Woodford County Amateur Radio

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the amateur radio service?

A. Amateur radio is a function that is licensed and governed by the Federal Communications Commission. It is comprised of individuals who have an interest in radio communications. It is a hobby, but it is also a service. The FCC allows the amateur service to exist for public service, technological advancement and international goodwill.

Q. Why would I want to become an amateur operator?

A. Because it’s fun! Since you are reading this on the internet, you may well like packet radio. Packet is much the same principle as the Internet, but without the phone line. Transmissions are sent via radio frequency. Packet has access to bbs’s and you can talk to other hams across the country. All that is needed is a TNC ( a modem for your radio) and a small hand held transceiver to hook up to your computer, and you’re ready to go.

Q. Isn’t all that ham radio equipment expensive?

A. We are not going to lie to you. You can’t get radio equipment for the price of a movie and some popcorn. But the cost is not prohibitive either. There is a lot of good reliable used equipment out there. Hams like to keep upgrading once they get into the hobby. You should be able to get a good used hand held radio between $100 and $200. Used TNC’s can be purchased for under $100.

Q. Don’t you have to know Morse code in order to get a ham license?

A. No. There is an entry level class know as No Code Technician that allows you to get your license without code. If you want to learn code you still can. Code will allow you to upgrade your license to higher classes, which is the goal of many hams. But It is no longer necessary to become introduced to the hobby.

Q. I could never learn all that technical stuff to get a license, could I?

A. An entry level ham license is not terribly technical. Study books with sample multiple choice questions, answers and explanations are available at many book stores or your local Radio Shack dealer. These study books guide you and teaches you everything you will need to know in order to successfully pass your exam. There are even computer programs that not only have sample questions, but they will generate an entire sample test. W.C.A.R.C. sponsors classes for those interested in earning their ham license.

Q. Where do I go to take my exam?

A. Tests are usually given at least once a month at the Red Cross in Lexington. You may check with one of the contact people on the W.C.A.R.C. or A.R.E.S. page. If they do not know when the test is, they will find out and get back to you.

Q. How long does an amateur license remain valid?

A. An amateur radio license is valid for 10 years from date of issue.

Q. When my license expires, will I have to take the tests over?

A. No. A few months prior to you license expiration, send the FCC the proper renewal form and your license will be renewed for another 10 years.

Q. Are there age restrictions on an amateur radio license?

A. No. The FCC imposes no age restrictions. Anyone who is capable of studying the material and passing the exam is eligible to receive a license.

Q. How much does an amateur radio license cost?

A. The license itself costs nothing. There is a testing fee of about $5.75. However, when you pay your fee you may continue to test up to the highest class you want as long as you keep passing the exams. If you fail and want to retake an exam, then you must pay another testing fee.

If you have any other Questions E-mail me below and I will get back to you

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This page, and all material contained herein is copyright © 1997, Woodford County Amateur Radio Club.