AMATEUR RADIO LICENSES, EXAMS, AND CALLSIGNS -- UPDATED MAR. 23, 2022
Note that this is a rather lengthy document, and with posting into the selected message areas, it is split into several messages as a result.
License Classes And Required Elements:
Here are the current amateur radio license classes, and required test elements, for the United States, and its territories, as of the date noted above.
You MUST pass all "lower elements" before the license class privileges
of a "higher license" may be used. Those interested in amateur radio
license exam elements for Canada, or other countries, should contact the respective amateur radio licensing entity for that country for details.
Novice and Advanced Class licenses are NO LONGER ISSUED, as of April 15, 2000...but holders of these licensees may continue to use their license privileges, as long as their licenses are not expired, and they may renew
them at the appropriate time.
Also, Morse Code is NO LONGER REQUIRED for any class of U.S. Amateur
adio License, as of Feb. 23, 2007. You can learn, then use Morse Code on
the air, and many hams will continue to do so...but, you don't have to
prove that you know it.
As of April 19, 2022, there will be a $35 fee for the following ham
radio licenses, issued in the US and its territories:
1) Individual (new, renewed, upgrade, callsign change)
2) Club (new, renewed, or callsign change)
For callsign change, it's for either sequential or vanity...and it's
Whether for a license or callsign, the fee is payable on the FCC website, within 10 days of notification...or the license grant is dismissed, and the applicant is NOT eligible for a refund.
Full details are at http://www.arrl.org/fcc-application-fee
No fee is charged for an administrative update (modification) for a
change in name, email, mailing address, or phone number.
You may download the appropriate license class element question pools,
and if applicable, accompanying graphics (in .PDF format) from the Ham
Radio Exams files area...or from either http://www.arrl.org/question-pools
or from http://www.ncvec.org
on the Internet. The free Adobe Acrobat Reader (http://get.adobe.com/reader
) is required to view the .PDF files. For a detailed list of license class privileges by amateur radio band, see the category "Band Plans".
2 Technician Theory -- Technicians have all amateur radio privileges above
50 Megahertz, including the popular 2 meter band. They also have the
following HF privileges, identical to the former Novice Class license:
80 meters: CW (Morse Code) only: 3.525 Mhz to 3.600 Mhz
40 meters: CW (Morse Code) only: 7.025 Mhz to 7.125 Mhz
15 meters: CW (Morse Code) only: 21.025 Mhz to 21.200 Mhz
10 meters: CW (Morse Code), RTTY, and data only: 28.000 Mhz to 28.300 Mhz
10 meters: SSB Phone Only: 28.300 Mhz to 28.500 Mhz
Technician Class or higher licensees may also use the Voice Over Internet protocol (VoIP) modes of Echolink, IRLP, WIRES-II, D-Star, D-Rats, CQ100,
DMR, HamSphere, etc.
The advantage with using Echolink as a Single User Setup, or using the ThumbDV or related device for D-Star, DMR, WIRES-X, or Fusion on the
QuadNet Array (https://openquad.net
)...or using the programs of CQ100 or HamSphere...there are no additional antennas, rigs, cables, etc. required;
just a computer with an Internet connection (preferably high speed, as
dialup is too slow, and not recommended), and a sound card interface...
using either a headset microphone, or a desktop microphone and speakers.
A smartphone app is available for Echolink, and a D-Star app called
DroidStar are available for Android phones. However, one needs a valid
Amateur Radio License to use the apps.
With these, they can still talk around the world. This is particularly
useful for those living in areas where amateur radio antennas, towers,
etc., are either restricted, or prohibited altogether. This can be with
medical facilities, where any RF could cause a life saving device to malfunction, causing someone to die...or with living in Home Owners Associations (HOA's) or Covenants, Creeds, and Restrictions (CC&R's).
CQ100 and HamSphere are "virtual ionospheres for amateur radio", as no
actual RF occurs. While Echolink is free, CQ100 and HamSphere each have a yearly fee. With HamSphere, there are both ham radio operators, and SWL'ers (Short Wave Listeners). With these modes, an appropriate amateur radio
license is required, so ONLY LICENSED HAM RADIO OPERATORS are on these
modes. Again, the one exception is HamSphere, where SWL's can be on there.
With some remote base operations, for RF operations on HF, the site of remotehams.com is FREE -- others charge a rather large fee. Note that
you must be of the appropriate license class to use the desired bands,
whether on HF, VHF, or UHF. With these, you have to register, and then
download the appropriate software.
For details on CQ100, go to http://www.qsonet.com
-- and for details on HamSphere, go to http://www.hamsphere.com
on the Internet -- information
on pricing for each is on the respective websites. Also, work is being
done on a web browser app for CQ100, where more people can access it.
As of March, 2022...the CQ100 application, with its QSO-TV add-on, is
for Windows users only (there is not an app for Mac or Linux).
The Technician Class license is now the ENTRY LEVEL license for amateur radio. Note that except as noted above, NO OTHER HF PRIVILEGES EXIST FOR
NOVICE OR TECHNICIAN CLASS LICENSEES.
3 General Theory -- must also have element 2 if wishing to gain access
to HF privileges, specific to the General class license. The General
Class license allows all amateur radio privileges, except for the 500
kilohertz of spectrum on the 80, 40, 20, and 15 meter bands, that the
Amateur Extra Class licensees have.
4 Amateur Extra Theory -- must also have elements 2 and 3 if wishing to
gain access to HF privileges, specific to the Amateur Extra class
license. which allows ALL amateur radio privileges...including some on
the 80, 40, 20, and 15 meter bands EXCLUSIVE to them.
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* Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - Little Rock, Arkansas (618:250/33)