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Five Easy Steps to Get Your Ham Radio License – Ham Radio Q&A

Five Easy Steps to Get Your Ham Radio License – Ham Radio Q&A

– Today on Ham Radio Q&A,
I’ve got the five easy steps you need to get your ham radio license, so please keep watching for more. (upbeat rock music) Hi I’m Michael, KB9VBR,
your host for Ham Radio Q&A. I’m on a mission to inspire and educate the amateur radio community, so if this is your first time watching, be sure to hit that subscribe button. Well, my videos are enjoyed by
both amateur radio operators and prospective hams alike. So much so, that I repeatedly
get similar inquiries and questions on how to
get your ham radio license. So today, we’re gonna go all
the way back to square one and I’ll outline the
five easy steps to take, so that you too can get
your amateur radio license. But first, are you already licensed? Well don’t stop watching, I’d love to hear your experiences on how you got your license, so please leave them
in the comments below. But next, let’s break the process
down into five easy steps. Step one, what do you need
to know to get your license? Well, getting your license is
not an overly difficult task, although it will take a
little bit of work and effort. You’ll need to pass the
FCC’s Technician license exam in order to receive your callsign. The exam consists of 35
multiple choice questions derived from a publicly available pool of approximately 400 questions. Since all the questions are known, although you won’t know which of the 35 questions you will receive, it makes the process of studying
for the test a bit easier. In order to pass, you need to get at least
26 of the questions right. So what are you gonna need
to know to get your license? Well, the amateur radio license exam covers four main topics,
Rules and Regulations, Operating Procedures, Basic Electronics, and Simple Amateur Radio Theory. There are ten topics, or sub-elements that the exam
questions are pulled from, FCC rules and station
license responsibilities, operating procedures,
radio wave characteristics, amateur radio practices and station setup, electrical and electronics principles, electrical components, station equipment and
basic troubleshooting, modulation modes and operating activities, antennas and feed lines, and
finally, electrical safety. Sounds complicated? No, it really isn’t. The whole purpose of
the test is to make sure you can operate your
amateur radio equipment in a responsible and safe manner and have the basic foundation and knowledge to begin
enjoying ham radio hobby. So looking at these topics, you’ve probably identified
a couple the of subjects alien to you and that’s okay. There are plenty of resources available to get you over those hurdles. Step two, finding a study
resource that works for you. For a lot of people, the first thing that comes
to mind is to memorize the question pool and
brute force the exam. But that is an inefficient
form of learning and I don’t recommend it to anyone. Fortunately, there are many
forms of study aids available, such as books by the ARRL and Gordon West. I like books, as a paper
copy in front of me works well for reference. But books may not be for everyone, so there are plenty of online
tools to teach the exam. First off, the free video
series by Dave Casler breaks down the exam material in a systematic fashion quite well. If you have the time to
commit to watching the videos, that may work well for you. Or an online resource like may be the ticket. Many local clubs also offer
free classes and study sessions. Getting connected with
the club is a great idea, as you may be able to link up
with a more experienced ham that will guide through
the learning process. I hope you can find a
method that works for you and your particular learning style. Step three, commit to
it by setting a date. It’s human nature to put things off unless there is a deadline. So create a deadline for yourself. Find a local exam session
and mark the calendar. Give yourself enough
time to adequately study, but not so far off in the
future that you lose interest or take your eyes off the prize. It’s reasonable to
assume that you can study and get your license in four to six weeks, so find an exam session in
your area and register for it. The ARRL has a list of local exam sessions on their site along with
contact information. So go over there and register today. Step four, reinforce
with online resources. Start taking sample exams online once you get a feeling for the material. Your scores will improve with time. Many of the online exam simulators will give you the questions
in a flash card style or as a simulated test. I prefer the simulated
test, as it generates the 35 questions for a
more realistic experience. In my experience, teaching
classes and giving exams, I’ve found that if you hit the
80% mark on the sample exams, you’ll pass the actual test. And you won’t have to
ace the exam, just pass. Step five, go ahead take the test. Ready for testing day? Well, the amateur radio
license exams are administered by volunteers and they’re
all cheering for you to pass. But they’re also serious
in their responsibility and will proctor the exam
in a professional manner. You’ll need to bring a form of government issued identification,
like a driver’s license, passport, or current military ID. You’ll also need a testing
fee, which is typically $15. Pencils and exam materials
will be provided. You can bring a simple
calculator to the session, but you’ll need to show that the memories in it have been cleared. If you pass your Technician exam, you’ll be given the option
of taking the general test. I recommend you doing it. While maybe only 20% of the
people that take the general in this manner pass it,
you’re gonna get a good taste for what’s expected in the next level. And once you pass, your
license and callsign will typically be issued in about a week. So what are your thoughts? If you’ve taken the test and
got your amateur radio license, please tell us about your experience. Or do you teach and mentor
other prospective hams? Let me know about your
favorite resources and methods. Please leave them all
in the comments below. I’ll try to answer them and also highlight a few of the best ones in my monthly question and answer video. For more articles and information, be sure to check out my blog
at Your support of this channel drives the production of future videos. So if you like this video,
give me that big thumbs up and don’t forget to check out
some of the other recommended videos alongside me here. And hit that subscribe button
if haven’t already done so. Pressing subscribe notifies you when future videos will be released. But that’s it for this time. I’m Michael, KB9VBR,
have a great day and 73.

