How to Get your Ham License

Getting the first level Amateur Radio License (also known as a Technician License) is very easy - there's a fairly basic 35 question test which costs about $15 to take - that's it. We've seen people study for only four to six hours and pass. There are also two higher levels of licenses, but most people really don't need those. Here's a chart showing what parts of the frequency spectrum are available for Amateur use, and the level of license required:
A technician license is all you need for using walkie-talkies on the HAM bands. And you can get a good dual band ham radio for only $30.
I'm going to outline a simple, three step procedure to getting your license:

1. Study for it.
Go download and read through this:

This 50 page guide, if read carefully in it's entirety, should get you all ready for the test. That's been our experience. For extra safety margin, read it slowly over several days and then read it again within 24 hours of the test.
There are other books on Ham radio - but this guide is really all you need for passing the test.

2. Take practice tests.
There are loads of practice tests available - and they use questions and answers from the same pool as the real test. As such, it's a great way to find out what you do and don't know - and some people learn to pass the final test just by taking practice tests. Here's two:
2. On Andrioid there's an app called "Ham Test Prep" by It tracks your performance and lets you know what kinds of questions you need to work on more.

3. Go take the test.
Once you are reliably passing your practice tests it's time to take the real deal. Testing is done by volunteer examiners in person - typically they charge something like $15 for administering the test. You can look up testing locations near you using this site:

The FCC will mail you your license, but even before they do that they will add your name and call sign to their online database. Once your callsign shows up there you can transmit.