Amateur radio operators, also known as “hams,” have numerous opportunities within the community. Whether participating in local activities and events or connecting with global institutes, numerous opportunities pop up.
However, to become a registered amateur operator, one has to be authorized by the government. To do so, you must successfully pass the official Ham Radio Test. However, we all know how inconvenient it can be to travel for one examination.
Hence, one common question is whether one can take the Ham Radio Test online? Find out in the article below.
What is the Ham Radio Test?
The FCC provides the official amateur radio license, known as the Federal Communication Commission. They work on regulating interstate and international communication. This happens through satellite, wire, radio, television, and cable.
According to ARRL, the National Association for Amateur Radio, approximately 770,000 individuals across the United States have FCC licenses. Hence, there generally is a large group of fanatics, which facilitates interactions and events with others.
But what exactly is the Ham Radio Test, then? Well, it enables you to communicate with individuals worldwide without using the internet or otherwise. All you require is a battery, radio, and some general knowledge provided through studying.
But why does someone have to take the test, then? It is a general test that works on testing your knowledge and how proficient you are in how the ham radio works. Studying for the test enables you to also learn how to work with the radio and function around it.
Moreover, you should expect to be tested on the general FCC rules provided by the government. This includes privileges and responsibilities subjected to you as an amateur radio operator. Hence, in a nutshell, stressing about the examination is not worth it. It is generally regarded as an easy, straightforward examination for anyone without a college degree to pass successfully.
Moreover, there are three overall levels for being an amateur radio operator:
- Level 1: Technician License
- Level 2: General License
- Level 3: Amateur Extra License
You must complete and pass the first level to sit for the second. You need to give the second to sit for the third level.
The Ham Radio Test also enables individuals to communicate over the radio for multiple reasons. In emergency situations, some might actually save lives. Hence, it should not be taken lightly, as it could become a responsibility.
Where Can You Take a Ham Radio Test?
Whether you aim to obtain your license for the first time or upgrade it, you must attend one of the test sessions. These are administered by Volunteer Examiners (VE), individuals authorized by the FCC. The tests are administered by Volunteer Exam Coordinators (VECs), which go through vetting from the FCC beforehand.
Most of those VEs belong to local clubs and are fanatics about radio operations. Hence, they are the most qualified to supervise test-takers.
The best thing about taking the Ham Radio Test is that it is facilitated through in-person and online testing. Hence, you have the liberty of choosing either, according to what you’re more comfortable with.
While the coronavirus has disrupted in-person testing internationally, things have resumed typically. Many VE teams across the United States have continued their regular in-person examination. However, many still require physical distancing and wearing masks. Hence, you must check your information before visiting the center.
Do you want to find out where in-person testing is offered in your area? Check out the ARRL area detector to find where it is delivered around you. You must enter your exact zip code, state, and approximate test date.
Moreover, once you choose the in-person testing and register, you are provided a contact. That person will assist you through the process if necessary. It is vital to stay in touch with the connection, as many details regarding the examination might change over time.
Can you take the Ham Radio Test online? The great news is, yes, you can. Many prefer this option, as individuals are still a little worried about getting in contact with others, especially after the pandemic.
Check the Ham Study organization to sign up for your Ham Radio Test exam. They show you an entire list of available examinations, in-person, and remote testing choices, and even specify whether you want a particular VEC.
Generally speaking, you should ensure you sign up in advance. That’s mere to ensure you obtain a spot, as there are limited ones online. That’s because the VEs cannot keep up with an innumerable amount of test-takers in the same session.
There are also video-supervised online Radio License Exams. As they are more strict with more hectic protocols, follow the below guidelines to find out what the process looks like:
- Only one candidate is often tested at a time to ensure cheating is not an option. You will also be asked to use a camera phone to scan around the room. The whole session will be recorded.
- The rules and regulations are stringent. Hence, do not attempt to cheat, as the consequences will definitely be severe.
- Registration all occurs through the official Ham Study organization.
How to Take the Ham Radio Test?
