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Getting Licensed

Why should I get licensed?

Before you can get on the air, you need to be licensed and know the rules to operate legally. US licenses are good for 10 years before renewal and anyone may hold one except a representative of a foreign government. In the US there are three license classes—Technician, General and Extra.

Technician License

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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. Learn More

General License

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The General class license grants some operating privileges on all Amateur Radio bands and all operating modes. This license opens the door to world-wide communications. Earning the General class license requires passing a 35 question examination. General class licensees must also have passed the Technician written examination. Learn More

Amateur Extra License

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The Amateur Extra class license conveys all available U.S. Amateur Radio operating privileges on all bands and all modes. Earning the license is more difficult; it requires passing a thorough 50 question examination. Extra class licensees must also have passed all previous license class written examinations. Learn More

For more information call: 1-888-277-5289.

  • Find a Class

    Find a license class offered in your local area. Learn More

  • Take Practice Exams

    Get a feel for how the exam is going to go and what you should really focus on while studying. Learn More

  • Find a Test Location

    Find an in-person ham radio exam location in your area or schedule an online exam. Online and in-person tests are given regularly. Learn More

  • FCC License Info and Forms

    ARRL can provide helpful FCC information about licensing requirements, forms, fees and regulations. Learn More

  • Question Pools

    Download or print Amateur Radio question pools. Learn More

  • Resources for the Disabled

    ARRL is committed to helping everyone get on the air and enjoy the wonderful world of Amateur Radio. Learn More


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