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# 23 - Getting Your Ham Radio License

Ok, so you have decided to get your ham radio license, so let's take a look at what is involved.

Amateur radio currently has 3 levels of licenses; Technician, General, and Amateur Extra. Each higher license level that you attain gives you additional frequency privileges and additional modes of operation that you can use on those frequencies.

The technician class is the "entry level" license class. The technician exam is a 35 question multiple-choice exam taken from a pool of 426 questions that you must get at least 26 questions correct on.

The general license also requires a 35 question multiple-choice exam taken from a pool of 462 questions that you also must get a minimum of 26 questions correct on.

The amateur extra exam is a more in-depth thorough 50 question multiple-choice exam taken from a pool of 712 questions which you must get at least 37 correct to pass.

The exam fee will be $15 and you are able to sit for multiple exams at the same time. In other words, once you pay your exam fee, if you are able to pass the technician exam, you can also take the general exam and not have to pay an additional fee. If you are also successful in passing the general exam, you can also take the amateur extra exam without having to pay an additional fee at the same sitting. So it is possible to pass all three exams and receive an amateur extra license for just $15, though that takes an enormous amount of studying.

If you choose not to take multiple exams on the same day, please do yourself a favor and upgrade quickly. Once you pass your technician exam, upgrade to general quickly, and then study for and upgrade to extra quickly. There’s a lot of overlap in test material. If you wait, you’ll have to relearn a lot of the content that you already had to study for.

Believe me, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to pass the exam and get your ham radio license. If I can do it, anyone can do it. All you have to do is make up your mind to do it, and put in the time needed to study for it.

I haven't been in school in over 30 years and completely forgot how to study for exams, yet I was able to pass both my technician, and general exams on the same day last week. I am now studying to try the amateur extra exam on the 21st of this month.

There are a lot of resources available to help you study for your ham license. Amateur radio clubs in your area usually hold free classes for the technician license exam. You will just have to purchase your own copy of the license manual to study from which can be purchased online from the ARRL website or may be ordered from Amazon.

I also highly recommend Ham Test Online. It is a wonderful online study option that really works. You can study for just one exam, or all three exams with Ham Test Online and once you pay for their service, you can use it to study with for up to two years before your subscription expires. I know that I would not have been able to pass the exams without the Ham Test Online service.

When you pass your exam, it will take about a week-and-a-half for the FCC to receive and process your application and for them to issue your callsign.

Once your callsign has been issued and is listed online on the FCC database you can legally tart transmitting on the ham radio frequencies. You will receive a copy of your license that you can print out in your email, then about a week later you will receive your license in the mail.

If you have any questions, or need any advice, let me know. I will assist you all that I can. You can email me at


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Coming Episodes:

In upcoming episodes we will take a look at Morse Code, Antennas, Handheld UHF/VHF Radios,, and Mobile UHF/VHF Radios.

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