License Exam Study Materials
Available License Classes
There are currently three license classes: Technician, General and Amateur Extra. The higher grade the license you hold, the more privileges you will enjoy.
In years past, those who aspired to attain a ham radio license had to learn the Morse code at prescribed speeds for each license class. This requirement was eliminated in 1991. Now, you need only pass a multiple choice test to become licensed, though you may still wish to learn Morse Code as it is used on many frequencies for contesting, DX (international contacts) and Emergency Communications.
Once you are confident that you know the material, it will be time to take your Licening Exam. To do so, find a VE Session in your area run by Volunteer Examiners (VE's). Information on when PWARC VE Sessions are held can be found under the "VE Sessions" link at the right of this page.
If you want to purchase a basic license study guide for any of the three classes of licenses, there are two we would recommend. One is published by ARRL, and the other is authored by Gorden West (WB6NOA). These can easily be found by a search of the Internet. Wherever you get it, just be sure to get then newest edition, as the question pools change from time to time. Other study resources specific to the license classes are found below.
Our club periodically offers free classes to help those who are interested in joining our hobby. We have found, however, that those who study at least an additional hour a day at home have the best chance of passing their exam on the first try. Learning what you can on your own, and then bringing your questions to the classes, is the most effective way of learning.
The passing grade on ham radio exams is 74%. We have found that on-line practice tests can be a valuable part of the learning process when studying for exams. As you progress toward your goal and are studying the license manual, supplement your study by taking at least two on-line exams a day. When you are consistently receiving scores of 90% and above, you should be ready for your exam. On-line practice tests are available at:
Technician Class License
Some hams never progress beyond the entry level Technician license, and are happy just to have the privileges that this license conveys. With this license they are limited to fewer frequency bands, and a majority of Technician license holders can be found working shorter-distance contacts on VHF and UHF repeaters.
For the Technician Class License tests after July 1, 2014
General Class License
The General Class license is for those who want to learn more about electronics and gain more HF frequency privileges. This enables them the opportunity to talk farther and to use more bands to communicate.
Recently, our club has been recommending the free downloadable No-Nonsense license study guides by KB6NU. Our members have commented they have found them to be very useful and easier to use than some of the other books they have seen.
For General Class License tests after July 1, 2011
The Amateur Extra license is the highest license class available. A more thorough understanding of electronics is required for this exam, but it also conveys all the privileges available to the hobbyists.
For the Amateur Extra Class License tests after July 1, 2012