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  1. #1
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    Default How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "HAM" License.

    Seeing as how I just went through all of this... I thought I would do a write up for all of those that may be interested but not sure where to begin.

    Where do I start:
    First I would find a local club that is either giving a class/test or at least a test.
    If they give a class there is usually a test given at the end of that class.
    To find a local club you can check the ARRL website (http://www.arrl.org/) or a google search for your city and "amateur radio club/society".

    Once you have found a club giving the test, set a test date. Some clubs may give them once a month. Pick a date and stick to it, this will give you a deadline and help you study knowing that you are getting closer to taking the test.

    You must first take the Technician test, even if you are wanting to get your General class license. So study and become proficient in the Technician material before moving on to the General study material.

    Ok, but what do I have to know:
    There are many study guide books available such as; The ARRL Ham License study guide, Ham Radio for Dummies, Study guides by Gordon West as well as many others. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...o+study+guides

    However, as I have posted before I prefer FREE material and used the study guides from http://www.kb6nu.com/tech-manual/ . They worked well for me.

    I read through the guide once, then went back read it again writing down info that I thought I may have a problem remembering (writing it down seems to help me), then I would read through the guide another time or two. I would read a couple of pages through out the day, some while on lunch break, or while in the rest room, and then some before bed.

    Once you have gone through it a couple of times, take some practice test to see if there are areas you need to work on. Take multiple test as there is a large pool of questions.

    Test sites include: www.QRZ.com, www.Eham.net, www.hamexam.org, and others. Some require a free log in to keep track of your previous scores.

    Here is also a free practice test app. [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Amateur-Radio-Exams-1-0-FREE/dp/B0053TK7ZG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376584070&sr=8-2&keywords=amateur+radio+exam"]Amazon.com: Amateur Radio Exams 1.0 FREE!: Appstore for Android@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414GHx%2BW%2BnL.@@AMEPARAM@@414GHx%2BW%2BnL[/ame]

    You have to answer 26 out of 35 correct to pass (74.2%). Once you are in the 90%+ you are ready to test.

    Taking the Test:
    Arrive early and bring a copy of your driver's license, cash (typically 15 for the test) and a pen. You may also bring an oldschool calculator but you can use the back or answer sheet to manually work the problems. Take your time, read the question and all the answers before marking your answer on the answer sheet.

    You passed the Test: (and you will!)
    The VEs (Volunteer Examiners) will give you a CSCE (Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination). This indicates what level of test you have completed.

    But what about my callsign:
    About 3 business days from the date you took the test you can start checking the FCC ULS database for your call sign. The time it takes for this to happen varies depending on the VEs and the VEC. I took my test on a Saturday and had my call sign the following Wednesday morning. Once your call sign appears here, you may begin using your radio and making contacts.

    About a week later you should receive your actual FCC license in the mail. Mine was post marked the following Friday after my callsign appeared on the FCC ULS database and I received it the following Monday. From test date to receiving the license in the mail was 9 days.

    Hopefully this helps get you on your way to obtaining your license, but if you have any questions please feel free to ask.
    Last edited by prerunner1982; 08-15-2013 at 03:58 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "ham" License.

    Awesome, Jon! I bet this will really help others as to getting them started.

    Sent via messenger pigeon - i talk, he types.

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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "ham" License.

    so what if we have a callsign already but it was never renewed? Does it come back to life?
    Off road enthusiast's are not the ones killing nature, it's new sub-divisions, businesses, and strip malls.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "ham" License.

    Tony has been around longer and may be able to answer this better....

    If it has been more than 2yrs since your license expired the callsign may have been assigned to someone else. You can check this by entering your old callsign into the FCC ULS database I linked above. If it hasn't you will likely have to take the test again, get a new callsign and then file for your old callsign as a Vanity call....if you just really wanted your old callsign back.
    1993 2 door 4x4 4.0 5 speed
    1997 4 door 4x2 4.0 auto RIP 6/6/2016
    2000 4 door 4x2 4.0 auto


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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "ham" License.

    I've been going over the two free study guides you linked above for the Technician and the General lisc. on my longer flights... Sometimes I end up spacing off... but figure I'll keep going over them and after a month or so hit up some practice tests... got a few more months till I can get to a test to try and see if I can pass... Think I'll be picking up a handheld unit for a bit... as I can carry it with me on my adventures and try making contacts at different locations around the world...
    FORMER GREEN XJ CLUB MEMBER
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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "ham" License.

    I'm still toying with the idea but if I do I'll want my original back.
    Off road enthusiast's are not the ones killing nature, it's new sub-divisions, businesses, and strip malls.

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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "ham" License.

    Quote Originally Posted by reddragon72 View Post
    so what if we have a callsign already but it was never renewed? Does it come back to life?
    Your license is good for 10 years, and then you must renew. If you don't you lose your license. There may be a grace period, personally after all I went through to get mine I made sure I renewed.

    If your license has expired then you have to re-test, you will be assigned another license after you pass your test.

    Update:

    https://ssl.qrz.com/vec

    If Your License Has Expired
    Once your license expires, you have a two year grace period during which you may file for reinstatement. You may not operate (transmit) whatsoever once your license has expired.

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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "ham" License.

    Going to keep looking over the materials I downloaded on my tablet... I just for giggles tried doing a practice test online and I failed it, but considering I only really glanced at the material... I only failed by four too many wrong answers... so not too bad!! Amazed at how much stuff I remembered seeing as I had glanced over the study guide!!
    FORMER GREEN XJ CLUB MEMBER
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "ham" License.

    When choosing a radio for your Jeep...... from my short experience I would suggest getting a cheaper dual band handheld (like the Baofeng) to get an idea of what bands are widely used in your area.

    Just looking at the repeater list for my area I thought I would be ok with a single band 2m radio. However, after having the dual band HT for a bit I found out that one of the 440 mhz repeaters not far from my house is linked to a repeater system that covers all of eastern Oklahoma including parts of southern Kansas, Western Arkansas, and NE Texas.

    I am now convinced that I need a dualband mobile radio for the Jeep.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "HAM" License.

    To update the last part of my original post: The FCC no longer mails out hard copy of your license, though you can obtain one by request only. You may also download/print a reference copy off the FCC database.
    1993 2 door 4x4 4.0 5 speed
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "HAM" License.

    Though first time licensees still may get a hard copy, any subsequent upgrade would not.
    1993 2 door 4x4 4.0 5 speed
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    Default Re: How to get your Amateur Radio Operators "HAM" License.

    just to add another place to find testing sessions and a another perspective, there are events call Ham fests (a swap meet of sorts for amateur radio) often at these ham fest they will offer testing sessions however I don't think they have classes with them. also I am a little different I recommend buying the study books like what the ARRL offer or Gordon west. I prefer the ARRL material, the reason is the books are great for reference for when one wants to build an antenna or such. One can typically find information about ham fest on social media like local ham radio fb groups and such larger ones will be advertised on the ARRL website and QRZ and so on.

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