How to Become a "Ham" or Upgrade

Each new amateur radio operator must study and learn about the hobby and pass a test of knowledge before they can become licensed radio amateurs with on-air privileges.  Obtaining a license issued by the government in which country the amateur radio operator resides is required.  In the United States, the license is issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Study guides are available thru many sources.  Two good sources are the ARRL at or Click: The Group for your review of study manuals.  The "Technician Class" study manual will contain the complete question pool with answers plus all other information needed to become a licensed amateur radio operator.  The General & Extra Class manuals will contain the complete questions pools with answers needed to study for your upgrade of your current class of license.

NOTE: As of February 23, 2007 Morse Code has been eliminated as a requirement in Amateur Radio Testing in the United States by the FCC.  The 3 classes of license in the U.S. are - Technician, General or Extra Class and requires no Morse Code. 

If you think you can pass the examine now take a practice Technician class exam at AA9PW's web site.  The General & Extra Class practice exams are also available there for those wanting to practice for to upgrade their class of license.

Most areas have a local amateur radio club that should be able to provide some information about when and where the next testing session is in your area.  If you currently need to search for testing sessions  near you  try searching the ARRL web site for testing information.  In Michigan where we are at, there is The Prescott Testing Group that has scheduled Amateur Radio Exams on the 3rd Wednesday of every month.  The contact for testing here is Richard, AB8YG at (989) 873-6909 or Email to:  The local club here is the ( Ogemaw-Arenac Amateur Radio Society ) and schedules Amateur Radio Classes when needed.  Contact Charlie AB8SY and Email to: if you are interested in an Amateur Radio Class for Technician, General or Extra.  ( Details of testing & club meetings are available on the Club Information page on this site or Email to: any questions or for information )

Community Service

Ham radio operators can also be of service to their communities by becoming volunteers for local emergency management agencies.  Amateur radio operators can provide communications in and out of disaster areas when no phone service nor electricity is available.

Many radio amateurs become trained weather spotters and report local severe weather information via ham radio.  These volunteer hams are often members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and/or the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)

Amateur Radio is known as "Ham Radio"

Amateur radio, also known as "Ham Radio", is a hobby relating to two-way radio communications.  It is a hobby that is enjoyed by many people around the world from all walks of life.

Whether you are interested in remote control models, an occasional chat with an astronaut orbiting in space, amateur television transmissions, bouncing signals off the moon back to another place on earth, a Friday night chat with friends and neighbors, or making contacts with other stations in far away places, the hobby of Amateur Radio has something to offer everyone.

Amateur Radio is a wide and diverse hobby and amateur radio enthusiasts, affectionately called "hams", can enjoy a variety of activities.  Fox hunts (transmitter hunts), balloon launches, contests, making new friends through amateur radio, digital and satellite communications, building equipment or antennas, or even sending and receiving old fashioned Morse code, these are just a few of the many different aspects of the hobby.  Each "ham" seems to develop their own favorite mode of communication.

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