General Class Ham License – On-Line Help for Your Self Study

You may have been redirected here from You’re in the right place! By popular demand, I am adding a set of videos to help you upgrade from Technician Class to General Class. Lew French, KCØUER, helped with the video duties. Click here to meet both Dave and Lew in a 3½ minute video. Does this method of video-aided self study work? Read the comments from users.

Studying for your General Class Ham Radio License

The General Class License is the middle level of amateur radio licenses and has vastly-increased privileges on the HF bands—and you can use these to talk with the world! Watch the video below to learn how. It tells you what self-study book to buy, where to get it, how to study it, and takes you through the introductory chapter.

Guided Self Study

Although the book is self study, sometimes it’s helpful to have a guide. Out here where I live in Southwestern Colorado, there aren’t very many people, let alone hams! That’s why I’ve created this video guide to your self study. It’s in convenient chunks—short videos followed by short sections of self study. Enough – let’s watch this 4½ minute video!

Note that this video is available in a variety of resolutions, including HD.

The links I talked about

The ARRL General Class License Manual For Ham Radio, ISBN 978-0-87259-811-9, 978-1-62595-030-7 (BE SURE TO GET THE 8th edition, which is valid starting 1 July 2015) is a mandatory adjunct to this course. In fact, just as with the Technician set of videos, it is the course! These videos give you an overview of the sections you’ll be studying, along with a few videos of how things actually work. Each video introduces a section of the Manual, which you then study. Try out the test questions, then come back for the next session.

You can get the General Class License Manual by clicking on this link at Amazon. (Be sure to get the 8th edition, valid starting 1 July 2015.) It’s actually somewhat less expensive on Amazon than at the ARRL website, and Amazon’s shipping charges are less too, which will save you a few dollars.

There’s a General Class License Manual Support Page on the ARRL website that provides additional material to supplement the manual.

If you have a question about any section, simply post a comment under that particular video. Others may have the same question! I’ll post my reply to every question.

All the videos

Each video is on a “post,” meaning you click on the link below, and it takes you to the post with the video. Each post has any additional text to help you. You then return to this page. Be sure to keep track of where you are! The videos are numbered the same way the sections are numbered in the license manual, and as they are uploaded the links will be live. Good luck! If you prefer to work from a YouTube playlist, you can find it below the list of videos.


I’ve had numerous requests to put these together into a YouTube playlist. As noted at the top of this post, these videos are introductions to the respective sections in the book, so just watching the videos won’t cover all the material in the question pool. But some students find it easier to watch the videos in groups. The playlist totals eight hours of video!

What do you do when you’re ready to take the test?

Go to, enter your zip code, and search for an examination session in your area. Good luck!

Yes I want your comments!

No instructional course is ever complete, nor is it perfect. Please comment! Please put the comments right on the same post as the video you’re commenting about. Or, you can comment on the video on YouTube. Don’t worry, I see them all!

Have fun!

There’s probably a ham radio club near you (and with your Technician Class license, hopefully you’re a member of one!). Go to to locate a club near you. Attend their meetings and introduce yourself. You’ll find yourself instantly among friends. And your new friends can provide assistance as you study for your test. After you pass your test, they can help you equip yourself for your new privileges, too. Enjoy!

56 Responses to General Class Ham License – On-Line Help for Your Self Study

  1. Dave says:

    Korky, I hope your studying is going well. I strongly recommend that people not buy or build any equipment until after they get their license. I also recommend that people join their local ham radio club so as to find others who can be mentors. As to setting up a station, see my Ask Dave series of videos (playlist here). Good luck!

  2. Good Day, Dave!

    I want to thank you very much for your videos on both the Technician Class Licensing and the General Class Licensing. It really makes a great deal of difference in SEEING some of these things in action as well as reading about them in the respective ARRL books.

    I suppose I am an unusual subject here as I’m in my early 60’s, and have thought about getting into Ham Radio all my life. I was a big CBer back in the day, but then, CW was mandatory to get to HAM radio and the smell of perfume and gasoline probably deterred me. However that bug has always been with me and with my Father having been in electronics for so long, he taught me more than a thing or two. So, I’m attempting to take both the Technician and General Class License at the same time. Well, I’ve about 70% decided! So one of the things I’m trying to discern “Visually” or conceptually, is how you do antenna requirements at a residential home for multiple-band use.

