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 Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements

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Victor
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PostSubject: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeTue Aug 18, 2020 11:40 am

Hi all,

Well, for once I'm not offering help or advice but actually asking for some! Wink
(The answers may well help someone else in the same boat as well).

So if anyone can help it would be great.


I'm attempting once more to join the 'Dark Side', ahem, get my Ham licence Very Happy

I'd be a fool not too with the current online system, (after a miserable outing to the most unhelpful club you could ever visit back in January!)

Now, I don't need step-by-step help with the exam subjects, it's more checking I'm moving in the right direction.


A very good friend has lent me, with no time limit, a Windows 10 laptop with built in camera. So that's one thing out of the way. (Damn good friend he is too!)
My PC is a Linux system and not supported by the exam system, (and doesn't have a camera).

I've signed up to the Essex Ham course and currently on it. Technical subject material is no problem, but I could do well to actually know updated licence conditions Wink
They were helpful as regards setting up the "Schoolology.com" site/software required for study.
So that's good too.

I've downloaded the EX307 reference document and a good neighbour has printed it off for me. (My printer is so old I don't even know if you can still get ink cartridges for it!)

I have a copy of the new Foundation Licence Manual.

I've installed the RSGB "TestReach" software on the laptop.

I've installed "Zoom" video calling as I believe that's a requirement for the RSGB/Invigilator initial contact(?)

I've even gone and bought a CAT5e/LAN/Internet lead so I can hook up the laptop directly to my router so as to avoid Wi-Fi dropouts.


As you can see if you haven't done this already, it's a lot of stuff to sort out for a simple 'online exam'(!!)

Now, before I go booking an exam does anyone know if there's anything else I'll need before I chuck away £30?

(Don't want to pay out and lose it because I'm missing something simple! Oh, and just as well I have a photo ID, my missus has none of that and would be stuffed if she was taking it - note to the wary)


This so far has had to be 'gleaned' from several different so called "FAQs", website searches and much head scratching. I pity anyone who hasn't been as tenacious as I have so far(!)

So if anyone who has gone through this process, (well done if you've passed and well done if you've gone through this rigmarole!), could you shine a glimmer of hope or point out anything I may have missed. It would be very much appreciated.


All the very best,
Victor

I'm not leaving CB behind, it's been fantastic coming back and will always be with me. I'd just like to extend the repertoire a bit and then maybe I can help even more people. Charlie Tango has proven to me that there ARE decent people out there, whether a CBer or a Ham and good people abound regardless of labels or pigeon holes.

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Red Fox
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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeTue Aug 18, 2020 12:43 pm

Hi Victor,

Yes indeed, it does make a difference from you providing all that great advice I have seen for the last few months, thoroughly enjoyable reading I might add.

I recently passed my foundation course with the help of Essex Ham. The site is very good and I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone wishing to take that little step further in our wonderful hobby. (Still a die hard CB'er as well I might add)  Razz

You seem to have the basics covered, I would suggest however that if not already done, download the Essex Ham training videos to your laptop, certainly makes it easier for you should you encounter a dodgy broadband connection.

https://www.essexham.co.uk/train/foundation-online-resources/

I expect from viewing your knowledge on CT, these videos may seem a little like teaching the old dog new tricks scenario, however, there is always that little nugget in there that may make the difference in you picking the correct answer in the exam.

I also found it useful to review the "For Trainers" tab for information, helpful for training material and resources.

I sat may test approx a week after Alan "MirrorMan", I believe his suggestion of writing out some of the equations / diagrammes  to aid in memory retention helped, after All I am of the old school, "Monkey See Monkey Do" 

I expect you will have already tried a few of the Mock exams, however, if not, I would suggest you have a look online and try as many as possible, you will at least find out where your strengths and weaknesses are for the upcoming exam. 

Hope this is of some use.

All the very best.

Graeme.

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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeTue Aug 18, 2020 3:44 pm

Hi Graeme,

Well you've got me blushing and flipping grateful at the same time Smile

Your an absolute star, I really appreciate your time and advice on this, honestly I do.


I'd been on the old RAE course back in nineteen-clickety-click and the course was cancelled due to dwindling numbers. The same happened when I went to take it again a year or two later and I gave it up as a bad lot. Then life got in the way of all things radio.


With the recent online campaign, (and my unsuccessful journey to a club), I looked at a couple of mock papers and although I would've technically passed, one paper caught me out with licensing regs meaning I would've only just scraped through! This old dog isn't as 'clever' as he thought Wink
Being unsure of requirements was why I joined the Essex Ham training and they do a wonderful job too.

Fantastic pointer and link to the video resources, great info for not just me but also to anyone else reading. I never even thought of looking through the 'For Trainers' sections as this obviously heralds a lot more info. Nice one.

