Thanks for asking. Yeah, I just figured I needed to do everything mail order, but there they are: 510 Lawrence Expy in Sunnyvale. 408-736-9496.
I've been there twice now. Once on a weekday afternoon, - they have time on their hands and they're quite solicitous. I've also now been there on a Saturday morning - and it seems to be pretty much a zoo. On the one hand, it's hard to get a staffer's time. On the other hand - you can talk to lots of practicing hams! You'll need to, while passing the time waiting for your turn.
Anyhow, I passed the test on Sat AM, missing three out of 35. You have to score 75% I think. I ended up clocking about 4 to 6 hours of study time, I think. YMMV.
The best prep online prep site I found is this one: It's 49 pages of very dense material - only the stuff that's actually on potential test questions, plus maybe a sentence or two to put it into context.
Then you can burn through sample tests from QRZ.com. I took 10 sample tests on Friday evening, and passed them all - ranging from perfect to something like high 70/low 80%, figured I was good to go.
You can take the test at the Saratoga Fire Station roughly every other Saturday morning. To get more info here: http://www.arrl.org/finding-an-exam-session
and enter San Jose.
Big accomplishment for the weekend was installing my new radio.
I initially settled on a Yaesu FT2900R. It's a 2m only rig that's powerful, inexpensive, simple, bulletproof, and talks and receives well.
The hangup was, I wanted a "well integrated" install in the dash, and when I took out the center console to reveal the space I planned to install it - the space I thought would be empty is filled with the air-bag-controller unit. Having no desire to mess with that or try to relocate it, I went back to HRO to select a unit with a detachable face, so I could mount the main unit on the rear of the cab, and just mount the faceplate in the little sunglasses-holder opening in the middle of the console.
Since I was going to have to spend more coin to get a fancier unit with detachable face, I ended up picking up a Yaesu FT 8900R. In addition to the usual 2m and 70cm, it also broadcasts on 6 and 10m. That's actually great, since it allows the possibility of contact from Outer East Bumfuckistan if there's no repeater in Line-Of-Sight. So I'm real happy about my choice. That takes a taller antenna, but I don't mind *carrying* a taller antenna for use while stationary, while keeping the 19" spring mounted whip mounted and active for most driving and wheeling purposes.
So Sat was burned on round trips to exchange the radio (forgot wallet on first trip doh)
Today was install. It's cool, but kind of a hassle, to do an NMO roof mount antenna. You end up having to drop the headliner, which is a fair amount of work. After that, it was just the usual grind of running power wires, drilling holes to mount the unit, etc... Got everything working about 9:30PM.
I still don't have the faceplate mounted. It's just sitting there. I want to get the best "built in" look I can. This guy's my hero: http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/2nd...ml#post1429365
- but I'm definitely not going for a headliner install.