Ham Radio License

Whether you’re buying a car, a house, or something to add to your new home, there are many factors to consider when making your purchase. When it comes to amateur (ham) radio, finding something that fits your needs and your budget can be difficult.

So what’s an amateur radio


Amateur radio is a device that allows you to transmit information over long distances – usually defined as greater than one mile. Ham radios are used by enthusiasts and hobbyists worldwide, and even some professionals use them regularly.

Types of amateur radio equipment 

There are two main types of amateur radio equipment – transmitters and receivers – and both are available at various prices.

Depending on the model, the frequency range of professional equipment can either be from a few hundred kHz up to hundreds of MHz or from 30 MHz up to several GHz.

To use an amateur radio, though, you will need a license. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates amateur radio. Therefore, they have specific licensing requirements and associated fees to obtain one. But don’t let this scare you – they also have plenty of resources to help you obtain a license.

So how do you get your ham radio license?

The first thing you need to do is decide if you’re going to take the general or technician examination. Each of these tests is broken up into three separate exams. If you choose the technician option, you will be taking a 35-question exam. This section tests your knowledge of the fundamentals, electronics, radio theory, and regulations.

The second option is to take the general test. This is broken up into two different exams, each with 35 questions. The first exam tests your knowledge of electronics and radio theory, regulations, as well as basic concepts. The second exam examines your knowledge of advanced concepts regarding antennas and feed lines.

You’ll need to pass the written exam with a score of at least 70 percent. Then, you can take the exam by visiting an FCC-approved examination session located throughout the country. These sessions are usually conducted by a local club or organization and are free. The thing to be aware of here is that these sessions will be held at a specific time and place, meaning you will need to plan if you want to complete this step.

The next step is the exam itself – it will require you to pass 35 multiple choice questions within 35 minutes. You’ll need a score of at least 35 percent or higher to pass. While most prepare for the exam over several weeks, some people have found other ways to prepare that can help speed up this process. Again, it’s important to plan out your study time when taking the exam and set a realistic schedule for yourself to make sure everything is done on time. CrunchReviews has a detailed step-by-step guide on obtaining a ham license here.

 The truth is that while the Amateur Extra class license grants you some extra privileges, the ham license process is relatively the same across all license classes.

However, that being said, while it is possible to build your own ham radio station, it is also possible to purchase a fully assembled station as a kit.

License fees

Depending on where you live, most states and countries require you to pay for a license to operate on amateur bands (more on this below). What you have to pay depends on which region of the world you live in and whether or not they issue license tags – these are small devices that you affix to your radio to verify that you have paid the necessary fees. License tags can cost a few dollars to hundreds of dollars – and if you purchase them, they are not refundable. So before purchasing a radio, make sure it has all of the necessary accessories, including an antenna, power supply and cords, and that everything is of high quality. Higher-end brands often guarantee their products and include accessories at no additional charge when they are purchased from authorized dealers. 

If you opt for an antenna, make sure you choose one that matches the frequency range of your radio. In most cases, this should be a model with a center frequency at or slightly higher than the center frequency range of your radio. You may want to check with local government agencies or with your local ham radio club to learn more about your frequency options in your area.

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