    Obviously the Technician operator pretty much needs a 2m antenna. I have a repeater not 2 miles away from my home so getting to it should be a piece of cake. But I also don’t want to be limited to just a 2m antenna, since if I DO pass both classes, I will want to listen in and get things set up (computer especially) for operating in HF as well as VHF. My plan is that even though I’ll have both licenses, I probably will start in the VHF end broadcasting, but listening and tinkering on the HF end without actually broadcasting until I get baptized!

    Again, I live in a residential area, not in a rural one. My shack will be on the west wall of my home, which could be an issue seeing that that side of the house has a very large tree on the neighbor’s side of the fence about 6ft away. Now i can run coax about 20 feet to the end of the garage roof (where my old Direct TV satellite dish was mounted a few years ago and clear that tree easily. So I guess I’m asking how other might set up a dual-use antenna in this particular situation. Hope that’s not too much to ask!

  3. Alex says:

    I just took the tech, general and extra exams and passed all three. I had listened to the audio from some of your YouTube videos for the extra test, I don’t think I would have passed the extra otherwise as I hadn’t had much time to study for it.

  4. Kevin J says:

    Passed my General test, in no small part due to your videos. Thanks!!

  5. Dave,

    Thanks again for putting in all of the hard work to produce these videos. They were a big factor in passing both the Tech and General in one sitting.

    Take care,


  6. Dave says:

    Kevin, thanks for the update. I guess I’ll have to buy the new manual after all! It’s amazing, given how many people watch the videos, that you’re the first person to bring that to my attention. When I get a manual, I’ll go on YouTube and update the titles with the right section number. Many thanks! 73, Dave, KEØOG

  7. Kevin J says:

    You are going to need to renumber the introductory videos for the eighth edition. Digital modes has its own chapter now. There are nine chapters not just eight.

  8. Dave says:

    Hi Bob, I’ve always been uncomfortable calling CW “digital” and certainly would not call it binary! (At least I hope I didn’t in the videos.) Morse code is not really designed well for machine decoding (in fact, it’s lousy for that—I did my masters thesis on the subject). I would argue that at best it’s pulse-width modulation, which could be digital if the pulse widths were always either a dit or a dah, but in actual practice, especially with straight keys, no two dits or dahs are exactly the same length, which sounds more analog to me. And the detection problem is not simply deciding whether the signal is on or off, but rather pattern detection is required, given that the information is in the form of groups of dits and dahs. Modern data coding for good noise-resistant codes doesn’t detect at the bit level either, but rather has to gather quite a lot of information before deciding what the original signal was intended to be – for example, a simple error correction code needs all the bits that it gathers as input to an algorithm to decide what letter is being sent. And then you get into trellis decoding and soft decisions…. Anyway, to me CW is just CW, and I don’t like forcing it into the digital category. The term digital didn’t even become common until around the 1950s, and the Morse Code, in its various manifestations, was over a hundred years old by then. That’s sure a long-winded response! 73, Dave, KEØOG

  9. Robert Barnett says:

    I’m an electrical engineer with over 40 years experience in industrial control and power systems and as I approach retirement I’ve decided to get my ham license. Your videos are very helpful. Many thanks for them. However I’ve noticed something that is commonly stated by many: CW is binary. You haven’t quite said that yourself but you’ve come close in Lesson 5.2. CW is digital all right (it’s not analogue) but it isn’t binary. Binary has two states: one of ON and one of OFF for instance. CW has two states of ON and three of OFF.
    Hope to talk to you on the air soon. Again, thanks for your help.

  10. Doug Clowers says:

    Hi Dave,

    I haven’t been involved with ham radio in a long time but just started studying for the General test and found your videos on youtube. Great info, thanks for all of the work to put these together. Small world…I was watching the video on digital modes and while you were talking the view of the screen shot in the back showed you typing your location as Ridgway, CO. I’m just down the road in Montrose. I also see that you are the webmaster for the Montrose Amateur Radio Club. I can’t make it to the December meeting but I plan to attend the January meeting and join the club. I hope to be able to meet you in person.


  11. Prakash(KC1DDJ) says:

    Dave your lecture helped me to get my Technician License. Thank you very much.

  12. Dave says:

    Hi Peter, I suggest the ARRL License Manual as the book for you. My videos are designed as introductions to each section in the book, but even without them, the book stands alone. My goal is to strike a balance between self-study and classroom-study. A video introduction seems halfway in between. I recommend watching the video for a given section prior to studying that section. I try to put material in the video that will make it easier to understand the material. If the videos are not available to you or don’t suit your learning style, self-study is the way to go!

