How to become a Ham Radio Operator in USA

If you want to venture into the world of radio frequency, the first thing you should know is how to become a ham radio operator? That is, what steps you must follow and what the legal requirements to obtain your ham radio operator license are.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States, which is nothing more than an independent government agency whose function is to regulate communications by radio, television, satellite, and cable throughout the country.

Let’s read more details about How to Become a Ham Radio Operator in the…

You can start in a basic and practical form in ham radio with the idea of obtaining your license. For this you must know the following:

Ham radio operator license

The license granted by the FCC will give you the necessary permission to access and use different frequencies, bands, and powers.

If you are looking to experiment in ham radio, it is not essential that you have specialized knowledge in electronics, nor be a technology expert or master digital communications.

Ham radio operator license

There are no age limitations in order to obtain a license to operate ham radio stations for personal use. You just have to show that you understand all the FCC regulations, have basic knowledge of the radio station operation and that you are aware of the safety conditions that must exist.

Types of licenses in the current amateur radio system

Operator licenses within ham radio are divided into different classes, which are established according to the degree of knowledge, which will allow you to access certain privileges.

As time has passed by, the types of licenses have had certain changes; this has resulted in the current system being divided into three open classes and three vested classes.

In the United States, these licenses are issued and renewed by the FCC without having to make any payment, however, there are individuals who administer the tests and can establish some type of fee. Licenses are valid for 10 years from the date of issue or renewal, as the case may be.

Classes of open licenses

Among the classes of open licenses, we have:

  • Technician Class is the entry-level license. This type of license is accessed after the applicant successfully completes a 35-question multiple-choice written test. With this license you will have operating privileges in all amateur bands above 30 MHz, on the other hand, there are certain restrictions for high-frequency bands.
    Ham Radio Technician License Course
  • The general class is a mid-level license. In order to access this license, you need to pass the technician test as well as to take a general exam. Ham radio operators who have this license have privileges in parts of all amateur bands and access to 83% of the entire range of the amateur HF band.
    The general class is a mid-level ham license
  • Amateur Extra Class is the highest license class. For obtaining this license, you must take the same exams as the general class, and also, a written theory test with 50 multiple-choice questions. Ham radio operators who have this license have all the privileges of all bands in the United States.

Classes of vested licenses

Currently, these kinds of licenses are no longer being issued for new applicants but by being a ham radio you should know what their characteristics were:

  • Novice class: this license was issued to those who passed a 5-word-per-minute Morse code exam in addition to a basic written test.
  • Advanced class: the privileges that were given to radio amateurs with this license were very similar to those of a general class license. The only difference was that 275 kHz of the additional spectrum was included in the bands.
  • Technician Plus class: this type of license was incorporated to comply with the International Telecommunications Union guidelines that require great knowledge of Morse code.
Classes of vested ham licenses

Volunteer Examiners

Any person that wants to apply for a ham radio license in the United States must file with Volunteer Examiners. These are ham radio operators who have already obtained their license and carry out exam sessions.

The voluntary examiners have defined structures led by coordinating organizations in charge of the administrative aspects and preparations for presenting the amateur radio operator license tests.

Depending on the use you will have; it will depend on the test to gain the license.

Volunteer Examiners ham radio

Steps to obtain your ham radio license

  • Study hard: you must have notions of basic electronics theory as well as the guidelines and regulations that the FCC has depending on the license you are going to request.
  • Take interactive tests on the web and you will find models that will help you evaluate the exam criteria.
  • The official test counts with 35 multiple selection questions.
  • At the time of presenting the test, remember that it has to be a section accredited by a Committee of Voluntary Examiners.

Importance of the how to become a ham radio operator in the USA

If you really want to know how to become a ham radio operator, then it is vital and indispensable that you know that, in the United States, to access different frequencies such as bands, you must be accredited by the FCC, which is in charge of issuing and renewing licenses.

Depending on the type of license you want to request, the tests that you must take will be different. This authorization or license granted by the FCC allows knowing if the ham radio operator is qualified to carry out this task safely and legally.

Remember that it is not necessary for you to be a specialist in electronics and technology, but you must have notions of these topics to venture into this world.

How to become a Ham Radio Operator in USA


Being a Ham radio operator could be fun, but remember that you have to follow the rules established by the FCC. It is not necessary for you to be a specialist in electronics and technology, but you must have notions of these topics to venture into this world.

Questions and Answers

Q-1. How many correct answers are required to approve the general test?

If you have 26 questions answered correctly, then congratulations, you have passed the general exam!

Q-2. Is it necessary to know Morse code to perform the test?

No, you do not need to have extensive knowledge of Morse code to take the general exam.

Q-3. Do the Volunteer Examiners work at the FCC?

No, the volunteer examiners are not employees of the FCC but they still have high responsibility functions.

Q-4. If I have more privileges, do I have more responsibilities as a radio amateur?

Yes, ham radio operators have the capabilities and potential to interfere with other radio services. That is why an authorization from the FCC is required to guarantee that the operator is qualified to carry out said operation safely, efficiently, and legally.



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