Ham Radio Prep is an online, interactive study system for people interested in learning the ins and outs of ham radio and preparing for the different ham radio license exams.
With interest in ham radio increasing over the past two years as people come to terms with just how important disaster communications are, more and more people are studying for their licensure exams. And there are several study programs out there to assist you in your efforts.
I’ve written my own brief ham radio tutorial with the beginner in mind, but if you want to extend beyond beginner level (and apply for a more advanced license) you need to learn a lot more, and there are resources out there to help with that. One such resource is Ham Radio Prep.
While you can technically use a ham radio without a license (listen only), different levels of licensure yield different permissions.
I went through the Ham Radio Prep program to see if it would help me progress to the next licensure, the practice exams of which I’m struggling.
For starters, I studied for the Extra licensure. I’m by no means an electrical engineer, and so, when it comes to ham radio, I need all the help I can get.
I really liked the setup. Lots of lessons that prepare you for each quiz.
One thing I didn’t like was that you can still advance even if you don’t pass the quiz. I question the efficacy of that. Wouldn’t it make more sense to force the student to learn the at-hand material before they can move on?
The quiz questions switch up if you retake the exam. Given my prior experience with other licensure exams, I think this is a good thing.
There’s a set pool of questions your exam is going to pull from, and it’s going to be different every time. You need to be prepared for whichever one is headed your way, and as such, you’re forced to have a much more comprehensive grasp of the material.
I got frustrated with the section on Electrical Principles. Amateur Practices was a difficult section for me just because it was a lot of information to process.
I ended up failing the quiz. Electrical principles I failed as well – the worse test score yet – a 40%.
Normally I’m hitting 90% – but this time I think it was more of the site than it was me. There were formulas and math problems I needed to perform for questions, but I had no idea what they were.
So, when a question hit me that needed math, I had no clue what to do. Upon hitting the wrong answer, it would have been nice to have an explanation of why it was wrong too. Not just “the correct answer is X.”
I want to know why the correct answer is X. If it’s a math question I got wrong, I want to know the formula to get the correct answer too.
I don’t want to have to resort to rote memorization for questions. “Oh, I remember the wording to this question, the answer is B. I don’t know why, but I know that’s the answer.”
I want to know the why behind it.
I went back through the lessons of Electrical Principles. I found the formulas, but they’re given in text format. Hard if you’re a visual learner. An example of an equation here would have been nice.
You must know how to convert MHz to KHz as well if you want to pass the formulas, just in case you were wondering.
I did do much better the second go round of the Electrical Principles quiz after going through the course once more. Scored a 70%, rather than my original 40%. Not great, but an improvement.
Finally made it to the first practice exam and failed it with a score of 22/50. Was rather frustrated with the past couple of lessons because they weren’t what I would call lessons. Instead, what they were was a laundry list of factoids.
I went back through and took the exam a second time. All new questions. 26/50 correct. A little bit of progress on my end, but not much.
Got a 38% when I took the special “This-is-what-it’s-like” exam.
You can review your answers within this specialized exam, but it doesn’t tell you which sections you need to brush up on. It just says you need to go back over material.
I would have preferred a bit more direction with this response. Yeah, I could obviously go back through everything again, but I want to know which sections (because there are a lot of them) I need to really give laser-beam focus too.
I can’t pass the final exam. It doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t pass it. I’m sure I’ll get there, but with my basic understanding of ham radio, the knowledge needed for advanced licensure is much greater. I need more study time.
Ham Radio Prep is a fair tool if you’re studying to take a ham radio exam, but for me, I need a few different tools to pass the Extra exam.
I’m now complementing Ham Radio Prep with other study tools. I have my Yaesu VX-6R ham radio in one hand with the ARRL Ham Radio Licensure Manual in my other hand.
- ARRL Inc (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Between all of these tools, I’ll pass the exam – sooner or later.
Ham Radio Prep – Final Verdict
They’ve got great bones to build up from here, I just don’t like the execution.
One of the shortcomings with my test is that I have four solid days of working with it (a few hours each day). If I’d been able/willing to spend weeks with the site, then my scores would’ve been better.
As it is, I’m still studying for my Extra exam several weeks later now, and I have to say, it’s a bear of an exam. I’m also using
I wanted to see faster results. I know the way I learn, and I just didn’t feel like I was grasping anything with this – even after four days. Ham Radio Prep seems to rely on rote memorization. If you’re somebody who can learn something by reading through facts, then this will work as a great form of ham exam licensure prep for you.
If you need to learn through “seeing,” you’re going to have a much harder time here.
What brought you to this article? Are you studying for a ham radio exam? Let us know where you’re at in the comments section below.
A much better site is hamstudy.org
Studying now using the ARRL book. What I don’t understand is if the more basic licenses are actually useful in a prolonged crisis. I guess I need to know how important is it to get advanced licenses in different scenarios
If it’s a WROL situation it probably doesn’t matter much anyway, right? What matters then is just what you know, not the license you have.
The first level license is “technician” and it gives you operating privileges on the VHF and UHF ham bands. That is probably all you would need in an emergency, since our main concerns will be local. A general license will give you privileges on most of the HF bands. That license is my preference. At the top is the amateur extra license, which adds a little more access on HF. If you’d like to discuss it further, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
While James’ comment is technically correct, if you don’t have time to practice, program your radio, learn the protocols, etc., you won’t know what you’re doing when the emergency happens.