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Ham Radio

Many pilots choose to fly with a ham radio, typically in the two-meter band (144 to 148 MHz). Anyone may listen, but it is illegal to transmit without a license. Earning a technician-class license is not hard, makes one a welcome member of the ham radio community, and conveys all the amateur radio privileges that a pilot is likely to need. The SHGA strongly encourages pilots to comply with the laws, and to get a license if one expects to use a radio.

SHGA Frequencies: Sylmar pilots typically choose 147.555 MHz for general use.

Getting a license: To earn a technician class license, one must pass a 35 question multiple-choice test, and pay a nominal fee of about $4. Many local ham radio clubs regularly schedule testing sessions as a service to the community. The test primarily covers basic regulations and operating practices. For most, it will require some study, and there are many ways of doing this. Books and study guides are available for those who prefer paper, on-line resources are plentiful for those who prefer electrons, and occasionally one-day classes can be found that conclude with the test and a high percentage of success.

Resources:

Test locations: You can search for upcoming tests in your area here. In particular, the San Fernando Valley Amateur Radio Club offers the tests on the first Saturday of February, April, June, August, October, and December. The Santa Clarita Amateur Radio Club offers the tests on the third Saturday of January, March, May, July, September, and November. Many other options in the Los Angeles area are available.

Test questions: The 35 questions on each test are selected from a pool of 392 questions that is freely available. The official source is the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) question pool.

Practice tests: QRZ.COM offers free practice tests online.

Books: "Now You're Talking" is written by the ARRL and is available at Radio Shack stores and Ham Radio Outlet, among others.

Web-based training: HamTestOnline offers web-based training for $49.95, and has gotten positive reviews.


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