The FCC is the government agency that regulates amateur radio and issues ham radio licenses.
The 3 levels of amateur radio licenses are Technician, General and Amateur Extra. You must pass each exam in order.
The normal term for an FCC-issued amateur radio license is 10 years. In other words, your license will expire 10 years after you pass the exam.
Every ham radio operator is assigned a call sign. A call sign is a set of numbers/letters used to identify yourself like a license plate on a car.
Example call sign: W3TAB
The FCC says that when identifying your station with your call sign, it is encouraged to use a phonetic alphabet. This makes it easier for the other station to understand your call sign without mistakes. Remember, this isn’t required, just encouraged.
W3TAB = “Whiskey-three-tango-alpha-bravo”
Calling “CQ” means calling any station. This is a great way to make your first contact once you get your license.