25 comments on “Five Easy Steps to Get Your Ham Radio License – Ham Radio Q&A

  1. in my country (hungary) the highest score answers on the test are like linear amplifier scematics, a superciever scematic and the low score questions are about things like the law, some EU callsign prefixes and q codes. and the minimum score to pass is 60. i only got 20 points last time, will give it an another try this september

  2. Pass my tech license with a lot of help from the Ham Test Prep app in the Android app store. Just anytime I had a moment, instead of browsing the web, I would do a few questions. The questions I regularly got wrong or didn't understand I would lookup online later.

  3. Hi, I'm a Technician and will upgrade my license…eventually. Getting a base station(mobile radio) soon, just not sure if I should get an HF, multiband capable of HF or not worry about HF until I'm a General.

    I like the idea of being able to communicate long distances with HF but don't want to get the radio if there aren't Technicians on the allowed HF frequencies. Are there techs many Technicians on HF?

  4. When I got my tech license, I went to I first read the questions a few times. Then did the flash cards awhile. Then I moved on to the practice test. Then, I went and took my test and passed with 30 out of 35. Hope this helps.

  5. Hi, I am an old guy of 61 and handicapped. Joining a ham club is difficult as I live in a rural area of south Louisiana. The nearest club is located about 75 miles away.

    I just got interested in the adventure of ham radio 3 weeks ago. The more I read and study (I ordered a couple of books) the more I want to get involved. My past experiences are as an electronic tech for a major corporation, so the electrical theory comes easy. The radio fundamentals and FCC rules are new to me.

    The next date for the testing is March 23. I'm confident I'll be able to pass it…fingers crossed!

    My concerns are … do you recommend starting slow and learning on a basic 2 meter/70cm setup or diving in with a more advanced rig I can grow into? Money is always a concern, but, I don't want to waste the time and money to duplicate equipment.

    This hobby appears to be overwhelming to the uninitiated, so many questions!!!

    Thanks for your time and any advice is most appreciated.

    James. Call sign is coming 😀

  6. Good Video! I passed my Tech Exam 2 years ago But having Difficulty on the General Do Video on the General Exam and Extra Exam! Processes Please! WH6FLQ !

  7. If you want to get a Tech license, Spend $25 on a 2 year subscription to and don`t worry about the math questions unless you like higher math. You pass, or you get your money back. I hate math and I aced it..

  8. It's disappointing that a technician class test is not within 50 miles from where I live. That has been the turn off for me. There are general and extra examinations, just nothing close for technician. This is all according to the AARL website.

  9. Being a 15 year old ham (Only a tech) I feel that the test is pretty easy I studied the question pool with a group of people I took the test with and we all passed some of them even leaving with their general license

  10. I have been studying online with Dave Casler KE0OG and Gary Wise W4EEY. Both are very good. The next testing session for the local ham club is on April 2nd. I am already pre registered and looking forward to taking the tests.

  11. Last July VE's from a local ham club very generously came to our island and put on a two day class for the Technician License, followed by exam. Since then I've been having a lot of fun making contacts and participating on nets using a terrific little HT (Yaesu FT-4XR). I'll be taking the General Exam next month and I'm already researching how to install a HF/VHF/UHF rig on my sailing vessel. Ham radio is proving to be a wonderful avocation. Thank you for your videos!

  12. Thanks for the video advice. I do a lot of SWL, chasing callsigns on the WebSDR's, and other sources for listening. I'm hoping at some point this year to be in a position to try for a tech license. 73's

  13. I'm not very good with math. I'm sure math is not for everyone. Do I need to understand a lot of math equations or the basics like ohms law? With Megahertz and gigahertz as well?

  14. I found a local volunteer examiner who holds courses in his basement: two Friday evenings and two Saturdays. We wrote the test on the last Saturday and I got 96% which qualified me for Basic with Honours (similar to General license in the states, but with full access to all bands). I watched Dave Casler's Technician and General video series to supplement and reinforce what I had learned in the live class. I also watched Dave's Amateur Extra series, but it was way over my head, so I decided not to pursue an Advanced license (the equivalent of Amateur Extra in my country).

