GAOC Training: Becomming a ham.


Target Audience

Updated on Sun, 13/09/2020 - 11:22 am - Publish details of the next class.

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We regularly run an intensive weekend course for new hams. We do this to:

  • Encourage our community to get involved in amateur radio, electronics, and, more broadly, STEM in general.
  • Provide a low-barrier way for people to become qualified amateur operators.
  • Give other interested people an opportunity to learn about amateur radio and electronics.

Our classes cover all aspects of the General Amateur Operator's Certificate exam and are run by club members who volunteer their time.

If you're interested in the course, we hope you'll be interested in joining our club. As a sweetener, we waive the first years' membership fee for people attending one of our courses. Once you've paid your deposit, take a look at how to join and get involved. Don't wait until the course; come along, meet some of us and start learning straight away. You'll be a lot more comfortable during the course and the exam if you know who you're dealing with too!

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Next Class


We hold a training weekend two or three times a year. There's a good chance the next class is just around the corner!

To find out exactly when, book a place, or ask questions, please feel free to call our Training Coordinator, Vaughan on 021 844 804, after 5pm, or email training (art) nsrc (dort) nz (subject: Ham%20training%20enquiry) . If you'd like to be kept in the loop for the future, drop us a line and we'll add you to the trainee mailing list.

The venue is our clubrooms:

We're actually just on Belle Verde Drive, you turn off East Coast road at the vet and you'll see us right there on the left.

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How does it work?

We've been running courses to help people become ham operators for a long time, and we've become pretty good at it! We've perfected the order of teaching the syllabus, and we consistently get very high pass rates. Our courses run for two full days and are designed to cover everything required to pass the examination and get your certificate and callsign issued. We've even got loan radios available. It takes a few days for for the paperwork to be processed, but you can borrow a radio when you pass the exam and be on the air as soon as your certificate arrives!

Getting an amateur radio licence might seem daunting at first but it is a rewarding and fun hobby and well worth the effort. Thanks to some sane legislative changes, you don't even need to learn the Morse code any more. I won't lie, you should expect it to be challenging, but don't worry:

We're literally here to help people get involved in ham radio and related activities.

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Pay your deposit!

Once you've paid your deposit, we hope you'll consider becoming a member and making the most of the club members and facilities to help you through your exam. You're most of the way there already anyway! We'll upgrade your membership from associate to full the moment you pass your exam!

Anyone can attend the course, but students are expected to have read and revised the online NZART study guide. NZART provide some other resources you might find useful too.

Be sure to spend plenty of time studying the following sections:

These sections are known to cause difficulties for students.

Prior knowledge of high school level electronics theory will also help a great deal, but is not essential. If you are weak in this area, be sure to thoroughly work through the practice exercises in the study guide.

The course is two full days of intensive tuition, divided into 30 topics. The breadth of material means that although the training is comprehensive, it must be fast paced. Some topics are best memorised, while others require some theory and practice. You are expected to know where you need to pay the most attention to maximise your chances of passing. Our course is here to make sure you thoroughly understand all of the subject matter, but we must keep to the schedule if we are to cover everything before the exam.

If you want a hard copy of the study guide, but don't have access to a printer, we can print one for you for $50.00. You must arrange this some time before the course; the guide is around 250 pages long and our Training Coordinator prints them off as required.

In order to sit the exam and earn your licence, you must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. To verify it's really you, we'll need to see and copy your New Zealand passport or foreign passport and Permanent Resident Visa on the day.

Lastly, to issue your certificate we need a passport photo with a pre-printed witness label on the back. A business that takes passport photos will usually be able to supply an appropriate label. The photo must comply with the Department of Internal Affairs passport style requirements. One of your instructors will witness the photo for you.

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How much does it cost?

The total cost is $150, including your deposit. We require you to pre-pay a $50 non-refundable deposit to confirm your place. Our courses are in high demand and we've have had situations in the past where no-shows have prevented keen people from attending.

Optionally you may choose to pay $50.00 for the study guide. The guide is required, but you might prefer printing it yourself.

The fee includes all costs associated with becoming a certified amateur operator in New Zealand:

  • A reserved seat on the two day block course.
  • Morning and afternoon tea on both days.
  • New Zealand General Amateur Operator’s Certificate.
  • Your ZL Callsign.
  • Your North Shore Amateur Radio Club membership fees waived for the current year*
  • New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters membership for one year.
  • While your club membership remains current you are entitled to unlimited examination re-tries until you are successful in passing the amateur examination.
  • Support and ongoing mentorship from your fellow members of the North Shore Amateur Radio Club.
  • Light refreshments at the conclusion of the course to celebrate your qualification.

