Become A Ham

Take the Test

AARC gives license exam sessions quarterly in the Charlottesville, VA area. All 2017 sessions will be held at NRAO headquarters on the grounds of the University of Virginia. The cost to take the exam is $15 (cash only) for any class of license or upgrade. Exam sessions are also posted on the club calendar. License exam sessions are administered for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by local Volunteer Examiners (VEs) who are ham radio operators with at least a General Class license who have been accredited by the ARRL or another Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC). VEs must have a higher license class than the test they are administering (Extra Class VEs, however, can administer the Extra Class exam).

AARC 2017 Exam Dates and Location:

  • 2017 03-25 9:00 AM @ NRAO Headquarters at 520 Edgemont Road, UVA, Charlottesville
  • 2017-06-03 9:00 AM @ NRAO Headquarters at 520 Edgemont Road, UVA, Charlottesville
  • 2017-09-23 9:00 AM @ NRAO Headquarters at 520 Edgemont Road, UVA, Charlottesville
  • 2017-12-09 9:00 AM @ NRAO Headquarters at 520 Edgemont Road, UVA, Charlottesville

Please bring the following to the exam session:   A legal photo ID (driver’s license, passport)

If you have any questions prior to reporting to the VE session, please contact our VE Coordinator, Mark Gorlinsky at mgch@mac.com.  Walk-ins are welcomed but it would be preferable to contact Mark prior to the session to facilitate our planning.

If you are willing to travel, there are about 10 exams per month administered within 50-100 miles of Charlottesville.

  • Within 50 miles: Culpepper, Forrest (Lynchburg), Dayton (Harrisonburg)
  • 50-100 miles: Falls Church, Alexandria, Richmond, Winchester, Roanoke, Leesburg, Montross, Covington, and a few MD and WV locations

You can find other exam dates and locations on the ARRL license exam session search page:
http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session

W5YI also offers exam sessions in Virginia:
http://www.w5yi.org/exam_locations_ama.php?vec_state=VA

Exams are also offered at most Hamfests, which are annual ham radio convention and flea market events: Richmond, Berryville, Manassas, Roanoke, and Virginia Beach.

Disabilities: amateur radio exams can be given to accommodate those with disabilities, although we recommend that you contact the examining organization in advance to insure that reasonable accommodation is available. In the case of those who are blind or dyslexic, for example, the test may be administered verbally. Our exam locations are wheelchair accessible. In special cases, it may be possible to have VEs come to you; however, the FCC requires the test to be proctored by at least three VEs.

You do not need to RSVP in advance of the test, but it is recommended to insure there is adequate space, time, testing materials, volunteer examiners of a higher license class, and accommodations for applicants with disabilities.

What to Bring

In addition to the $15 (cash only) cost of the test, please refer to the page below regarding other items you should bring with you to the exam:

http://www.arrl.org/what-to-bring-to-an-exam-session

Classes

AARC sometimes gives classes, depending on demand. These may be classroom instruction or an assisted self study.

Classes of License

Morse code is no longer a requirement for any license class.

There are only three current classes of new amateur radio licenses: Technician, General, and Extra. The Novice and Advanced Class licenses are no longer issued.

  • The Technician Class is the entry level license class and permits VHF/UHF operation plus limited HF operation on the 10 meter band. It requires passing Exam Element 2.
  • The General Class License provides additional HF operating privileges. It requires passing Exam Elements 2 and 3.
  • The Extra Class License is the highest class license and permits all amateur operating privileges. It requires passing Exam Elements 2,3, and 4.

Once you have passed an exam element and are issued the corresponding license, you do not have to take it again to upgrade to the next class of license unless you let your license expire. Note that it is possible to go directly to General or Extra by taking multiple exam elements in one session.

Renewal of an Amateur Radio License is free but must be done in the last three months of your license term.

Study Materials

For all three License Classes (Technician, General, and Extra), there are numerous printed study guides, YouTube videos, and other online resources, including listings of all questions which may be included in the exams, and sample exams which you can take as often as you like to boost your confidence for passing the actual exam.

Some representative resources include:

American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Ham Radio License Manual and other related publications. AARC highly recommends using ARRL license preparation materials.  http://www.arrl.org/shop/ARRL-Ham-Radio-License-Manual-3rd-Edition/

Gordon West publications. http://www.gordonwestradioschool.com/main/page_w5yi_training_resources.html

FCC Rules Part 97 http://www.arrl.org/part-97-amateur-radio

US Amateur Radio Bands – ARRL Frequency Chart http://www.arrl.org/shop/ARRL-Frequency-Chart-11-17/

There are numerous online study guides and practice tests such as:

KD0FNR – http://copaseticflows.appspot.com/examhelp/hamlicense.html

Ham Test Online – http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/
AA9PW – http://aa9pw.com/
QRZ – http://www.qrz.com/hamtest/
EHam – http://www.eham.net/exams/
Hamstudy – http://hamstudy.org/ – this site sponsored by Icom gives the text questions in flash card format.
KY4KY – http://www.ky4ky.com/vetesting_materials.htm

There are also many videos available including:

Hermosa Beach Ham Radio Class – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd2mHVh0O-Y
Appears to have more coverage of the material. Video of actual classroom instruction.

Ham Whisperer YouTube Technical License Course – http://www.hamwhisperer.com/p/ham-courses.html
Note it appears he may teach the test rather than the material.

David Casler’s KE0OG Videos – http://dcasler.com/ham-radio/training/

John D’s Videos – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVD_gvXNoc8