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Amateur Radio:  talk to hams in space, meet friends around the world, be at the leading edge of technology, serve your community
Unlike many hobbies,  to participate in amateur radio you must first show that you have an understanding of the rules and regulations, the operation of radio equipment and antennas, and have a basic understanding of electrical principles involved.  To do this, you first study the material that is on the FCC test (either on line, in a class, or from a book) then take your FCC exam. License testing is administered by Volunteer Examiners - DELARA is such a group -  and the forms are then files with the FCC to obtain your own ‘call letters’ or unique identifier. A ham’s callsign is very important! Amateur Radio licenses issued by the FCC are good for 10 years at which time they can be renewed. Anyone can become an Amateur Radio operator  with the exception of representatives of foreign governments. You can study and take an exam for three classes of license - Technician, General  and Extra. On February 23, 2007 the FCC eliminated all testing requirements for Morse code for all classes of licenses. Beginning Amateur Radio  operators start at the Technician class and then move to the General class and finally to the Extra class.   Technician Class License   Exam Element: 2 - Current testing material is valid until June 30, 2018. There are 426 questions in the Technician pool of which 35 are chosen for the examination. Exam Requirements: Pass a 35-question written exam and you must correctly answer 26 questions to pass (74.2%).   The Technician Class exam will cover basic FCC regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory. There is more of a focus on VHF and UHF practices. A Technician Class license will provide you with all ham radio privileges above 30 MHz, including the extremely popular 2-meter band. Technicians have access to general class CW privileges on 80, 40, and 15 meters. In addition, Technicians may operate CW, RTTY, and Data from 28.000 - 28.300 MHz and Phone from 28.300 - 28.500 MHz.    General Class License   Exam Element: 3 - Current testing material is valid until June 30, 2019. There are 462 questions in the General pool of which 35 are chosen for the examination. Exam Requirements: Pass a 35-question written exam and you must correctly answer 26 questions to pass (74.2%).   To take the General Class license exam you must have already passed the Technician Class license exam. Once you pass this exam all operating modes and the majority of the amateur radio spectrum below 30 MHz is now available to you! This includes the 20 meter band which many consider to be the best for long-distance communication.    Extra Class License   Exam Element: 4 - Current testing material is valid until June 30, 2020. There are 702 questions in the Extra pool of which 50 are chosen for the examination. Exam Requirements: Pass a 50-question written exam and you must correctly answer 37 questions to pass (74%).  To take the Extra Class license exam you must have already passed the Technician and General Class license exams. We have had several individuals take all three exams in one session! This exam covers specialized operating practices, advanced electronic theory and radio equipment design. Once you have earned your Extra Class license you are authorized to operate on all frequencies allocated to the Amateur Radio Service. The American Radio Relay League has perhaps the best array of information. Start with this link: http://www.arrl.org/licensing-education-training .

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