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2.0 Amateur Licensing Info
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/
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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: