Amateur radio licenses in the United States are issued and renewed by the Federal Communications Commission without charge, although the private individuals who administer the examinations may recoup their expenses by charging a fee. Licenses currently remain valid for 10 years from the date of issuance or renewal. Renewal can be done on-line.
The entry-level license, known as Technician Class, is awarded after an applicant successfully completes a 35-question multiple choice written examination. The license grants full operating privileges on all amateur bands above 30 MHz and limited privileges in portions of the high frequency (HF) bands.
The middle level, known as General Class, requires passage of the Technician test, as well as a 35-question multiple-choice General exam. General class licensees are granted privileges on portions of all amateur bands, and have access to over 83% of all amateur HF bandwidth. However some band segments often used for long distance contacts are not included.
The top US license class is Amateur Extra Class. This license requires the same tests as General plus a 50-question multiple-choice theory exam. Those with Amateur Extra licenses are granted all privileges on all US amateur bands.
Why should I get licensed?
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. In the US there are three license classes—Technician, General and Extra.
The Technician class license is the entry-level license of choice for most new ham radio operators. To earn the Technician license requires passing one examination totaling 35 questions on radio theory, regulations and operating practices. The license gives access to all Amateur Radio frequencies above 30 megahertz, allowing these licensees the ability to communicate locally and most often within North America. It also allows for some limited privileges on the HF (also called “short wave”) bands used for international communications.
The General class license grants some operating privileges on all Amateur Radio bands and all operating modes. This license opens the door to world-wide communications. Earning the General class license requires passing a 35 question examination. General class licensees must also have passed the Technician written examination.
Amateur Extra License
The Amateur Extra class license conveys all available U.S. Amateur Radio operating privileges on all bands and all modes. Earning the license is more difficult; it requires passing a thorough 50 question examination. Extra class licensees must also have passed all previous license class written examinations
The several area clubs offers an Amateur Radio License Class for all levels of Licenses. We can help you if you are looking for your first (Technician) license, would like to expand your privileges to the full set of HF bands (General), or would like to earn the highest class (Extra) license. Classes are a great way for family and friends to learn about Ham Radio while earning your Ham Radio License or upgrade.