  13. Peter Haas W9IXN says:

    Hi Dave, are your Extra Class tutorials available in print? I’m old and prefer the old fashioned method of studying with a book. Thanks for your consideration of same.

  14. Dave says:

    Thanks for reminding me! I need to change the URL for the Amazon page to that of the updated ARRL study guide. I also need to add a flag on YouTube that people should get the updated book.

    As far as I know, all the videos are still valid. If you see an exception, please let me know.

    73, Dave

  15. Thanks so much for your videos. I literally have sent hundreds of my students to it for
    studying. Have you had a chance to compare the new General pool with your General
    study videos? If so do you think the videos will still be good to help study for the


    Steve NV7V

  16. Dave says:

    The current tests are valid through June 30, 2015. The new book for the new question set should be available from the ARRL now, but you might call them to be sure you get the right one.

  17. Gary J. Kramer says:

    I not going to be able to take my general test before June 15, do you know when the study guide for the new pool will be available



  18. tk (KC7GMA) says:

    Hey Dave,

    I nailed the General exam today due in large part to your videos which helped a great deal guiding me through the book and ‘fleshing it out’. Much thanks to you and Lew for all your efforts in getting more of us out there!


  19. Michael G.Hazelett says:

    Sir,Is there any home study vcr tapes or cd that I can receive for my own home study? I am a veteran with disablies,low income and a dummie. [Hi Michael. Sorry, I only provide my videos on YouTube. If you can get to your local library, they usually have Internet-connected computers you can use to watch YouTube. You may also want to try a local ham radio club, as they may have in-person classes. -73, Dave]

  20. Dave says:

    Michael, I’m trying to read between the lines here and think that the best advice I can give you is for either you or a friend who can help you to go to this URL: Then call the person in charge of the club, or go to a meeting, or send a friend for you. Hams are quite willing to help. They can loan you the license manual and help you with reading difficulties. My videos are free but are only available on the Internet. My videos are intended to be a guide through the published license manuals. I’m afraid I know of nothing for free except what is on the Internet. Please be aware you will need to pass the test for Technician before you can take the test for General. Please note that the Volunteer Examiners will accommodate people with difficulty seeing. They can read the test to you and you can choose an answer verbally. But again I urge you to find a ham radio club that is local to you and seek their personal help. All that I can offer is videos via the Internet. Good luck in your studies!

  21. Michael G.Hazelett says:

    I am seaking a viedo tape or cd recording of the amateur radio general class studies at home,free.

  22. Dave says:

    Hi Michael, sorry to hear about your eyes. I’m not selling anything—all the videos can be watched online for free. You really should get the textbook, however. Instructions for doing so are on the page this comment appears on.

  23. Michael G.Hazelett says:

    I can only aford a home study vcr tapes.I have problems with my eyes now. Can you please help?

  24. Dave says:

    Robert, welcome back to ham radio! You might want to review all the tech videos as a review before starting on the general videos. Good luck!

  25. Robert Esplin KE7PBJ says:

    I look forward to going through these videos and I hope to be able to follow them well. See I’ve been a ham for about 8 years but have only used a radio once and it was a friend’s radio. I don’t remember much from getting my license and with a bad memory this will be challenging but I plan to get my generals as soon as possible and maybe even extra.

  26. Nathan KD8ZLX says:

    I used your technician videos and they helped me pass the technician test. So I decided to watch your general class videos as well, and achieved the same results. My general license just showed up in the ULS today. Thanks for posting them and being a great elmer.

  27. Robert says:

    Aced my General last night. Thank you for doing this series! 73 de WA1RJJ /AG

  28. David (KD8SMD) says:

    Dave, Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge for the benefit of others. Great addition to the books provided by the ARRL. Thanks

  29. Dave says:

    Chris, thanks very much. I’ve incorporated the link into the page itself. 73, Dave

  30. Chris H says:

    Thought I’d make a YouTube playlist for you. Here’s a link to all the General Class Tutorial videos in order:

    David’s Ham Radio General Class Tutorials

  31. Dave says:

    Chris, thanks for your comments. Yes, there’s a way to make a playlist of videos on YouTube, but as the videos are designed to be introductions to the sections in the License Manual, rather than watched all at once, I’ve not put them in a playlist. However, several other people have also requested playlists, so perhaps at some point I’ll figure it out and put the videos into a playlist. 73, Dave

  32. christie says:

    I went to youtube and found your general course, is there a way to make it play them in order? I have been on some site where it will do just that (a site puts you on youtube and they play in order).

