Portable Handheld Ham Radios: Do I Need A Ham Radio License?


To use ham radio you must pass a written examination and be assigned a call sign from the FCC. Once you acquire your ham radio license,  you will be the only one in the world with that unique call sign.

Get Your Ham Radio License

Get Your Ham Radio License! It’s Important… It’s Fun To Use!!

The ham radio license test was once considered a bit difficult until recently. A few years ago The FCC did away with the requirement that you pass a morse code exam. The FCC currently issues three different classes of amateur ham radio license:  Technician class, General class, and Extra class. The exam for the entry-level Technician class is fairly easy covering basic ham radio regulations, safety, operating practices and basic simple electronics. The exam has 35 questions and you need 74% (that’s only 26 questions), correctly answered to pass the test. It takes an average 10 hours of study, depending on your background and memory.



The Technician class license is primarily for talking locally using repeaters. It is highly valuable for emergency communication in a disaster situation and also allows all modes of communication in the VHF,  and microwave bands and beyond. You can operate simplex which allows you to contact others directly without the use of a repeater. The Technician class license gives limited privileges in the HF (High Frequency) bands; the ones primarily used for long-distance communications. Each subsequent license exam is more challenging but the reward is being able to operate more powerful equipment. For most people in the prepper community, handheld ham radio operation is a primary goal. The Technician class license will cover all the requirements. This will also give you the benefit of being able to use a 2 meter radio in your home or vehicle.


You can get started in ham radio for about $75.00.

  • $25.00 for an online entry level ( Technician class), ham radio license exam course.
  • $15.00 for a license exam session fee.
  •  About $30.00 for a Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Radio. This will work for local VHF/UHF communications.
    Ham Radio License Test

    Study online; Take practice tests online. Take test by appointment in person.

We recommend the “Ham Test Online,” for your study guide. They offer a 2- year subscription to the technician course for $24.95. They also guarantee 100% success or your money back.

Another option for studying in preparation for the ham radio test is purchasing a book . If you go that route we recommend books written by, “Gordon West.”


Your study material will provide a list of examiners. You can also google your local ham radio club. They will schedule examinations when they have enough participants.


If you do not want to go through the licensing process there is another option but it has it’s limitations.

Multi-Use Radio Service, [MURS], is an unlicensed two-way radio service similar to citizens band, [CB]. The FCC defines MURS as “a private two-way, short distance voice communication service for personal or business activity of the general public.” You must operate with a power limit of 2 watts and
you cannot use repeaters. You are limited to the use of 5 frequencies, which would enable an undesirable contact or the equally undesirable ability for someone to locate your base of operation in a survival situation.

Even with these limitations MURS, is a great option for tactical training and survival communication with family, neighbors, and close-by maneuvers.

A basic handheld ham radio along with The Survival Antenna will prove very effective in the field.

If you are currently operating a ham radio on MURS we recommend that you get licensed as soon as you are able. This will allow you greater flexibility especially in frequency and band range.

BE PREPARED! Have several handheld ham radios, extra batteries, a way to recharge and a dependable extended range antenna like The Survival Antenna!  Get one now!

Comments 9

  1. I agree totally about the need for licensing – IF you’re planning on using the rig now, in a pre-SHTF situation. However, IF ‘it’ happens, I honestly don’t think worrying about the FCC coming to ‘git ya’ is going to be an issue. As for studying for the exams, the problem is even simpler. Taking practice tests, the actual tests are fine. But? Have you really learned anything of value? Really? I’ve worked in electronics the majority of my adult life. Being able to regurgitate a bunch of answers without any true understanding of the nature of circuits, electronics…. is tantamount to the old saw, “he knew just enough to get himself into trouble”. The real bottom line is life will change and drastically on all fronts. Knowing when NOT to key up a mic will be more crucial than being able to – legally or not.

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    2. Yes in a life or death situation you may use the radio
      Or any two way communication. But if you want information on shelter food etc you may not ..
      So be proactive get the lisence learn procedures you meet good people. But like people everyware there’s some jerks.hams included . And do not get discouraged when first going to a meeting or event sometimes we get preoccupied and fail to greet newcomers please try a few time . And contact the Laurel ham testing they do lisence test free in many places

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    3. Get the License. The whole “Do I need a license?” debate is a waste of time. Just like owning a firearm, you need to familiarize yourself with the equipment that you choose long before you need it in a SHTF situation. What antennas will work best for your situation? Can you reach any repeaters that may or may not still be operational? What kind of range can you get with your equipment to communicate with others? What frequencies are you going to use to communicate with others? Let alone the basic operational questions about the equipment itself. With all of the stress, pressure, and anxiety that you will be under in an SHTF situation, do you really want to sit down with a manual and start reading how to use your radio? In order to do these things prior to an SHTF event, you need to operate the equipment. Therefore you need the license in order to do that. Frankly it is a 35 question multiple choice test that little children have passed.

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  2. Do you “need” a license? no, you don’t need a drivers license either but honestly it makes life infinitely easier. I learned a nice amount of theory and practical application by studying for the exam and if you want your local ham operators to “play nice” having a real license and a real call sign is certainly the way to go. your local and semi local ham operators will be a tremendous asset if things ever go sideways so you definitely want to make them friends not adversaries. Taking the exam is relatively simple with a little studying and all the info you need to pass is offered for free on line . Typically you can take the test from a local ham radio club which will also give you an opportunity to make some new friends.
    All things considered there is really no down side and plenty of positives so I can’t really see a justification not to do it.

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