An intro - Most of the info I pulled, came from Ham Universe. Ham radio/Amateur radio is a high-tech hobby sanctioned by the U.S. Federal Government that's got something fun for everyone. Ham Radio is well known as the most important communications backup for our Federal Government, that is why they are behind us!
Amateur Radio operators are people from all walks of life--no matter what age, gender or physical ability. Did you know that most of the astronauts are Amateur Radio Operators? You’re never too young or old. And, getting started in Amateur Radio has never been easier! Now, you no longer have to learn Morse Code to get your first Ham Radio License, the Technician Class, as in years past! Just pass a 35 question multiple choice exam given by volunteer Ham Radio Operators who want you to pass your exam and become one of them
and you’re on your way!
The Ham Radio Operator License Classes: In the US, there are 3 license levels, or "license classes."
These licenses are granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). You don’t buy them, you earn them.
Technician Class - The First level of Ham radio license
The Technician class license is designed for beginning level hams. This is where you will open the door and go inside to the exciting world of Ham Radio and learn more about Amateur Radio as you progress. Technician class operators now have 10 meter voice privileges plus CW on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters! It authorizes you ALL ham radio privileges above 30 Megahertz (MHz). 1500 watts of power and these privileges include the very popular 2-meter band. Many Technician licensees enjoy using small 2-meter hand-held radios to stay in touch with other hams in their area or operating from just about any vehicle, boat, etc. Imagine sending live TV in real-time or just still pictures over the air! Technician class Hams may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other interesting modes. As a Technician class Ham Radio Operator, you can even make international radio contacts via Ham Radio satellites, and actually communicate directly to hams aboard the International Space Station (ISS) using relatively simple and inexpensive equipment they operate. Imagine the thrill of talking to the astronauts, many of whom are licensed "ham radio operators", aboard the Space Station, talking directly to ham satellites in space that relay your signals to earth, or just around the block or around the world using your own licensed equipment! Using the computer and Ham radio, you can talk using your voice or the keyboard to ham friends or make new ones literally around the world! Hams know how to do this! It's certainly not CB radio! It’s way beyond and out of this world excitement over radio! To do all of this, you must be licensed by the Federal Communications commission, (the FCC) and in order to get a license, you must pass an exam for one or more of the license's. To earn a Technician Ham license, which is the entry level license, and will get you started and open the many "doors" awaiting you, you'll need to pass the Technician written exam. It is written with the beginner in mind. With a little study on your part and a passing grade behind you, you get your first ham radio license! The license is FREE and issued by the Federal Government! There are three classes of ham radio operators along with three multiple-choice exams. You don’t need a background in Electronics although it does help for the higher classes of licenses. You'll study topics such as radio operating practices, FCC rules and regulations and very basic electrical and electronic theory.
Children do it all the time and so can you!
General Class Ham license - The second level and the most popular class of Ham license is the General Class. You get privileges on ALL Ham bands.
Extra Class - The highest level of Ham license is called Extra Class. You get all the Ham bands and all the authorized Ham radio frequencies.
In order to advance up the ladder to General Class and then Extra if you want the highest class, you first take the Technician exam, then the General and last the Extra class. You do not have to advance if you are happy with staying with the Technician class but most Ham radio operators go for the more popular General class after passing the Technician and getting a bit of experience. The General class authorizes ALL ham radio bands and modes. Some people even take all three exams in one sitting! The tests have to be taken in order. You can’t skip a test.
So I have a Technicians Amateur Radio License. THERE ARE NEW TECHNICIAN CLASS LICENSE PRIVILEGES! Effective at 12:01 AM Eastern Time Friday February 23, 2007. As soon as the new privileges granted to Technician class licenses come into effect, Technician license holders will get 4 more bands on HF that they did not have before the new rule changes and the ability to transmit voice (SSB) on a portion of 10 meters and CW only on other bands. At all times, transmitter power must be the minimum necessary to carry out the desired communications. Unless otherwise noted, the maximum power output is 1500 watts PEP. All classes are limited to 200 watts PEP in the 80, 40, and 15 meter Novice/Technician Plus sub bands. Geographical power restrictions apply to the 70 cm, 33 cm and 23 cm bands. The power limit is 200 watts PEP output for Technician/Technician Plus operators.
(Use only enough power to establish and maintain communications.) Band details are:
- 80 METERS 3525 - 3600 kHz CW only
- 40 METERS 7025 - 7125 kHz CW only
- 15 METERS 21,025 - 21,200 kHz CW only
- 10 METERS: 28,000 - 28,300 kHz CW, RTTY and Data
- 28,300 - 28,500 kHz CW, SSB (VOICE)