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Author Topic: What’s the best calculator to use on an Extra Exam, If any?  (Read 7917 times)
KB3HG
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Posts: 404




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« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2012, 10:12:13 AM »

BYU, DQ  and others missed,

FWIW, very insightful way of looking at it. I have enjoyed the comments.

Knowing that the intent is not to dismiss the trepidation of the applicants, we all come from varied backgrounds. For some the exams were daunting others had to study for them and finally for a few just a minor mental exercise. I sat in a field office for several tickets and before a VE team.  It all has been Fun to learn and meet new friends along the way. Enjoyed every bit of it, especially the crotchety OTs that are SKs now. They taught me something each and every one. Learning is a lifetime event.

Still having a blast.

Tom Kb3hg
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K2OWK
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Posts: 1061




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« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2012, 03:05:36 PM »

A super cheep calculator from the dollar store would work fine for this test. That's what I used.

73s

K2OWK
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KB7QND
Member

Posts: 43




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« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2012, 10:00:42 PM »

I used my TI-81 which I've had for the last 20 years.  The equations for Xc, Xl, resonance, impedance, ERP, capacitor/inductor time constants and so forth are quite easy and can be done on any scientific calculator.  TI calculators are allowed if you clear the memory.  

I used the TI for three reasons.

1.  I already owned it.
2.  I set it for engineering notation as I find doing the conversions annoying.
3.  I can enter the entire equation in one string and hit enter only once to get the answer.

Each test is different and I got pretty lucky on mine having only two questions that I had to use the calculator for.  One question was for ERP and the other was for phase angle for a polar coordinate.

A bit off topic:  I took and passed my Extra test last week and scored a perfect 100%.  I did not look at or memorize test questions and answers.  Because this is my hobby, my passion, I took two electronics classes at my local community college these last two semesters to really understand the hobby.  One was math for electronics and the other was CKT analysis.  Both of those classes provided me about 75% of what I needed to easily pass the Extra.  The only things I had to study from the ARRL study guide was things on digital communications and FCC rules. I've enjoyed the classes so much, that I'm going to continue taking one class a semester and earn my Associates in RF Electronics Tech.  Oh, if you are lucky, your community college will have an amateur radio club like mine did which allowed me to hook up with other people doing the same thing I was.

73s
KB7QND/AE

« Last Edit: May 26, 2012, 10:04:13 PM by KB7QND » Logged
KH6DC
Member

Posts: 642




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« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2012, 10:19:39 PM »

Any would work.  I brought and used my HP.

73 Delwyn kH6DC
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
AC5UP
Member

Posts: 3872




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« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2012, 08:24:42 AM »

On a vaguely related note, a few weeks ago I picked up a near-mint Sharp EL-731 financial calculator at a local thrift shop for fiddycent. It's approximately 25 years old, nice looking piece, and a fresh pair of LR-44 batteries restored it to working condition.

Except.

It was flaky. Sometimes a row of keys would quit working, sometimes it turned itself off prematurely, sometimes it would lock up for no apparent reason. Like many of you would do I opened it up to find three layers of flexible circuitry clamped together by the plastic shell and aligned with guide pins and rails molded into the case. Cleaned all contacts with a Q-Tip moistened in WD-40 to find that I didn't exactly make it better, but I did make it different. Given that the tolerance for mis-alignment on the contact pads is tight, I opened it up to make sure everything was square before I put it back together again. No dice, still not right.

Then I had a cosmic brain fart... Removed the six screws that clamp the case together and slapped the snot out of the calculator on my workbench. Seriously. Gave it half a dozen good whacks with the idea that maybe the mechanical shock would encourage the layers to line up mo'better on the internal guides. Kind of like tamping down a salt shaker.

It Worked.

I now have a nice vintage calculator with zero flakiness.     Grin
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Never change a password on a Friday                
N4NYY
Member

Posts: 4758




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« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2012, 08:37:59 AM »

On a vaguely related note, a few weeks ago I picked up a near-mint Sharp EL-731 financial calculator at a local thrift shop for fiddycent. It's approximately 25 years old, nice looking piece, and a fresh pair of LR-44 batteries restored it to working condition.

Except.

It was flaky. Sometimes a row of keys would quit working, sometimes it turned itself off prematurely, sometimes it would lock up for no apparent reason. Like many of you would do I opened it up to find three layers of flexible circuitry clamped together by the plastic shell and aligned with guide pins and rails molded into the case. Cleaned all contacts with a Q-Tip moistened in WD-40 to find that I didn't exactly make it better, but I did make it different. Given that the tolerance for mis-alignment on the contact pads is tight, I opened it up to make sure everything was square before I put it back together again. No dice, still not right.

Then I had a cosmic brain fart... Removed the six screws that clamp the case together and slapped the snot out of the calculator on my workbench. Seriously. Gave it half a dozen good whacks with the idea that maybe the mechanical shock would encourage the layers to line up mo'better on the internal guides. Kind of like tamping down a salt shaker.

It Worked.

I now have a nice vintage calculator with zero flakiness.     Grin

I had one from Tech School in 1985, and it was stolen. I replaced it with another and still have it! LOL
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AE6RV
Member

Posts: 146




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« Reply #36 on: May 27, 2012, 06:45:56 PM »

One of the guys who gave me my extra confided that he didn't even bother studying the math related questions.  He accepted that he wouldn't get them right and just made sure that he got everything else right.  Seemed like a rational way to go about it, but I had spent several months with the AA9PW applet, and I don't think I missed more than 3 or 4 on all three of the tests, total.  (I took them all at a single sitting.)
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N4NYY
Member

Posts: 4758




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« Reply #37 on: May 27, 2012, 07:07:21 PM »

I seem to recall like only 3 math questions in the test. At that point, I would just memorize the answers, if you already know the formulas. Study proportionately with the amount of questions per section.
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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2237




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« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2012, 04:10:15 PM »

When I was coming up, I recall most of the Math
problems being on the Advanced Exam, not the Extra.
The Extra back then was a formality, almost a joke.
i.e. "How many months in advance do you have to
notify the FCC before you operate amateur radio
in outer space?"

I swear, that was a question on the then Extra Exam!

Anyway, used an inexpensive scientific calculator.

Decades earlier I had completed two years of university
Physics and Chemistry (including O-Chem) with a slide
rule so I could have gone THAT route had I chosen to.
At that time (1973-74) wealthy students had then-new
 TI $200 handheld calculators, but they were NOT allowed
to use them during exams.
  Grin
73, Ken  AD6KA
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