"How do I get my Ham Radio license?"You'll need to pass a written exam. RadioExam.org has practice exams which you can use to try out your readiness for the real FCC exams.
There is no Morse Code (CW) requirement any more. The Technician license has not required CW since 1991. All CW tests were eliminated in the US in 2007 after international treaties were amended to allow countries to license their amateur radio operators for HF band privileges without CW exams. The US was not the first country to implement these changes - but just about everyone else who hadn't by then has done so now.
All US Amateur Radio exams can now be attained just by passing written exams. You can practice for all three of those exams here at RadioExam.Org. We have the full FCC-published question pools in the practice exams on this site.
The written exams on this site are for Amateur Radio licenses issued by the US Federal Communications Commission, and are only valid in the United States and any other locations under FCC jurisdiction, such as US-registered aircraft and ships in international waters, and American-owned satellites. Even manned spacecraft count - the International Space Station has a Ham Radio station aboard, and can operate under American or Russian callsigns.
Anything that has a Ham Radio transmitter needs a licensed Amateur Radio operator who is responsible for it.
First, get a study guide book or CDSometimes it's possible to find a local Amateur Radio club which offers a New Ham class in your area. But most people get their Amateur Radio licenses through self-study. You can probably get your license in a couple weeks of dedicating your evenings to study. Or you may be able to do it in a few evenings if you're technically inclined. The study typically takes the least time for those with a background in electronics, but you'll still need to study the FCC regulations.
You'll want a tutorial to study from, not just the exam questions but also explanations of the answers. And it doesn't hurt to have additional information about aspects of Amateur Radio as a hobby and as an emergency service. The most respected study guides are from ARRL and Gordon West. (RadioExam.org is not affiliated with either of them. This advice is based on previous results from exam-takers.)
If you're looking for the entry-level Amateur Radio license, you want the Technician exam. Once you have a Technician license, you may choose to take further exams to upgrade to a General Class license and then the top-level Amateur Extra license.
There was already a "no code" Technician license since 1991. As of February 23, 2007, is no longer a Morse Code exam requirement for any class of US Amateur Radio license.
Second, practice the exam onlineThe exams on RadioExam.org were originally designed for students at a class to practice before taking their exams. This uses the real FCC questions, and makes sample exams the same way the official examiners make the real exams. So it's just practice but the material is for real. When this site was opened for the public to use, the feedback we've gotten indicates that once you're regularly passing this practice, you are ready for the real exam.
If you're teaching an Amateur Radio licensing class, RadioExam.org grants you permission to refer your students here for practice. You're helping people get into Amateur Radio, and so are we. As a courtesy, please let us know ( webmaster at radioexam dot org ) that you're doing this so we can let you know whether your class coincides with any other activity or any scheduled maintenance of the server. But you don't have to wait for any permission - you have that already.
Third, find the exam session nearest to youAn FCC-accredited Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) organization will hold the local exams which you will take to get your license. These exams occur in most metropolitan areas and many rural locations across the US. They are only held at pre-announced times and locations.
If you fail an exam, you can come back to try again at another session. If you're close, the examiner may allow you to try again at the same session with a different set of questions. But that's up to the examiner. The examiners will charge an exam fee at each session where you take exams. The VEC organization sets the amount of the fees at their sessions in order to cover costs of providing the exams.
Find the nearest exam session at one of the following VECs:
If you achieve a General Class license, you can become an accredited examiner for Technician exams. If you achieve an Amateur Extra Class license, you can become accredited to administer all of the Amateur Radio exam elements. Contact any VEC organization which covers your region for information on accreditation. By that time, you'll have seen some references to this in your studies - there are questions about administering examinations on the General and Extra exams.
The author has decided to release the source code for RadioExam.Org and create an Open Source Software project out of it. One goal is to create a larger community of coorperating sites which choose to offer this exam practice service.
If you make changes, improvements or fixes to the software, you are encouraged to contribute them back to the project. If you redistibute the software, the GNU General Public License requires you to publish the patches or source of your changes.
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As of February 23, 2007, Morse Code examinations are no longer required by the FCC. All three license classes, Technician, General and Extra, can be attained by written exams alone and have their HF privileges. The frequencies available to each class of license have not changed.
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