The Best Part

A perfect spring morning brought along the beauty of life and hope as we piled in the Honda and drove south. It misted ever so slightly, stopped, and eventually gave way to warm, gentle sunshine. Traffic was light on the way down from Mt. Pleasant and the City of Alma was either nearly vacant or most of the residents were sleeping in. I suppose that’s to be expected before nine o’clock on a Saturday morning. We walked into a quiet building on the college campus marked with paper signs directing us to the “Amateur Radio Exam”.

We had arrived about twenty-five minutes before the start time, surprising the lead examiner a little with our early arrival. He welcomed us and had us start on the paperwork as the rest of the exam team arrived, all of them seeming to be cheerful and glad to have people testing. Two more examinees showed up, rules were given, and we started.

My lovely wife and my four brothers present passed the Tech exam. One of my brothers passed all three exams in one sitting, going from unlicensed to Amateur Extra. I teased him after the testing that he went from “zero to hero”. Everyone at the test site was quite impressed. I also passed the Extra test.

We all used as our main exam prep resource. There’s nothing quite like practicing the actual test questions and knowing the exact questions on the exam. I also listened to Gordon West’s study CD’s for the Extra exam three times. It was nice having the question pool reinforced audibly.

Passing the Extra exam was a strange feeling really, both happy to have passed and yet a little sad to be “done” “achieving” the next higher level. I guess I just like taking tests. There’s still plenty more to learn about radio though and I’m not done learning it. I’d like to get a HF transceiver, put up some antennas and try out the privileges I have available to me now. Until I do that, my next endeavor is learning CW (Morse Code). There’s always another challenge to engage in.

It was a great day being with family and I enjoyed seeing my wife and brothers pass the exams that they had prepared for. Everyone had studied hard and was happy to pass. That was the best part really, to see my wife and little brothers have fun, learn, and succeed.