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Capt J. D. Obenberger
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The same author wrote all three of the ARRL's study guides for the three levels of FCC amateur radio licensing exams. In general, he is an excellent author, with some important few lapses. The Amateur Extra exam is by far, the hardest exam because of its theoretical and mathematical content, and because it's longer than the two prior exams for Tech and General classes; the Amateur Extra has fifty questions while the first two exams have 35. And there is serious math on the exam way past what I saw in Algebra II in high school, imaginary number and some pretty fancy work in trigonometry. Yikes. Before reading this book, I did not know that trig had anything to do with electronics! Like many other users of this book, I'm sure, I am not a math person. But the author really does skip a bit lightly and then plunges right into the deep end of the pool. I think that he expects that many users will be in a prep class and use this work as a backup. He does provide links to websites that cover the math and some other technical matters, but I think the readers have a right to expect this book to tell the whole story about understanding all of the questions and all of the answers, and, as related, he really does take the reader to two places at the deep end of the pool. Actually, a check of all ARRL-sanctioned classes within 75 miles of Chicago showed no scheduled classes for this exam, and going further in the search, the ones within 250 miles were held on weeknights, making it impossible for someone living here. I expect that the large majority of people around the US will be on their own. So I do expect the ARRL extra class manual to cover the turf in depth as the only instruction most candidates will have. Again, in general, this is an absolutely excellent work except for what I've mentioned, and a handful of others, typically "handling" stray questions from the published question pool here and there where he either rounds the corner without much of an explanation, presumably expecting the student to just blindly memorize the answer, or otherwise expects a bit too much of prior knowledge. My technique was to primarily rely on this book, reading chapters in stray moments for a month, and then to cram hard for about a total of ten hours during the final weekend before the test. I suplemented it by looking at some of the math web pages he mentions, and by printing out and intensely reviewing the free downloadable work by Jack Tiley that covers the same material; the bulk of Tiley's download is comprised of the test questions, all of them in the pool, and only the CORRECT answers, in some hard areas supplemented by an attempt to teach what it means, sometimes at length. He also has an appendix of formulas. Using these two works, I took the test a week ago today and passed on my first attempt, getting 7 questions wrong out of fifty, well within the pass range. I could have gotten 13 wrong and still passed. I think that I blew all of the questions relying on the fancier math that the test required, and got all or almost all of the text-based questions right. Perhaps if I'd spent more time trying to absorb the math, including side-excursions outside this book, I might have succeeded in actually learning this material. That light treatment of the higher math is my only big criticism, and in full context, I do think that this book really is well-written overall. If you use it as I did, and even if you blow all of the math, the odds are good that you will pass the exam with this book if you study it hard. The reason why I do not give the work four stars is because of the terrible and inadquate CD that is a selling point of the of the book. It's in an envelope in the back, and is intended to prepare sample test exams, picking at random from the questions in the published question pool, with the right number for each part. The major trouble is that the disc's designer is incompetent. Some of the questions present a diagram and ask such things as what the function of a particular identified component is. The question pool probably has ten to twenty such questions relying on diagrams. However, the design of this program includes a blue bar on each screen identifying that if you click there, the diagram on which the question is based will display. The trouble is that in every case, that blue bar covers the question! And when you click on it, the diagram covers the question! So, when sample exams are created that include diagram questions, you actually will never be able to answer the question based on the diagram, and that's a serious fault. Because the CD is a big selling point of the book, I could not give this product the four stars that it would otherwise deserve. In sum, a damn good and generally well-written text with a couple of flaws that may not be fatal, and a terrible CD that comes with it.