Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The exam - 60 questions in sections

Countdown Timer: 8 weeks 6 days to go

OK, Brian is unavailable for study tonight and so is Tony. So I'm looking at the exam format and the things I need to learn. There are 60 questions in total, with a set breakdown as follows:

Section A - Elementary Theory of Radiocommunications (35 Questions)
· Electrical and Electronic Principles and Circuits – 12 Questions
· Transmitters and Receivers – 10 Questions
· Feeders and Antennas – 5 Questions
· Propagation – 4 Questions
· Measurements – 4 Questions

Section B - National and International Rules and Operating Procedures (15 Questions)
· Licensing Conditions – 7 Questions
· Operating Rules and Procedures – 8 Questions

Section C - Safety and Electromagnetic Compatibility (10 Questions)
· Electromagnetic Compatibility – 4 Questions
· Transmitter Interference – 3 Questions
· Safety – 3 Questions

Now if we look at that in a relaxed and positive light, we see that, for instance, there are ten questions about Transmitters and Receivers. I've already covered receivers and have started on transmitters. If I cover that properly, I am ready to answer ONE SIXTH of the total questions in the exam. That's 2 modules out of 15 which covers 16.6% of the exam. Wow!! So, the advice from me right now is, Don't Panic!

Easier said than done, you say. Especially if, like me, you're not comfortable with the amount of study done (or not done!) on the "biggie", ie 12 questions on Electrical and Electronic Principles and Circuits. Of course that makes one fifth of the total or 20%. So, if you can get your study done and get your head around the first two items - electronics and circuits, and transmitters and receivers, you'll be in a position to answer 36.6% of all the questions. Nice.

For Section B, there are three important documents which you should access, download, print off and study. I have just printed them off and now need to get stuck into them. They are:

Radio Experimenters Handbook - download here

Particulars of Experimenters Station - download here

Technical Conditions of Experimenter's Station - download here

Also, you should study the band plans, as you will DEFINITELY be asked a question on this. For instance, in the sample paper, the question is as follows:

Under the Band Plan applicable to Ireland,
which modes permitted under licence
regulations may be used in the frequency
range 14.000 – 14.060 MHz:
A [ ] All modes
B [ ] Telegraphy (CW) only
C [ ] Telegraphy (CW) and Telephony only
D [ ] Telephony only

You can download, print off and study the IARU Region 1 HF Band Plan chart from the IRTS website. Of course, don't forget to look at the VHF/UHF band plan also.

And remember, if all this looks daunting right now, remember that Brian EI7GVB did all the study for his exam in seven weeks! (OK, he had been a Short Wave Listener for many years and was familiar enough with band plans and international prefixes etc).

One strong piece of advice is to download and print off the sample paper, which will give you a good feel for the exam. The Sample Paper can be found here.

For now, I'm going to have another look at transmitters. The sooner I cover that off the better. That will make me ready for 16.6% of the exam.

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