Getting a ham radio license isn’t as hard as you may think. There are multiple forms of study material, in print and online, and plenty of ways to take practice tests.
There are currently three classes of licenses, listed in order of privileges from lowest to highest:
You must first past the Technician exam in order to take the General exam, and you must pass the General exam in order to take the Amateur Extra exam.
Each exam consists of multiple choice questions. The Technician exam consists of 35 questions, drawn from a pool of about 426 questions. You must get at least 26 correct to pass.
The General exam will consist of 35 questions drawn from a pool of about 462 questions. You must get at least 26 correct to pass.
The Amateur Extra exam will consist of 50 questions from a pool of 622. You must get at least 37 questions correct in order to pass.
You don’t need to attend a class to pass the license exam. You can buy the study guide from the ARRL and read it. Go over it several times and ensure you understand as much as you can. Then you go over the questions and the answers in the back of the guide ensuring you know what the correct answer is and why (refer back to the study guide as needed). Once you think you have an understanding of what is in the book, you can go to WWW.QRZ.Com and establish an account. You don’t need to have a license already to create an account. You can then go to the “Practice Amateur Radio Exams” link under the Resources menu on that page and select the test you want to practice. This will simulate taking the actual exam. If you can CONSISTENTLY pass with 90% or above, you have an excellent chance of passing the actual test. Getting a license does not mean you know how to use it or the technology involved. It just means you have the authorization to use it. Amateur Radio is about learning. Look at your license as a license to learn. If you need help getting on the air or accomplishing something in Amateur Radio, it is helpful to be a member of a club as there are folks in the club that can point you in the right direction and help you have fun in the hobby.
Resources for New Hams:
Here is a Get on the Air Guide for after you get your license – Get on the air guide Aug 2023
Here is a link to a site that allows you to identify radio signals.
Here is a link to a site that allows you to find repeaters on a map. This link allows you to find repeaters for all VHF and above bands for the area you are looking for.