Friday, January 09, 2009

Mnemosyne Study Decks for FCC Amateur Radio Licensing Tests

When I was studying for my FCC license, I used a product called "mnemosyne" to help me learn the required material for the tests.  This is basically memorization aid software, which many people will call "cheating", but I don't really have a problem with using tools like these; I don't think the tests should stand in the way of getting interested people into the hobby.  This method worked for me; after about three weeks of study of 30 to 60 minutes a day, I passed all three elements in one sitting and earned my Amateur Extra license.  My method was to, each day, take all three practice exams first, then run through the material presented by Mnemosyne as far as I could in the time available.  Some days I didn't get through all of the material Mnemosyne had for me, mainly because I was trying to learn all three elements at once.  Doing one element at a time would likely be less daunting.

You can download mnemosyne from their download site, and the decks I used from my own website:
Sorry, I don't have an Element 4 deck right now; I took my exams in April 2008, shortly before the new Extra pool came into service, and I haven't made a new deck for the new Element 4 yet.

Update: I've put together a new Element 4 deck. I haven't tested it yet so it might be glitched in spots, and you will have to get the diagrams from the NCVEC site yourself. (This also applies for the single diagram used in the General pool.)

Second update: Ben Jackson (N1WBV) reported a problem with the Element 4 deck.  I made some manual edits to the generated XML and was able to load the deck into Mnemosyne running on Ubuntu.  Hopefully whatever I changed fixed the problem.  If you downloaded the E4 deck before January 14th, you should download it again.