Ham Radio License
Essential Basic Info

This Page Covers
1. Entry Level
2. Advanced Level
3. Download Info

Why is a ham radio license required? If you want to play the "game", you must...

  • learn the rules,
  • pass the test,
  • accept to abide by the rules!

...before a team (your country) will accept to let you "play"! ;-)

There is a more "official" reason than what I stated above, of course!

Each member country of the ITU must ensure that their licensed amateur radio operators will have the proficiency and knowledge levels to meet the ITU standards for an orderly use of the internationally shared radio spectrum.

Member countries of the ITU also consider amateur radio as a public service.

Governments created this "Service" partly to fill the need for a pool of experts who could provide communications in times of emergency.

Countless lives have been saved by amateur radio operators over the years.

Entry Level License

The entry level ham radio license requirements and privileges vary slightly from one country to another.

There can be differences, because the privileges granted to entry level amateur radio license holders are restricted to commercially made and approved equipment, operating modes and power levels that...

  • have a limited reach,
  • and are not likely to cause interference.

Fundamentally, the differences are not major because the entry level is the mandatory requirement prior to obtaining the more advanced license levels.

For example, in Canada, the Basic Amateur Radio License allows...

  • access all amateur bands above 30 MHz (i.e. VHF, UHF...).
  • use a maximum of 250 watts DC transmitter input power.
  • build (see note just below) and operate all station equipment, except for "home-made" transmitters.

Note: "Build", in the context of the Basic Certificate, is limited to the assembly of commercially available transmitter kits of professional design.

Advanced Ham Radio License

The more advanced levels must meet the internationally agreed upon levels of proficiency because they allow many, many more privileges, such as...

  • Transmitting on the amateur radio bands of frequencies in the HF portion of the radio spectrum, below 30 Mhz.
  • Transmitting using specialized transmitting modes (i.e. AFSK, FSK, PSK, SSTV, RTTY, AM, etc...).
  • Building their own equipment and/or modifying commercially made equipment.
  • Experimenting with new modes of communication that have not yet been approved for widespread use(under special permission).
  • Transmitting power levels up to the maximum permitted limit (i.e.1000 watts DC transmitter input, in Canada).

Understandably, these extra privileges come with additional responsibilities. Thus, the requirement for higher level of technical knowledge ... and more advanced exams.

Download Extra Info

To find out where to get a description of amateur radio license requirements and privileges in your country, click here to view. (Web page)

Most IARU member societies offer some form of ham radio training. The link above will tell you where you can get in touch with them.

Author: Claude Jollet - VE2DPE

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