There are three levels of ham radio (amateur radio) licenses granted by the FCC for use in the United States. The FCC delegates the administration of ham radio exams to groups of Volunteer Examiners (VEs) certified to conduct the exams.
In 2020 and 2021, most exams were conducted during live Zoom sessions under strict proctoring protocols. There might be a small fee for the exam.
STUDY BEFORE YOU TAKE A HAM RADIO EXAM
There are 35 questions on the entry-level exam. The questions cover simple electricity and radio theory, FCC regulations for hams, and ham operating practices.
K6XI repeater 449.440 MHz (-) PL/CTCSS 107.2
Located atop Otay Mountain in southern San Diego County, CA
ARRL is the largest national association for ham radio operators.
The ARRL publishes a monthly magazine, weekly email newsletter, and send news bulletins to announce breaking news of interest to hams.
We recommend that you check club web sites looking for special presentations that interest you. Most clubs conduct monthly meetings (Zoom these days) that are open to the public.
We recommend that you find one weekly net that fits your personal schedule and check into that net most weeks to prove to yourself that you and your radio are ready to communicate.
Nets are a great way to meet other hams, to socialize, to learn, and to listen to announcements about upcoming events.
ARES trains continuously to support hospitals, clinics, medical infrastructure, shelters, and other groups during disasters when normal communications are compromised. Membership is open to all hams.
The "San Diego Section" of the ARRL is the local branch of the national organization
Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) trains to support the San Diego County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during disasters. ACS was known formerly as RACES and is managed by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Communications Center.
If you do not own a High Frequency (HF) radio, you may listen to HF conversations using an Internet service, such as:
http://18.104.22.168:8901/ (located at Half Moon Bay, California)
http://kiwisdr.ka9q.net:8073/ (located in Central San Diego)
http://kiwisdr.com/public/ (search for "San Diego" or "California")
You do NOT need a ham radio license to listen.
(RATPAC = Radio Amateur Training Planning and Activities Committee)
Check the event web sites . . . some ham conventions are free, virtual events these days.
Ham conventions feature workshops, lectures, and ham radio equipment vendors that will dazzle you.
Comm Academy (Pacific Northwest) - April
Dayton (Ohio) Hamvention - May
Sea-Pac (Seaside, Oregon) - June (virtual in 2021)
Lakeside (San Diego County) Hamfest - October
Pacificon (San Francisco East Bay) - October
QSO Today Ham Radio Expo - twice per year
(Search tip: select Division "Southwestern" for SoCal and Arizona results)
Long ago, I read an advertisement in Boys' Life Magazine. For $1, the ARRL sent several books to study for the entry-level license exam. Fast forward many years, my wife insisted that I be able to communicate when hiking in the backcountry where there is no cell phone service. Rob K6RJF
Please use the comment form at the bottom of his page to tell us what brought you to ham radio.