Friday, March 01, 2019

5:16 PM



Why do you need an Amateur Radio License?


All Amateur Radio operators must be licensed.


Amateur Radio is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the Communications Act of 1934. It is also subject to numerous international agreements. All Amateur Radio operators must be licensed. In the U.S., there are three license classes. The higher the class of license, the more frequencies are available. Earning each higher class license requires passing a more difficult examination. Although regulated by the FCC, license exams are given by volunteer groups of Amateur Radio operators. Operating under organizations called Volunteer Examiner Coordinators, volunteers administer and grade tests and report results to the FCC, which then issues the license. U.S. licenses are good for 10 years before renewal, and anyone may hold one except a representative of a foreign government.

The above is an excerpt from the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL):


Because radio waves can interfere with numerous commercial interests and propagate across international boundaries, operators must demonstrate an understanding of the rules and a minimum degree of technical and operating proficiency to be entrusted with the privileges granted by these licenses.


Also from Wikipedia:



License Classes

In the United States, the FCC currently offers 3 classes of license with increasing degrees of privileges: Technician, General, and Amateur Extra.


Learn More Here:


Historically, there was a Morse Code proficiency component to licensing requirements. Effective February 23, 2007 this requirement was waived by the FCC for US Radio Amateur licensing.


Prospective Hams are no longer required to learn Morse Code in order to be licensed.


The Rules

Amateur Radio in the United States is governed by Title 47 CFR Part 97, information can be found here.


From Wikipedia:

From ARRL:

From US Government:


Understanding these rules, as they apply to your class of license,  is your responsibility as a license holder.



Many books have been published to help people through the licensing process and to  understand "The World's Greatest Hobby". The first item below is the book used in the class offered by  the Huntsville Amateur Radio club.


ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, 4th Edition

Available at GigaParts, 1426 Paramount Dr., Huntsville, AL for $29.95

Also available online at


At the link below are a number of books available on Amazon, published with similar intent (This is not intended as an endorsement).



License Classes

A free 10 week Technician License class offered by Huntsville Amateur Radio Club

Most recently one began January 7, 2019 meeting Monday and Thursday 7-9 PM  @ Grove Baptist Church. For more information:

Watch our website or send an email to [email protected] to learn of future opportunities.


Other area clubs known to offer license classes are:


Muscle Shoals:



The ARRL offers a lookup utility for finding local Amateur Radio Classes:


There are also many online resources:


Watch "Ham Radio Crash Course Series" on YouTube


MIT Radio Society Lectures On Radio Technology



Question Pools and Practice Tests

When the FCC delegated testing to Amateur Radio Volunteer Examiners and Coordinators  (VEs or VECs), test materials are formalized into a publically published set of question pools. While these are subject to periodic update due to rules changes and operating trends, the question set is exact for at least 2 years at a time, and all tests given are drawn from these questions.


ARRL Question Pool Files:


There are on-line practice testing websites:

ARRL Exam Review:

QRZ Hamtest:


eHam Exams:





Testing Organizations

Volunteer Examiners (VEs) are licensed radio amateurs holding a General Class license or higher, who offer their time to administer the FCC licensing tests.


CAVEC tests locally:


The ARRL runs a national VE program: 



Local Testing Opportunities

Huntsville AL:


Other area clubs known to offer license testing are:

Athens AL:

Cullman AL:

Chattanooga TN:

Columbia TN :

Florence/Muscle Shoals/Tuscumbia AL:

Jasper AL: Contact Jimmie Dill [email protected] of Walker County ARES


Most Hamfests also have VEC testing sessions.

Alabama Hamfests are advertised on the Bamafest Facebook page here:


The ARRL offers a lookup utility for finding local Amateur Radio Classes:


Please inform the Webmaster ([email protected]) if any links contained herein are found to be dead or otherwise a problem.


Created with Microsoft OneNote 2013.