Ham Radio, or Amateur Radio, is good for communicating in your local community, across the world, and even outer space without the need for your phone, internet, or the electric grid. It’s for these reasons that Amateur Radio is popular amongst emergency responders, preppers, and folks looking to tinker around with radios.
No! It is illegal to transmit (or talk) on an amateur radio without a license. Doing so will warrant a visit from the FCC as you’d be breaking the law. One important thing to note is you don’t need a license to listen to amateur radio.
The Technician Class Exam consists of 35 multiple choice questions with a minimum passing score of 74%. You can miss every single math question on the exam and still pass. The test covers a wide variety of topics like basic electrical theory, proper radio techniques, and the laws governing Amateur Radio.
The FCC states that “An applicant must provide sufficient information for the FCC to determine whether there is new material and substantial question of fact regarding whether the applicant has the character qualifications to be a Commission licensee.”
Long story short its not a guarantee to be issued a license upon the successful completion of your license exam, but its worth a shot depending on your individual circumstances.
It depends. Typical starter radios like the BaoFeng UV-5R have a range of about 5 miles without the use of local repeaters. When you are able to connect one of these little handheld radios to a repeater, you vastly increase the range by hundreds of miles.
If you’re using an HF radio, and have a General Class license, you can regularly talk 500+ miles or more with a simple set up.
The FCC charges a standard $35 fee to file your license. Additionally, most testing centers charge about $10 to sit and take the exam. One important thing to note however is that you can take multiple exams at the same time. For example, if you passed your Technician exam, you’d be able to sit for your General exam for no extra charge. Because of this a lot of folks tend to study for multiple exams at the same time to save money.