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May 23, 2018
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Amateur Radio Licensing : About Licensing
License Classes
Exam Elements
Morse Code Removed
What are the exams like?
Licensing Club Stations
Anyone can become a ham except representatives of foreign governments. There are no age restrictions. If you can pass the written tests, you can be a licensed ham operator. There have even been 6 year old kids get their ham operator license. The entry level license is the Technician Class license. That license class began in 1991 and now has the largest number of participants. To become a Technician Class operator, you need only pass one (35 question) multiple choice written test (Exam Element 2) to obtain your FCC license.

Until April 15, 2000, there were six classes of Amateur Radio operator license, each authorizing varying levels of privileges by passing written exams and or a 5, 13 or 20 WPM Morse code test. As of April 15, 2000 there are only three, Technician, General and Amateur Extra Class and Morse code exams were reduced to a single 5 WPM Element 1 exam for General and Extra.

Then effective February 23, 2007 the FCC removed all testing requirements for Morse Code for all classes of licenses.

The written examinations are comprised of questions taken from the various question pools. Technician Class Question Pool, effective July 1, 2014, valid until June 30, 2018

General Class Question Pool, effective July 1, 2015, valid until June 30, 2019

Extra Class Question Pool, effective July 1, 2012 valid until June 30, 2016

The class for which each applicant is qualified is determined by the degree of skill and knowledge of operating a station that the applicant demonstrates by passing a license examination before a team of three volunteer examiners (VEs).. New amateur operators start at the Technician class and then advance to the General Class ...and to the top-of-the ladder Amateur Extra Class. The beginning study material may be found here.
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