The Sparky Examiner - The official newsletter of HamTestOnline


Online courses for the ham radio license exams.

FCC License Fee Imminent, Can I Still Upgrade Before The Fee?, MayDay MayDay Sale, ARRL Field Day 2021, Oh My!



FCC License Fee Imminent

The end of free ham radio licenses!

Last year the FCC proposed adding a $50 fee to all new license applications, upgrades, and vanity requests.  After we sent out our Thanksgiving newsletter, many of our students voiced their opinions to the FCC about the proposed fee.  While we flooded the website with thousands of responses, and even managed to temporarily crash their website, it wasn't enough to persuade them.  However, they did lower the fee to $35.  They haven't announced the exact date, but they will probably start collecting the fee sometime in the summer of 2021.



Can I Still Upgrade Before The Fee?

Of course!  Many of our students go from zero to Extra in just a few weeks!
Back in my day, we had to walk to the FCC office uphill...

You still have time before the fee gets instated.  In fact, studying for your ham radio license or upgrade has never been easier!  With concentrated study and our intelligent repetition algorithm to focus on your weaknesses, you can go from zero to Extra in just a few weeks.  Look at this student who passed all three exams after only 23 days of study!

You should be able to find an exam session.  If your club isn't giving in-person exams yet, there are plenty of online exams available.



MayDay MayDay Sale

Final chance to save on courses and renewals before the fee!

Missed out on our Holiday Cyber Sale?  Take advantage of our MayDay Sale from now until May 10th — $10 off each course!  This is your last chance to get a discount on our courses before the FCC instates their fee:

  • 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).

Already purchased a course, but ran out of time?  Last chance to renew at only $4.95!  Now that we have vaccines, and things are returning to normal, our Quarantine Renewal Discount Sale will be ending soon.



ARRL Field Day 2021

Mark your calendars!  Make your plans!  ARRL Field Day coming to a location near you on June 26-27!

The ARRL Field Day is one of the most fun events in ham radio.  Every year, on the fourth full weekend of June, thousands of clubs and individuals all across the U.S. and Canada set up temporary operations — in fields and parks, at Emergency Operations Centers, etc.  On the surface it looks like a giant contest, with each team trying to score points by making contacts and exchanging information with as many stations as possible.  The underlying reality is that we are testing our equipment and honing our skills for rapid deployment and around-the-clock operation of widespread emergency communications networks!

Sparky talking on the radio with his feet in a bucket of water.If you're not yet active in ham radio, make it happen in 2021 by participating in your local Field Day.  Many hams say that the most fun part of the hobby is talking around the world without wires, and Field Day is an excellent opportunity to learn how to operate HF.  Many clubs will host a Get-On-The-Air (GOTA) station, where experienced operators help newbies get their feet wet on HF.  (Although, since you're working with high voltage, getting your feet wet might not be a great idea! ;-)

One of the best ways to make new ham radio friends is to show up at the Field Day planning meetings and volunteer to help with station setup and teardown.  Even if you're a total newbie at HF operations, the extra hands are always welcome, and you're sure to learn a lot!

Not in a club yet?  Find one on the ARRL club locator page.

Field Day checklist:

  • Contact your local club's Field Day coordinator beforehand, get directions and information.
  • Decide how much time you will spend there.  We recommend at least 4 hours of the 24-hour operating period, plus some time during setup or teardown.
  • Bring a copy of your current FCC license.  If you're not licensed, hold only a Technician license, or have little operating experience, most clubs will let you operate the G.O.T.A. (“Get On The Air”) station, where an experienced operator will show you what to do.
  • It's better if you upgrade to General, or better yet to Extra, so you can participate more fully in the event.
  • Bring a snack, meal, or drinks to share!
  • Prepare for the weather and conditions – indoors, outdoors, hot, cold, wet?
  • Have fun!
  • Get radio-active!

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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