This morning I drove up to Blaine to a monthly exam session run by the Anoka Radio Club. I wasn't sure if I was reading my directions correctly, but I looked ahead and realized I was following a truck with 6 different antennas - I was on the right track! And, it turned out that I could have carpooled as a neighbor, who recently got his license, showed up to take an advanced exam.
My studying paid off, and I passed the exam (it isn't too hard), and I stopped on the way home to pick up a radio:
Now I just have to wait for the FCC to process my paperwork - then I'll have a call sign and permission to transmit to other amateurs - till then I'll be figuring out how to use the radio.