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

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“…the best way to prepare for a test might be to master the material it purports to cover, rather than amassing a series of tricks and hacks around the act of test taking.” Jason Tanz, Wired, 2 Jun 2015

Studying for your Ham Radio License

The Technician License is the gateway to amateur radio. And it’s within your reacheasily! Watch this short video 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.
See what other people think of this approach!

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 of short videos followed by short sections of self study. Enough! let’s watch the video!

The links I talked about

The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, (Fourth Edition) is a mandatory adjunct to this course. In fact, 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 video.
You can get the manual using the following advertisement from Amazon.
It’s the same price there as from, but at Amazon it qualifies for free shipping, which will save you several dollars.

Wherever you see a mouse symbol in the manual, you can go to for more information.

If you have a question about any section, simply post a comment on YouTube under that particular video. Or, use this link to this website’s question page: Ask Dave. Others may have the same question! I’ll post my reply to every question.

All the videos

All the new videos listed below have a direct link to YouTube. You can use your browser’s “back” button to return to this list. The videos are numbered the same way the sections are numbered in the license manual. Good luck! (As an aside, all of these videos are available on a YouTube Playlist shown below the video list.)

NOTE NOTE NOTE: The URLs for ALL of the Tech videos have changed to the ARRL YouTube page. The links below to take you there.

YouTube Playlist

By popular demand, here are all the Tech videos in an ordered playlist.

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

Go to, enter your zip code, and search for one 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. Don’t worry, I see them all!

Have fun!

There’s probably a ham radio club near you. 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 get on the air, too. Enjoy!

The audio from the title page

I’ve had a request for the audio that accompanies the title in each video. It’s quite a mishmash of several recordings. I rendered it out as a single file, which you may listen to by clicking near the very left of the audio player (it’s black on black, for some reason).

Or you may download it by right clicking on this: Technician Video Start Audio and selecting the appropriate item to save the file (for Chrome it’s “Save Link As…”). Never fear, if you accidentally left click on it, just use your browser Back button to return to this page.

67 Responses to Technician Class Ham License – On-Line Help for Your Self Study

  1. Kevin Rose, KD8BYV /AE says:

    Good Evening, Dave!

    I just passed my Amateur Extra exam today – I passed my Technician with code exam back in 2005. My 10 year old son wanted a walkie-talkie for his birthday, so I got him an HT VHF/UHF radio – and he is fascinated. I have not been very active recently, but I am looking at buying an HF rig that is “apartment friendly”. There is so much I can do!!! (Santa Barbara is the high rent district. With tract ranch houses going for $1 million, I am just thankful to live in such a beautiful place, and that I have a wonderful wife, and a son and a daughter.)

    My amateur radio club has asked me to consider teaching a ham radio class. I would love to do that! I love your videos, by the way. You say things in a good way, and I would like to use your videos as a part of the class – I haven’t begun structuring this yet, so I am wide open. At the very least, I will list your web site. What I would like to do is show a segment, then have a class discussion on the material, and also discuss certain topics more in-depth. I am thinking of either 5 or 10 sessions (probably 10) meeting on Saturday mornings.

    I know your videos are available on Youtube for free, and on a set of DVD’s – but if I show it to a class, do I need to compensate you for that? Just let me know.

  2. Bruce Q. Bailey says:

    Just wanted to thank you. With not having a lot of free time your videos help me get both my technician and general in two months. This something I have wanted to do for a long time. My dad was a ham my brother is a ham now i am a Ham.. My daughter 23 is now studying for technician and use you to help her along. Thanks again for a wonderful program.

    73 Bruce Q. Bailey KC3GIR

  3. Dave says:

    Hi Tony, since you’re asking this question on the Tech Videos page, I assume you’re referring to the Tech Manual. V3 expires in 2018. I did not update the Tech videos for V2 because the V2 and V3 manuals are so similar and in fact follow the identical outline. Further, the question pool didn’t change much. So the old V2 videos serve well as introductions to the V3 lessons. I recently made the Tech videos available on DVD. I’m making the assumption that my General videos fall into the same category, but haven’t studied the matter. I’ve received no complaints, however. 73, Dave

  4. Tony says:

    Dave, any chance that you will be updating the information for the 2016 manual?

  5. Dave says:

    Ron, the US and Canada have a reciprocal operating agreement, so getting a license in one allows you to use it in the other. There are nuances. See the ARRL page by clicking here.

  6. Ron Aitken says:

    Hello Dave I have just went though your desciption for technician hamm radio to 4.1.

    I was just scimming it you are a very good teacher.

