Class of License
In case you are unaware, three classes of Amateur Radio are currently available to you. The entry level license is the Technician. The intermediate level, the General, and the Amateur Extra is the highest level amateur license issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Please see the requirements below for an explanation of what exam elements must be passed to obtain each class of license.
Though it was required at one time, currently no FCC license requires any knowledge of Morse Code. In order to obtain the Technician Class License, the applicant must pass the FCC Element 2 exam. The General Class License requires the passage of both the FCC Element 2 and Element 3 tests, and the Amateur Extra License requires passage of Elements 2, 3 and 4. There are essentially no other requirements, and no age limit. You don't even have to be a US Citizen, though you may not be an employee of a foreign government. Otherwise, if you pass the test, you get the license.
Yearly, the members of the Anne Arundel Radio Club (AARC) provide FREE courses to help those interested in obtaining their Technician and/or General Class licenses. We have recently add an Amateur Extra license class which will being in July of 2022. Click on the link above to find out more. Occasionally other courses may be offered, including beginning Morse Code. Though not a license requirement, International Morse Code is still used by a growing number of 'hams' world wide. We also provide an online Morse Code Course for those who wish to study independently.
The Anne Arundel Radio Club does not charge any fee for its courses, nor for exams given in our club house under the authority of the Laurel VEC. The Laurel VEC is currently the only VEC nationwide that does not have any fee associated with their testing, and we want you to know what good folks they are to provide that to you.
As of April 19, 2022 the FCC is again charging fees for three things. In all cases these are processing fees, and no refunds will be given if the requested action is declined by the FCC. These three things are 1) applications for new licenses, 2) applications for license renewals and 3) applications for vanity call signs. The good news is that you are not charged the new license fee until you have passed the appropriate exams. So one can expect that the vast majority of those who apply for new licenses or license renewal will be accepted. We have less information on the approval rate for vanity calls signs, so we don't want to speculate on this issue. .