Author Archives: kd7bbc

FCC will no longer charge a fee for vanity call sign!

May 21: The FCC has decided to drop the fee it currently charges for applying for (and renewing) a vanity call sign! In a recent notice the FCC explained that it is a simple question of economics: in short, it … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Ham Radio License Exam Practice – other options

Edit: The ARRL has restored their previous page showing other study options! You can find it here: You may or may not know that is more than just a website for studying; we are a small organization (official ham … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

“Hacking” the General and Extra exams (from N7SMI)

This was recently posted in the /amateurradio subreddit, and I thought it was worth reposting. Thanks to N7SMI for writing it up and giving me permission to repost it here!   Here are 10 tips for hacking the amateur radio … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 38 Comments

Renewing or updating your license online — free!

Edit: This applies only to FCC-issued call signs, such as US call signs.  If you have information about how to do it in other countries, feel free to post in the comments! My wife got a letter in the mail today.  I’m sure … Continue reading

Posted in General ham radio | 30 Comments

2015 General question pool released!

The question pool committee has released the new General class license question pool, and it is now available on! Important! This pool will not take effect until July 1, 2015! If you are testing before then, study the previous pool. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

This is the time of year that we at celebrate the birth of our God.  Many of you don’t share those beliefs, but we all share a desire to learn, to help those around us, and to make the world … Continue reading

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D-Star Hotspot with the ID-5100

This blog is for a lot of things; one of them is that it gives me a place to drop information that took me some work to find but seems relevant to many people.  This is one of those posts … Continue reading

Posted in D-Star Operation | 9 Comments

EmComm Anti-Patterns

I am a software developer. In software, we have what we call “Design patterns” which are software patterns that we can use to solve common programming problems in clean ways. There are a huge number of these patterns, but they … Continue reading

Posted in Emcomm practices | 14 Comments

FCC Registration Numbers

Whenever someone takes an exam from the VE team I work with, we require that they have an FRN — FCC Registration Number. Why? Simply put, without an FRN, we would have to collect your Social Security number.  This should … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

FCC to allow expired General, Extra class operators to relicense by taking the Tech

Good news for anyone who previously held a General or Amateur Extra class license and allowed it to lapse! The ARRL has just announced that the FCC has approved a change to the rules for obtaining an Amateur Radio license … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments