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HAM Cram in Redwood City ~ Be Able to Communicate with NO Internet

March 26th, 2020 @ 8:00am - 5:00pm


ARTICLE / LINKS. In a HAM CRAM teachers lead you through a study of the questions and answers to the FCC’s HAM Test.   The session is immediately followed by a test session. They enjoy over a 90% pass rate with their program. The FCC controls the airwaves and they just want to make sure you follow a few simple rules, before you turn your radio on.  Once you pass, we will help you program and use your new HAM Radio.

Don’t hesitate to contact HMB HAM Radio Club’s Lee Copeland, if you have questions.

Check the web site for session info and registration.

Click on SESSION INFO TAB at the top of the HOME page. The upper portion of that page gives a detailed description of the CRAM session. At the lower half of that page you will find maps and detailed directions to St Mary’s Cathedral.

Reserving a space in the CRAM session:

Reserve your space by clicking on the words “SIGNUP” on the menu located on the left side of most TABs. Then on the page that opens click on either the session date or the “HAM IT UP” logo.

When filling in your info on the registration form there is a box titled ‘Exam Element.’ Just click on the “Please Choose” down arrow and select the Element 2 (Technician).

If you are going in for an upgrade to your existing Technician license then you would select either Element 3 or 4 as desired.

The CRAM sessions do not offer additional study material for either Element 3 or 4. It is more of a last minute study session of your own manuals in preparation for the test. Alternately you may arrange to come in only for the 4:00 PM test session for the $14.00 fee.

HAM Radio Technician License Videos ~ Start Learning Today

Attention Coastside Emergency Preppers!  Our communication system consists of two fiber cables, one over Hwy 92 (ATT), and the other via La Honda, Hwy 84 (Comcast/Xfinity). When Comcast/Xfinity goes down it’s affects Verizon Wireless. They use the same backhaul. When ATT Fiber goes down much more is affected including ATT Wireless and many local phone landlines. (Thanks Mike Alifano of Alifano Technologies). The fiber cables are on the ground, in trees and on poles. In an earthquake, we will likely lose one, if not both cables, in multiple places. If they go out, we will have only HAM radios, FRS and GMRS family radios, and terrestrial radio (KHMB 100.9 FM), with which to communicate.

We need a minimum of 25 HAM radio operators, one in each neighborhood, to have effective communication with the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) in Half Moon Bay. Given people might be over the hill when a quake strikes, or hurt, we should have more than 25. The first couple of hours will be critical in determining scope of damage and triage of that damage for the first responders. That’s how important HAMs are on the Coastside.



Remote Learning is the wave of the future. There are many different video courses to choose from. You can Google around.  Here are links to videos teaching the Technician License material.

David Casler ~ “HAM Radio Answers!”

“My channel is “Ham Radio Answers,” and this video series invites those visiting my channel page to subscribe. My channel includes videos for Technician, General, and Amateur Extra training. They’re unique on YouTube in that they closely follow the ARRL License Manuals. My new video series is “Ask Dave!” which answer questions of particular interest to new hams. Be sure to subscribe to get notice of upcoming videos!”

ARRL Amateur Radio Technician Class

Online Training Course presented by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Has ton of info. Entire course is a single continuous video.


Study Manuals

There are two study guides available on Amazon to help you prepare for your HAM License exam. The standard manual by ARRL contains all the information necessary. The Gordon West publication is gaining in popularity as it presents the same information in a more relevant sequence and with more background conversation and diagrams.

2018-2022 Technician Class Manual

By Gordon West and WB6NOA. Paperback edition costs about $22.00 on Amazon while the softside edition goes for $35.00.

The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual (soft cover) Paperback

Cost about $31.00 on Amazon. Be sure to get the 4th edition covering the question pool good for July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2022.


I haven’t tried this one, but I really like its instructional design. Give us feedback, if you like it.


