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US amateur exams

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by MW0SWA, Sep 5, 2015.

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  1. MW0SWA

    MW0SWA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for your helpful replies guys.
    I think I will just study as much as I can for the technician exam and do a little study for the general, with the aim to definitely walk away with a technician pass, and if I don't pass general then aim for that next year and then the extra the year after.

    What is the process after passing the exam? I have a US postal address sorted, so I imagine the FCC will send my license to that address and that person will send it on to me? After passing the exam do the FCC send any other paperwork out to you?? Just so I know what to tell my friend to expect at his home in the US.
    And license renewals?? Every ten years I understand, but is there any further refresher training or exams to renew or is it just a process of sending off a renewal fee?

    Thanks for your help guys,


  2. M0LXQ

    M0LXQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Martin, K7MEM, thanks for your advice there. Your band plan work looks good, look forward to seeing it when you have finished tweaking!

    Glenn, AB3TQ, I shall definitely check out the software you recommended. I downloaded an app for my phone with all of the questions and it's a great piece of software but I have had a 'mis-hap' with my phone since then so that option's gone...
  3. WC3T

    WC3T Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    FCC sends nothing. You will have to check in the ULS for your license grant to show up. As far as renewals, as far as I know it's just renewal fees.
  4. KU4X

    KU4X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Two points:
    1) The FCC went paperless in February of this year. Once you're in the FCC database, you can grab your call and use it. You will have to go into the CORES database (also part of the FCC web site) to change your personal options as far as receiving paper and electronic correspondence from them.

    2) There are no license renewal fees for amateur licenses. The only prior renewal fee was for a vanity call sign, but that fee is no longer required, as of 3 September 2015.

    Good luck on your exam!

    WC3T likes this.
  5. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    I completely understand your caution at not wanting to shoot too high at one go, and risk winding up with nothing. That was exactly my plan till I realized the Tech license was going to be a slam dunk for me. So I concentrated on General and took a few quick familiarization looks at some Extra questions.

    After passing the Tech and General, it was time for the "got nothing to lose" shot at Extra. And for about a third of those questions, the actual exam was the very first time I had ever laid eyes on that question. And for another third, the first time in many years. A good electronics background (not RF), got me through it.

    As of December 2013 I did receive a paper license from the FCC. I hear that is no longer automatic, and you must now request a paper license if you want one. Most U.S. Hams will never need one. The online ULS listing is your license.

    Traveling, and operating under a CEPT agreement, supposedly requires a paper copy. As a non U.S. Ham, you might have to look into making a special paper license request.

    What will show up in the mail are Ham Gear catalogs and a welcome mailing from the ARRL. Don't expect anything from the FCC though. A case of no news is good news. Generally, only the bad boys and girls will get FCC letters. But making sure that anything sent will be forwarded to you is the right plan.

    Don't ever let your license lapse (renew every 10 years - currently a 2 year grace period beyond that), and there will never again be any required refresher training or exams. Nothing. Of course you will want to keep advancing your skills and knowledge for your own personal satisfaction. NO RENEWAL FEE was ever involved for any Sequential Call. You will be assigned the next Sequential from the appropriate group, for the region you are using for an address. You can keep it forever if you like it. You do have the ability to request a new Sequential if you really don't like the old one, but I don't see that happening much any more.

    Why request another take it or leave it Free Sequential when they have just introduced the Free available Vanity of your choice option. There used to be a $20 something fee initially, and then again every 10 years at renewal.

    That Vanity fee just went away the opening days of September 2015. So now you can apply for a Free available Vanity of your choice, and enter a lottery competition to try to win it. The more desirable the Call, the more competition with an equal shot at it.

    The FCC servers should?? come back on line again tomorrow. I am envisioning a land rush type mentality till the dust settles on FREE Vanity Calls. Should be interesting to watch. I will not be participating.

    So just pass some tests. Look for your Call online in the ULS. Renew on line for free every 10 years. You will need to establish a password protected ULS account to do that. All a piece of cake then. Nothing to it. Good Luck, but with your background I say you don't need it. Don't let our silly multiple guess style tests scare you.
  6. WC3T

    WC3T Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for correcting me. Just goes to show that I should only comment on what I know something about. :D
    SWA, sorry for the misinformation.
  7. F4WBW

    F4WBW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Having just recently gone through the CEPT reciprocity thing, you don't need to "request" a paper license. Once your call sign comes through, you can download and print out the necessary certificate(s) from your ULS account. It depends on how prompt the local VEC handles the paperwork, but when I passed the US exams in Chenove (Technician and General) and Friedrichshafen (Extra), the initial license and then the upgrade appeared in the ULS almost two weeks later to the day. With the current down time for the FCC system, things may get delayed a bit further when they get around to dealing with the backlog, but all in all, it's a pretty efficient process.

    After passing the exam, the ARRL will start showering your mail drop buddy with adverts, as will various other ham related advertisers. I've given my buddy instructions to open anything addressed to me and to toss everything other than an official notice from the FCC. (When/if you join the ARRL you can join with your "overseas" address - and that way you get all the various magazines online and in CD version at the end of the year and only the occasional physical paper mailing from them.)
  8. MW0SWA

    MW0SWA Ham Member QRZ Page

    wow, thanks guys for your replies. Very very helpful indeed. This is what this site is all about, helping one another, and I am very grateful.

    Few more questions,
    My US postal address buddy lives in Texas, so will I have a Texas identifier included in my callsign? Do you get a new callsign when you pass general and extra?

  9. F4WBW

    F4WBW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nope - unless you ask for a new callsign. (There's a place on the form for that when you register for the next round of testing.) You will get the Texas number in your call. (Like I have the 1 for New England in mine - though I live here in France.)
  10. WC3T

    WC3T Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You'll be able to request vanity call signs any time, of course. There are restrictions on what you can request, and ARRL has a very succinct recap of what they are. The region doesn't matter all that much any more. I'm in 3-land by residence, but I have a seven in my vanity call because my wife thought it would be nice to have a 7 because there are seven folks in our family. She didn't realize how many people thought that I was visiting in the area when I chatted on our local repeater. :D

    Now that I'm Amateur Extra, I'm trying again for a new vanity call from the Group A group. However, I'm starting off by limiting it to Region 3 call signs. Once I get the Group A call, assuming it doesn't take the rest of my life, I'm done.

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