It's nice to see so many positive posts about ham radio! I have been a "ham" for almost 22 years, Extra Class for over half of it, and, though I'm not as active as I used to be, I still enjoy it. There are many, many, many thousands of good, friendly people in the hobby. If you take the test seriously, it really isn't that bad. When you're ready to take the plunge, my advice would be to find an "elmer", someone who's been a ham for a good long while that can show you what the book doesn't, like etiquette. Research and listen, listen, listen. Much like here, there are hams from ALL walks of life, generations and social backgrounds, all with opinions and ideas. Sure, there are a few bad apples that give all hams a bad wrap, but don't let that discourage you. Good luck. The following site has actual practice exams (there may be others, but I'm most familiar with this): www.qrz.com Also, I've been a Volunteer Examiner for the W5YI Group for a few years now, and we are to charge the test fee for EVERY test you take, like the ARRL. My personal opinion is to let you retake for free, the same day, but I didn't write the rules.