The Secret

The general secret to easily passing the HAM Technicians test is to take the practice tests available for free on the internet. Look up the questions you missed and do the test again and again over a couple of weeks. Keep taking the test until you are confident to take it for real. Use different practice test web sites to be certain you have been exposed to all the possible questions in the question pool.

Here is a HAM Radio Exam App.that you can use from your iphone.  It is what I used. The super-duper secret to passing is to just do the test over and over until you recognize / memorize the answers. Memorize the answers. You can try understanding, but I didn’t because the real learning comes when you turn your radio on.  They call it a HAM Cram for a reason. As a teacher and instructional designer, the HAM content for technician can be intimidating, but the App made it easy peasy. I missed 8, only 1 short of oops ~ I call that Just-in-Time Learning ;-)


Check the web for for reoccurring HAM CRAMS in the Bay Area for  times and locations of reoccurring HAM CRAMS in the Bay Area. In a CRAM teachers lead you through a study of the questions and answers to the HAM Test.  The session is immediately followed by a test session. They enjoy over a 90% pass rate with their program.

Also check the web site for scheduled Ham License Exams in the Sunnyvale area and occasionally in the Redwood City Library.


What Radio to Buy?

On the Coastside, beginners usually buy the Yaesu VX6   ($284) OR   BaoFeng BF-F8HP ($25). It helps with programming and training to have a bunch of the same radios. I love mine. I got a whip antennae and earbud/microphone, and I plop it in my coffee cup holder on my bike, and off I go!

We have several experienced HAMs that will help you to program you radio after you pass. We will also help you practice. We need you, so we will help you, until you are comfortable. I was intimidated at first, but now I love it.



How to Practice ~ HAM it up at Events and Weekly Net Control!

The HMB HAM club, gently nudged me to become a HAM by telling me I could ride my bike around Dream Machines.  :-)  As a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) trainer, it’s a good idea to become a HAM radio operator so I can talk directly with EOC. I’m not fond of super technical stuff, but, the training turned out to be really fascinating. And I do love riding around Dream Machines HAMming it up!

Other events that I have volunteered for as a HAM:

  • HMB 10k and Half Marathon, this last Saturday. (Anthony Cordes of HMB came in 2nd in the 10k!) ~ Photos by Michelle Dragony
  • Devils Slide Runs and Ride, covering 100 miles!
  • Cystic Fibrosis Ride
  • Mavericks Challenge (I actually need a shadow, even though I am a HAM operator, as I often am on the phone with my volunteers and it is hard to catch everything happening in the other ear).     

And, as the Mavericks Challenge Volunteer Coordinator, I like to help the other coastal event Volunteer Coordinators. We network, sharing our volunteer pools. Lots of fun overlap. I get to meet new people who like to help others.

If you have any questions regarding HAM radio training or volunteering, contact Michelle Dragony.

For you HAMs out there you can also tune in to San Mateo County-wide Sheriff Net Control,

every Tuesday night at 8:00pm. Great Practice!

If you are north of Tunitas Creek you can join in on 146.925 MHz (-) 114.8 Hz (CTL91 channel) or the 146.865 MHz (-) 114.8 Hz. (CTL93 channel) Repeaters.

If you are on or south of Hwy 84 the same net is on 146.805 MHz (-) 114.8 Hz. (CTL95) Repeater. The Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services will use these same repeaters during actual emergencies to direct emergency response teams throughout San Mateo County.


More HAM Information

Go to the Half Moon Bay Amateur Radio Club for practice test links, and more


Half Moon Bay and Pacifica HAMs (The Coastside Amateur Radio Club), work together for really big races like the 100 mile Devil Slide ride.

HMB Club Meetings ~ HMBARC meets from 7 to 9 PM on the third Wednesday of every month, at the Coastside Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) at the HMB Sheriff’s Substation, 537 Kelly St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019.

Coastside Club Meetings – 2nd Wed. of the Month, 7:30 @ Linda Mar Fire Department, Pacifica.ha


March 26th, 2020
8:00am - 5:00pm
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San Mateo County Regional Operations Center
555 Winslow St
Redwood City, CA 94063
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