2020 Amateur Radio Goals

...because RF is fun.

Each year, I put together a small list of things I want to accomplish in Amateur Radio. For 2020, I’ve settled on 4 items for my list:

1. Learn CW (10 wpm minimum)

This is a two-part goal. I’ve wanted to learn morse code for the past 5+ years but I haven’t made it a priority. This year I plan to learn CW and to help me learn and practice, I’m going to build an Arduino-based morse keyer. (Full disclosure: This is just my excuse to have an abnormally large Digikey and/or Mouser order.)

2. Join ARES & start taking courses

In 2018, I moved into a hurricane zone with a very active Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) community. ARES has released a standardized training plan task book and requires Level 2 participants to complete 4 FEMA independent study courses and an ARRL introductory course:

  • Intro to Incident Command System (ICS-100.c)
  • ICS for Single Resource (ICS-200.c)
  • Introduction to National Incident Framework (ICS-700.b)
  • National Response Framework (ICS-800.c)
  • ARRL’s Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-001)

I’ve heard mixed opinions about the independent study courses but I’m curious to experience them for myself. I’m planning to document my experiences along the way.

3. Become an ARRL VEC Volunteer Examiner

Volunteer Examiners (VEs) are US licensed Radio Amateurs holding at least a General Class license who offer their time to administer the FCC licensing exams through a FCC authorized Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) organization like ARRL. My local club is affliated with ARRL and I’m already an Extra so… goal 3 is to become an ARRL VE.

4. Create an Amateur Radio exam practice mobile app

Before I took my General and Extra exams, I used several websites and mobile apps to practice the exams. When I took the actual exams, I discovered the practice greatly minimized my test anxiety. I’ve designed a cross platform (Android/iOS) mobile app for reviewing and practicing the questions on all 3 US Amateur Radio exams. I’m planning to build the app and get it on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store by the end of the year.

That’s my list and I’m sticking to it.