HAM radio General class privileges || Easy Guide USA (Updated 2024)

Ham Radio General Class Privileges: Introduction

Before understanding HAM radio General class privileges, something must be cleared about radio frequency bands itself. The radio frequency bands spans right from 30kHz to 300GHz .Out of that some frequency bands are authorized for use by HAM radio operators by the FCC.

It is then further bifurcated for use by different class of HAM radio license holders. And not all class of license holders are allowed on all the bands and operating modes. Here we’ll just look into frequency bands and operating modes that are privileged for HAM radio General class license holders.

What is Ham radio General class license?

The ham radio General class license is second-level amateur radio license in the United States. It grants individuals the privilege to operate on certain additional frequency bands and modes in addition to what is privileged in the entry level technician class license within the amateur radio spectrum.

To obtain the General class licensees must be able to pass the written test for prior class i.e. the Technician class exam, then only you’ll be able to upgrade your license class to the General class.

Ham radio General class privileges || The license exam

The Ham radio General class license is obtained by passing a written examination administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) organization.

To upgrade to General Class, you must already hold a Technician Class license or have recently passed the Technician license exam. Upgrading to a General license will provide extensive privileges in the HF band. It gives access to majority of the amateur spectrum with wide range of operating modes. Overall the general class license has the access to overall more than 80% of the Amateur HF band.


Effective April 15, 2000, Novice class licenses were abolished and no longer issued to any newbies by the FCC provided that existing licenses will be remain valid and can be renewed indefinitely. Also Effective February 23, 2007, Morse code test requirements was also dropped. As a result Technician class license holders are granted all privileges of the Novice class by default.

Additionally the Technician Plus class licenses are also discontinued from 2000 by the FCC and the existing tech plus licenses were converted to Technician class on modification or renewal. So technician and technician plus have now identical privileges. And above that Ham radio general class privileges will include all that were in technician and technician plus classes.

Ham radio General class privileges & operating modes:

LF135.7-137.8 kHz (2200m)CW, RTTY/DATA, PHONE ,IMAGE
MF472–479 kHz (630m)CW, RTTY/DATA, PHONE ,IMAGE
MF1.800-2.000 MHz (160m)CW, RTTY/DATA, PHONE ,IMAGE
HF 3.525-3.600 MHz (80m)CW, RTTY/DATA
HF5332-5405 kHz (60m)USB ONLY
HF 7.025-7.125 MHz (40m)CW, RTTY/DATA
HF7.175-7.300 MHz (40m)CW, PHONE
HF10.100-10.150 MHz (30m)CW, RTTY/DATA
HF14.025 -14.150 MHz (20m)CW, RTTY/DATA
HF14.225 -14.350 MHz (20m)CW, PHONE ,IMAGE
HF18.068-18.110 MHz (17m)CW, RTTY/DATA
HF18.110-18.168 MHz (17m)CW, PHONE ,IMAGE
HF 21.025-21.200 MHz (15m)CW, RTTY/DATA
HF21.275-21.450 MHz (15m)CW, PHONE ,IMAGE
HF24.890-24.930 MHz (12m)CW, RTTY/DATA
HF24.930-24.990 MHz (12m)CW, PHONE ,IMAGE
HF 28.000-28.300 MHz (10m)CW, RTTY/DATA
HF 28.300-28.500 MHz (10m)CW, PHONE
HF28.300-29.700 MHz (10m)CW, PHONE ,IMAGE
VHF50.0-50.1 MHz (6m)CW ONLY
VHF144.0-144.1 MHz (2m)CW ONLY
VHF 144.1-148.0 MHz (2m)CW, RTTY/DATA, PHONE ,IMAGE, MCW
VHF 222.00-225.00 MHz (1.25m)CW, RTTY/DATA, PHONE ,IMAGE, MCW
UHF420.0-450.0 MHz (70cm)CW, RTTY/DATA, PHONE ,IMAGE, MCW
UHF902.0-928.0 MHz (33cm)CW, RTTY/DATA, PHONE ,IMAGE, MCW
Ham radio General class privileges and operating modes

Ham radio General class privileges chart || pdf download

I have prepared a simple pdf for referring General class privileges chart. Click here for the download

FAQs on Ham Radio General class privileges:

FAQ 1: What are the advantages of having access to HAM radio general class privileges (frequencies)?

Answer: Having access to HAM radio general class frequencies provides several advantages. General class license holders can operate on a wider range of frequency bands, including the popular HF bands, which allows for long-distance communication and access to international amateur radio networks. These frequencies often provide better propagation characteristics, enabling communication over greater distances compared to lower frequency bands. General class license holders also have the opportunity to explore various modes of communication, such as voice (SSB), Morse code (CW), digital modes, and more.

FAQ 2: Can General class license holders communicate with operators holding other license classes?

Answer: Yes, General class license holders can communicate with operators who hold licenses of different classes. They can communicate with Technician class license holders on the frequency bands available to both license classes. However, it’s essential to ensure compliance with the regulations and privileges associated with each license class when communicating with operators holding different licenses.

FAQ 3: Are there any restrictions on using HAM radio general class frequencies?

Answer: While General class license holders enjoy expanded frequency privileges, there are still certain restrictions to keep in mind. For example, specific portions of frequency bands may be allocated for exclusive use by higher license classes, such as Amateur Extra class license holders. Additionally, certain frequencies may have special purposes or restrictions, such as emergency communications or satellite communications. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the current band plans and regulations to ensure proper and legal operation within the allocated frequencies.

Remember that these FAQs provide general information about HAM radio general class privileges, and it’s always important to consult the official regulations and band plans set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and stay updated about the changes made time to time.

Ham radio General class privileges: Conclusion

I hope the article gave an overall idea about the ham radio General class privileges and operating modes given as a licensee. Being a responsible ham radio operator, you should go through each bands and privileges before directly going on air and take care of the operating privileges to avoid interference with any other agency or operator.

Always keep in mind that license privileges are carry forwarded as we upgrade our license i.e. a general class will have all the privileges that a technician class has and the amateur extra class will have all the privileges that both technician and general class have.

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