Q1: What do I need to do before the exam date?
A1: This is important and may be tricky:
- For licensing, an address in the US is required, this can also be a mailbox address (mail forwarder). If you search for "mail forwarder usa" on the internet, you will find a useful selection e.g. https://www.shipito.com, https://usa3me.com. With some companies the account is free, others charge at least a registration fee for free accounts. Premium accounts may well cost $50 per month (longer storage periods and additional services included).
- Necessary for the exam submission is an FCC registration number, the so-called FRN. A previous application with the U.S. address is processed online through the https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb website, and an FRN is subsequently assigned.
Q2: What apps, books, study material are there for the exam preparation?
A2: In general, you can either deepen your preparation with the ARRL books for each license level or specifically address the published list of questions.
- ARRL License Manuals and Q&A Books, see https://www.arrl.org/shop/Licensing-and-Education/
- ARRL License Manuals Q&A as Kindle e-book, e.g. at https://www.amazon.de/s?k=arrl%27s+Q%26A+kindle
- W5YI License books and more material at https://www.w5yi.org/catalog.php
- Free training on qrz.com: https://www.qrz.com/hamtest/
- Training with SignalStuff's https://hamstudy.org/ (official partner for the online exam program https://exam.tools)
- Online training on https://wavetalkers.com
- Internet research (e.g., using Google) on respective questions
- Question Pools: https://www.arrl.org/question-pools
Q3: What do I need to bring to the exam in Vienna?
A3: You need to bring the following:
- Valid photo ID such as passport, ID card, or driver's license,
- US address (can also be a mailbox address),
- FRN, previous registration with https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb (US address),
- Examination fee of currently 15 Euro (of which 15 USD will be delivered to the ARRL),
- Pencil, eraser, pen, and calculator,
Not allowed are programmable calculators, smartphone or cell phone during the exam. Blank pieces of paper for sketching or calculations are allowed, but must be handled in with the exam sheet.
If you already have a US Amateur Radio license, then bring a copy/extract from the official FCC database (FCC ULS). Also possible, of course, is a photocopy of Certificates of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) that you may still have from previous exams. In any case, make a copy and we will attach this photocopy to your ARRL documents.
If your license has already been issued by the FCC, the CSCE showing credit for the license is not required. The candidate must provide the team with proof of current license. However, the team is no longer required to submit proof to the VEC.
Proof of expired license must be submitted to the team and the VEC for forwarding to the FCC. These photocopies will not be returned. Instructions on how to obtain an official FCC license copy can be found on the ARRL "Obtain License Copy" website.
Q4: To get the General Class, do I have to take the Technician Class first?
A4: Yes. There are three classes: Technician (Element 2), General (Element 3) and Extra (Element 4). To obtain the General Class, you must first successfully complete the Technician Class. To achieve the Extra Class, it is necessary to pass all three classes.
Q5: Are minors allowed to take the US License Examination and also earn a US Call?
A5: In principle, there is no minimum age requirement. Before a child/youth under the age of 14 has the legal capacity and has reached the age of majority, we would like to have the explicit consent of the legal guardian(s). Persons under 18 years of age may be accompanied by an adult during the examination. There are no age requirements to obtain a US Call, a US address and FRN are mandatory.
So far the youngest participant in Austria was Zacharias KN6RCQ at the age of 9.
Q6: Can I keep my address and name secret on the FCC website (callbook)?
A6: No. Be aware that some information about you will be made publicly available on the FCC website (FCC Licensee Privacy), including criminal conviction status.
Side note: All applicants must answer the basic qualification question (question about conviction status) on the Form 605 when taking the exam. Applicants who answer "YES" to any of these questions must follow a special FCC procedure.
Q7: What can I do if I do not score the required number of points on an exam? Am I allowed to retake and when?
A7: Basically, you can take all three license exams (all 3 classes Tech, General, Extra) in a row on one exam day. Advantage: You only have to pay one exam fee for all three exams and if you reach the Extra Class at once, you will get a 5-digit call instead of a 6-digit call sign at the FCC.
If the required number of points is not reached in an exam class, one may repeat this exam. However, an examination fee must be paid again. The exam can be repeated immediately afterwards – of course with new questions from the exam catalog. We do not support multiple retakes (even for different classes) within one exam date.
Q8: The FCC $35 application fee becomes effective on April 19, 2022. What will change?
A7: The new application fee (form 605) will apply to new, renewal, and modification applications that request a new vanity call sign. The fee will be per application and pay directly to the FCC by using the CORES FRN Registration system.
Administrative updates, such as a change of name, mailing or email address, and modification applications to upgrade an amateur radio licensee’s operator class*, will be exempt from fees. (*this new information was just confirmed by FCC staff on Tuesday, March 29.)
Workflow: When the FCC receives the examination information from the VEC (ARRL), it will email a link with payment instructions to each qualifying candidate. The candidate will have 10 calendar days, from the date of the application file number being issued, to pay. After the fee is paid, and the FCC has processed an application, examinees will receive a second email from the FCC with a link to their official license or, in very rare instances, an explanation for why the application was dismissed or denied. The link will be valid for 30 days.
More information can be found at https://arrl.org/fcc-application-fee and via the public announcement https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-307A1.pdf
Youth Licensing Grant Program
Anticipating the implementation of the fee in 2022, the ARRL Board of Directors, approved the ARRL Youth Licensing Grant Program in July 2021. Under the program, ARRL will cover a one-time $35 application fee for license candidates younger than 18-years old for tests administered under the auspices of the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (ARRL VEC). Qualified candidates also would pay a reduced exam session fee of $5 to the ARRL VEC. ARRL is finalizing details for administering the program.