Sticky Amateur Radio License Requirements

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This is meant to help people obtain their Amateur Radio License or upgrading their license.
The three levels are Technician, General and Extra.

Technician License Requirements - Passing a 35 question examination (Element 2).
  • Privileges: All VHF/UHF Amateur bands (frequencies above 30 MHz).
    Limited operations in certain HF bands.
The FCC Technician License exam covers basic regulations, operating practices and electronics theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications. Morse code is not required for this license. With a Technician Class license, you will have all ham radio privileges above 30 MHz. These privileges include the very popular 2-meter band. Many Technician licensees enjoy using small (2 meter) hand-held radios to stay in touch with other hams in their area. Technicians may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other interesting modes. You can even make international radio contacts via satellites, using relatively simple station equipment. Technician licensees now also have additional privileges on certain HF frequencies. Technicians may also operate on the 80, 40 and 15 meter bands using CW, and on the 10 meter band using CW, voice and digital modes.

General Class License - Passing a 35 question examination. General class licensees must also have passed the Technician written examination (Element 3).
  • License Privileges: All VHF/UHF Amateur bands and most HF privileges (10 through 160 meters).
The General Class license is the second of three US Amateur Radio licenses. To upgrade to General Class, you must already hold a Technician Class license (or have recently passed the Technician license exam). Upgrading to a General license--which conveys extensive HF privileges—only requires passing a written examination. Once you do, the entire range of operating modes and the majority of the amateur spectrum below 30 MHz become available to you. The FCC grants exam Element 3 credit to individuals that previously held certain older types of licenses. Find valid forms of Examination Element Credit.

Extra Class License
- Passing a 50-question Extra written exam (Element 4)
General licensees may upgrade to Extra Class by passing a 50-question multiple-choice examination. No Morse code test is required. In addition to some of the more obscure regulations, the test covers specialized operating practices, advanced electronics theory and radio equipment design. Non-licensed individuals must pass Element 2, Element 3 and Element 4 written exams to earn an Extra License. The FCC grants exam element 3 credit to individuals that previously held certain older types of licenses. Find valid forms of Examination Element Credit.

The HF bands can be awfully crowded, particularly at the top of the solar cycle. Once one earns HF privileges, one may quickly yearn for more room. The Extra Class license is the answer. Extra Class licensees are authorized to operate on all frequencies allocated to the Amateur Service.

For more information please see the American Radio Relay League (ARRL)
 

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