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  • Writer's picturehdarcpres


Updated: Mar 11, 2022


In order to operate on assigned amateur (ham) radio

frequencies, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that the operator be licensed for those frequencies. They, through volunteer examiners, administer tests to determine if each student has enough knowledge to properly operate on those frequencies in the U.S. The beginning level license for a ham operator is the Technician level and the test has 35 questions pulled randomly from a question pool of 423 questions. This level allows you to operate on high frequencies that typically can reach other hams statewide…or worldwide using Internet programs. The General and Amateur Extra levels come next which affords you the authority to talk over the air worldwide.


In the Albuquerque area there are groups that periodically offer licensing classes. If you are interested, you should contact one of the following instructors to let them know that you would like to attend his next class:

CONTACT YUL BRATCHER for dates and times, also check out the other free options, click here


You can self-study using a training manual such as the Amateur Radio Relay League’s “ARRL Ham Radio License Manual 4th Edition” ($31.30). This manual contains all of the radio theory for the Technician license as well as all of the test questions (which are valid only thru June 30, 2022. After that date, a new pool of questions come into effect). You can also take practice tests (below) to see how your studies are progressing.


Amateur radio is blessed with many helpful practice test websites to choose from. Online practice tests are used to assist students in passing their FCC test. Once you are able to consistently answer 85 to 90 percent of the questions correctly, you are ready to take the actual test. Good Luck!

click here for resources you can get apps for your phone with study questions


Once you consistently score in the 85 to 90 percentiles on your practice exams you are ready to take the Federal Communication Commission’s actual test. The FCC administers its tests through teams called “Volunteer Examiner Coordinators” (VEC) which are composes of local hams called “Volunteer Examiners” (VE’s) who, after some training, administer tests to others. A minimum of three VE’s are required to witness each testing session. You also need to bring your photo ID and your FCC Registration Number (FRN) to the testing.

Below are local ACTIVE VE teams that administer the FCC tests:

High Desert Amateur Radio Club VE Group $15 FEE

HDARC VE Group administers tests on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 12:30 pm. Testing location is the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center, 7521 Carmel Ave NE, Albuquerque NM 87113. For more information contact David Ham at or by phone at 505-355-6329

Institute for Ham Radio Sciences VE Group FREE TESTING

The HDARC is forming a traveling testing group composed of club VE’s plus other VE’s based in smaller cities around NM. HDARC members like to explore interesting sites throughout New Mexico. When they plan to be in an area, they will alert local radio clubs and offer a VE testing session while there; it saves them a trip to Albuquerque. Tests will be free. For more information contact Yul Bratcher at

That’s It! Once you have passed your test and found your assigned call sign on the FCC website about a week later, you are a ham radio operator and can begin making radio contacts.


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