The first Intermediate assessment of 2014 was held on 1st March at our All Saints venue and attended by seven candidates, six of whom went on to sit the Intermediate exam. This was the 20th Intermediate assessment run by LEFARS. Although candidates are requested to bring their own tools, soldering stations and other specialist tools are provided if needed. This time there was an impressive range of cutters, pliers etc brought along.
Andy M6EJA even made and brought along his own DC circuit which is used for the practical exercises (measuring voltage, current etc.). This was in far better condition than the DC circuits normally used :-).
By 11.30am all of the practical “workshops” had been completed and it was time for an early lunch before starting on the constructional project, building a 1kHz signal generator kit (Vellerman kit MK105) seen below. Suggested uses are as a signal source (to test transmitters or audio amps) or as a morse practice oscillator, the 0 -100mV adjustable output could be amplified or used with headphones.
Building the kit provides the opportunity to demonstrate soldering skills and also component recognition – the project has to work and is checked thoroughly by Derek MØXDC using his oscilloscope. Five of the seven boards worked first time with only small remedial work necessary (on one of the boards, a short made the 555 timer very hot) and Derek soon got them working.
Some examples of the traces, all derived from a 555 timer’s square wave output and selectable by a link (circuit diagram and assembly manual here).
By 3pm the assessments were completed and there was time for afternoon refreshments from Dave G3ZXF, who also dispensed copious quantities of chocolate biscuits, bottles of water and friendly advice as well! It was also a chance of a ‘fresh air break’ for those with a nicotine habit to get ready for the 4pm exam. At this point Nev said goodbye, he will sit the IL exam at the next available opportunity with LEFARS and probably in mid-May during the next Foundation course period.
As well as dispensing refreshments, Dave G3ZXF oversaw the exam and was helped with the invigilating by Ron G6LTT. The Intermediate exam was over by 5.25pm and then the nerve-racking (for the candidates) wait whist the papers were marked. By 5.50pm the results were announced. Recent changes have meant that although everyone scored over the minimum 27 correctly answered questions for a pass (the results ranged from 29 to 44 out of the 45 questions), it is an indicative pass and confirmed in writing by the RCF after a maximum of 6 working days’ of the paperwork being received. This means from 12th March onwards when some new 2EØ calls should be available and, hopefully, soon heard on the air. (I will update this post as and when the new callsigns are known).
My thanks go to Derek MØXDC for invaluable support, supply of specialist de-soldering equipment and test gear, Ron G6LTT also with his huge tool kit and friendly advice and to Dave G3ZXF for exam invigilation and refreshments. Thanks also to Marc GØTOC for the unstinting work done behind the scenes with admin support.
LEFARS Intermediate Licence assessments Lead Instructor
12th March: David M6DFD is now 2EØDDF.
16th March: Dave M6DZV is now 2EØCYK, Andy M6EJA is now 2EØTCI and Edward M6DZQ is now 2EØCYJ.