My First License

Amateur Radio is a great life-add. Whether you’re interested in having back-up communications, want to chat with folks here or across the globe, want to experiment with digital communications, or just want to see how far you can talk to people without relying on the phone system, you’ve come to the right place. Let us know you’re interested and we will do our best to help you along your journey toward your “Ham ticket”.

Technician. The Technician Class license is the introductory license and, as it is with all licenses now, does not require code to pass. To get the latest information, please see the ARRLĀ® Learning Center. If you are using the ARRL License Manual as your textbook, look for the Amateur Radio License Course Technician Class for free videos to walk you through the manual. If you run into any problems or need additional help, please contact us.

Study Materials. There are a wide variety of study methods are available online. Some classes are occasionally available locally and we’ll try to announce hose on this site. There are also great study guides. Interestingly, the study guides not only have the complete set of questions you will encounter for the test, it will also have all the answers!

Practice Tests. When you think you’ve got the gist of the materials, test yourself online until you’re comfortably beyond the 70% you’ll need to pass your first test. When you’re ready to pass your test and get your license, see Testing below.

Licensing. Before arriving at the test, we recommend that you establish your FCC COmmission REgistration System (CORES) account and obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN). Bring that FRN to the test session so you can put it on your application. That will speed up the process of getting your first call sign.

Upgrade to General or Extra Class.

When you are ready to expand your knowledge and your frequency privileges, PKARC is ready to assist you with “elmers”, practical experience, and to answer your questions in preparation for the test. Reach out to us on an a net, at meeting, or join us for an event. Then contact us to schedule your test session.


Volunteer Examiners. Several members of PKARC are Volunteer Examiners who can administer your test. The session is simply a nice quiet environment, preferably over breakfast, with 3-5 of your PKARC friends near by. You take the test at your leisure and the examiners grade the test and provide you with the results. If you passed your first test, your first callsign is usually published online by the FCC within a week. If you are testing to upgrade, you’ll be granted your new privileges right away.

Retest. If you pass your test as a Technician or General, you may take the test for an upgraded license right way at no charge. If you miss enough not to pass your test, you may take the test again.


Effective April 19, 2022, the FCC charges $35 for new licenses and renewals. This can be done online using the FCC COmmission REgistration System (CORES).


Mark your calendar for 6 weeks before your license expires to make sure you submit your renewal on time and that your license does not lapse. If you haven’t already done so, you will needs to establish your FCC COmmission REgistration System (CORES) account and link that account to your FCC Registration Number (FRN). For complete instructions, see How to Renew Your License Online.