Operation of an amateur station requires an amateur operator license grant from the FCC. For individuals entering the amateur service, or upgrading their license operator class, there are three classes of license, each authorizing privileges corresponding to the qualifications required. The classes of license, from highest to lowest are: Amateur Extra Class, General Class, and Technician Class.
Before receiving a license grant, you must pass an examination administered by a team of
(VEs). The VEs determine the
for which you are qualified by testing your knowledge in operating an amateur station. Most new amateur radio operators start with the "no-code" Technician Class operator license. Some newcomers, however, begin at the General Class. A few even begin at the Amateur Extra Class.
To request examination, submit to your VE team a completed FCC Form 605
In the amateur radio license examination system, there are three written examination elements
[Elements 2, 3, and 4]. For each operator class, you must pass the elements
|Amateur Extra||Written Elements 2, 3, 4
|General||Written Elements 2, 3
|Technician||Written Element 2
Your VEs accommodate physical disabilities that require a special examination
procedure. They may, however, require you to provide a physician's certification
indicating the nature of your disability before determining which, if
any, special procedure must be used.
Your written examination establishes your level of operational and technical
ability in performing properly the duties of an amateur service licensee.
Each written examination consists of a set of questions:
|4||Amateur Extra Class||50||37
The Volunteer Examiner Coordinators
maintain a common question pool for each written examination
element. Each pool contains at least ten times the number of questions
required for a single examination. Every question set administered to
an examinee is prepared by a VE. The questions you are asked on your written
examination are taken from the appropriate pool. These pools are revised
and updated periodically to incorporate the latest rules, new technology
and interests of the amateur service community. Make sure that you prepare
for your examination by studying material based upon the question pools
currently in use. The pools are available to you in several non-government
publications. Non-government sources also offer learning opportunities
in the form of audio and video tapes, manuals and books, and computer
and live instructional courses.
Volunteer Examiner Responsibilities
The volunteer examiners
are responsible for the proper conduct and necessary supervision of your examination, including:
- Observing you throughout your entire examination.
- Determining the correctness of your answers.
- Issuing a Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) when you score a passing grade.
- Terminating your examination if you do not comply with their instructions.
The Volunteer Examiner Coordinator
(VEC) collects your Form 605 document from your VE team and, after carefully screening it, forwards the information thereon to the FCC electronically.
Your VE may charge you a reimbursement fee for their out-of-pocket expenses incurred in preparing, processing, administering or coordinating your examination. For more information see
public notice DA 00-2718 (text
Authority to Operate
Your operating authority begins when your license grant information appears in the Amateur Radio Service licensing information,
available by searching the Universal Licensing System
(ULS). These searches allow the viewing of pending applications and granted license information.
There is no requirement that you have a license grant document showing the information in ULS in your possession before you begin operating.
For more information, refer to more information on Communications & Operations