What Is Amateur Radio?

Who is the Typical Ham?-

Amateur Radio operators come from all walks of life –doctors, students, kids, politicians,

truck drivers, movie stars, missionaries and even your average neighbor next door. They are of all ages,’

sexes, income levels and nationalities. Whether through Morse Code on an old brass telegraph key,

voice communication on a hand-held radio or computerized messages transmitted via satellite,

all hams use radio to reach out to the world.

Classes of License

First, there are no longer any Morse code requirements for any of the license levels.

There are now three (3) license levels. They are Technician, General, and Amateur Extra

(often just called Extra). There are still some Advanced license holders, a class that was

between General and Extra, but the license is no longer issued.


There are numerous tools to study for your license, these include web based and smartphone

applications with flashcards. There are also practice tests as well as study guides and textbooks

in a number of different formats to suit your learning style. There are also some very good videos

on YouTube. You can also find local ham clubs that offer classes in a number of different format.

Recommend Reading

  1. Ham Radio For Dummies (387 pages ) * FREE PDF Download *

from Amazon.com

  1. ARRL Ham Radio License Manual 4th Edition (Softcover Edition $21.44)
  2. The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual (Kindle Edition $19.99)

From The American Radio Relay League

  1.  ARRL Ham Radio License Manual 4th Edition (Spiral Bound $32.95)
  2. ARRL Ham Radio License Manual 4th Edition (Softcover Bound $  NOT Available)

Next Step STUDY !!!!

Finding and taking a test

The entry exam for Technician level is 35 questions taken from a question pool of about

450 questions. There are local clubs or test teams in most areas that offer exams on a regular basis.

They are coordinated through Volunteer Exam Coordinators (VEC’s). The VEC’s have agreements

with the FCC to have local teams and to send the applications to them. There are 14 VEC’s and the

FCC allows them to charge up to $15 for exams. The Laurel VEC is the only one out of the 14 that

doesn’t charge for exams. Their website lists teams and test dates. Other test sites can be found on

the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) site. Laurel teams will usually have your new call sign issued

by the FCC the next business day. Other teams can take 10-14 days or more.

Amateur Ham Radio Region Map

A Cool Call Sign

Your new call sign is issued sequentially based on the geographical region you are in. It will typically be a 2×3 format that is two letters, a number for the region you live in or the address you provide, and three letters sequential from the list. For example, KE0PDQ.

A vanity call sign is one that you choose once your licensed. This is free through the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) website once you’ve decided what you want. The best place to search for available call signs is www.radioqth.net.

Your First Radio

Many people get a radio before they have a license. This lets them listen and learn how to use it. This is perfectly OK as long as you DO NOT transmit without your license. If you have a friend that is a ham, you can use their license as long as they’re nearby.

Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, is the use of radiofrequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radiosport, contesting, and emergency communication. The term “amateur” is used to specify “a duly authorized person interested in radioelectric practice with a purely personal aim and without pecuniary interest;”[1] (either direct monetary or another similar reward) and to differentiate it from commercial broadcasting, public safety (such as police and fire), or professional two-way radio services (such as maritime, aviation, taxis, etc.).

The amateur radio service (amateur service and amateur-satellite service) is established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) through the Radio Regulations. National governments regulate technical and operational characteristics of transmissions and issue individual stations licenses with an identifying call sign. Prospective amateur operators are tested for their understanding of key concepts in electronics and the host government’s radio regulations.

Radio amateurs use a variety of voice, text, image, and data communications modes and have access to frequency allocations throughout the RF spectrum. This enables communication across a city, region, country, continent, the world, or even into space. In many countries, amateur radio operators may also send, receive, or relay radio communications between computers or transceivers connected to secure virtual private networks on the Internet.

