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Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator

Amateur radio is the premier high-tech hobby. It's enjoyed by people from all walks of life from around the world. The rules for becoming an amateur (ham) radio operator vary from country to country around the world. On this page we're going to tell you a little about the hobby and how you can obtain the necessary license to operate in the United States.

It's never been so easy to get into ham radio. All ham radio operators must be licensed before they can legally operate.

In order to qualify for an amateur radio license, you must pass certain tests to determine that you have the required knowledge. Fortunately, the tests are not terribly difficult for most people. There are three license levels (known as classes) where each class grants greater privileges to the individual. There is a single written test for each license class. The license classes are:

  • Technician Class - this is the entry level license. It gives privileges on all amateur frequencies above 50 Mhz and is the most popular. It requires only a written test.

  • General Class - this is the mid-level license. It enables privileges on most amateur frequencies below 50 Mhz and includes global HF (shortwave) communications. It has its own written test.

  • Extra Class - this is the highest level license. It grants privileges on all amateur frequencies. It has its own written test and requires that you also have passed all of the Technician and General class written tests.

The first thing you should do is obtain the home study materials to prepare you for the test. These will give you the background that you'll need to understand the gist of what the tests are about.

When you're ready to take the test, schedule a license exam.  Exams are given by the Palouse Hills ARC on club meeting nights. Testing begins at 1815 hours.

For additional information or help please contact Tom KI6DER at 509-334-6979 or


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