How to become a Ham

So, you want to be a “ham?”

Amateur radio isn’t just rewarding and fun; it gives you an opportunity to serve, providing emergency communications when traditional infrastructure fails. It’s also a great place to meet new people – especially if you join a radio club like the DVRA.

Ham radio has a long and storied history – over a century of innovation. Amateur operators use radio to chat by voice and Morse code, but have also perfected a wide range of other methods. We communicate with one another using satellites. We use custom-built software that lets our computers harness the power of radio. We can text and send email, with no Internet. We even bounce radio signals off the moon.

It’s a fascinating world that appeals to men, women and kids all over the world. 

Getting licensed

In the United States, amateur radio is regulated by the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. The first step is to get your license. A number of license types are available – each requires some study to prepare for an in-person exam. The DVRA conducts testing throughout the year. 

It requires a bit of work, but it’s not particularly difficult and many resources, study guides and tutorial resources are out there to help you – both online and in print. In 2000, the FCC dropped the Morse code requirement. Plus, DVRA members are available to point you in the right direction.

Learning the ropes

Here’s a great place to start. The ARRL also sells printed study material – or you can find it anywhere books are sold. Just be sure to get the latest version, since the exam questions are updated regularly.

Keep an eye on these DVRA links to keep tabs on the next test session. 

Exam schedule 



Got questions? Drop us a line. Or, visit the station during open hours to see ham radio in action:

Sunday: 1 – 4 pm

Tuesday: 1 – 4 pm and 6 – 8 pm

Thursday: 1 – 4 pm and 6 – 8 pm

Good luck – we look forward to congratulating you on passing the test, getting your “ticket” and exploring an exciting world of technology and friendship.

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