Amateur radio is officially represented and coordinated by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which is organized in three regions and has as its members the national amateur radio societies which exist in most countries. According to an estimate made in 2011 by the American Radio Relay League, two million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio.[2] About 830,000 amateur radio stations are located in IARU Region 2 (the Americas) followed by IARU Region 3 (South and East Asia and the Pacific Ocean) with about 750,000 stations. A significantly smaller number, about 400,000, is located in IARU Region 1 (Europe, Middle East, CIS, Africa).

for more info Check out this short Amateur radio video

Follow theses steps to getting your Amateur Radio Technician license

Getting Your Amateur Radio License

Getting your first amateur radio license is fairly straight forward. In order to get your first license, you need to study for a 35 multiple choice question exam. The exam fee is $15. That’s all that’s required. There are actually 3 classes of license, each with progressive / cumulative privileges, each requiring additional exams. Most people start off with the entry level license class (Technician) and then later upgrade once they are involved in the hobby and have gathered more knowledge through use of the service.

The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) is the national association for amateur radio and is a very good resource for study materials and the like.  The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, 3rd Edition is a highly recommended license textbook which goes into details regarding not just what is on the exam, but it also functions as a good grounding into the hobby itself.

There’s a number of free online practice exams that perfectly simulate the exam, which can be used to determine how ready you are for the exam.  AA9PW FCC Practice ExamseHam.net Ham Exams and HamTesting.com are the most popular.  Once you feel you are ready for the exam, you can find a nearby exam session on ARRL’s License Exam Session database.  You will generally need to bring a pen or pencil, two forms of state acceptable ID (at least one being a photo ID), a basic calculator and the $15 exam fee.

Most people get their license by self-study and the like, but certainly if you need any assistance with getting your license, please feel to

First Buy Amateur Radio Technician license book

use the guides above and take practice exams on website below  Remember: Technician license you MUST get 25 questions correct out of 35 in order to pass for your Amateur Radio Technician license exam ( there are 500 questions in the Amateur Radio Technician license)

JOIN A Amateur Radio Clubs or Group in your Area or city (Massachusetts Listed Below)

these groups or clubs mite give lessons or have someone in club willing to teach you about Amateur Radio

YouTube Videos

    1.  Lets Get Our Technician License pt.1! HAM Radio Introduction
    2. Lets Get Our Technician License pt.2! Run The Practice Tests
    3. Lets Get Our Technician License pt.3! How Radios Work and Electronic Components
    4. Lets Talk Safety, Legal, Q&A – Lets Get Our HAM Radio Technician License! pt. 4
    5.  Safety Third? Lets Get Our Technician License pt 5!
    6. YOU’RE READY! Go Take the Technician Exam pt.6 – HAM Radio Crash Course

Information for Beginners

  1. ARRL.COM Video Two
  2. Ham radios Dummies
  3. Buying your First Amateur Radio Video (YouTube.com)
  4. Amateur Call Sign Systems

History Of Amateur Radio

  1. The History of Amateur Radio
  2. Marconi and the South Wellfleet Wireless

       Study Guides and Reference Books

Getting on the Air

The two primary methods you’ll use are simplex and through a repeater. Simplex is where you talk and receive on the same frequency. It’s sometimes called ‘direct’ as one radio is talking directly to the other. The distance you can talk on simplex depends on the power of your radio, the efficiency of the antenna, and the terrain or objects in between the two radios.

Repeaters are essentially two radios working back to back. The repeater receives on one frequency and transmits on another, the radio operates likewise. The repeater typically receives the lower power signal from the radio and re-transmits it anywhere from 30 to 100 watts. This means it covers a large area.

topographical type map showing points of transmission for ham radio repeater

There are standard simplex frequencies, chosen so they don’t interfere with any repeaters. Repeater frequencies are usually coordinated so they don’t interfere with another repeater on the same frequencies. A list of repeaters for any area can be found on www.repeaterbook.com.


FCC Part 97 Rules & Regulations for the Amateur Radio Service. Rules effective November 1, 2017.

Item No. 1173 – $7.95

ARRL Frequency Chart (11 x 17)

Full color, 11 x 17 inches. Worked All States (WAS) map on backside. Keep nearby your station for quick look-up.

Item No. 1126 – $3.00