What is Ham Radio?
Amateur Radio (ham radio) is a popular hobby and service that brings people, electronics and communication together. People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the Internet or cell phones. It’s fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during times of need.
Who is the Typical Ham?
Amateur Radio operators come from all walks of life – doctors, students, kids, politicians, truck drivers, movie stars, missionaries and even your average neighbor next door. They are of all ages, sexes, income levels and nationalities. Whether through Morse Code on an old brass telegraph key, voice communication on a hand-held radio or computerized messages transmitted via satellite, all hams use radio to reach out to the world.
Why should I get licensed?
Before you can get on the air, you need to be licensed and know the rules to operate legally. US licenses are good for 10 years before renewal and anyone may hold one except a representative of a foreign government. In the US there are three license classes—Technician, General and Extra. The ARRL Getting Licensed page describes the license classes and provides useful links for those interested in becoming licensed.
How to get started
Learn what you need to know
RRRA’s in-person Amateur Radio license test preparation classes have been paused. Currently available study resources include
- WS0Y’s Self-Study Technician License Exam Preparation Course
- Flashcard / Practice Test websites & apps such as HamStudy or the ARRL Exam Review for Ham Radio™
- Textbooks such as those available in the ARRL Online Store
Pass your license examination
RRRA’s in-person Amateur Radio license testing sessions have been paused. Other in-person license testing sessions may be found through
- The search form at the bottom of ARRL’s Find an Amateur Radio License Exam Session page
- HamStudy’s Find a Session page
Online, or remote, license testing sessions may be found through
License exam candidates are reminded that you are required to register in the FCC CORES system and receive a FCC Registration Number (FRN) before exam day. Some remote exam software will automatically register your FRN if necessary. You should check with your online exam provider to confirm what you need to do.
For FRN registration information, see item #4: Exam Session Requirements
To register and request your FRN visit the FCC CORES User Account and Registration page
FCC CORES Tutorial Videos are available to explain the registration process.