*And next year, if you'd only end up with a month or two of membership.

Your certification is for a lifetime and there are no on going fees.

Financial members who have sat the course, but would like a refresher, are welcome to attend free of charge. Please keep in mind the course is for people aspiring to obtain their GAOC so we ask that you save your technical questions for the breaks or while they sit their exam. If you're interested in coming along, please confirm your place with the Training Coordinator.

For associate members, attending the course for the first time, we deduct the cost of a year's membership.

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How can I pay?

Ideally you will pay by bank deposit before attending the course. If you can't arrange that, you may pay by cash or cheque on the day. If paying by cash, please try to bring the correct change.

Be sure to mention "course" and your name in the reference fields!

We do not have EFTPOS facilities.

If you haven't paid in full by Sunday You may not be able to sit the exam.

We're a community organisation; we're here to help. If your circumstances dictate that you can't pay immediately, please still take the time to talk to us; We may be able to find a way to help.

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On the day

The course is held at the clubrooms. There is plenty of free car parking next to the building. Entry is through the signposted main doors at the front.

We begin at 8am sharp. Please be a few minutes early so we can have a quick meet and greet and still get started on time. We have a lot to get through!

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What to bring

You will need:

  • Your study guide.
  • A simple office calculator.
  • Pen and pencil.
  • Your lunch, if you don't fancy the local options.

For the exam on Sunday, it is essential that you bring:

  • Your passport photo with witness sticker.
  • One of:
    • Your New Zealand passport, or
    • Foreign passport with Permanent Resident Visa.
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For those not familiar with the area, your lunch options are; a bakery, only open on Saturday, and a KFC a kilometre or so further north on East Coast Road, or Wendy's and McDonald's are situated on Constellation Drive. You might prefer to bring your own!

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The exam

You are allowed two hours for the exam. The paper has 60 questions selected from the bank of 600. It is computer generated and will contain questions on all parts of the syllabus.

A simple office calculator is permitted. Scientific calculators and phone apps are not allowed. All cell phones are to be switched off, or left out of the exam room.

After the exam light refreshments are available while we mark your papers. Depending on the number of candidates, this might take 45 minutes, but you will get your results as soon as we're done. You could use this time to ask us about our loan radios, but please allow for it when planning your trip home.

Once the results are in, we'll help successful candidates find an available callsign, do a bit of paperwork, and get it allocated. It only takes a few days for NZART to finish processing your application and you're on the air!

If you didn't make it this time, you've got some options. We can schedule another exam for you any time, and you needn't wait until the next course. Have a chat with us and we'll find someone to help you out with the course material where you need it and take it from there.

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Day 1 Day 2
Time Subject Time Subject
0800 — 0830 Welcome & 1 Regulations 0800 — 0830 20 Harmonics
0830 — 0900 3 Electronics Fundamentals 0830 — 0900 15 HF Station
0900 — 0930 4 Measurement Units 0900 — 0930 23 Operating 1
0930 — 1000 5 Ohm’s Law 0930 — 1000 24 Operating 2
1000 —1020 Morning Tea 1000 —1020 Morning Tea
1020 — 1100 6 Resistance 1020 — 1100 16 Receivers 1
1100 — 1130 7 Power Law 1100 — 1130 17 Receivers 2
1130 — 1200 8 AC Theory 1130 — 1200 18 Transmitters 1
1200 — 1230 Lunch 1200 — 1230 Lunch
1230 — 1300 9 Resonance 1230 — 1300 19 Transmitters 2
1300 — 1330 10 Safety 1300 — 1330 26 Transmission Lines
1330 — 1400 13 Meters 1330 — 1400 27 Antennas
1400 — 1430 11 Semiconductors 1400 — 1430 28 Propagation
1430 — 1500 12 Device Recognition 1430 — 1500 29 Interference
1500 — 1520 Afternoon Tea 1500 — 1520 Afternoon Tea
1520 — 1600 21 Power Supplies 1520 — 1600 Break & Revision
1600 — 1630 22 Regulated PSU 1600 — 1630 Exam
1630 — 1700 14 Decibels 1630 — 1700 Exam
    1700 — 1800 Exam
    1800 — 1845 Refreshments, results, callsign application
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