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How do I upgrade my license class?

Upgrading your amateur radio license class in the United States involves passing an examination for the next license level. The three license classes are Technician, General, and Extra. Each class provides additional operating privileges and access to more frequency bands.

To upgrade your license class, follow these steps:

  • Study for the next level examination: Start by obtaining study materials for the license class you want to upgrade to. There are many resources available, including books, online courses, videos, and practice exams, which cover the required technical knowledge, operating practices, and FCC regulations.
  • Prepare for the exam: Invest time in understanding the material, and take practice exams to gauge your progress. This will help you identify areas where you need to focus your study efforts. Regularly reviewing the material and taking practice exams will increase your confidence and readiness for the actual exam.
  • Find an exam session: Exams for amateur radio licenses are administered by Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs) in coordination with the FCC. Exam sessions are usually held at local amateur radio clubs, schools, or community centers. To find an exam session near you, check the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) website or other VEC websites.
  • Register for the exam: Once you’ve found a convenient exam session, follow the registration process, which may involve pre-registering online or by phone, or registering on-site on the day of the exam. Be prepared to pay an examination fee, which typically ranges from $10 to $15.
  • Take the exam: Arrive at the exam location with a government-issued photo ID, your Social Security Number (SSN) or FCC Registration Number (FRN), a pen, and a pencil. You may also bring a calculator without programmable memory. During the exam, answer the multiple-choice questions to the best of your ability. To pass the General Class exam, you need to answer at least 26 out of 35 questions correctly. For the Extra Class exam, you need to answer at least 37 out of 50 questions correctly.
  • Receive your upgraded license: If you pass the exam, the Volunteer Examiners (VEs) will submit your test results and application for the license upgrade to the FCC. The FCC will then update your license information in their database, typically within a few days to a couple of weeks. You can check the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) online to see when your license upgrade has been processed. Once the upgrade appears in the ULS, you can start using your new operating privileges.

By following these steps and diligently preparing for the examination, you can successfully upgrade your amateur radio license class and enjoy the additional privileges and access to more frequency bands that come with it.

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