Nothing wrong with a bit of "Monkey See, Monkey Do" either, you're never too clever neither too dumb to appreciate tuition by example Smile


Once again Graeme I give you thanks for your input.
Was worried I'd miss something and thought if I posted on Charlie Tango others may gain benefit from not only my own ramblings but from help given by others too. Wonderful job mate.

Hope to catch you on the airwaves one day to personally thank you Smile
(Not even an impossibility on CB frequencies either - heard 'Saltire' blasting through from Scotland on the skip the other day!)


All the very best,
Victor

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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeTue Aug 18, 2020 3:54 pm

Oh I forgot to say Graeme, (too busy thanking you for your advice and help Wink)

Congratulations on your pass!

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Red Fox
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Call Sign : 108-CT-255
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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeTue Aug 18, 2020 4:57 pm

Victor,

Many thanks for your kind words, my turn to blush - lol  Embarassed

The Foundation Licence Manual has a lot of detail that I found I easily missed on my first browse through.

Section 14 - The Exam has a breakdown of the exam questions by topic, as you mentioned in your first post on the subject, Licence Conditions & Call Signs is what is important, most of us old hack CB'ers have a lot of accumulated knowledge that when needed we can pull from the back of the old grey matter for most of the other subjects. With the help of the Essex Ham tutorials, you will smash the rest. 

However, in the world of Amateur Radio, people are required to abide by certain rules or others that utilise the frequencies may be adversely affected.

I would certainly suggest anyone looking to attain their Foundation Licence pay a lot of attention to the Band Plans, how they are laid out for different sections of amateur radio and especially those you have primary use, secondary use and those that you must not use under any circumstances.

As an example, during my exam, I had to answer the question that went something along the lines of;

GM0ABC is visiting central London and meets up with M6ABC, they are looking to contact a few of their friends by using a handheld transceiver on 431.550Mhz, Which call sign should be primary in use when contacting their friends.

The question leads you in a certain direction but is actually looking to determine if you know your Band Plans, i.e. Freq 431.0 - 432.0 is Not available for use within 100km radius of Charing Cross, London.

I found a few questions like this in my exam, I don't believe they are designed as trick questions, simply to determine if you have read and remembered a vital requirement.

Call Signs and understanding their Regional Secondary Locator as well as their appropriate use depending on where the person was and who's call sign was in use in relation to power usage came up in several questions, again the wording of the questions may catch people out.

I believe I read somewhere on the CT forums that someone suggested when performing Mock exams or sitting the real exam, you should read and re-read the question - Good Advice, I found it far to easy to read the question believing I already knew the answer but when I re-read the question it made me think about the detail a little more and on a few occasions lead me to a different answer.

One thing I found useful for myself was to print / write out the Course Structure from Essex Ham, basically Nine sections on a single page. After I completed each section and tried the mock test for each section, I noted my pass rate, this allowed me to concentrate on the areas I needed to review in more detail.

I hope this is of some use to yourself or anyone else who may be looking to take the exam.

With your knowledge and the advice you are so good to share with the guys here on CT, I'm sure you will pass with flying colours.

All the very best.

Graeme.


Last edited by Red Fox on Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:48 pm; edited 1 time in total

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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeTue Aug 18, 2020 5:30 pm

Graeme,

What can I say? Absolutely brilliant mate! Smile


Yeah, I had the old Charing Cross question on a mock and remembered it still from way back when. Even surprised myself! Wink
As you rightly say, it's not a 'trick question' but ensures that candidates have read and fully understand the bandplans.


Some really useful advice there, not only for myself but others considering or taking the same route.

It certainly has given me the confidence to go ahead and book the exam and I hope given others the same too.


So again, thank you Graeme.


All the very best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeTue Aug 18, 2020 8:21 pm

Great topic. I too did my foundation studies through Essex Ham, as like you Victor my local club was not very helpful and very clicky if you know what I mean. although as this was 3 months (unknown to me at the time) before the lockdown i had to return to the same club to sit my exam. They were utterly gobsmacked when at the end of the evening my indicative score was 25 (dropped one) putting me top of the class. I walked out of there that night pleased as punch never to return again. But anyway such is life.
Moving on, I've not been too happy on the amateur bands, I've found some people rather elitist at times, too regimented with voice procedures ect, or maybe it's just me, anyway I'm happy for now to be on 11m and pmr. But I'm glad all the same that I did it as you never know what I'll be doing in the future. 
I'm sure you'll do fine on the exam, and just in case it's not been mentioned before make sure you download the Bandplan as 2 of the questions require it, the charing cross one and one about the frequencies used when in QSO with the space station. 
All the best. 
73's 
Dale

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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeTue Aug 18, 2020 11:00 pm

Hi Dale,

Well done passing your exam despite such difficulties, you should deservedly feel pleased as punch Smile

I think some of us are unfortunate to live near clubs that haven't really cracked the all welcome spirit of radio. It's such a shame but what can you do? There were clubs further afield from me that were much more helpful but then the world suddenly turned upside down.

