5
$\begingroup$

I would like to get involved in ham radio and I'm inclined to study for and take the General exam right away, rather than going for Technician and then upgrading. Are there good reasons not to do this?

If this course of action is allowed and not ill advised, then does The ARRL General Class License Manual assume a base of knowledge covered in the Technician Class manual, or can the General Class manual stand on its own for someone starting from no ham knowledge?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You must take and pass the Technician exam before getting the General exam. Your VE will not allow you to take the General exam before you have passed Technician. You can take both (or all 3) exams in one sitting though. $\endgroup$ – sessyargc.jp Jul 1 '15 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ This is not true. You can take the exams in any order you like BUT you will not earn a General class license until you pass BOTH elements 2 and 3. An ARRL VE team won't (or shouldn't) refuse to administer an element that appears to be out of order. It just won't earn you a license. $\endgroup$ – Lance Mar 25 at 7:53
5
$\begingroup$

You can't take the General exam only, if that's what you're asking. What you can do is take the Technician and General (and Extra, should you so choose) exams in one sitting.

If you're going to take an exam at all, there is no reason not to continue to the highest level of examination you expect to be able to pass, unless you want to deliberately limit yourself until you have gained experience. (I haven't heard of anyone actually doing that.)

Additionally, if you initially obtain an Extra class license (I did this), you may be assigned a shorter call sign than you would otherwise — though you can apply for a change, or a specific vanity call sign, later. Shorter call signs are an advantage if you care about how long it takes to speak or send your call sign, such as in a contest. (Technician and General licenses have the same pool of allowed call signs.)


As to your second question, if I recall correctly, the ARRL license books are incremental just like the exams — you would need all of the books up to the level you're studying for.

There are other study materials besides the ARRL’s, including free ones on the Web — if you think you might be interested in higher levels I encourage you to just try a free practice test (one such site I used) and decide whether you'd like to learn the material and how.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ "I would like to get involved in ham radio and I'm inclined to study for and take the General exam right away, rather than going for Technician and then upgrading. Are there good reasons not to do this?" is the main question not sure if your answer addresses that. OP wants to get the Gen without testing and passing for Tech, which is AFAIK not possible. $\endgroup$ – sessyargc.jp Jul 1 '15 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, I didn't think of that interpretation. Will edit to clarify. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Jul 1 '15 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ The examiner is likely to offer you a shot at the General exam immediately upon passing the Technician exam. Mine did, quite unexpectedly. Alas I missed it by a single question :) If you're prepared for the General, the Technician should be a breeze, and you can go directly into the next test. $\endgroup$ – nebulous Jul 7 '15 at 19:05
0
$\begingroup$

When I was living in the US for a short while in 1995 (for work), I decided to sit the US amateur exams since it was allowed for anyone from anywhere to sit them back then. I am originally from the UK, and held/hold a UK licence.

I was told that I could take as many exams as I wanted, starting at the Novice and working up the five classes (Novice, Technician, General, Advanced and Extra). My plan was to take as many as they would allow - if I failed one, that would determine which class of licence I would qualify for. I also sat the Morse tests, as those were still required then. For those I did them the other way round - I planned to take the 20wpm first, and if I failed that I would try the 13wpm and finally the 5wpm.

They gave the 20 wpm Morse test first, and I managed to scrape by a pass. So that was good - I only needed to take one test. Then I sat the exams in order.

At the end of the session, by lunchtime I walked out qualified as an Extra Class ham. I was a happy man :)

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

There is one good reason not to do this as it is not allowed by the FCC.

The Technician, General and Exam liscenses are access to privileges. You must take each exam.

ARRL quotes:

"To upgrade to General Class, you must already hold a Technician Class license (or have recently passed the Technician license exam)."

In terms of vanity call signs and what is available you can start here: arrl.org/vanity-call-signs and arrl.org/applying-for-a-vanity-call. Does that help? – KG5HNZ 8 mins ago

Look at this chart and you'll see why it makes sense to be licensed in the three Classes.

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Regulatory/Band%20Chart/Hambands_color.pdf

Further, there are other rules and regulations that you must be aware of as a holder of a Technician, General and Extra licenses.

When taking the Technician Class Exam, if you pass you are given a chance for free to attempt the General Class exam. Upon passing the General Class in turn you can take the Extra Class Exam, for free. This provides you with all privileges that are available to you.

I've seen this done and its quite possible.

Call signs have changed recently, so its best to goto the ARRL site to read up on the changes. Honestly, just get your license before you start thinking about changing your call sign, that essentially you don't have at the moment.

In terms of vanity call signs and what is available you can start here: arrl.org/vanity-call-signs and arrl.org/applying-for-a-vanity-call.

If you feel you are ready for the General Class then try the tech mock exams on the internet and see how you do...

Hope that helps.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Please edit your answer to clarify it. What exactly is not allowed by the ARRL? In what way have call signs “changed”? $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Jul 1 '15 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure what is unclear by "Not Allowing" These liscenses are access to privileges. You must take each exam. The link here : arrl.org/upgrading-to-a-general-license you can read it yourself "To upgrade to General Class, you must already hold a Technician Class license (or have recently passed the Technician license exam)." In terms of vanity call signs and what is available you can start here: arrl.org/vanity-call-signs and arrl.org/applying-for-a-vanity-call. Does that help? $\endgroup$ – KG5HNZ Jul 1 '15 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I get the point and it's one I missed — that OP may have been referring to taking General only. That said, it's not the ARRL that won't give you a license, it's the FCC. ARRL doesn't set the rules for licensing, and not even for all exam sessions (there are other VECs). $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Jul 1 '15 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I did miss state myself. It is the FCC but you can read it on the arrl.org site and also on the FCC site (I don't have the link). $\endgroup$ – KG5HNZ Jul 1 '15 at 2:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.