Congratulations on your interest in getting your license. There is no obligation to obtain any particular license class, though you will need to use the club call sign if you do not have the privileges to communicate on a particular frequency. Each license class gives you more privileges, and you are encouraged to upgrade if you want to operate more on your own.



Learning presents questions to you and helps you to focus on the questions you struggle with the most. Each question has an explanation as to the correct answer. You can study by individual section or question, and when you are ready, you can take a practice test.



Shelby County Amateur Radio Emergency Services offers testing in Sidney.  For more information visit:

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Moundwood Station regularly offers testing in Huntsville.





The first license class is technician. This license allows you to communicate on frequencies best suited for local communications up to about 60 miles. With your technician license, you can talk with local operators through repeaters and nets, make contacts through satellites, and communicate using experimental modes. There are so many activities you can do with a technician license.

The process to get your license is simple. While there used to be a Morse Code test, that requirement has been dropped, and you only need to complete a multiple-choice exam of 35 questions. You will need to answer 26 questions correctly, or 74%, to pass. There are no penalties for wrong answers, so you should answer all questions. Your score on the test does not affect your license privileges, assuming you pass. The questions compose ten topics on basic operation and basic radio and electronics science and are drawn from a question pool of about 400 questions. The questions are publicly available with their answers, and you are encouraged to study them so you can be confident when you take your exam. We have included several useful resources to help you study.

When you feel confident, you can schedule an exam. Exams can be found most days, though you will likely need to schedule in advance. Exams can be taken at home, or you can attend a local testing session. There may be an exam fee, but it will not be higher than $15. Your examiners are licensed amateurs who volunteer their time, and they are excited to help you get your license. Once you pass your exam, your license will appear in the FCC database in about 7 days, after which you can start operating.



The process to upgrade your license is simple. The next license class is general. This license gives you access to frequencies on all amateur bands and allows worldwide communication. Like the technician exam, the general exam has 35 questions drawn from a pool of 400 questions, and you must answer 26 correctly.

The highest license class is Amateur Extra. This gives access to exclusive operating sub-bands which are less crowded and ideal for contacting rare stations. This exam has 50 questions drawn from a pool of 700 questions, and you must answer 37 correctly.

If you are feeling confident and the examiners permit it, you may take additional license exams at no extra cost as long as you pass all exams.


Vanity Calls

When you get your license, you will be assigned a call sign, but you are welcome to change it. This is called a vanity call sign. If you are the type who enjoys vanity license plates, you will enjoy vanity call signs. Your assigned call may be undesirable, but you can replace it with something better. Many hams choose a call that has their initials or spells a word. For example, the BHS-ARC was originally assigned the call sign KE8RJN, but the club applied to replace it with the vanity call sign W8BCS. Higher license classes allow you to choose shorter, more desirable call signs. Vanity calls are an exciting way to show part of your personality to others.