License Requirements

You need an easy-to-earn license to transmit on an amateur radio frequency. License tests cover electronics theory and amateur radio rules and regulations. Study guides are readily available. There is no age restriction. Each country has its own licensing arrangements. Many countries share many of the same frequency bands with hams in the United States. Each license class allows operation in certain bands, using certain modes. The higher the class of license, the more allowable frequency bands that are available for use.

Recently, the FCC relaxed the Morse code requirements portion of the rules to make it easier to get an amateur radio operator's license. The FCC's new licensing plan means you will be able to become a ham by passing a single 35-question written examination. License study guides are readily available for the written test.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) helps many get into amateur radio. The ARRL was organized in 1914 by H.P. Maxim to help relay radio messages. Most radio messages had a 25-mile range at that time and were transmitted around 1.5 MHz, at the high end of the AM broadcast band. The ARRL has many useful publications. Local volunteers around the country administer amateur radio tests. These volunteers are usually members of an amateur radio club.

What are the amateur radio operator exams like?

The FCC licensing requirements includes a mixture of written tests for several license classes and a Morse Code test of five words per minute for some license classes.

The written tests consist of multiple choice exams. You can access online study guides or you can buy them. Each type of license has specific operating privileges on each ham band.