    The day I passed my yech class, (no code), the gent said take the general…I passed then it expired as I simply was never going to learn the code. then years later they did away with code, too late fer me.



  33. Scott KC9WYE says:

    Hey Dave,
    Great job on the videos. I’ve been debating working on my extra class for a while now, and after looking at your general class videos, I’m excited to see how your extra class lessons come out. It’s nice to have some videos to knock the cobwebs out of my head lol. Keep up the great work my friend.


    Scott- KC9WYE

    p.s. : I just had a coworker cram for his tech license and pass. Now I’m not getting any work done because I’m answering all of his new ham questions. I’m definitely referring him to your technician videos.

  34. Kyle says:

    thanks Dave
    passed General. Only got 23 on the Extra but I never
    studied it at all. Just the guys told me to take it because
    it was free. But General was easy Thanks for the video’s

  35. Dave says:

    Yes, I plan to. But the Tech questions expire at the end of June this year, so I will also be updating the tech videos.

  36. Jim Stanmore says:

    Your lectures are wondrous! I just sat for and passed my Technician and General exams after using your videos as my main study aid. My only question is when are you going to create a series for the Extra Class?


  37. Dave says:

    Hi Dorothy, the Extra videos will dive into more detail. I’ll work through the math steps in the videos. In the meantime, you might check the ARRL Handbook, or maybe a college algebra textbook, in particular brushing up on complex numbers. I have just a few more videos to do in the General series, then I’ll get to work on the Extra series.

  38. Dorothy says:

    Thanks! I will be watching for the new videos. Planning to attend an Extra class in March. Please recommend where to go for help with the math. I need to see the formulas worked from beginning to end at least once (showing each step). I have 2 active brain cells and neither one is for memory! Therefore it’s practice practice practice…

  39. Dave says:

    Yes, I’ll be working on the Extra Class videos after I finish with the General Class series. I have a few more to go and hope to be done by the end of the year.

  40. Dorothy says:

    Are you working on videos for the Extra exam?

  41. Dave says:

    It might be worth the time to go through the Tech videos quickly.

  42. Jeff Stitt says:

    Dave, I have had my Tech for many years. My question is will there be enough of a refresher of the Tech material to continue on to study for the General. I am sure that I have forgotten many key terms, etc. Thanks for your hard work.

  43. Art Womer says:

    Making it look easy. I’m studying for my General ticket within the next few months. Thanks for a great job. Looked at some of the videos. Great work. Can’t wait to sit down and go through them along with the book and hit the test..

    Hermitage, TN

  44. Dwayne T says:

    Hi Dave, I am getting ready to take my General, I’m LDS too! 🙂 I am have only just started getting back into Ham Radio after a 10 year absence. Thank you so much for taking the time out to do these videos, they are really helpful and make things a lot less intimidating. My daughter is studying for her Tech lic, she is 12 and is also watching your vids. Keep up the great work, looking forward to seeing you and your group finish the General lic vids, and also eventually catching up with you on the air 🙂 73’s!

  45. kk4lsq says:

    Hey Dave!

    Got my General tonight and just wanted to thank you for the videos — they were a good addition to the book, the “Elmernars” I’ve attended and the good, real-time course I took here locally. The videos explained things I was stuck on in a slightly different way — and that helped. Gotta admit, this stuff was harder for me than the Technician — but I did get it. The VEs were all smiles so I think I scored pretty well. 🙂

    Thanks again for all your hard work!

  46. Bob H says:

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the videos. They are very, very helpful. Got me thru some difficult topics. We appreciate all the hard work you put into making them.
    Bob KB0KXL, Ft. Lupton, CO

  47. Tonya Solorio says:

    Can’t wait for more General Class videos. They really help explain some things. Some times you just need a person to tell you how it is. Good work.

  48. William Wrublesky says:

    Sorry Dave, I just now realized that you do have the videos for the General Class license. My apologies for not looking at your site more thorough.

  49. dave says:

    Hi Richard and thanks for your kind words. The General Class videos got put on a back shelf for awhile so I could finish writing my latest fantasy novel. That’s now up on Kindle, so I should have some more time to get the videos underway. Fortunately, members of the local ham radio club have offered help, so this will be more of a group effort. The tech videos took three months to do. I think the General is a bit more complex, but will probably take about as much time. Thanks for your support!

  50. Richard (KF5QGZ) says:


    I have just earned my Tech. I liked your videos above and was wondering if you have other videos on the General prepared yet? Thanks for your hard work.


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