Amateur Radio (ham radio) is a popular hobby and service that brings people, electronics and communication together. People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the Internet or cell phones. It’s fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during times of need.
Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” These bands are radio frequencies allocated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators.
There are many resources for individuals seeking to earn their ham radio license. The American Radio Relay League is the national organization for ham radio, and has many resources on their website. There are many other resources also available, such as W5YI VEC, KB6NU Study Guides, Gordon West Radio School, and HamStudy.org.
Take the Exam
Once you feel you are ready, it is time to take your exam. JCARS offers volunteer examiner testing on the 1st Thursday of each month at 5:30 PM prior to the monthly meeting. You can test as a walk-in, but it is best to contact the VE team (their information is below) beforehand.
You will need:
- The testing fee of $15
- Photo ID
- Social Security Number (first time licensee) or FCC FRN
- Copy of current license if upgrading
Upon completing the exam, the VE team will grade it and let you know the results. Once the hard part is over, the really hard part – waiting to be issued a call sign – begins.