Classes of Licenses

There are three license classes for U.S. amateurs, each successive class with an increased set of privileges. No Morse code test is required for any class of license.

Technician Class License. The entry level license, obtained by passing a 35-question multiple-choice examination on basic regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory. Most Technician privileges are in VHF and UHF frequencies.
General Class License. A giant step up in operating privileges, The General grants high-power, high frequency privileges that allow for cross-country and worldwide communication. Technicians upgrade to General by passing a 35-question multiple-choice examination.
Amateur Extra Class License. The highest class license, Extras enjoy all amateur privileges and may operate on all frequencies allocated to the Amateur Service. General licensees upgrade to Extra Class by passing a 50-question multiple-choice examination on specialized operating practices, advanced electronics theory, and radio equipment design.

More detailed information about the privileges of each license class and requirements for licensing can be found at the ARRL’s web site.

Vanity Calls

A vanity call sign is a special ham radio call sign specifically chosen by a licensed amateur or club (similar to a vanity license plate on cars). Vanity call signs frequently include characters of personal significance (licensees’ initials, nicknames, etc), or sometimes simply because they are shorter calls. A vanity call sign, when approved by the FCC, is used in place of an existing call sign. For more information on vanity calls, see the ARRL web site.