Upgrading (?) beyond Extra class

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by K3RW, Jan 18, 2018.

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  1. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm an Extra class and looking at some of the other FCC Elements and license classes. Looks like some of them recently changed requirements, names, some may have merged, etc. So I'm a bit lost on what I can actually upgrade to now, given what may or may not be required for it.

    I'm unclear which of the other FCC license classes require a code test, me to be employed in the industry, etc. Some I may just be able to go in and take the exam. Others, I'm not so clear. For example, in the T3 description it says new license applicants aren't accepted now.

    For example, do I need to be employed in the industry to take the Commercial Radio Operator exam? Do I need to be assigned to a ship to take some of these exams? It also doesn't specify what type of telegraphy exam is required (CW? RTTY?) and what that might involve.

    From https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau...l-radio-operator-license-program/commercial-0

    Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit (RR)
    Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit-Limited Use (RL)
    Marine Radio Operator Permit (MP)
    General Radiotelephone Operator License (PG)
    GMDSS Radio Operator's License (DO)
    Restricted GMDSS Radio Operator's License (RG)
    GMDSS Radio Maintainer's License (DM)
    GMDSS Radio Operator/Maintainer License (DB)
    Third Class Radiotelegraph Operator's Certificate (T3)
    Second Class Radiotelegraph Operator's Certificate (T2)
    First Class Radiotelegraph Operator's Certificate (T1)
    Radiotelegraph Operator License (T)
    Ship Radar Endorsement

    Back in the day people used to take the exams for some of these, but I'm not sure which ones I would qualify for as a hobbyist amateur. Here's an example:

    Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit (RR):


    • be a legal resident of (or otherwise eligible for employment in) the United States; and
    • be able to speak and hear; and
    • be able to keep at least a rough written log; and
    • be familiar with provisions of applicable treaties, laws and rules which govern the radio station you will operate.
    So... based on this, I think I would be able to do it. But contrast this with the Restricted-Limited Use requirements.... it requires me to have a valid FAA pilot's license. And so on.

    T3 license applications are now closed--so I would I need to take T2? See what I mean.

    73 (please reply to thread so I get notifications--sometimes it doesn't seem to work)
  2. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    My apologies--I found the telegraphy requirements for the licenses here:


    Element 1: 16 code groups per minute
    Element 2: 20 wpm (including 1 min perfect copy)

    The requirements make reference to sending as well, "if required" but its not clear which ones require it vs those that do not.

    Also, I'm not sure what a code group is, in terms of wpm.
  3. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    What is the upgrade called above an extra class ham license or do you mean a license in another service ?
  4. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    study for the GROL. Then go volunteer at a historical transmitter site, like KPH. You'll meet many knowledgeable OMs.
    K3RW and KF0G like this.
  5. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I gave some thought to doing Marine HF from the home station (I don't have a boat). Then I realized how cumbersome that might be in terms of licensing since I don't have a boat/ship. I couldn't figure out how to do it without having a hull number. Ultimately it was the difficulty of low band antennas from this QTH that discouraged me the most. And the thought that me jabbing with shipboard personnel probably would be fairly limited anyways.

    Looks like I can do the GROL, and then just take Element 8 and get the Ship Radar Endorsement. Not that I'll ever use it, but who knows. The 20wpm perfect copy, jeez, I'll really need to hone on that one for the others. Looks like I T3 and T2 are no longer around, but T (Radiotelegraph Operator) is the new one, and its good for life. But also among the most demanding with the telegraphy and written elements.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  6. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I guess its not really an upgrade since all of these are in the Commercial Service. So no relationship between hams and commercials at least in this way.
    K3XR likes this.
  7. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You might want to nose around this website a while:

    The folks there are very helpful and will answer all of your questions. Good luck.
    K3RW likes this.
  8. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Regarding the commercial radiotelegraph operator's license, see here:


    You can still get such a license, and it will qualify you for employment at any one of the commercial radiotelegraph stations that happens to be hiring these days.

    Friendly suggestion: don't take out a large student loan expecting to repay it with the enormous paychecks you'll earn as a commercial radiotelegraph operator.
    N2EY, K4AGO, KU4X and 3 others like this.
  9. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    If I am reading the regs correctly, I don't need a special license as a 'shore station', so won't be a problem like I thought.

    But to operate 2, 4, 8 MHz, still trying to figute out what license I would need for that. I'm considering MARS just as a side note.
  10. K4AGO

    K4AGO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have been an Air Force MARS operator since the mid 90's. I think MARS requirements are that you must hold an Amateur Extra class license to become a MARS member now. When I joined in 1994 they would take a Technician Class ham. To become a MARS member all you need to do is apply and pass their training course. The course, as my memory serves me, is one night a week for a month. MARS uses digital communications extensively, so, you need to have your station set up for digital communications. MARS also uses CW and Phone for communications. It is not required that you participate in the CW nets. MARS has changed since I became a member. It used to be a good will service for military to keep in touch with their families. Now with satellite phones and internet it is no longer used that way. MARS is a Department of Defense backup for emergency communications. MARS will want you to have a phone patch for your station. I am not sure if that is a requirement now or if it is just voluntary. I have a phone patch and MARS has never used it. MARS wants new members. download the application and give MARS a shot. You will enjoy it.

    I am not sure why you would want a maritime license. if you are not wanting to be a radio operator on a ship, it really isn't of any value. I seriously doubt that you will rag chew with any ship radio operators. I think they are forbidden to do that and I am sure they don't have time to do it even if it is not forbidden.

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