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  • Fun, education, service

    TYARC is an amateur radio club catering to youth who want to have fun, learn radio technology and develop their own community.

How much does it cost to get an Amateur Radio Operator License? Do I sill have to learn Morse Code?

It costs very little to get your Amateur Radio Operator License. The first license is the Technician Class license and most people get that license and give ham radio a try before getting a General Class license. While there is free study material on the Internet, TYARC recommends getting a study manual and computer exam practice software. The free classes offered to TYARC members use the excellent material created by Gordon West WB6NOA. The cost of the study material is approximately $30. There is no fee for TYARC classes.

In order to get your license, you must pass a written exam administered by a volunteer examiner (VE) certified by a volunteer examiner coordinator (VEC). TYARC has VEs who are certified through the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). All exams administered by ARRL VEs must charge an exam fee of $15 that goes to the ARRL to support its efforts on behalf of amateur radio operators throughout the U.S. You can take one exam or all three exams (Technician, General and Extra) for one $15 fee, but this is not recommended. It is better to get your Technician Class license and enjoy the hobby before studying for the General Class exam. So the approximate cost to obtain your first amateur radio operator license is $45 including the study material and exam fee.

It is no longer necessary to learn Morse Code in order to get any of the three amateur radio operator licenses.  Many hams enjoy communicating using Morse Code (CW) and it certainly has some advantages when working in weak signal situations.  Many operators like the challenge of building their CW speed capabilities, but many others have no desire to even touch a Morse key.  That is the beauty of amateur radio; you pick what you like and ignore the rest.