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Friday, August 9, 2013

Could you pass the 1965 Ham License exam?

License Manual
I was at an estate sale a couple of weeks back and came across a couple of books that got my attention, The Radio Amateur's License Manual and How to Become a Radio Amateur. Unfortunately I didn't get to find out the callsign of whoever it was that had the books.

The license manual covered all of the classes of licenses available at the time: Novice, Technician, General, Conditional (same as General but test taken by mail), Advanced (not available to new applicants), and Extra.

As I scoped out the book, I found some interesting rules that the FCC enforced at the time:
  • If you wanted to take the test or renew, you paid $4, and it was good for 5 years. If you changed your address, it was $2.
  • Callsigns must be transmitted at the beginning of each transmission, every 10 minutes, and at the end of each transmission (currently hams don't need to identify at the beginning).
  • Novices retained their callsigns for a year and must upgrade.
  • Hams violating FCC rules faced a $500 fine per day during which the offense occurs.
  • Logs were kept of each QSO and must show:
    •  Date & time of transmission  
    •  Signature of each operator
    •  Call of the station contacted
    • Power
    • Frequency
    • Emission type
    • Location
    • Message traffic handled
  • Hams had to notify the FCC Engineer-in-Charge if they intended to operate mobile longer than 48 hours.
  • If an applicant failed an exam, they had to wait 30 days to re-take the exam.
  • The book cost 50 cents, and included the FCC Part 97 rules and regulations.
The other manual
I bought
Some rules have obviously changed. 

What struck me even more was that many of the questions from the Novice/General/Extra questions were pretty tough. Even with my electronics education and background, it was amazing how intricate many of the questions were. Unlike today's question pools, the 1965 pool did not include multiple choice answers with the wrong answers included, but the exams were multiple choice. It also wanted the reader to draw out certain circuits.

So here are some sample questions in the Novice, General, and Extra class exam pool. See how many you can answer. I'll post the correct answers in 24 hours:

  1. Question #9: What method of frequency control is required to be used in the transmitter of a station licensed to the holder of a Novice Class License?
  2. Question #13: What is the maximum permissible percentage of modulation of an amateur radiotelephone station?
  3. Question #17: What is the relationship between a fundamental frequency and its second harmonic; its third harmonic, etc.?
  4. Question #23: How is the actual power input to the tube or tubes supplying energy to the antenna of an amateur transmitter determined?
  5. Question #27: What is meant by a "parasitic" oscillation?
  1. Question #1: Name the basic units of:
    • electrical resistance
    • inductance
    • capacitance
    • current
    • electromotive force or potential difference
    • power
    • energy
    • quantity
    • magneto-motive force
    • frequency
  2. Question #10: What is the principal reason for using a filter in a plate power-supply system?
  3. Question #19: What undesirable effects may result from operation of an unneutralized triode r.f. amplifier in a transmitter?
  4. Question #69: What is meant by a "doubler" stage?
  5. Question #71: What is the reciprocal of resistance?
  6. Question #106: What precaution should be taken to protect filter capacitors connected in series?
  1. Question #4: What factors determine the core losses in a transformer?
  2. Question #7: In a Class-C r.f. amplifier, what ratio of load impedance to dynamic plate impedance will give the greatest plate efficiency?
  3. Question #12: During 100 percent sinusoidal amplitude modulation, what percentage of the average output power is in the sidebands?
  4. Question #25: What are synchronizing pulses as used in television transmitters and receivers?
  5. Question #34: What determines the operating frequency of a magnetron oscillator?
  6. Question #46: If the conductors in a 2-wire r.f. transmission line are replaced by larger conductors, how is the surge impedance affected, assuming no change in the center-to-center spacing of the conductor?
  7. Question #63: What is the purpose of the mosaic plate in a television camera? To what item of photographic equipment is it similar in function?
  8. Question #92: What are the "Baudot" and "Seven Unit" codes? How are they used?
  9. Question #120: What is the meaning of the term "frequency swing" in reference to frequency-modulation transmitters?
  10. Question #136: What is the ohms per volt of a voltmeter constructed of a 0-1 d.c. milliammeter and a suitable resistor which makes the full-scale reading of the meter 500 volts?
  11. Question #181: What is meant by low-level modulation?
  12. Question #204: State where antenna impedance is usually measured.
  13. Question #219: Define a "back-wave" and explain what causes it.

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