To operate any form of amateur radio equipment, you must first obtain a license to do so from the FCC. To get a license, you must pass a test demonstrating that you have knowledge of basic electrical theory and amateur radio rules and regulations (an excellent introduction to the entire ham radio process can be found at Howstuffworks "How Ham Radio Works"
). Now don't be put off by the fact you have to take a test, as there are many study guides available to help you learn all the info you'll need! The most popular study materials are those written by Gordon West, available at your local Radio Shack. Just go up to a sales clerk and ask for a technician class study guide.
The basic test its self contains 35 multiple-choice questions that are picked from a question pool. You must answer 26 of these questions correctly to pass the test. All these questions and their answers are contained in the study guide, which makes it very easy to learn all the material you will need to know. Study this for about a month, and then try taking a practice test to see how well you will do.
After you are positive you will pass, then
to schedule a test session. The test will most likely be after that month's club meeting, which is held the third Sunday of the month at the Mystic Bingo hall at 1:00 PM. (See the main page for more info.) We will then get back to you to confirm a testing time. You will need to bring $10 in EXACT CHANGE to cover application fees, a pencil or non-red pen, a calculator, and some form of photo ID.
Once the required paperwork has been filled out, you will be given your test. The test will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Your test will then be graded and you will be informed of your result. If you pass, then (after getting a pat on the back) your paperwork will be submitted and approximately six weeks later you will receive your amateur radio license, complete with an FCC-issued call sign! Note - you MAY NOT operate until you receive your license in the mail, or until you show up on the FCC database.
Then, welcome to the exciting world of amateur radio! Radios can be purchased from many different sources. For the Technician Class license, your best buy is to go into Radio Shack and inquire about a hand-held radio which will allow you to talk locally on repeaters.
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