Before transmitting on
any frequency assigned to the Amateur Radio Service, a person must first obtain
a license. To obtain a license you must prove proficiency in basic
electronic theory and, in some instances, your ability to copy and
interrupt Morse Code. There are currently three different classes of
licenses, each providing additional operating privileges and benefits, but
becomes more increasingly difficult to obtain.
The first license you obtain is the Technician Class, which now no longer
requires learning Morse Code. This will give you operating privileges to
transmit on 2 meters (144.000-148.000 MHz) and 70 centimeter (440.000-450.000
MHz). After the Technician Class is the General Class and then the
Extra Class. Both of these require increasingly more difficult knowledge of
electronic theory, antenna principles, propagation, and rules and regulations
and upon successful completion allows for wider frequency operating
privledges. There are many study aids, books, video tapes, audio tapes,
etc., to help you obtain your license. The Uniontown Amateur Radio Club
occassionally hosts a Morse Code class based on need and interest. Many
individually licensed operators give their time to teaching theory and
Morse Code (also referred to as CW) to future operators. This practice is
commonly referred to as an "Elmer." Visit the Amateur Radio Relay League
(ARRL) for information about Amateur Radio, licensing, testing, and
Below are the upcoming test dates and locations plus names of people to contact
for help or assistance.
W3PIE VE TEST
All testing sessions begin at 14:00 hours (2:00 PM local time).
Please arrive at the test site at 13:45-14:00
(1:45-2:00PM) for registration.
1. Two forms of identification, one must have a photo such as a
drivers license, passport, place of employment security/ID card with
picture etc. Non-photo ID's could be a social security card, birth
certificate, baptismal certificate, school ID card, library card etc.
Although not mandatory, the ARRL likes to have a photocopy of your ID's for
their records so if you could provide that as well it is appreciated.
2. If you are upgrading a license, then you must bring the original and a
photocopy of your current license (FCC form 660) and of any active* CSCE's for passed exam
elements for which you have not received a paper license from the FCC.
3. Calculators are allowed but one must be prepared to prove no
pre-programmed formulas have been saved within the calculator. You may be
requested to clear all calculator memories in the presence of a VE.
* Active CSCE's are
defined as any CSCE verifying successful completion of any testing element.
If the CSCE is for Element 1 or Element 3, the CSCE may not be older than
365 days from the date of successful completion. For further information,
please read the content below.
ARRL VEC Test
Plus Class Confusion Resolved:
The FCC has ceased issuing new Novice and Advanced class licenses after
April 15, 2000. Beyond that, current Technician and Technician Plus Class
licensees will be lumped into a single Technician Class licensee FCC
database. When renewed, current Technician Plus Class licenses will be
stamped simply "Technician." Technicians who have passed Element
1, the 5 WPM Morse code examination, will still be authorized to operate on
the Tech Plus HF frequencies, but the burden of proof of having passed
Element 1 (5 WPM or any higher Morse code element) will be on the licensee.
The current "no-code" Technician license will continue to be
available after the new rules go into effect, however and will continue to
offer the present VHF/UHF privileges.
The FCC has stated that current Tech Plus Class licensees holding a
Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) for Element 3B
on or before April 15, 2000, may apply for a General class upgrade. The
present Element 3B examination has 30 questions; the new Element 3 test
will have 35, so the advantage to test before April 15, 2000, was slight.
CSCE holders must attend a Volunteer Examiner session, complete Form 605,
attach a valid CSCE, and pay the required application fee ($14.00 for the
ARRL-VEC), if the VEC you use charges a fee. To be valid on April 15,
2000, your CSCE will have to be dated on or after April 17, 1999.
A CSCE is only good for 365 days. A licensee may take Element 1 (5 words
per minute (WPM) Morse Code) and Element 3 (General Class theory) at the
same time or seperately. Regardless, a CSCE remains valid for 365 days from
the date of successful completion. So if a licensee took the Element 3
(General Class theory) test and passed they have no more than 365 days to
successfully complete Element 1 (5 WPM Morse Code) to be granted a General
Additionally, the reverse is also true, meaning if a licensee tests and
passes the Element 1 (5 WPM Morse Code) test they have no more than 365
days to successfully complete Element 3 (General Class theory) to be
granted a General Class license. If either the Element 1 or Element 3 CSCEs
expire prior to successful completion of the untested test element, then
both must be re-taken and the above rules once again apply.
Holders of a pre-March 21, 1987, Technician Class license or CSCE who now
hold at least a Technician Class license may claim credit for a new General
Class license after April 15, 2000, without additional testing. This is
because under the old system, the written examination for Technician and
General Class was identical; the only difference was that Technician Class
had to pass a 5 WPM Morse Code test, while General Class had to pass a 13
WPM Morse code test. The upgrade is not automatic, however. You will have
to apply through a Volunteer Examiner test session, complete Form 605,
attach documentary proof of having completed the requirements for a
Technician Class license prior to March 21, 1987, and pay the
application fee, if any, to the VEC involved.
information and clarification:
There has been some confusion and misinformation about what pre-1987
Technicians need to qualify for a General Class license starting April 15,
2000. General Class applicants must present valid credit for Elements 1, 2,
and 3 at any volunteer examiner (VE) session. Those who held a Technician
Class license, now expired or otherwise, prior to March 21, 1987, may claim
Element 1 (5 WPM Morse code) and new Element 3 (current Element 3B, General
exam) credit. Those who held a Technician Class license, now expired or
otherwise, prior to February 14, 1991, may claim only Element 1 credit, as
may anyone who has ever held a Novice Class ticket. The FCC rules
provide Element 2 credit only for individuals who are currently licensed
(or within the two-year grace period for renewal) at least at the
Technician Class level. This means that before applying for a General Class
license, a former amateur licensed as a Technician Class prior to March 21,
1987, and no longer licensed or within the two-year grace period for
renewal, also must obtain Element 2 credit. To currently qualify for the
Technician Class license (which conveys Element 2 credit) requires passing
a 65-question two part exam (Novice and Technician Class). Starting April
15, Element 2 will be a single 35-question exam.