Do I need a license?

No, but a license allows you to transmit unsupervised on amateur radio frequencies allocated by the FCC.

If you’re just getting started in amateur radio, you can join in with other Hams as they operate, and if they allow, you can transmit under their callsign and license privileges under their supervision. Anyone can simply receive amateur radio transmissions.

This may be a great way to see what it’s like and if you’re interested in taking a license exam.

How do I get a license?

You will need to take a license exam. There are three license levels with increasing RF spectrum transmission privileges:

  • Technician
  • General
  • Extra

Each exam increases in difficulty, and in the case of the extra exam, increases from the standard 35 questions to a total of 50 questions. The pool of questions is available for free, and study materials are also free.

  • Hamstudy is an amazing online study resource that’s completely free.
  • is a flash card based study resource with access to the question pools.
  • KB6NU offers the “No Nonsense” series of study guides for free as a PDF, or for purchase in paper form.

Optionally, study materials can be purchased from websites and publishers that may work better for your learning style. There may also be in-person classes available in your local area.

Exams are available for a small fee from groups or clubs consisting of Volunteer Examiners. These can either be local or online. Find your local club at the ARRL website.

I’m more of an offline person. How can I get a license?

Local clubs meet on a regular basis and periodically give in-person examinations.

The following clubs will have more information on their resources and testing dates in the central Michigan area:

I’m more of an online person. How do I get a license?

You can test at basically any time of the day, from any location with a solid Internet connection.

Usually the requirements involve an active Zoom account, a clean (uncluttered), quiet, and isolated area, like an office with the desk cleaned off. No other individuals are usually allowed in the room during testing to ensure a valid examination.