Many test-takers are intimidated by the Ham Radio Test, which seems incredibly official. Hence, many wonder how to take the Ham Radio Test online and the procedure. The good news is that all the initial steps are the same for both the online and in-person testing, which eases the process for everyone.
So, how can you take the Ham Radio Test? There are two major, separate sections you must complete, which will be further elaborated on below.
FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS)
Below are the steps you need to complete to obtain your FCC license.
- Exam Application: this section is further discussed below. However, the examination team will reach out through email after you apply for the appointment. The email contains a link to the specific exam session, which prompts you with an electronic VEC exam form to fill out.
- FRN (Federal Registration Number): you must obtain an FRN number through FCC’s registration page. This allows the FCC to keep track of any activity and transaction.
- Valid Email Address: an official, valid email address is required. This will allow the FCC to send you an official copy of your certificate directly to your email address.
- Privacy Information: the FCC will make your information public once your license is issued. However, that is only your name and address. That’s why you have the option of using your PO Box.
- Fundamental Qualification Question: you will answer a real FCC question. Once approved, you must submit the documentation to the FCC within 14 days. You can learn more about the qualification over here.
- FCC Application Fee: to become registered, you must pay a fee of $35. This is the case for renewals or first-time applications. After your application file number is out, you only have 10 days to pay.
Ham Radio Test Preparation Steps
The steps below are items you must prepare for the Ham Radio Test.
- Registration form: register for the exam online, and fill out the application form.
- Examination fee: the Ham Radio Test cost is $15, which is non-refundable. You must first complete the application form to pay.
- US Photo ID: an official ID card must be shown. You indicate your state ID or driver’s license if you’re an adult. If you’re under 18, then you can show your passport.
- Parental Consent: if you are under 13, you must get your parent’s approval. Parents must complete the COPPA Parental Consent Form and email it to the address provided.
How Many Times Can You Take Ham Radio Test?
Are you wondering how to pass the Ham Radio Exam? Many cannot pass it on the first try, which is normal. Since the fee is relatively cheap, at only $15, you don’t have to worry too much. The general way it works is that you can sit for the exam again once you pay the fee.
However, some VEs allow you to take the examination more than once in one sitting. However, that depends on the number of versions they have available with them.
Moreover, as you know, at this point, you must complete level 1 to be eligible for level 2. Many people would rather sit for multiple exams at the same time. This is possible if you pass one of the levels and then ask your VE if you can sit for the second level. That makes it much easier, as you won’t have to revisit the center for the other exam.
3 Ham Radio Test Preparation Tips
Below are the essential steps to help you prepare for the Ham Radio Test.
Choose the Level of License
If you want to take this seriously, you must start at the Technician level and then progress into the other two. The highest level, known as level three, is the Amateur Extra License.
You must pass the Technician License initially, but you can sit for the General License test on the same day without paying additional fees.
Find a Study Guide
The most used Ham Radio License Test study guide is the one offered by Ham Radio Study Guide Team. It has study material for all three levels. Hence, you can prepare for all at the same time.
For Ham Radio License Test practice questions, we recommend checking out Ham Radio Prep. You must score 74% on each of the exams to successfully pass. Hence, it’s the best idea to get the generalized type of questions and the format.
Both the Technician and the General Ham Tests have only 35 questions. However, the Extra License includes a total of 50 queries.
For more Ham Radio License Test questions, follow through the ARRL website. The ARRL Exam review provides short summaries, thoughts, questions, and more. These all enable you to adequately and confidently prepare for the exam.
The website provides an innumerable amount of questions you can practice. You can also print them out efficiently, revise them according to the chapter, and go through summaries.
Wrapping Things Up: Can You Take the Ham Radio Test Online?
The bottom line is that the Ham Radio Test is considered a straightforward one. Moreover, you can definitely sit for it online. In fact, this has increasingly become the most chosen option, as it is quite adequate and efficient for many. However, keep in mind that the process might be a little more strict.
Moreover, while the exam is simple, the process is lengthy. Keep the following article in mind simply to check whether you’re following the necessary steps for registration. Do not forget to wear a mask if you register for in-person testing, and keep your ID card on you at all times.