How to Get a Ham Radio License and Why it’s Needed

how to get a ham radio license

HAM radio can be heard all around the world. So while you are planning to operate a HAM radio station, you have to keep in mind that you will also represent your country through it. So you have a huge responsibility to operate your station legally. You need to ensure that you have the ability and skills to maintain HAM radio and communicate all over the world. So you just have to get a license by proving yourself through an exam. If you have a HAM radio license, you are allocated a lot of frequencies. So your task is to operate a neat and clean station, operate in your allotted frequency and create a better image of your country in front of the whole world.

If you are one of them who are looking for a way of getting a HAM radio license, then you are in the right place. I am here to provide you step by step guidelines to get your license.

Importance of Having a HAM Radio License:

Some people think that they will not need a HAM radio license after SHTF. They also think that no one will check their license in the future after SHTF. So they don't want to give enough effort and time to get a license. Another reason for not interested to have a license is that they do not want the government tracking them.

But do you think that the above concept is true? Do you think you can use a HAM radio without a license? Now I will provide you a list of what you can do without a license:

  1. You can listen to FM radio.
  2. You can tune on Emergency Weather Radio.
  3. You can scan local frequencies.
  4. Can listen to Local unpaid radio.

So, you can do a lot of things, right? But no transmitting is possible without a license. HAM radio without a license can be used as a backup device for communication. So, the reason behind getting your license for HAM radio is that HAM radios operate on a broad range of frequencies. It will allow you to communicate all around the world. If you have a license, it will help you to communicate locally or all over the world free of cost.

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Types of Ham Licenses: 

FCC now provides three types of licenses:

  • Technical License: This is the first level license that should be acquired first. Transmitting privileges on VHF and UHF radio bands are provided by this type of license. The advantages of these bands are that they serve you the opportunity of direct radio to radio communication and it can be possible within a few miles. This frequency range may also help you to communicate with the International Space Station (ISS).
  • General License: Little more upgraded.This is probably the most used license. This provides transmitting privilege on different High Frequency (HF) bands. So it will allow long-distance communication. 
  • Extra License: This is more upgraded and mainly keep reserved. Some extra class ham operators may get this license.

Types and Question Pattern of License Test:

To get a HAM radio license you need to go through an exam. The exam is called the Licence Test. You need to pass this exam. You have to answer the questions on the basis of electronics as well as the rules of the norm of HAM radio. All the textbooks that you need to prepare for the license test are available on the internet. There are no age requirements for this test.

General and Technical Licence Test:

Total Question Number: There are 35 questions in total.

Minimum Score to Pass: You need to obtain minimum 26 marks to pass the test. 

Extra Class License:

Total Question Number: Total 50 questions needed to answer.

Minimum Score to Pass: You have to get 37 marks minimum to pass the exam.

Process of Getting HAM Radio License:

Step 1. Learn Everything Relevant to license Test:

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Before the exam, you have to know about FCC rules and regulations, license responsibilities, station operating procedures, characteristics of radio waves, principles of electrical and electronics, electrical safety, etc. The exam is taken to ensure that you have at least the basic idea of operating your radio equipment efficiently and safely. Don't be afraid, we will find all the study resources on the internet.

Step 2. Utilize Online Resources:

There is a huge scope of giving sample online exam. You need to attend those to improve your skills and know the question pattern. The more you practice, the greater the chance to pass the exam.

Step 3. Attend the Exam:

So are you prepared for the exam day? The main exam is administered by some volunteers. They will encourage you to pass the exam. They are also very serious as proctor. They always professionally take the exam.

Things You Need to Bring with You During Exam:

Any Government-issued License: It can be a driving license or a passport.

Testing fee: You need to pay around $15 as a testing fee.

Other Accessories: Pencil or pen or other necessary things are provided by the authority. You just need to bring a fresh calculator with you which has no memory or saving function.

After passing the exam, your license will be issued within a week.


HAM radio is really a useful means of communication through wireless technology. It helps you to communicate between different cities, countries or communicate even being in space. So if you are planning to operate HAM radio, operate it legally. A huge band of frequencies is allocated for you if you pass just a simple exam. In the above article, I want to share with you the ways to get a HAM radio license. Just give a little effort and enjoy your station.  

Last Updated on January 3, 2021 by Leo Evans

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