Ham Radio Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I become an amateur radio operator?

It’s really quite easy! All you need to do is pass one exam, which is given by your local amateur radio volunteers.  There is usually a minimal cost ($15) that you’ll need to pay for their time and materials.  You’ll need to provide valid identification as well.

Once you pass that first test, you’ll have to wait for the FCC to issue you a “call sign.” (mine is K5HRA for example)  When you have that, you can start talking on the air!

How do I prepare for the exams?

There are lots of resources all over the internet, from books, websites, practice-test sites, “study guides”…. but we hope you’ll find Ham Radio Academy to be the most helpful in learning all about amateur radio, and preparing yourself for the exams!

Our courses are designed to actually teach you about amateur radio, instead of just drilling and memorizing the test questions. Sometimes memorizing is the only way to remember certain questions, such as those relating to the rules, or specific bits of information, but the goal is to produce qualified amateur radio operators. Not good test takers.

If I take your course, will I be a licensed ham?

Almost.  Once you complete a Ham Radio Academy course, you’ll be prepared to pass your exam.  When you get your call sign, or upgrade your license, ONLY then you’ll be a licensed ham radio operator.

What does it cost to be an amateur radio operator?

The exam fees that your local volunteers charge are minor, usually around $15.  You can find basic handheld transceivers for around $30 these days, and that’s all you need to get on the air.  Of course, like anything, the fun just starts there!

The FCC has recently stated that soon, amateur radio licenses (along with certain other license-related services) will have a fee of $35. This is in addition to any fees the volunteer administrators levy. More information is forthcoming, and I will update this (and make a post) when the details of implementation are released.

Do I need to learn Morse Code?


The FCC re-structured the amateur radio license system in 2007, and eliminated the Morse code requirements from ALL amateur radio licenses.

Of course eventually you’ll probably find yourself wanting to learn Morse code, but that’s a different story! 😉

How long is an amateur radio license valid for?’

An amateur radio license is valid for 10 years from the date of issue.  You do not need to re-test to renew it.

Will Ham Radio Academy have courses for countries other than the USA

Doubtful.  If there is enough demand we may consider it.  Our courses specifically deal with the USA license exams, but the non-US specific material would be applicable anywhere.

Are you ever going to finish the courses and get them released so we can learn about Ham Radio??!!

YES. Eventually. I’m actually WORKING ON IT RIGHT NOW! So yes, they’re coming soon.

Update (1/21/21) YES I am still working on it. Life backed up a dump truck of lemons on all our doorsteps this past year, and I can only squeeze so many in a day. But it is coming soon.