Obtaining an Amateur Radio license is a very rewarding endeavor. In order to participate in the ARES organization, a Ham Radio license is mandatory. This page explains a little about Ham Radio, what are the features of the different license classes and some resources you can use to obtain a radio license.
Already have a Amateur Radio license? Join ARES.
Ham radio/Amateur radio is a high-tech hobby sanctioned by the U.S. Federal Government that has something fun for everyone. Ham Radio is well known as the most important communications backup for our Federal Government, that‘s why they are behind us!
Amateur Radio operators are people from all walks of life--no matter what age, gender or physical ability. You’re never too young or old. And, getting started in Amateur Radio has never been easier! Now, you no longer have to learn Morse Code to get your first Ham Radio License, the Technician Class, as in years past! Just pass a 35 question multiple choice exam given by volunteer Ham Radio Operators who want you to pass your exam and become one of them!
There are several classes of amateur radio licenses available today. Each offers the holder a set of operating permissions and modes. The chart below outlines these classes.
- The Technician class license is where you will open the door and go inside to the exciting world of Ham Radio. It authorizes you ALL ham radio privileges above 30 Megahertz (MHz). These privileges include the very popular 2-meter band. Many Technician licensees enjoy using small 2-meter hand-held radios to stay in touch with other hams in their area. Imagine sending live TV in real-time or just still pictures over the air! Technician class Hams may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other interesting modes. They can even make international radio contacts via Ham Radio satellites, and actually communicate directly to hams aboard the International Space Station (ISS) using relatively simple and inexpensive equipment. Imagine the thrill of talking to the Space Station or just around the block or around the world using your own licensed equipment! Using the computer and Ham radio, you can talk using your voice or the keyboard to ham friends or make new ones literally around the world! Hams know how to do this! It's certainly not CB radio!
- The General class license opens up the world of High Frequency (HF) communications. With HF you can talk not only to other parts of the country but to other countries in the world. Imagine the thrill of talking to a ham in Australia, Europe, Africa, South America or the orient! You can communicate via Morse code, voice, digital packet, television, single-sideband and other modes. Your antenna and equipment requirements are somewhat larger than the Technician class licensees. You retain all your Technician class privileges.
- Amateur Extra
- This last class is for the more advanced ham. It opens up a few more frequencies and operations modes than the General class license. An advanced understanding of electronics and radio theory is required.
There are many ways to prepare for your license exam. There are online web sites that will help you to study for the questions. There are private hams that are willing to tutor you. And lastly there are clubs that sponsor classes. Whether you prefer to study on your own or in a group environment preparing for your license can be a challenge depending upon your background and education. The links supplied here are just a sample of what is available.