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Obtaining an FCC Amateur Radio Service License
Let me begin by saying right off that the FCC Amateur Radio Service is not a give-me.
To earn the Technician License, as well as the General License and the Amateur Extra license one must study and pass an exam.
I am saying this because some have believed that all they needed to do was take the exam without any study.
These guys usually fail the exam.
There are those who have had a lifetime in electronics and radio and they usually pass the exams with minimal study.
With a little study everyone can pass the Technician exam.
I am not trying to scare you because many school children regularly pass the Technician exam.
What I am saying is you need to study to pass the exam.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines amateur service as "A radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."
Here is a little more information from the United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 47 - Telecommunication, PART 97 - AMATEUR RADIO SERVICE, § 97.1 Basis and purpose, that define what amateur radio is all about.
The FCC licenses for amateur radio currently up for explanation are the Technician, General, and Amateur Extra classes. They are studied and examined in that order. Morse Code is no longer required. You do not have to progress all the way to the top. You may stop when you have reached the level that provides the access you desire. There are many reasons to obtain your FCC amateur radio license because there are many things you may do once you obtain your FCC amateur radio license. The training manuals and/or online training sessions will attempt to touch on many of these aspects.
Once you get your license you can explore these avenues and build on your skills. Some examples of signals you may send and receive are Phone (voice), CW (morse code), JT8 (digital), and image (television). Some example of transmissions avenues you may use are direct, ionospheric bounce, meteor trail bounce, satellite, international space station, and moon bounce. Amateur frequencies in many bands are available. You are allowed to transmit in these bands depending on you license class. These bands include Low Frequency (LF), Medium Frequency (MF), High Frequency (HF), Very High Frequency (VHF), Ultra High Frequency (UHF), Super High Frequency (SHF), Extremely High Frequency (EHF), and even higher into light communications.
You may purchase you amateur equipment ready-to-use right off the store shelf. As an amateur radio operator you may build your own equipment from scratch. You may modify other radio equipment, like military or commercial, to operate on the amateur radio frequency bands. Or you can do any combination of these options just remember that each amateur station must be operated in accordance with good engineering and good amateur practice.
The FCC written exams are called elements 2, 3, and 4. First you must pass the 35 question element 2 written exam, by answering 26 questions correctly, to earn the technician class license. If successful with element 2, and you do not have too, but if you wish to continue you may then take the element 3 written exam. Then you must pass the 35 question element 3 written exam, by answering 26 questions correctly, to earn the general class license. If successful with element 2 and element 3, and you do not have too, but if you wish to continue you may take the element 4 written exam. Then you must pass the 50 question element 4 written exam by answering 37 questions correctly to earn the amateur extra class license. Many amateur radio operators do not take all three exams in one sitting but spread them out over time.
For each of the three element exams there is a question pool maintained by the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. Each pool of questions last for four years before they are upgraded. Upgrades consist of things like removing "withdrawn" questions and updating old technology - vacuum tubes and mechanical typewriters - with current technology - semiconductors and computers.
You can locate a class by going to the ARRL web site: find-an-amateur-radio-license-class. At this web site, just go to the drop down box labeled "ARRL Section:" and select North Texas. If you don't see any classes don't be discouraged. Go to the ARRL North Texas web site and email clubs and ask if they know of any classes.
You may also be able to train using the Gordon West Radio School.
The Gordon West manuals are also available at the Main Trading Company in Paris Texas.
David Casler has a web site.
Under the paragraph "Amateur Radio" he has three key words - Technician - General - Extra.
Those links will eventually list his YouTube video links.
These are great videos to learn Ham radio.
Since Mr. Casler is constantly updating his YouTube information I found it better to link through his web site.
David Casler suggest that you watch this video from the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). What is ham radio?
When you are ready to test you can locate an exam session by going to the ARRL web site: find an amateur radio license exam session. At this web site, just go to the drop down box labeled "ARRL Section:" and select "North Texas". If you don't see any classes don't be discouraged. Go to the ARRL North Texas web site and email clubs and ask if they know of any exams.
You can also go to Ham Study and look at their chart of upcoming test sessions.
If you are having browser troubles going to Ham Study you can try going to Exam Tools and on the right is a link to HamStudy.
There are lots of videos on YouTube from others just make sure the Technician classes are for the period July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2022.
There are lots of videos on YouTube from others just make sure the General classes are for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2023.
There are lots of videos on YouTube from others just make sure the Amateur Extra classes are for the period July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2024.
I know there is much more training information so please email any question you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Abbott, KF5FWK, Garland Amateur Radio Club, Education Director
Kathleen Abbott, KF5UEI, Proof Reader
This page accessed times since 07/01/2020.
Link back to the "Garland Amateur Radio Club" WEB page.
Changes last made on: Thursday August 13, 14:00:00 2020