Study for your Amateur Radio License exam:
Tips to Ensure Victory over the Technician, General, or Extra exams
Passing FCC Element 2, 3, or 4 is easier than ever. Thanks to the removal of the Morse Code requirement, full access to the test material, and study sites like this one, you’ll be a licensed amateur operator in no time.
These study tips will keep you focused and ensure success on your testing day. Use them as a guideline — you know how you learn better than anyone else, so adapt these tips to suit your needs:
See also FCC.gov: Morse Code Statement
* The Technician exam is Element 2, the General exam is Element 3, and the Amateur Extra is Element 4. Element 1 was Morse code, which is no longer required.
What is ham radio?
At its core, ham radio (officially called amateur radio) is the licensed use of radio equipment for private recreation, experimentation, self-training, practice, emergency communications, or any other non-commercial use. In the United States the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the Amateur Radio service and issues licenses to allow “hams” to work the airwaves.
The word amateur is defined as a person who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession. This definition is especially true for all of us in the ham radio.
Who are these hams?
Ham radio operators come from all walks of life. They are doctors, lawyers, CEOs, kings, politicians, farmers or store clerks. They are male or female, young students or retired grandparents.
Thousands of new people from different walks of life are attracted to ham radio each year and all are proud to be hams.
The origin of the word “ham” is a matter of significant debate; there are many theories, but you can read up on it and judge for yourself.
What can I do with a ham radio?
Local operation with FM repeaters
Long distance (around the world) operation with HF
“Chat” with text over the radio with RTTY (Radio Teletype)
Network computers over the radio with Packet
Send video over the radio with ATV (Amateur Television)
Design and build antennas
Many ham radio operators volunteer their time and use ham radio primarily for local public service events such as races, parades, city festivals, etc. Skills learned helping with such things are useful in emergencies when regular local communications such as home telephones and cell phones are not available due to disasters such as terrorism, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.
Some hams like to communicate across the country or the other side of the globe. There are some that like to use satellites or bounce their signal off of the moon and others have even spoken with astronauts on the International Space Station.
Ham radio will begin new friendships for you either through an amateur radio club that may be located in your town or over the air.
Remember: When the telephone lines are down the hams are up!
Why use ham radio?
Ham radio is still relevant today because it is two-way communication that can endure earthquakes, hurricanes, and most any other disaster. Ham radio operators can make their wireless signal reach far beyond the distance of cell phones, family radios, or even CB radios because of the higher transmitting power allowed to them. It is essential to any emergency situation to include the use of ham radio for communication.
Ham radio helps build communication skills by talking and communicating with others. It’s one of the lost skills in this era where we find ourselves talking more to computers than real people.
How do I get licensed?
Before you can start using ham radio, you need to be licensed. Fortunately, that isn’t hard! Here are the basic requirements:
Have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (such as a social security number)
Pass a written exam (you’ll need 2 forms of government issued ID and a testing fee)
Amateur radio licensing is managed by the Federal Communications Commision (FCC). Being licensed means that your name is listed in the FCC Universal Licensing System with an associated ham radio callsign.