This morning I wandered back down the the Lake Washington Ham Club testing session and passed my Amateur Extra exam. That’s the highest level in the US amateur radio service, so as the test coordinator told me, “You’ve taken the last test you will take in ham radio.”
As with previous exams, it will take the FCC a week or two to get things updated in the database. Until then, I use the /AE on my callsign when I am using my Extra privileges.
This test was a lot more difficult than the first two, and I definitely did more study and more sweating. I will also need to keep reviewing the material until I have it mastered to the level I want. If it was so difficult, why did I want to get this? Two main reasons:
1) Extra frequency allocations. I get more spectrum privileges. I have been seeing some nice potential contacts coming in, many of them in the band areas reserved for Advanced (an older license class that is grandfathered in) and Amateur Extra. I want to make those contacts!
2) I want to become a Volunteer Examiner. As a General, I technically could be a VE, but only for Technician exams. As an Extra, I can administer all three levels.
So what’s next? Plenty! Becoming a VE, continuing to use my radio and get experience, learning Morse code, and getting into satellite work.