Amateur Radio Class

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Class Info

Check the Dallas Makersapce Calendar for upcoming classes. The Amateur Radio Committee sponsors several Technician and a few General class sessions each year. There is no cost for the class itself and education materials will be provided. Classes are open to DMS members and the public. License testing will occur at the end of each session and is open to DMS members and the public.

Test requirements

  • $14 cash, exact change only.
  • A pen and a pencil
  • A bog-standard, dumb calculator. Neither your HP-48G nor the calculator on your phone are allowed.
  • If you are upgrading, a photocopy of your existing license that the Volunteer Examiners will submit with your paperwork.
  • Any Certificates of Successful Completion of Examination for previous ham radio exams you've completed in the last year.
  • Apply for an FCC Registration Number (FRN) through the Universal Licensing System (ULS). This is so you do not have to use your Social Security number on the FCC Form 605.

Class Resources

Questions Pools and Testing from

Study Apps

Additional Links & Material

The links below are provided for reference and may be discussed in the class. Links to businesses or organizations are not endorsements or recommendations and are meant solely for educational or demonstrative purposes.

Suggested Radios for the new ham

Any of these radios will function well on 2m and 70cm which will be the primary bands used by the new ham with a Technician license. Be aware that the lower-cost radios are made in China and will not hold up as well, long-term, as the more expensive gear. However, being able to dabble in the hobby for as little cost involved in some of these options is of tremendous value. If you decide on any of these radios be sure to get the associated programming cable, although some DMS hams already have programming cables and will be happy to assist you with getting frequencies into your shiny new gear. If you get your own cable, be sure to download Chirp as a free, open-source tool for radio programming.

What is Amateur Radio?

Most of the time, it's the most fun you can have with a radio. It's a way to talk with people around the world, or even orbiting the world; to send e-mail without any sort of internet connection and to keep in touch with friends across town or across the country. But it is called the "Amateur Radio Service" because it also has a serious face. It's a very important emergency communications system too. When cell phones, regular phones, the internet and other systems are down or overloaded, Amateur Radio still gets the message through. Radio amateurs, often called “hams,” enjoy radio technology as a hobby –that’s the fun part. But it's also a service –a vital service that has saved lives again and again when regular communication systems failed. 

Amateur Radio kept New York City agencies in touch with each other on September 11th. When hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma destroyed other communications, ham radio provided vital life-and-death capabilities until systems could be rebuilt. Countless lives have been saved where skilled hams acted as emergency communicators to render aid, whether it's during fires, floods, earthquakes or a tornado. But most of the time, hams do what they do because it's just plain fun.

Who are these Hams?

There are almost 700,000 Amateur Radio operators in the USA and over two million in nearly every country in the world. They come from all walks of life – movie stars, missionaries, doctors, students, politicians, truck drivers and just plain folks. They are all ages, sexes and income levels linked by their interest in wireless communications technologies. There are more licensed American Amateur Radio operators now than ever before in history.

They form a worldwide community of licensed operators using the airwaves with every conceivable means of communications technology. It is made from people who enjoy learning and being able to transmit voice, data and pictures through the air to unusual places, both near and far, without depending on commercial systems.

The Amateur Radio frequencies are the last remaining place in the usable radio spectrum where you as an individual can develop and experiment with wireless communications. Hams not only can make and modify their equipment, but create whole new ways to do things.

Computer hobbyists enjoy experimenting in wireless digital communications, software defined radios (SDR), long-distance digital and image transmissions. ‘Off the grid’ power sources and other concepts undreamed of just a few years ago are common in the ham community.

While a Morse code key may still be on the desk, it is probably next to a modern, computerized radio communications system capable of operating, with or without supportive infrastructure, under the most extreme conditions.

Why a License?

Amateur Radio is as old as radio itself and has been a licensed service for nearly a century, offering a pool of self-trained experts able to provide backup emergency communications. While license application requirements vary by country, the Amateur Radio Service is also controlled by international law and agreements because radio waves do not stop for international borders. In its regulations (Part 97), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recognizes the ability of the hobby not only to advance radio communication and technical skills, but also to enhance international goodwill.

Although hams get involved in the hobby for many reasons, they all have in common knowledge of today’s wireless technologies, regulations and operating principles. In the U.S., this is demonstrated by passing an FCC examination for a license to operate on radio frequencies known as the "Amateur Bands." These are frequency allocations provided by the FCC for use by hams at intervals from just above the AM broadcast band all the way up to microwaves.

What's the Appeal of Ham Radio?

Some hams are attracted by the ability to communicate across the country, around the globe, even with astronauts on the International Space Station. For some it opens the door to new friendships over the air or through participation in one of more than 2000 Amateur Radio clubs throughout the U.S. Others build and experiment with electronics. Hams are at the cutting edge of many technologies. They provide thousands of hours of volunteer community and emergency services when normal communications go down or are overloaded. All of them enjoy being creators, not just consumers, of wireless technology.

Amateur Radio Privledges

Technician Class: This license is granted after passing a 35-question test on basic regulations, operating practices, and electronic theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications. No Morse code is required. With a Technician Class license, you will have all ham radio privileges above 30 megahertz (MHz) including the 2-meter band. Technicians may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other modes. Technicians may also operate on the 80, 40, and 15 meter HF bands using CW, and on the 10 meter band using CW, voice, and digital modes.

General Class: Technicians upgrade to General Class by passing a 35-question examination on regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory. No Morse code is required. In addition to Technician Class, General Class operators may use high power transmitters and have access to the 160, 30, 17, 12, and 10 meter bands and access to major parts of the 80, 40, 20, and 15 meter bands.

Extra Class: An upgrade to Extra Class is accomplished by passing a 50-question examination on regulations, specialized operating practices, advanced electronics theory, and radio equipment design. No Morse code is required. While this may seem a challenge it results in the privilege of operating on all authorized Amateur Radio frequencies.


  1. What is Amateur Radio / ARRL
  2. Amateur Radio Privileges /