Why get a license?
Like to talk with others next door or from distant lands? Interested in new technology? Like a challenge? Want to stay in touch and assist when other communications methods fail?
For 100+ years, ham’s, Amateur Radio, have been doing all this, and more!
Discovering Amateur Radio Video…
The technical name for a “ham” operator is amateur radio operator, in which operators pass a test, acquire a license and call sign from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and then spend their days chitchatting across the globe.
The term “ham” was once an insult, a name professionals gave amateurs with clumsy Morse code skills. Ham radio is partly the chase of and reward of the contact: Operators engage in contests to contact someone somewhere, or they compete to talk with a voice from some far-off land. To confirm conversations, some still send each other a personalized postcard, called a QSL Card. Today’s hams can use the Internet to confirm their contacts through The Logbook of the World (LOTW).
Before current communications methods became commonplace, when a disaster struck, the ham radio community was quick to respond. Operators became community lifelines, with hams talking to each other and working with emergency officials to relay local conditions. There’s even the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®), a volunteer-based group. Disasters still happen, and ARES activities are still viable today.
What is the state of ham radio in today’s high technology world? There are now almost 725,000 licensed hams in the U.S. alone (over two million worldwide), an increase of almost 200,000 in the last twenty years. New technology enables communications on previously inaccessible frequencies, with numerous digital modes in use or being developed every day.
To encourage newcomers, the FCC discontinued any Morse code requirement several years ago, but interest in this original digital mode has actually increased.
There’s even smartphone apps such as EchoLink, that patches hams into transmission repeaters, devices that receive weak signals and retransmit them with more power.
Licensed amateur radio operators are granted, with few restrictions, the opportunity to design, build, and operate communications equipment, on frequencies usually assigned solely to them. This ability is not generally available to others outside scientific or commercial experimentation.
What’s GOOD about Ham Radio? Whatever your license class, and whatever your callsign, there are numerous types and modes of operation to keep you interested!
Amateur Radio Practice Exam Sites
Radioqth Practice Examinations
HamExam.org Amateur Radio Practice Exams
AA9PW amateur exam practice website
ARRL Exam Review for Ham Radio™
eHam.net Ham Exams
The QRZ Practice Tests for amateur radio examshttps://www.qrz.com/hamtest/
LEVEL 1: Technician Class License
- Exam Requirement: 35-question Technician Written Exam (Element 2).
- Privileges: All VHF/UHF Amateur bands (frequencies above 30 MHz).
Limited operations in certain HF bands.
The FCC Technician License 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 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.
- Before you can get on the air, you need to be licensed and know the rules to operate legally. US licenses are good for 10 years before renewal and anyone may hold one except a representative of a foreign government.
Question Pool Schedule
TECHNICIAN Class (Element 2) Pool is effective July 1, 2014 and is
valid until June 30, 2018.
Download here: 2018-2022 Tech Pool-2018-A
LEVEL 2: General Class License
- Exam Requirements: 35-question General written exam (Element 3).
- License Privileges: All VHF/UHF Amateur bands and most HF privileges (10 through 160 meters).
The General Class license is the second of three US Amateur Radio licenses. To upgrade to General Class, you must already hold a Technician Class license (or have recently passed the Technician license exam). Upgrading to a General license–which conveys extensive HF privileges—only requires passing a written examination. Once you do, the entire range of operating modes and the majority of the amateur spectrum below 30 MHz become available to you. The FCC grants exam Element 3 credit to individuals that previously held certain older types of licenses.
GENERAL Class (Element 3) Pool is effective July 1, 2015 and is
valid until June 30, 2019.
Download here: 2015_2019_ELEM3_General_studyguide
LEVEL 3: Extra Class License
- Exam Requirement: 50-question Extra written exam (Element 4).
- License Privileges: All Amateur band privileges.
General licensees may upgrade to Extra Class by passing a 50-question multiple-choice examination. No Morse code test is required. In addition to some of the more obscure regulations, the test covers specialized operating practices, advanced electronics theory and radio equipment design. Non-licensed individuals must pass Element 2, Element 3 and Element 4 written exams to earn an Extra License. The FCC grants exam element 3 credit to individuals that previously held certain older types of licenses
No question pools are scheduled to be updated or released in 2017.
The Technician pool is scheduled for a revision in 2018.
The question pools review is part of a regular process.
Each question pool is reviewed and updated on a four year rotation.
Frequency Bands Chart
PART 97—Amateur Radio Service
The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) is a regularly updated, editorial compilation of C.F.R. material and Federal Register amendments produced by the National Archives and Records Administration’s Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Printing Office. For the most updated Part 97 content, please visit: www.ecfr.gov
A PDF of Part 97 is available here.
47 CFR Part 97 – September 23 2014