FAQs Prospective Students

The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) are provided to help answer prospective student’s questions on the technician ham radio class. Any additional questions on the class or obtaining an amateur radio license may be sent to Rich Adamy KA4GFY at training@w4hfh.org coordinator for FCC License School.

Q: What is the Technician Class amateur radio license?
A: The Technician license is the introductory amateur radio license. There are a total of three license types: Technician Class, General Class, and Amateur Extra. Each license type, beyond the entry level Technician Class, provides additional operating frequency privileges.

Q: What can I do with the Technician amateur radio license?
A: The Technician license allows you to operate an amateur radio station on all amateur radio frequencies above 30 MHz. The Technician frequency privileges include the popular 2 meter band where most local and area communication occurs. An amateur with the Technician license can use voice repeaters using a mobile or hand-held radio to communication with other hams in the area or around the world via internet connections or amateur radio satellites. Many hams use their technician license to participate as severe weather storm spotters or to provide emergency communications support.

Q: I want to upgrade to General Class. Do I have to have a Technician Class license first?
A: You do not have to hold a Technician Class license before becoming a General Class licensee but you DO have to take the Technician Class exam prior to taking the General Class exam. In other words, you can attend a VE test session for the first time, pass the Technician Class exam, then pass the General Class exam, and a week or so later you’ll be a General Class licensee – you’ll never be a Technician Class licensee. Because the General Class license builds on the Technician Class foundation, we strongly recommend those with no prior ham radio experience (perhaps an expired license) take our Technician Class course. With a little extra study you’ll find that taking both exams sequentially is pretty doable.

Q: Will I have my Technician amateur radio license at the end of the technician class?
A: The class will prepare you to take the Technician amateur radio license exam, known as Element 2. The license examination session is administered by Volunteer Examiners (VEs) who are hams from the local area. The scheduled VE testing session will be held on the final night of class.

Q: Do I have to know Morse code to get my amateur radio license?
A: Morse code is not required for any license class. It is a lot of fun though and opens up a lot of frequency spectrum reserved for CW-only operations.

Q: Are there any age requirements to get an amateur radio license?
A: No, anyone can obtain an amateur radio license as long as they pass the license exam.

Q: How do I enroll to take the technician ham radio class?
A: You may register by emailing Rich Adamy KA4GFY at training@w4hfh.org

Q: How much does the technician (or General) ham radio class cost?
A: There is no fee for the class itself. There is an exam fee of $15 payable on the night of the exam. You’ll need to get a current copy of the “The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual – All you need to become an Amateur Radio Operator” (also known as the Technician Class Manual or HRLM). This is available from the ARRL or major ham radio vendors like Ham Radio Outlet or DX Engineering.

Q: Where and when does the technician ham radio class meet?
A: The technician ham radio class will meet on 10 consecutive Tuesday evenings at ALEXANDRIA POLICE HQ., 3600 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria, VA. The class will start at 7:00 p.m. and end at approximately 9:00 p.m. However, until COVID restrictions are eased we are meeting via Zoom.

Q: Will there be ham radio class homework?
A: Following each class, the student will be expected to review the material presented during the class, read the appropriate chapters in “The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual – All you need to become an Amateur Radio Operator” study guide and review questions in the question pool for the Technician exam. The complete question pool for the Technician exam is published in “The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual – All you need to become an Amateur Radio Operator” publication. Computer software and web sites are also available to assist reviewing the question pool and to take “practice” tests.

Q: Where and when do I take the Technician amateur radio license exam?
A: The Alexandria Radio Club provides license exam sessions twice a year. Club members serve as Volunteer Examiners (VEs) for the testing sessions with a VE testing session being held on the final night of class. Prior registration for the VE testing session is required but you do not have to be a class member to take an exam. The fee for walk-in exams is $15.

Q: What topics are covered on the Technician license exam?
A: The Technician license exam, known as Element 2, consists of 35 multiple-choice questions. The test covers basic FCC rules, communications methods and procedures, basic electronics and safety topics. A passing score is 70% or 26 questions answered correctly.

Q: Who are the instructors for the technician ham radio class?
A: All instructors are members of the Alexandria Radio Club and hold Extra Class amateur radio licenses.

Q: Do I need a radio to attend the class?
A. A radio is not needed to attend the class. The instructors will demonstrate different types of amateur radio equipment during the class and there will be discussion on what characteristics to consider when purchasing your first radio.