Becoming a Licensed Ham Radio Operator is fun and easy to do.
To become a Ham radio operator you need to pass the FCC exam and obtain your FCC Technician Radio Operators license. The Technician License allows you to go on the air using the UHF and VHF Amateur Radio bands commonly used for local contacts and regional emergency communication.
Earning your FCC Technician's License is as simple as passing the 35-question FCC Element One multiple choice written exam. The FCC realizes that Ham Radio Technician Operators are a public safety asset and purposely made the exam uncomplicated. No Morse Code is required. All you need to do is learn some of the FCC rules and regulations and learn a little bit about how radios and repeaters systems work. With a little preparation, many people find the exam easy to pass.
Exams are given by Volunteer Examiners -- local Hams who administer the test as a public service at many local locations. Exams are scheduled frequently -- usually every week. Exam times and places can be found on the American Radio Relay League website http://www.arrl.org
There are a number of ways to study for the Technician Exam -- Amateur Radio clubs have free classes, classes are available on line, and there a number of excellent self-study books available. My wife and I passed the Technician exam by studying "The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual" on our own a few hours a day for about 10 days and by taking the practice tests we found at http://www.qrz.com
-- that's all it took.
You can take the sample tests on line and learn immediately if your answers are correct, and if not, what the correct answer is. You will eventually learn the correct answers to all the questions in the FCC Exam question pool. Many people have passed the exam simply by practicing the sample tests on QRZ.
Most people do very well on the exam by reading the "The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual" published by the Amateur Radio Relay League. It sells for $24.95 and is available from Ham Radio Outlet in Burbank and at other radio supply stores. It's also available on line from the ARRL at: http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=9639#top
. This well written text is easy to read and contains all the questions available for use on the FCC exam.
Other books you might consider are the "ARRL Tech Q & A - 4th Edition" ( $15.95) and the "Technician Study Manual" by Gordon West ($18.95). Both are available at most radio supply stores, amateur radio stores (Ham Radio Outlet, Jun's Electronics), Radio Shack and on the Internet at either http://www.arrl.org
web sites all contain a wealth of information to help you obtain a license.
I recommend self study and the taking the sample tests. It's inexpensive and you can study at home at your own pace. If there's something you don't understand in the book I may be able to help you with a phone call or two. Leave a comment to this blog entry and I'll get back to you as quickly as I can. If not, there are other highly experienced Hams who are excellent teachers and will be pleased to help -- ask around and you'll find a good one.
When all else fails, Amateur Radio works.
ACS Battalion 14 Communications Unit Leader