Intro to Ham Radio in 5 Minutes

Watch the 60-second video to get started

Read the lesson below and be sure to take the quiz afterwards to test your knowledge

Focus on The Blue Words

These are the correct answers directly from the FCC Question Pools.

Who Regulates Ham Radio?

The FCC is the government agency that regulates amateur radio and issues ham radio licenses.

About Your Ham Radio License

The 3 levels of amateur radio licenses are Technician, General and Amateur Extra. You must pass each exam in order.

  • Level 1: The Technician License: the entry-level license that allows you to get on the air. Great for local communication and sufficient for most uses.
  • Level 2: The General License: Get access to all amateur radio bands including long-range high frequency (HF) privileges. The perfect license for those looking to use ham radio for emergency communications.
  • Level 3: Amateur Extra License: The highest level license available to amateurs.
Ham Radio License

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.

Call Signs

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

Call Signs

Phonetic Alphabet

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”​

Phonetic Alphabet

Calling “CQ” means calling any station. This is a great way to make your first contact once you get your license.

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