  15. I think I'm going to do it. We used to play with CBs and huge amps as kids when off roading in highschool and college. I think the amps were 8-12 transistors and could talk 60 miles all day. I had no idea this is a hobby but I have to say radio brings out my inner nerd Haha. Talking distance, using a radio is amazing. I would like to get into HF radios and maybe add a 1kw amp for fun.

    Now that I'm 35 and married with kids, besides shooting and bodybuilding I would like an additional hobby. Thanks for the videos man, I found an upcoming test in Nashville. I just finished my MBA so am in school/study mode- ready to knock this out!

    PS is there a freq. chart that shows which bands are best for Int'l DX as well as CONUS. I want to get fully set up for US long range and International. Budget not really an issue. Was also looking at "all band" radios. Maybe buy once, cry once…something that does it all

  16. When I took my exam I was sure I failed, but I surprised myself when I past. Sounds crazy that I lacked confidence in myself. I knew the FCC Rules & Regulation and electrical safety, but the main important sections were confusing. 2014 I upgraded to General, but after a few tries.

  17. Sorry, this is going to be long. I bought the ARRL technician class license manual last September and put off studying until early February this year. Took the test on the 8th of March a long way from home and passed it. I purchased the General class manual soon after the exam and passed the General exam on the 13th of March again a long ways from home. Passed both tests the first time fortunately.
    My method of study is to go through the Arrl manuals and highlight all of the bracketed test question references in the chapters then as I read the WHOLE chapter and run across the highlighted references I turn to the question pool and mark the answer after I get that answer from the chapter, not the side of the question pool answer column. I also watched the David Casler videos for that element from beginning to the end. I then use an app on my phone and go over the questions after I finish the manual and pound on that until a day before I take the test. If I miss an answer consistently I go to the question reference in the manual and study that again. This time around for the Amateur Extra I am adding to my arsenal.
    The $30 Baofeng UV-5R radio was a big help understanding some of the basics of Ham Radio. I highly recommend getting one to play with even though you can not transmit to get yourself familiar with the nomenclature of a ham radio.
    Ordering the AE manual this week. One of the things that put pressure on me was the fact that the General manual is being replaced in July and the AE is being replaced next July. Knowing this my goal is to buy a HF radio and antenna and get some experience with HF before I delve into the AE manual studies. Hands on is the best way to learn and the fact that the AE manual changes in July next year puts the pressure on me to get this done. Sorry this was long.

  18. Although I am a recently license ham, my involvement with ham radio goes way back. Both my Dad and his father were ham operators. As I grew up in the 1960s, I developed a keen interest in electronics and radio, and when I was in Jr High, I got a novice license. But, rather than upgrading, I got sidetracked when they started a 10-watt FM broadcast station at my HS. I ended up getting a Second Class Radiotelephone license when I was a freshman, which I upgraded to a First before I graduated HS, which became a lifetime GROL which I still have. Over the next 15 to 20 years after HS, I was involved with many AM and FM broadcast stations, which culminated with building studios for a local FM station and also a cable FM station. I eventually got out of radio, but stayed active in the electronics field.

    As I approach retirement, I decided to have another try at ham radio, so I would have a hobby-in-retirement. I took the tests one at a time, first the technician, then the general, and finally the extra. Interestingly, the FCC test I found the hardest was the Second Class Radiotelephone I took way back when. It was before calculators, and I remember learning to do square roots by hand. Also I had to learn a bit of algebra and trig, a year or two before I saw those subjects in my HS classes. I took a calculator to the Extra exam, but I never found the need to pull it out during the test.

    One goal I have is to eventually learn CW. Way back when I got the Novice license, I got up to maybe 10 WPM. I still remember most of the code, but I never really got very good at it back then. Maybe at some point I can pick it back up and become more proficient.

  19. I wish some day the FCC would change things like this….

    – Pay for ham License get 2 meter only (no test)

    – 2 meter but now add some HF (test required)

    – 2 meter and more HF (test required)

    Amateur Extra
    – all the bands allowed. (test required)

    I know many will disagree with me. But remember many disagreed with removing Morse code too..

    Just think if we add the new one i put in, it will bring lot more people. and then they will get hooked and want to upgrade to talk HF

    So let the screaming at me start. hahahahh

  20. THANKS for a great presentation! Jack Winberg My license was cancelled in 2010 – can I get my old call sign back?

  21. I took an all-day class for the tech lic. Then several months later purchased the ARRL Gen Lic book read it signed up on-line program and took the test when got 80% plus, I went to a local club and tested. Passed and tried the Extra test, (failed it barely). Then over the next month of study and went to a different club took the test and passed. (all in less than 12 months) then studied and got a VE, and have assisted in other classes

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