This page was designed to provide you with links to all of the information to get you started in Amateur Radio. At the bottom are also links to where you can take an Amateur Radio Exam.
What is Amateur Radio?
Amateur radio is a non-commercial radio communication service on radio frequencies assigned to the Amateur Radio Service by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States and the International Telecommunication Union worldwide.
Who can become an Amateur Radio Operator?
Anyone of any age who is not a representative of a foreign government can be an amateur radio operator in the US. Before you can get on the air, you’ll need to be licensed and know the
rules to operate legally. In the US there are three license classes — Technician, General, and Amateur Extra.
How is Amateur Radio Used?
Ham radio is used for a variety of recreational and service-related activities. Amateur radio operators, also called “hams,” use amateur radio equipment to engage in two-way personal communications with other hams, as well as:
• Participate in competitive events and earn awards in contests
• Aid communication during public events, such as parades and road races
• Act as a vital communications link during emergencies and disasters
• Advance their technical skills and build their own radio components
What kind of equipment will I need?
Starting simple is often recommended. A reliable handheld radio (as inexpensive as $25), is a good and affordable way to get started while building your station over time. A complete amateur radio station typically includes a transceiver, power supply unit, antenna, amplifier, headphone, and microphone, and can include several accessories and related devices.
How do I get my Amateur Radio license?
The Technician class license is the entry-level license of choice for most new ham radio operators. To earn the Technician license requires passing one examination totaling 35 questions on radio theory, regulations and operating practices. The license gives access to all Amateur Radio frequencies above 30 megahertz, allowing these licensees the ability to communicate locally and most often within North America. It also allows for some limited
privileges on the HF (also called “short wave”) bands used for international communications.
Where to go for study materials/practice exams?
The Internet has a wide variety of tools to study for your Amateur Radio license, many of them free! If you search on YouTube for “getting started in Amateur Radio,” you’ll find many of the
popular Amateur Radio YouTubers providing study courses. You’ll also find on the ARRL.org Web site a book called “ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, 5th edition, which can help you study for your exam.
The Technician Class license exam consists of 35 questions. A passing score of 74% is required, so you will need to get 26 of 35 correct. These questions are taken from a pool of 412 questions, with a few drawn from each category/topic.
What’s great is you get all of the questions and answers ahead of time. Simply study the material and take one of the many free, online practice exams from sites such as hamexam.org, hamstudy.org or others. Make sure the materials you choose use the latest question pool for the Technician Class exam that was released July 1, 2022 and good through June 30,2026.
When I’m ready, where can I take my exam?
If your someone local in Polk County, Florida, the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club has their own Volunteer Examiner Team which is officially recognized by the ARRL. The regular testing schedule is on the second Monday of each month starting at 17:30 (5:30 PM), just before the monthly club meeting which is held at the same location and starting at 19:00 (7:00 PM). All costs associated with administering exams are covered by the LARC, so there is NO COST to the candidate for their test(s)!
For more information, visit https://lakelandarc.org and click on the “Getting Licensed” tab on the left hand corner of the page.
If you’re from somewhere else in the United States, check out the Laurel VEC page at https://www.laurelvec.com/ or check out the ARRL page at http://arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session and find a testing session near you.
You can do this!
The links below for getting started are just a fraction of the resources available to you today. I would recommend, along with these resources, purchasing a copy of the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual 5th Edition – Complete Study Guide with Question Pool to Pass the Technician Class Amateur Radio Exam. You can find this manual available at Amazon.com by clicking the title of the book above.
I’ll make it even easier for you! Using the power of YouTube, the folks at W4EEY have the complete Amateur Radio Technician Course (2022-2026) done superbly. Below are the links to those lessons. They are very well done and are based on the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual 5th Edition mentioned above. You can do this!!!
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Radio & Signals Fundamentals
Chapter 3 – Electricity Components and Circuits
Chapter 4 – Propagation, Antennas and Feed Lines
Chapter 5 – Amateur Radio Equipment
Chapter 6 – Communicating With Other Hams
Chapter 7 – Licensing Regulations
Chapter 8 – Operating Regulations
Chapter 9 – Safety
Getting Started Links
- Get your FCC FRN Number
- Getting started in Amateur Radio
- ARRL Ham Radio License Manual
- Ham Radio License Preparation Online (fee involved)
- Technician Class Element 2 Question Pool
- https://study.affirmatech.comAmateur Radio Study Buddy – very nice way to study on your PC or phone.
AA9PW (free practice exams)
- Hamexam.org (free free practice exams)
- Hamstudy.org (free practice exams)
- eHam.net (free practice exams)
- Five easy steps to get your Amateur Radio license
- Your first Ham radio… it’s not that expensive to get started.
- Ham Radio is diverse, it’s not just for guys!
Amateur Radio Links
- ARRL ARES Letter
- ARRL Letter
- Listen to live HF Amateur Radio on the web via SDR
- Listen to Amateur Radio Digital Talkgroups
- Amateur Radio License Map – find Ham Radio operators near you!
- The latest Solar conditions\
- Pskreporter.info – where is your FT8 or PSK signal being heard?
- Is there a VHF band opening in your area?
- Ham band characteristics
- APRS.fi – locate hams and others on the map
- Florida State Parks on the Air
- Parks on the Air
- Battery life calculator – how long will your battery last in the field?
- Get started with DAPNET (POCSAG)
- How close can I mount VHF/UHF antennas?