Sorry that you haven't had much luck on the bands though, I have heard some of the less than welcoming attempts at QSO by newcomers but not all are so bad. Only this morning the 'pathfinders' were very welcoming to new M7's on 80m and it was a joy to listen to. (Can't shake my SWL ways....do like a listen! Smile)

We should all be able to enjoy the airwaves but I know what you mean, CB is far more relaxed Wink


Anyway Dale, much appreciated.

All the very best,
Victor

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Kittiwake
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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeWed Aug 19, 2020 12:05 pm

Hi victor

I have passed my foundation exam this morning (19 Aug2020). 
I watched the Essex Ham video resources, did mock tests online from the Radio Tutor website.
I also made use of as much of the RSGB's available resources as I could find, this included two mock exam papers and the syllabus sample questions.

These resources must have been OK for me as I passed with a mark of 25/26  Laughing

Good luck and best of luck
Arwyn

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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeWed Aug 19, 2020 12:16 pm

Hi Arwyn,

Congratulations on your pass!! Smile Smile

Well done and thanks for sharing how you went about it, much appreciated.

Chuffed to bits at someone else passing and it makes me excited too!
I may well wet myself when I get there as well Very Happy Very Happy 


All the very best to you,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements   Online Foundation Exam Specific Requirements Icon_minitimeWed Aug 19, 2020 12:31 pm

Hi all,

Just a quick update and some thoughts.....


If you are in any way a technophobe, find stressful situations difficult, (and even so called simple things can be stressful for a lot of people so please remember that before judging), dyslexic, generally struggle with formalities or even have a short fuse on your temper.......

....then please, either ask for help or get someone to help you if you are looking at doing your Foundation exam on line.

You can also contact the RSGB directly to discuss any difficulties and although I haven't gone this route I am sure they will do the best they can.


The RSGB have done exceptionally well with the online testing considering current situations and we should applaud the army of volunteers that have made it all possible. But of course, as with any 'system' there may be hiccups along the way.

As I've already written there are requirements that you must fulfill, the computer situation, internet, software to install, etc. Funnily enough, these are problems you would not have faced had you been attending a club...but as I already mentioned, some clubs just aren't geared up for it and may be lacking 'people' skills to successfully implement a teaching environment.

But do remember, they are performing a lot of this as volunteers, for free, off their own backs with the radio 'milk of kindness'. 

(Although the club I visited wanted membership fees, twice over due to AGM cut-off, booking fees as well as the exam fees.....not from me thank you! As I said, not all clubs are geared for this Wink)


That being said, if you really want to go the route to expand your radio possibilities, capabilities or opportunities please don't let anything put you off.

I put this all off for over 30 years, generally due to poor attitudes, the business of life and just plain old unfortunate circumstances. I'm glad that the opportunity has arisen to try again, (thanks to friends, neighbours and you b*ggers here on Charlie Tango! Smile)


Anyway, I'm putting all this under my belt buckle, in my top pocket, filed in my mind and chalked up to experience......then perhaps I can draw on it to help someone else.



So, updates.....

Went to book my exam - didn't go quite smoothly(!)

The last time I looked, (only less than a week ago I think), there were slots available in September. But they've gone! So if you are looking at booking your exam get in as quick as you can!

Slots were available in October, so I proceeded to book a slot.

Although a number of browsers are reported to work with the RSGB booking system I had a problem with Firefox. Everything entered, read everything, click the "Book" button to proceed - no "Book" button!!!?!? Where is the flipping "Book" button?
Honestly, I felt like Homer Simpson looking for the "Any Key"
I could just about see half of the "tick box to accept T&C's" at the bottom of the browser but nothing else despite trying to scroll down or expand the window....damn, flip, grrr...so I opened 'Chrome' browser and tried again. Ahhh, now the button is clear to see. Who'd have thought? So another note to the wary.

Clicked 'Book', reported back that the appointment slot was not available....Arrrrggghhh!!
(Someone must've booked it whilst I was faffing about with browsers but it was not reported as unavailable on the booking calendar?)

Damn, flip, b*gger. Hit the back button, chose another appointment, had to fill out some of the details again(!) Once again I hit the 'Book' button, blank screen, reported that it was unable to process my card details.....*bangs head on desk*

What? Why? Ahhh, despite my actual bank card only having my first initial on it the system needs your full name. Now that may come as an easy thing to someone who uses cards a lot online, but I don't, so it didn't Wink


Hit the damn 'Book' button once again....blank screen....whirring circle....internet LEDs flickering.....come on, come on.....SUCCESS!!

Ha! Finally seem to be there. Just as well I'm already losing my hair Wink

So short of keeling over before my exam date or having a power cut during my online exam, I'm there Smile (Now I've just got to pass....as suggested earlier, do try the mock exams available online.)



Now I know I've waffled once again. I am a waffler. But if any of this helps anyone else out in even the slightest, tiniest way, then it would've been worth it.


All the very best to all of you. Stay well.
Victor

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