We’re so glad you asked, becoming an amateur radio operator has never been easier! In April 2000, the number of license classes dropped from six to the current three. In addition, in February 2007, the FCC discontinued requiring Morse code proficiency tests. The FCC issued these new regulations to streamline the licensing system and bring the Amateur Radio service into the digital age.
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.
There are currently 3 levels of license classes within the United States – Technician, General, and Extra. North Okaloosa Amateur Radio Club offers classes for each level throughout the year. Keep an eye on our website and social media platforms for more information.
The Technician class license is the entry-level license of choice for most new ham radio operators. To earn the Technician license requires passing one examination totaling 35 questions on radio theory, regulations and operating practices. The license gives access to all Amateur Radio frequencies above 30 megahertz, allowing these licensees the ability to communicate locally and most often within North America. It also allows for some limited privileges on the HF (also called “short wave”) bands used for international communications.
The General class license grants some operating privileges on all Amateur Radio bands and all operating modes. This license opens the door to world-wide communications. Earning the General class license requires passing a 35 question examination. General class licensees must also have passed the Technician written examination.
The Amateur Extra class license conveys all available U.S. Amateur Radio operating privileges on all bands and all modes. Earning the license is more difficult; it requires passing a thorough 50 question examination. Extra class licensees must also have passed all previous license class written examinations.
If you’d like to Join NOARC, simply fill out an application form and bring it to one of the meetings or you can mail it in. NOARC meets twice a month at Live Oak Baptist church in Crestview, FL. The second Thursday of every month at 7:00PM is our monthly business meeting where we handle the official business of the club such as planning activities and reviewing income and expenses. The fourth Thursday of every month at the same time and location is our monthly “tech night” where we really get down to the fun stuff and learn about all the different facets of amateur radio. Both nights are a great opportunity to come out and meet fellow operators in our local area or get acquainted with the hobby if you’re brand new!