, weekly, monthly) on 2 meters.  All you need is a handheld 2-meter radio (preferably with an extended antenna).

If you're nervous, you can just listen for the first week.  In fact, many clubs publish recordings of their nets on their websites.  Listen to a few recorded nets to become familiar with the jargon and net procedures, and soon you'll be a pro.

Stay socially connected while remaining physically distanced, join a new community, and make new friends on the air!

Team Updates

Christina Cunningham, KT1NA, SK

I am very sad to report that Christina passed away in October 2019, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.  As many of you know, John is the creator of HamTestOnline™, but Christina was its heart and soul.  She transformed our organization with her motto, “Treat every customer like they are your best friend”, and her zero-to-Extra story inspired thousands of students to do amazing things.

The phrase silent key (SK) is a term of respect for a ham radio operator who has died.  It dates back over 100 years to the days of the wired telegraph, and is a play on words.  First, it indicates that their Morse code key will never again be heard.  Second, the procedural signal SK means “end of contact”, and is only used in the last transmission from a station.

There is another tradition in ham radio, transmitting the call sign of a deceased ham radio operator on the air, where it will propagate forever through space and time.  If Christina's warmth touched your life, you might consider giving her a call on your radio (once you have your license!), so that her call sign will go on forever.

Julia White

I am thrilled to report that John and Christina's granddaughter Julia has joined the customer support team!  She is new to ham radio, and eager to learn.  She's anxiously awaiting online exam rollout, and hopes to follow in her grandmother's footsteps by passing all three exams in a single session!


Feel free to respond to this email with comments for the HamTestOnline team.  We love feedback!

Thanks for being a part of the HamTestOnline family!


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John, W1AI
Extra class accredited VE

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Customer Support Representative

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Technical Editor
Extra class accredited VE

HamTestOnline 3009 E Lynx Way, Gilbert, AZ 85298, 888-857-6164.

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