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How to Become a Radio Amateur

To become a radio amateur requires a license authorized by the appropriate governing body in your country. On this page we will look briefly at licensing in the U.S. and Canada and point you to web sites that contain more licensing information.

In Canada and the U.S. you will need to prepare for and take an examination to get your license. The exam material depends on the license level or class that you are applying for. For most budding hams it is a good idea to connect with a local Amateur Radio Club (ARC) where classes are given in theory and/or Morse code as needed to prepare you for the exam. Although you can get the study material to learn on your own it is generally much easier and faster to take a course. In the process you will meet other hams or hams to be and begin creating your own network of contacts.

Getting Licensed in Canada

Licensing of Amateur Radio in Canada is regulated by Industry Canada. It is illegal to operate on the amateur bands without an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate which has three levels of qualification as follows:

Basic Qualification: an examination of 100 questions.

  • access all amateur bands above 30 MHz
  • use a maximum of 250 watts DC transmitter input power
  • build and operate all station equipment, except for "home-made" transmitters
  • Basic with honours (80% or above score) - access to all amateur bands below 30 MHz
  • There is no Morse code requirement on this test.

Advanced Qualification: an examination of 50 questions.

  • access all amateur bands below 30 MHz
  • use maximum transmitter power of 1000 watts DC input
  • build and operate transmitting equipment
  • establish repeaters and club stations
  • remotely control fixed stations, including the use of radio links
  • There is no Morse code requirement on this test.

Morse Code (5 wpm with Basic or Basic and Advanced Certificate):

  • access to all amateur bands below 30 MHz

See the section Amateur Radio Bands for more information on band allocation.

More Information

For more information on Canadian licensing of Radio Amateurs go the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) web site and search for license information.

Industry Canada Exam Generator
Self Study at HAMSTUDY.COM

 If you are in Canada,
find an Amateur Radio club near you

  

Amateurs Visiting Canada

Radio amateurs from outside of Canada may operate within Canada with the appropriate permit (see the RAC link above for countries other than the U.S.). Through a reciprocal agreement licensed U.S. amateurs may operate in Canada with their U.S. license. Canadian amateurs may also operate in the United States with their Canadian license.

 

 

Getting Licensed in the U.S.

Licensing of Amateur Radio in the United States is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It is illegal to operate on the amateur bands without an Amateur Radio license which has three levels of qualification as follows:

More Information

For more information on U.S. licensing of Radio Amateurs go the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) web site and search for license information.

If you are in the USA,
find an Amateur Radio club near you

ARRL Exam Question Pool

  

Getting Licensed in Other Countries

Australia - WIA
www.wia.org.au
Japan
JARL
Spain
www.ure.es  

 

 

Check out eHam.net Practice Exams

License Classes

Technician Class: This license is granted after passing a 35-question test on basic regulations, operating practices, and electronic theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications. No Morse code is required. With a Technician Class license, you will have all ham radio privileges above 30 megahertz (MHz) including the 2-meter band. Technicians may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other modes. Technicians may also operate on the 80, 40, and 15 meter HF bands using CW, and on the 10 meter band using CW, voice, and digital modes.

General Class: Technicians upgrade to General Class by passing a 35-question examination on regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory. No Morse code is required. In addition to Technician Class, General Class operators may use high power transmitters and have access to the 160, 30, 17, 12, and 10 meter bands and access to major parts of the 80, 40, 20, and 15 meter bands.

Extra Class: An upgrade to Extra Class is accomplished by passing a 50-question examination on regulations, specialized operating practices, advanced electronics theory, and radio equipment design. No Morse code is required. While this may seem a challenge it results in the privilege of operating on all authorized Amateur Radio frequencies.

For additional detail on Amateur Radio licensing in the U.S. check out the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) web site and search for Licensing.

When you receive your license you will also be granted a call sign by which you identify your station on the air. The section Call Signs explains call signs and their make-up.

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2001 - 2007 Don Cassel VE3XD

Table of Contents

Index

What is Amateur Radio?

What Hams Do

How to Become a Radio Amateur

Call Signs

Amateur Radio Bands

Basic Operating

QSL Cards

Propagation

Operating Modes

IRLP in Depth

Amateur Activities

Guide to Choosing Your First Radio

Contesting

Glossary of Terms

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