General Class Amateur Radio

I upgraded my ham radio license to a general class license today! Yay!


The test was harder than the technician class test as the material was a bit more technical. I used KB6NU’s No-Nonsense General-Class License Study Guide for the material and practice exams. This strategy seemed to work well for me and I will probably do the same thing if I decide to upgrade to the extra class license.

Why upgrade to the general class? The general class gives you more privileges across the amateur radio spectrum. In particular, a large chunk of high frequency bands are only available to general class and above. This is important if you want to talk to people across the world.

My path into amateur radio was a strange one. After my grandfather’s death, my uncle mentioned that amateur call signs were inheritable. Since both of my uncles were already licensed and no one else seemed to be interested, I decided to get my license. After passing my technician class test, I applied to the FCC for a vanity call sign, requesting my grandfather’s old call sign. Coincidentally, the FCC assigned my grandfather’s call sign to me on what would have been his 85th birthday!

KA3USO, the first.
KA3USO, the first.

Interestingly enough, the FCC restricts transferal of cancelled call signs for two years except under two conditions. The first case is that a close family member wants to inherit a call sign. The second case is if a club wants to hold a call sign in memoriam of a former member. It makes me wonder how many call signs are transferred this way.