Hello everybody! I'm an electronics student studying to become an electronics technician with a focus on componet and board level troubleshooting. I've got a pretty good basis on radio communication such as how an AM and FM radio operate, wave propogation, various types of antennas, and calculating transmitted power.
My class is currently working on a lab in which each each build, tune, and trubleshoot an AM and FM radio and it's gotten me thinking about the possibility of ham radio operation. Yesterday I bought the ARRL 2012 handbook and i"m waiting for that to come in the mail. I'm assuming that will have a lot of useful info, but I want to hear from the experts.
I have several questions:
First, what is the cost of becoming a ham radio operator? What's the cost of the testing, licensing, and basic equipment? I am a college student after all.
Second, how do I go about getting the ball rolling on such a project? I have no idea where to begin. Are there classes? Or is there a place I just walk into and take a test? Are there different levels of certification? If so, what rights/privelages does each level grant me? I assume that there's some sort of test that I'd need to take sooner or later- what is the nature of that test? What sort of questions would I expect to find on that test?
Third, what information would prove useful in this pursuit? I've got quite a bit of building and troubleshooting experience with active devices, amplifiers, function generators, analog and digital devices, linear and non-linear. I'm not up to par with my vacuum tube experience. Would I need to learn morse code?
I'm sure more questions will come to mind, I tend to have a lot of them so I'd thank you for bearing with me. Thank you all and have a great day!