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Available Question Pools
Current Extra class Element 4 questions expire: Midnight June 30, 2006
Current General class Element 3 questions expire: Midnight June 30, 2008
Current Technician class Element 2 question pool effective: July 1, 2003 - June 30, 2007
There are 3 classes of license for U.S. Amateur Radio Operators.
There are 4 separate test elements that represent a building block process in the progression of your operating privileges.
- Technician - The basic "No-Code" entrance level.
- General - The intermediate level with world-wide HF privileges.
- Extra - The premier level with full privileges on all bands available to U.S. Ham Operators.
- Element 1 is a 5 word per minute (WPM) Morse code test.
- Element 2 is a basic 35 question multiple-choice exam.
- Element 3 is a higher knowledge level 35-question multiple-choice exam.
- Element 4 is an advanced level 50-question multiple-choice exam.
1. Technician Class. Most people enter the amateur radio service as Technicians by passing a 35-question multiple-choice examination (Element 2). No Morse code test is required. The exam covers basic regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications.
Technician Class operators are authorized to use all amateur VHF and UHF frequencies (all frequencies above 50 MHz). Technicians who pass a 5 WPM Morse code examination are entitled to limited power outputs on certain HF frequencies. "Technicians with HF" may operate on the 80, 40, and 15 meter bands using CW, and on the 10 meter band using CW, voice, and digital modes.
2. General Class. The General Class is a giant step up in operating privileges. The high-power HF privileges granted to General licensees allow for cross-country and worldwide communication. Some people prefer to earn the General Class license as their first ticket, so they may operate on HF right away.
Technicians may upgrade to General Class by passing a 5 WPM Morse code test (Element 1) and a 35-question multiple-choice examination (Element 3). The written exam covers intermediate regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory, with a focus on HF applications.
In addition to the Technician privileges, General Class operators are authorized to operate on any frequency in the 160, 30, 17, 12, and 10 meter bands. They may also use significant segments of the 80, 40, 20, and 15 meter bands.
3. Extra Class. The HF bands can be awfully crowded, particularly at the top of the solar cycle. Once one earns HF privileges, one may quickly yearn for more room. The Extra Class license is the answer.
General licensees may upgrade to Extra Class by passing a 50-question multiple-choice examination (Element 4). No further Morse code test is required. In addition to some of the more obscure regulations, the test covers specialized operating practices, advanced electronics theory, and radio equipment design. Frankly, the test is very difficult, but others have passed it, and you can too.
Extra Class licensees are authorized to operate on all frequencies allocated to the Amateur Service.