Getting Your Ham Radio License
There are three levels of Amateur or “Ham” Radio License: Technician, General and Amateur Extra. To gain each license, you must pass a test, and each license requires progressively more knowledge. Morse Code was once a requirement to be licensed. However, it is no longer required. (You can find Morse Code still in use today on many ham bands.)
The American Radio Relay League and the W5YI Group both publish books and other study materials to help prepare you to pass your license exam. You can start as a Technician and work your way up, or if you are able to pass multiple tests at the same time you can start as a General or Amateur Extra class licensee. Each class of license comes with more privileges of both frequencies and transmission types that are allowed.
The Kalamazoo Amateur Radio Club offers classes to help you prepare for the Technician and General class licenses. They are usually offered in the fall. Our volunteer instructors are willing to offer classes more often if there are at least five people that will attend.
The license exams are administrated by a team of volunteers that have been trained to provide the exams. Currently, test sessions, also known as Volunteer Examiner Sessions or VE Sessions , are offered in Kalamazoo in the odd months. January – May VE Sessions fall on the fourth Saturday, and July – November VE sessions fall on the third Saturday. Check the Calendar Page for specific dates and times.
VE Sessions are held that the Kalamazoo County Sherrif’s Department on Lake Street in Kalamazoo. John Tucker WB8ZVV organizes the sessions and should be contacted for specific directions if it is your first time testing in Kalamazoo. E-mail John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VE Sessions can also be found at most "Hamfests" - local Ham Radio conventions and swap meets. An annual Hamfest is held in Kalamazoo in October.