Tips to Get Your Ham Radio License

Version 1.0 – A PDF of this document can be downloaded here.


First you must pass the Technician Exam (Element 2). This exam will be administered from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2018.  Make sure that you are practicing the questions with the exam date that applies to you.

Currently, the Technician Exam costs $15.   If you don’t pass the first time, you’ll need to pay $15 each time you take it. You may retake the test up to three times in a single session, but there is an additional $15 fee for each additional test.

 The day you pass the Technician exam, you will have the option to try to pass the General Exam immediately afterword at no additional charge. (You’ll save $15 if you also pass it!)

For information on the ARRL Amateur Radio Clubs to contact regarding test dates and locations, refer to  and fill out “Find an Amateur Radio License Exam in Your Area” form.

For more information on Sioux Empire Amateur Radio Club testing process, see our “Getting Licensed” page.

Studying for Your Radio Exams


Books to pass the FCC Amateur Radio Exams can be found online, at libraries and bookstores.  Most people like to buy a Technician Book because it is a good introduction to the hobby and it contains all of the questions and answers for your Technician test in the back of it.  Yes, you can read and study all  of  the exact test questions and answers in advance!  Make sure that the book you buy, or borrow,  will cover the latest version of the test you’re taking.  (There are some old books being sold that contain old material and old questions and answers. In addition to this, any revised or new material won’t be in an outdated book.)

Most people buy the exam books from    The current book for the Technician exam is “ARRL Ham Radio License Manual 3rd Edition.”  ISBN: 978-1-62595-013-0

The General Exam is going to be changed on July 1, 2015.  It will contain new questions and answers. The new General Book is “The ARRL General Class License Manual for Ham Radio”.  ISBN:978-1-62595-030-7  It will contain all of the material you’ll need to pass the exam dated from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2019.

Practice Tests Online  QRZ is a popular web site for hams.  Register as a guest, then you can practice your test online and it will hold your scores.  Their program will give you several random computer generated questions that will be on your test.  You can take as many practice tests as you like.  Here again, make sure that you are taking the latest test version which will include the date of your exam. (ex: Technician Class 2014 Pool)   The ARRL has launched a new online resource that allows users to take randomly generated practice exams using questions from the actual examination question pool. ARRL Exam Review for Ham Radio™ is free, and users do not need to be ARRL members. The only requirement is that users must first set up a site login (this is a different and separate login from your ARRL website user registration).

Download or Print Off Question Pools

Go to the above web page and download or print off the question pools for your exam.  Remember to print off or download the schematic drawings that will also be on your test.

 Files containing the question pool are available in PDF (Portable Document Format), Microsoft Word .DOC format, and .TXT format.  Three figures are used in the pool, and these are available as separate .jpeg and .pdf files.

Your exam will only include 35 questions, out of about 500.  You will print off about 90 pages of questions which will cover EVERY QUESTION AND ANSWER possible.

Ham Radio Classes Online – HAM Test Online™

Many people have chosen to study using this program.  A 2-year subscription to the Technician course is $24.95.  They practically guarantee that you’ll be successful after completing their program, and you have up to two years to study using it.

Go to this website and try their free ham radio practice test for the Technician Exam.  Create an account to save your question history in the database so you can come back later and continue where you left off.  It’s free.  Their free ham radio practice test for the Technician Exam covers the electrical portion of the test; often the most difficult part to understand.

HAM Radio License Preparation Classes Through Local Radio Clubs

ARRL can help you find an Amateur Radio license preparation class in your community. You can search their database for upcoming classes near you.

If you can’t find a club at the above website, go to this club locator page to find an ARRL affiliated Amateur Radio Club in your area.   You will need to contact them directly by using either the link provided to their website or contacting them by email or phone.

Thank you to Bill (KC0DAS) & Shelia Spritzer (KE0CLN) for contributing this content for the SEARC website.