Amateur (Ham) radio consists of three license classes: Technician, General, and Extra. You do not need to learn Morse Code to be an amateur radio operator!
The first step is to obtain your Technician license. To do this, you must take and pass an exam, administered by Volunteer Examiners, typically from a local amateur radio club.
The technician test contains 35 multiple-choice questions, randomly chosen from a question pool. A passing score is 70%, which means you can miss up to 9 questions. Don’t worry – these questions and the answer choices are available online to help you study!
Studying for The Exam
Many people prefer to use a book. The Geauga Amateur Radio Association recommends the Gordon West/W5YI study guide. Many organizations offer ham radio classes – you can find one in your local area here. If you are in the Northeast Ohio area, we offer technician classes in the Spring and Fall, free of charge!
We also recommend you practice for the test on your own. There are a number of web sites and smart phone apps to accomplish this, hamstudy.org is highly recommended.
Taking the Exam
Once you have studied the material and are passing practice tests, you’ll want to take an actual exam! To find a local volunteer exam session, check out this site.
The Geauga Amateur Radio Association offers free exam sessions as well.
Join a Club!
Feel free to check out various clubs before taking your exam. Clubs are generally very welcoming to newcomers and you typically don’t need to be a ham to attend a club meeting.
Ham radio has a long-standing tradition of what we call “elmering” – more experienced hams helping out newer and prospective hams. A great way to learn about ham radio is to meet people who are already in the hobby. The Geauga Amateur Radio Association meets on the fourth Monday of every month except July and December. There is no pressure to join the club and visitors are always welcome! If you do not live in our area or wish to join a different club, you can search for clubs here.
Good luck in your journey, and if you have further questions, feel free to contact us!