We have regular scheduled testing for the three levels of FCC Amateur Radio "Ham" licenses in the USA: Technician, General, and Extra Class. Most other countries world-wide have a one, two or three
tier licensing system, somewhat similar to the USA. Reciprocal licensing may be available to expatriate American radio amateurs residing elsewhere, who hold a valid license issued by the FCC. In addition, for those FCC
licensed hams who are short-term visitors to other countries, short-term reciprocal licensing is a possibility.
What is it that you would like to do with your ham radio license? There are a lot of avenues:
Technician (similar to the Foundation, or beginning licence) licensees may use:
1. VHF and UHF. Your Technician license allows operating on VHF frequencies from 50 MHz up through the microwave bands. You can set up and talk with hams aboard the International Space Station. You can communicate with friends locally through the repeaters or direct with your handheld radio, a mobile installation, or a base station. This operating includes working with local hams on community events like furnishing communications with the March of Dimes, or you can join others who prepare for emergencies including the local Brevard County Sheriff’s Emergency Center. You can also run slow-scan television, fast-scan (real TV) television, moon-bounce, meteor scatter, aurora contacts, etc. You can play with hidden transmitter hunting (fox-hunting), or become a weather-spotter as examples.
2. HF. You can talk on 10 meters on SSB (voice), and if the band is open, you can reach out pretty much internationally. You can talk on CW (Morse code) on 10 meters, 15, 40 and 80. Learning Morse code is not as difficult as it sounds. Morse code can be fun, but it is no longer required for any of the three ham licenses in the US today. That's not true with all countries... Canada still allows optional Morse code qualification in licensing.
Many new hams are not interested in doing more than that.
Or, you can upgrade to the next level called the General license (known in some other countries as the Standard or Intermediate licence). Then there are a lot more avenues:
1. Making SSB contacts on HF on more of the 10 meter band, and 12, 15, 17, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 160 meters.
2. Making CW or digital contacts on those bands plus 30 meters. The digital modes include PSK (which is keyboard to keyboard), JT65, JT9, FT-8, FT-4 and a variety of unusual modes.
3. Make contacts on a variety of those modes with stations all over the world. That is “DXing.” You can run 1,500 watts output, or nothing more than 1 watt output and be surprised where you can reach. When you work 100 different countries, you qualify for the DXCC award.
4. You can try different antennas… everything from stealth antennas your neighbors can’t spot, up through large tower installations. Antennas make the difference. You can have efficient antennas on your car so you can operate from the woods or beach. You can stick a series of telescoping fiberglass poles into the sand at the beach, string up an antenna and work the world. The opportunities are plentiful for joining a local club or two, meeting for breakfast or lunch or dinner with hams in the nearby area, or participate in contests… the largest of those is field-day the last full weekend in June.
The top level of license is the Extra Class license in the USA (also similar to the Advanced or Full licence in other parts of the world). Then you have all the priveleges on all the ham bands. On the lower end of the CW bands, there is extra territory. Also, on 15, 20, 40, and 75 meters, there are segments in the phone bands which are only allotted to Extra Class.
Age is not a restriction for obtaining a license. Neither is gender, race, religion, political direction, or an infirmity of any kind.
The material covered in the classes and on the exams we offer are based on FCC rules and content in the USA. In other countries, the rules and requirements are often different, but the material on electronics, operating procedures, and radio contruction is common throughout the world.
Below this paragraph, you will find a link to what we suggest in the way of materials to study for the classes and to prepare for your exams. Then, as you continue to scroll down, past the testing dates and the picture of the Zoom Technician Class, you will find several helpful links.
We have two testing teams for the FCC exams. They are the ARRL-VEC Team run by Judy Gardner, AA9GW, and the Laurel-VEC program run by the W4GAL Team. Both teams require registration in advance. The schedule for the coming year is as follows:
The 2022 Schedule:
January 15, 2022 - 9:30 AM. Laurel-VEC - Suntree/Viera Library
February 12, 2022 - 9:30 AM. ARRL-VEC - Fee Avenue Melbourne Library
March 19, 2022 - 9:30 AM. Laurel-VEC - Suntree/Viera Library
April 9, 2022 - 9:30 AM. ARRL-VEC - Fee Avenue Melbourne Library
May 21, 2022 - 9:30 AM. Laurel-VEC - Suntree/Viera Library
June 11, 2022 - 9:30 AM. ARRL-VEC - CANCELLED
July 30, 2022 - 9:30 AM. Laurel-VEC - Suntree/Viera Library
August 13, 2022 - 9:30 AM. ARRL-VEC - Fee Avenue Melbourne Library
September 17, 2022 - 9:30 AM. Laurel-VEC - Suntree/Viera Library
October 8, 2022 - 9:30 AM. ARRL-VEC - Fee Avenue Melbourne Library
November 19, 2022 - 9:30 AM. Laurel-VEC - Suntree/Viera Library
December 10, 2022 - 9:30 AM. ARRL-VEC - Fee Avenue Melbourne Library
For more information and making arrangements with either of the two PCARS testing teams, click on the following buttons:
My contact information: 352-871-4279 / email: gary at w4gal dot com / My personal website: W4GAL
American Radio Relay League: ARRL
American Radio Relay League - Exam Review: ARRL Review
On-Line VE Testing: On-Line
Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Society PCARS (Melbourne, Florida): W4MLB
Vero Beach Amateur Radio Club: W4OT
Orlando Amateur Radio Club: W4PLB
EXAM PREPARATION - FREE:
AA9PW Review: AA9PW.... .Practice Exam - The exam questions and the 4 answers for each.
eHam Review: eHam.... .Practice Exam - The exam questions and the 4 answers for each.
How much math is needed on the Technician exam?: Math
Test Taking Hints for Amateur Radio Exams: Hints
Diagrams for the Technician Exams: Diagrams
Memorizing Technician Frequencies: Bands
To DropBox and Power Point slides: Link
EXAM PREPARATION - NOT FREE
Ham Test On-Line: HTOL........ .An explanation of ALL the exam questions and answers.
Study Books. K4IA: The Easy Way. The question and only the right answer. Amazon has them.
ARRL Books: ARRL Store or Amazon
Then, when you have received your new license, check out our "New Ham" page HERE.