How to get a HAM radio license in USA 2023: Easy guide

HAM radio license: Intro

An Amateur radio license in mandatory to operate on allotted frequency bands irrespective of the country you’re residing in.

If you’re an HAM radio aspirant or a newbie, and wondering “How to get a HAM radio license in USA”? Here I have tried to describe step by step, how you can proceed in obtaining your ham radio license and join the amateur radio hobbyist community.

Why you need HAM radio license?

CB citizen band radio

Well you can not just go out there and turn on any radio equipment and make communication. You need a proper license for it and you will have to make sure that you’re operating on the frequency or bands which will not interfere with the other radio communications taking place around you such as police radio, public radio, aircraft radio waves, mobile phone signals etc.

There for the ITU has allotted specific bands for specific use only and onwards the countries authorise them for public use.

In order to operate on HAM radio frequency bands, one must have a valid license to operate it and he/she must be aware of the procedures and protocols for operating amateur radio, otherwise it is illegal to operate a ham or amateur radio.

Don’t have time for self preparation? You can always join paid classes: Click Here

Who issues ham radio license in USA?

In the United States, amateur radio licenses are issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is an independent government agency responsible for regulating interstate and international communications by wire, satellite, and radio.

To obtain an amateur radio license, also known as an amateur radio operator’s license or ham radio license, you must pass an examination that tests your knowledge of basic electronics, radio theory, and regulations. The examination is administered by organizations called Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs), which are accredited by the FCC to administer amateur radio license exams.

Choose your license class

Before applying for HAM radio license exam you must choose the license class you’re eligible for. There are three (3) classes of HAM radio license in the USA:


Each class of license grants the holder a different level of privileges, including the ability to operate on different frequency bands and to use different modes of communication. To obtain a higher class of license, you must pass an examination that tests your knowledge of more advanced radio theory and regulations.

Choose your location and get yourself registered for the Examination

Ham radio license examinations are administered by Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs). You can find a testing location near you and schedule an exam by contacting a VEC or by visiting the website of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) or visiting the link here.

To appear in the exam the candidate must register himself to FCC CORE system and get a FRN (FCC Registration Number). Make contact with the examination session administrator to find out the fee and availability of the session, the documents that will be needed, and the deadline for the session.

What is fees for ham radio license exam & Which documents are required?

Take the exam. On the day of the exam, you will need to bring two forms of identification and proof of citizenship. You will also need to pay the fees for the exam.

click here for Full checklist of exam day documents and fees structure for ham radio license exam.

Pass the examination & Obtain your license

HAM radio exam USA

Once you’re geared with all above preparations, you can take the exam and pass it.

Once you pass the exam, the VEC will submit your application to the FCC, which will issue your ham radio license. You will receive a paper copy of your license in the mail, and your callsign will be added to the FCC’s database.

Also Read: How to Renew Ham radio license in USA?

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