Amateur FAQS


Isn’t Amateur radio just like CB radio?
No, not by a long shot. You need a license to be an amateur radio operator. There are strict rules that must be followed. Part of the licensing exam covers FCC rules and regulations. Amateurs radio operations are monitored by the FCC and they enlist the help of amateur radio operators as well to enforce the rules. Amateurs will also “self-police” and report unauthorized uses. The radio spectrum is a precious and limited resource and amateurs guard it accordingly.

Why is the FCC so accommodating to amateur radio?
The number one reason is that we provide a valuable public service. The government simply cannot sustain the level of response to certain crisis’s without the voluntary help of amateur radio operators. We volunteer our services at the local, national and international level. We also advance the state of the art always in new and creative ways.

Do I need to know Morse code to get a license?
No, knowing Morse code is not a requirement for any license class anymore. The FCC realized that was a barrier to entry for many interested people. However lots of amateurs use still use morse code and enjoy communicating that way. Morse code in certain situations is still the only way to communicate and it isn’t going away any time soon. Even now, certain frquencies are set aside for Morse communications only.

Does Amateur Radio Cost A lot of Money?
No. You can be an amateur radio operator with nothing more than a $30 radio. You don’t need a big antenna on top of your house or anything like that. A lot of amateurs live in a simple apartment. Frankly it isn’t necessary in some situations to even have a radio, you can use your computer to operate – but you still need a license! You operate the best you can for your individual circumstances. But as with any hobby you certainly make it it expensive!

Do I need to be good at math or electronics to become an amateur radio operator?
No. To get your technicians license you don’t need to be good at either. Although there are some basic math and electronic questions on the exam, they are not difficult and with studying and/or some training.

What resources are available to get me started?
As with everything these days, the internet is a great resource for finding everything you need. Some resources are free, other books and study guides have a cost. We here at Ole Virginia Hams offer free training programs for those that are interested. We also offer what we in the community call “Elmers”, people who will take you under their wing and help you with your license.