|Get Your Ham License
This short article will get you started on your journey to becoming a licensed Amateur Radio operator. We encourage you to contact our club, or any Amateur Radio club, for more personalized help and guidance.
What Amateur Radio licenses are available to me?
Currently the FCC has designated three classes of Amateur Radio licenses, as follows:
Technician Class license
There are no prerequisites for obtaining this license. You must take and pass the Element 2 license exam consisting of 35 multiple choice questions.
General Class license
To obtain this license you must have a current Technician Class license. You must take and pass the Element 3 license exam consisting of 35 multiple choice questions.
Extra Class license
To obtain this license you must have a current General Class license. You must take and pass the Element 4 license exam consisting of 50 multiple choice questions.
Note: Morse Code proficiency is no longer required for any Amateur Radio license. Prior to February 2007, the FCC required a certain level of proficiency in Morse Code for the General Class and Extra Class licenses, and this proficiency was demonstrated by taking and passing the Element 1 Morse Code exam. The FCC has since done away with the Morse Code requirements and therefore Element 1 exams are no longer required nor given.
Am I qualified to obtain an Amateur Radio license?
If you are a United States citizen, or a foreign national legally in residence in the United States with the proper legal papers, you probably qualify to obtain an Amateur Radio license. Additionally, you cannot work for a foreign government.
If you are a foreign national in legal residence with the proper legal papers, you will need a Social Security number and you must file for an FRN (FCC Registration Number) with the FCC as a foreign national. Go to the following link to file for your FRN.
The most popular license for beginners is the Technician Class license, which requires only a 35 question multiple-choice written examination. The test is written with the beginner in mind. The exam covers basic regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications. Morse Code is not required for this license. With a Technician Class license, you will have all ham radio privileges above 30 megahertz (MHz). These privileges include the very popular 2-meter band. Many Technician licensees enjoy using small (2 meter) hand-held radios to stay in touch with other hams in their area. Technicians may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other interesting modes. You can even make international radio contacts via satellites, using relatively simple station equipment. Technician licensees now also have additional privileges on certain HF frequencies. Technicians may also operate on the 80, 40, and 15 meter bands using CW, and on the 10 meter band using CW, voice, and digital modes.