I was asked about it and I also promised that I will make a video about my amateur radio license exam in Romania.
Here I am keeping my promise, trying to share a little bit of information about the steps I had to take for my amateur radio license exam in Romania. A little bit of disappointment to be honest, especially for someone trying to get into the hobby and searching for fresh and up to date information.
Not to keep you in tension until you read the article… I did passed the final exam also, so I am now a licensed amateur radio operator ( YO6DXE ).
1. THE AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE EXAM
I will warn you that I may complain about a lot of things in this article, when it’s about the process of getting an amateur radio license in Romania in 2022. There are many reasons for that too. But I also have some good things to talk about as well, so it’s not that bad at the end. As we are used to say lately… it’s the system’s fault.
I stated to be passionate about amateur radio since I was a kid. Back then there used to be many radio clubs where you could go and learn a lot about the hobby. Sadly for me back then, I used to live quite far from the city, so the radio clubs were out of reach. I had no one to guide me either as my dad passed away when I was just six years old. Slowly slowly the passion for the hobby faded away, but never completely. I always told myself that I will get back to the hobby at the right time. I think now it’s the perfect time for that.
Sometime back in 2016, while I was still living aboard my sailboat in South Beach Miami, I purchased a Baofeng handheld transceiver to program it and use it on the marine VHF bands. I was also listening to the repeaters on the 2m band now and then. Getting the call signs from those I used to hear, I ended up writing an email to one of them that seemed really friendly and helpful with them all. I really wanted to get my license back then and he was about to help me in that matter. Unfortunately I had to leave Miami later on so I never got the chance to.
2. AMATEUR RADIO CLASSES IN ROMANIA
I was asked about details on how many amateur radio operators classes are in Romania. So down bellow I will write a little bit about that, trying to explain everything very briefly.
Depending on the authorization holder, amateur radio stations shall be divided into:
- Individual stations;
- Radio club stations.
The amateur radio certificates are of 4 classes: class I, class II, class III and class IV.
- Class I and Class II certificates are equivalent to HAREC established under CEPT.
- The third class certificate is equivalent to the CEPT Novice certificate.
- The 4th grade certificate is equivalent to the CEPT Entry-Class certificate .
Usually the exams are twice a year. Once in the spring and one in the fall. There are only a few cities that are hosting the exams and that is very inconvenient especially when you don’t have too much free time. In my case where I don’t own a car either, as I was saying in the video, I had to do two trips overnight by train. Believe me, after being awake for 48 hours and on the road, not so sure how well I would be able to answer those questions.
3. ISSUES I DISCOVERED
As I was saying earlier, one of the issues is the location. In the past the exams were hold by the local amateur radio clubs. I think that was great as they used to also prepare those willing to get into the hobby prior the exam. But in my case, to get my amateur radio license exam I had no radio club to help.
So I tried finding the information I needed online. Good luck with that, as 95% of the websites I found on the hobby are having outdated information. Even the official website of the National Authority for Administration and Regulation in Communications doesn’t have 100% up to date information. If it is indeed up to date, it doesn’t seem like when you start reading it. And it’s also hard to find if you don’t know where to search for it.
So training or the chance to get some up to date and accurate information for me was not so easy. It’s good when you have some amateur radio operators to help in advance. Unfortunately the ones I have, I know they are very busy and I felt bad to bother them with questions all the time. For the tests the questions didn’t seem so hard. The only issues were on the ones about regulations. Very confusing questions to be honest. Most of the time I had to guess the actual question, as it had more meanings at the same time.
I guess at the end it’s all about luck. That because it’s all about how lucky I was to guess the actual meaning of a particular question. They are very easy in fact, if you would have a straight on point question. It’s not much to learn anyway, so it would be very easy to pass the exams. Because of the confusing questions, I did not pass the 4th test on regulations. At least not from my first try. That’s the reason I had to make another 12 hours trip.
4. THE EXAM FOR THE THIRD CLASS
In order to obtain the Class III amateur radio certificate as it was my case ( Novice ), the examination tests and assessment scales are as follows:
- Electronics and radio: the test includes a set of 16 questions, where a minimum of 12 correct answers are required for promotion.
- Safety: the test includes a set of 10 questions, where a minimum of 7 correct answers are required for promotion.
- Radio operating rules and procedures: the test includes a set of 8 questions, where a minimum of 6 correct answers are required for promotion.
- Domestic and international regulations: the test includes a set of 20 questions, where a minimum of 15 correct answers are required for promotion.
5. THE GOOD PARTS
I can’t just complain and talk about the bad parts. Maybe the information, at least the part for national and international regulations was hard for me to find… but the rest was ok. I had enough material to learn from. Mostly was from memories from the past after reading some old books published back in 1981. Old indeed, but it’s not like the Q code or the Morse code changed since then. Learning about circuits and building stuff… you all know I love that, so it was also not an issue. Maybe just the fact that I was really tired.
The wonderful part for me though, both in Cluj and also in Iasi… were the people at the exam. I’m talking here about those that supervised the exam. Imagine that after 48 hours with ought sleep… nearly 10 of those hours on a train, you don’t really feel ready for an exam. I felt like a little kid in the first day in school to be honest. I’m nearly 42 and I didn’t thought I will live that moment ever again ( ha ). But from the way they talk and treat you, they just make you feel like part of the family. I really appreciated that. Very wonderful people indeed.
In Iasi there was a really nice lady that asked me if the questions were too complicated. I explained that once I get home and sleep a few hours they all seem simple. But in that particular moment because of the lack of sleep, everything becomes very confusing. But we had a chat about how I got into the hobby, and all that sort of stuff… so it made me relax a little and feel good being there. So that’s a five star from me for the people present at the exam organized by ANCOM. They do make you forget about all that stress and the hours on the road.
6. THANK YOU
There were a lot of people on YouTube that sent me many messages and comments of encouragement while I was on my way to the exam. I would like to thank you all for that. It’s amazing how great the amateur radio community is and how much people support each other. You don’t see this in most day by day life I’m telling you that. It does make you keep going no matter how tired you are, and that’s just amazing.
Well… after all those hours on the road and the lack of sleep, after failing one of the tests in the first exam, I did passed the second time. I still don’t know how I managed to answer all the questions, because the second time in Iasi, I was extremely tired. So tired that today from all those questions, I only remember one. The good part is that now I am finally a licensed amateur radio operator. Thank you all one more time for all your support, as I’m very happy to finally be part of the amateur radio operators community.
73 DE YO6DXE