I’ve now had a few days to play with my equipment and am finally starting to get the hang of PSK31 and the equipment itself. I finally managed to get my macros set up the way I want. And I’m able to get the antenna in and out of the house without hurting myself or my cats. But, as all vacations must do, it’s time for the time off to stop and to have to return to work for a trip.

It’s only a 3-day trip, but I figured that many days away from home would yield some good study time for the Extra Class license. So, I grab my Gordon Wood Study Guide that just came out with the new question pool (I’ve used it twice, I might as well stick with tradition) and head back to work.

The 3 days of work were anything but normal. It was quite the crazy trip, but I did have some down time and was able to study a decent amount. I was lucky and actually got home half a day early due to the cancellation of part of my trip

Getting home Sunday night, I looked up and found that out in Mesquite on Monday they were having a test at 7pm. I figured that would give me all day Monday to test and make sure I was where I needed to be before I headed out there. I had everything pretty well in hand and made the call to make sure the testing was still taking place this night. After all, I’ve found that the web sites that show that information are not always accurate. I was told when I called that unfortunately I couldn’t be given the exam because the folks at ARRL hadn’t sent the new testing materials to the VE’s there. So, it was back to the drawing board on the test. But, I figured with the 4th coming up, I’d be able to study a little more.

I got home that evening and looked up to find that the W5YI guys in Hurst were having an exam on Thursday. So, I made a call over to those guys Tuesday morning to veryify they were having the exam and reserve a spot as they require a reservation. I was very happy to find out they were having the test and that there was room for me to take it.

It’s now Thursday and I’ve been taking practice test after practice test on my iPhone to make sure I was really ready for this test. After all, I’ve only had my study guide since the previous Friday. Getting to the test site was a little different. Unfortunately, the address that was on the website where I found the testing wasn’t accurate. I spent about 20 minutes trying to find the fire station where I was supposed to take the test. I finally called the guys on my handie talkie and got the directions to the correct address (remember how I said you couldn’t always trust the information on the web sites for testing???).

A few minutes late I arrived at the fire station with the guys waiting on me to give me my test. I was very sorry to them, as I was at the address I had about 20 minutes early. By the time I actually got the real location I was about 5 minutes late. There was another person there already taking his exam. As I found out, he had also tried to take the exam on Monday out in Mesquite. So, I sat down with my pencil, calculator and test and began my process. About 15 minutes later I turned in my test and awaited my outcome.

They guys went to the other room to grade and a few minutes later returned. They didn’t really say anything and finally said I had passed. I missed 1 question on the test, so I wound up with a 98. Not quite as good as my General exam, but still not bad. The other guy testing with me made a 100. Being the first two these Hurst guys had given an exam to we set the bar a little high I guess. 🙂 Oh well, that’s the fun of being the guinea pig I guess. Now it’s time to explore a little with my new found privileges and even consider becoming a VE myself to give back like those that who gave me my exams have done.

Looking back, everything has definitely come very quickly. I took the Technician in 3 days of study, the General with 9 days and the Extra with 3 + 3 bonus days. I got my Technician class June 12 and completed my Extra class July 5th. So 23 days to go from nothing to an Amateur Extra class license. I guess that’s not too bad, though I’m sure there are many who have done it quite a bit quicker. I look forward to playing more now that test studying is done.

As always, I hope to see you on the waves or in the waterfall. Until then,