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2.0 Amateur Licensing Info

In the past, getting licensed as an amateur radio operator could be a daunting task, and the requirements to master the morse code kept more than a few away from the hobby. Recently, the FCC in the USA abolished the code requirements, and restructured the licensing levels to just three: Technician, General, and Amateur Extra.

Those previously licensed and holding other license levels, such as Technician Plus, Novice or Advanced, still hold those licenses with the privileges attached. But newcomers to the hobby will be licensed according to the new levels.

In Canada, there are three different levels: Basic, Morse Code, and Advanced.
(More information here: »www.rac.ca/regulatory/begin.htm)

Obtaining an amateur radio license requires passing a 50 question written test. Again, in earlier times this actually meant making an appointment with the regional FCC office and sometimes traveling a fair distance, but today testing is done by Volunteer Examiners at Amateur Radio Clubs throughout the country, and there is one near you. There is ample help to prepare for these tests, both locally from freindly amateur radio clubs and online, through programs to study. One such online site is ARRL, the Amateur Radio Relay League: »www.arrl.org
Another is HamTestOnline: »www.hamtestonline.com/ This site is not free, but it is widely used and makes studying easy. It offers study for the Canadian tests also. There are several others on line, and really, getting licensed today is not a big hassle at all.

Check your national ham radio association for links to find local clubs in your area.
The Canadian equivalent is: »www.rac.ca/

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • "Obtaining an amateur radio license requires passing a 50 question written test." Should be correct to "Obtaining an amateur radio license requires passing a 35 question written test for Technician and General, 50 question written exam for Amateur Extra." Plus some thing might want to be stated that in order to get a higher class license you must hold or pass the lower class one.

    2009-02-03 22:40:14 (chandom See Profile)

by KeysCapt See Profile
last modified: 2007-11-10 16:40:41

When an individual passes the initial licensing test, a call sign is issued by the licensing entity, such as the FCC. These are generally issued in sequence, and in the US, they contain a number corresponding to the area of the country the new Ham resides in. An initial number in the US might look like KJ4ABC. The "4" indicates the southeast US.

When a US amateur advances to the General class, he may elect to change his call sign by obtaining a "vanity" combination. General class operators may shorten their call sign by one digit, but must still have a number. There is much additional information on vanity call signs at this site:

by KeysCapt See Profile
last modified: 2007-11-10 16:41:00