Welcome to HamStart™
Ham Radio USA - Starter Kit and Upgrade Guide
A guide for beginners and license upgraders
Resources for getting started and advancing in ham radio
What should you do when the Ham Radio Bug bites?
Become a Ham ... it could change your life!
What is Ham Radio?
Ham Radio combines the electronics, theory and other technical aspects of
Radio with the opportunity for "hands-on" operation and management of an Amateur Radio Station
(consisting of Radios, antennas, accessories). This forms the basis for Hams to enjoy the hobby by Radioing with others world wide.
The various methods of radioing include voice, morse code, data via computers, etc. The means of propagation for the radio signals may involve the use of
mother nature's ionosphere or man-made methods such as satellite communications and transponders.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for issuing amateur radio licenses in the United States of America (USA) and
the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) provides for the overall administration of the examination program and study materials. The actual amateur radio license examinations are given by official ham radio volunteer examiners.
The three classes of licenses in the USA are described below.
Technician Class License
The Technician Class is an entry level license. It requires passing a 35-question multiple-choice examination covering the basic rules and regulations;
operating practices; and electronics theory. The main emphasis is on VHF and UHF applications (with all ham radio privileges above 30 MHz). Technicians may also operate on the 80, 40, and 15 meter bands using CW, and on the 10 meter band using CW, voice, and digital modes.
A Morse code test is not required for the Technician Class license.
General Class License
The General Class is the middle or intermediate level license. This grants many more operating privileges than the technician class. The General
Class license may be taken as the first ticket for those who desire to operate on the HF bands without waiting to upgrade. Technicians may upgrade to General Class by passing a 35-question multiple-choice examination.
The exam covers the intermediate level regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory. The main emphasis is on HF applications.
General Class operators have the basic Technician Class privileges as well as authorization
to operate additional modes on any frequency in the 160, 30, 17, 12, and 10 meter bands and specified segments of the 80, 40, 20, and 15 meter bands. **Morse code test is no longer required for this license.
Extra Class License
The Extra Class license is the most advanced level of amateur radio licensing. A General Class licensee may upgrade to Extra Class
by passing a 50-question multiple-choice examination covering some additional regulations, specialized operating practices, advanced electronics theory and radio electronics design.
**Morse code test is no longer required for this license.
The Extra Class license provides all of the privileges authorized to the Amateur Radio Service.
Local ham radio clubs are an excellent place to meet other enthusiasts and to gain some valuable information. Many clubs have their own stations and most offer ham radio
code and theory classes. They usually always have some interesting radio related activities planned.
**The FCC announced (restructuring order of December 30, 1999) that beginning April 15, 2000, the Morse Code Testing requirement would no longer be required for amateur radio operating privileges.
Refer to the resources on this web site because they can become your "starter kit" to ham radio. This information should provide you with a clear path to success.