Under Construction!!! This is not even complete yet! Open to suggestions, comments and even hate mail!
Don’t have a FCC Amateur Radio License? We can help with that!
So your ready to take the plunge. Get ready to have some fun, meet great people from all over the world and learn something in the process. Lets get started, but first….
First off, use this page as a guide to point you in the right direction. It was constructed with the best of intentions on a slow, boring, snowy Friday night. The ARRL has a much better page than we do, so go visit ARRL.ORG and search for Getting on the Air. This info only pertains to individuals under the FCC’s jurisdiction. And as always, refer to the FCC and the ARRL for any questions on Amateur Radio rules and law. They are the experts. Things change from time to time and we may not always catch it. The information provided below is to the best of my (KI7FXJ) knowledge, factual. I’m only human, so if you find any mistakes, please let me know so I can make corrections. The GRRAA is a ARRL affiliated organization and our VE Team is affiliated with the ARRL VEC organization.
First off, If you haven’t done so already, contact someone from the GRRAA, we are here to help. Go to the contact page, email one of the board members. You can also reach us via Facebook’s messenger program, search for W7GRA. Someone will try to respond with in 24 to 48 hours if at all possible. Also, go and visit the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) website, ARRL.ORG. Started by Hiram Maxim in 1914, they have over a hundred years of knowledge of the hobby.
YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW MORSE CODE…. But it is fun!!!
The below classifications are the only classifications that you can test for at this time. Starting with the Technician License, each additional classification adds more privileges. . At one time there was a few more and those have been either grandfathered in or converted to an equivalent classification. So once you get on the air, you might run into a few hams that have those older licenses.
When you take the test, you will take them in the below order. You can’t skip and do the Extra Class first, but you can, if your ready, after each passing exam, take the next higher exam all the way to Extra Class, all in the same day.
Technician– This is the first license. Here you get your start on VHF,UHF, with some HF phone privileges in the 10meter band and some CW privileges in a few others. You get to also experience the local repeaters, in FM or one of the many digital phone modes.
General– When you pass your general, the world of Amateur Radio really opens up. Now you have access to all of the bands and all of the modes, plus all of the stuff you earned when you passed your Technician exam. And if you take a few extra steps, you could also help the next batch of Technician class radio operators get their call sign by becoming a Volunteer Examiner. (VE)
Extra Class– When you pass your Extra Class, All of Amateur Radio is available to you. You get more privileges, request the FCC for a lot shorter call sign, and if you became a VE, you can now proctor General and Extra Class tests.
ARRL– The ARRL has a License Manual for each of the classifications. These books cover all of the questions for each license level that your trying to complete. It goes into theory, law, history and the reasons behind the answers to the questions. The ARRL books can be found online at their website, Amazon, or anywhere that books can be found. ~ Our VE Coordinator N7NSL, believes these ARRL books are the bare essentials for taking your test.
Gordon West W5YI– Gordon West’s books are also good, but they are more to the point and really only cover each test question. His books and other items can be found at his website, Amazon, or anywhere that books can be found.
Online– There are lots of places online and apps for smart phones. Most build you a practice test, using the actual questions that you will find on the real one. So no surprises the day of the test!
So you think your ready for your first test, Now What?
You’ve done all the studying you can stand, your passing all of the online practice tests, made a pilgrimage to Ham Radio Outlet in Portland, heck you’ve probably already bought your first radio and your PTT finger is itching to press that button. Well its time to get a hold of a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator to get you in a test session if you haven’t done so already. Luckily there are lots of places and groups that can proctor the test, one of them is the VE team from the GRRAA! We are able to test all three tests and we are fairly flexible when it comes to scheduling. But if you don’t live in North Eastern Oregon, you can visit the ARRL website and do a search for exam sessions in your area. The site can get you in touch with a VE team to get you on the air!
Once you have passed your first exam, Now comes the dreaded wait for the FCC to grant you your call sign. Its really not that long of a wait, but it sure will feel like it. There are several things going on in the background as you wait. The VE organization you tested through looks things over and then submits the data to the FCC. It might take at least two weeks to hear something, sometimes longer. You can check the FCC’s ULS website 24×7 to look for the status of your application and grant. Once you see your FCC call sign on the web page you are ready!
Now you have a Call Sign!
First off , Congratulations! Second, go print a copy of your license from the FCC web site, sign it and keep a copy in your wallet. If you have already obtained a radio that works for the privileges you have earned, get on the air! If you haven’t, contact the GRRAA (or another ham club that is close to your home) and see if a member can help point you in the right direction on what you should get.