My Space Balloon: Project Stratohab Success!! High School Student's Budget

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Step 8: Take Your HAM Test

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Ham radio is the best way of getting in contact with your balloon. The MicroTrak All-In-One Ham beacon is a telemetry device which emits a radio pulse containing its current location.  These pulses are picked up by digipeaters, special receiving devices placed on top of mountains and other high places specifically to listen for these APRS packets and then put them online.  Consequentially, the MicroTrak's path can be viewed online at websites such as Google Aprs. http://aprs.fi

Getting a license is not too difficult.  The best place to start is by finding a Ham club near you.  They will provide you will all the information and assistance you need to get licensed.  If you do not know of any groups in your area, simply learn by taking the practice exam here: http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl.  By testing yourself you can determine what you do not know, and pursue that knowledge through the internet, books readily available at a local library or to purchase, or other hams.

Once you are ready you will have to find an exam session (http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session).  These are offered multiple times a year in various locations across the United States.  You will only need to take the test for the lowest license class: Technician.  This 35 question multiple choice test and a nominal fee (~$10) will get you your license and a call sign.