    If a person writes his technician test in the US will it qualify for the tchnician licence in Canada?

    By trade I am a 2 way communication technician.

    I use it work for Motorola

    I always had an interest in ham radio

  7. Craig says:

    I agree You Tube is actually perfect and you’ve handled both the videos and the way they are structured very well. I think what I meant, as I think about it more, is to provide an additional path for offline review. So in the simplest sense, just an option to download the audio portion for each video, so they can be replayed offline. I ended up also doing Gordon West’s CD series too (through which he references the diagrams back to his book, etc) but don’t have a CD player, so ripped the tracks and listened to them from my iPhone. First in sequence, then randomly. Just a thought. But I think the videos are ultimately more powerful- wouldn’t do the audio book route per se. I guess it would be a hybrid option. Again, great stuff and thank you!

  8. Dave says:

    Hi Craig, Thanks for the kind words. I’ve been asked several times to release them as DVDs or in some other format, but I’ve stuck to YouTube as the simplest and most widely available distribution method. Your suggestion re the audio recordings is an interesting one. I’ll have to think about that. I would think that an audio book would have to be a bit different, for example, to explain diagrams. Hmmm…. 73, Dave

  9. Darryl Mann says:

    Your comments about the pipe organ really shed some light on the subject.

  10. Craig says:

    Dave, I passed my Tech class exam today! Just wanted to thank you so much for your videos. They were great to watch and really informative. I think in addition to the video segments, you could also release the whole course as an audio book. Or make the chapters available as a block, so there is no “intro” clip in front of each chapter. There were times when I felt that I would have liked to have just listened to them over again, once I had viewed them, I think that would make that possible. I could also see that audio book made available on the iTunes Store, or at least thru your website. Thanks again!! And 73

  11. Derrick Dudley says:


    I passed my tech licence, and working on my rig. I plan on taking general in a few weeks. Thank you one again, and continually.



  12. Anthony says:

    hey MR DAve i did get my teck licenses FANALY

  13. Dave says:

    Hi Derrick, there are “dopey” people everywhere, I suppose, but I’ve generally found hams to be patient. On two meters you’ll be talking to the same people quite often, and they’ll get used to your voice. Because there’s more distortion on HF, after you get your General you may find that it’s a little harder – no way to find out but to try. And on the HF bands, there’s lots of digital activity that doesn’t require voice, and that time-tested alternative, CW! Good luck with your test and your ham radio adventures! 73, Dave, KEØOG

  14. Derrick Dudley says:

    I thank you. The videos were very helpful and before I take my test, I might look over a few sections once again in concert with the corresponding book.
    A question I have is, I have Cerebral Palsy and my speech is effected enough to be noticed yet understood. I understand there are some dopey people out there, is there anything in-particular you might foresee as a issue or a “speed bump” (as I say) when I key up?

    Thanks again,


  15. Dave says:

    Go through the videos. They address all aspects of this. You’ll need a mobile rig—I use a Yaesu FT-7800 and an Icom IC-2800—a power supply, an external antenna, and the coax between the radio and the external antenna. I strongly suggest including a good ground system for this as well. Good luck in your studies!

  16. Tony krawczyk says:

    I am new to ham radio. I want to use a mobel radio in my den. what is the easiest way to do this.

  17. Arnie Reynolds says:

    Just started studying for Technician Class Ham License, glad to discover your videos.

    Your teaching materials are very easy to understand and helpful. I appreciate the work you did preparing these lessons and publishing them. Thank you.

  18. Dave says:

    Hi Vance. Yes, you can learn which book to purchase by reading the page you commented on. It has a link to Amazon. Be sure to get the third edition. That will get you your tech license. Once you’ve done that, look at the material at It’ll take some study, but it’s worth it, and I hope my videos will prove helpful. If you are dyslexic to the point where you need help to read the test given by the Volunteer Examiners, they can read it to you and then you can choose the reply. I’m a VE myself, and have helped several who needed accommodations. Don’t be shy about asking. But do tell the VE team in advance that you need help. At the bottom of the text on the page where your comment appears, there’s a link to a video that talks all about the test process. 73!

  19. vance m says:

    hi dave i have bin around radio my hole life back in the 80 my famley stared one of the bigest antenna co in the us thay sold it in the 90s but it steel going i have bin a cb er for 30 years but since have have become deabled i am geting in radio agen but cb is not what it use to be so i am rady to get into ham i wold like to get my gen ham lisons do you is there is book that wold me i have dyslexia make it hard and win i am radey to take test can i take it out of town or do have have to take in my town some here do not like us cb er very well but thank you for your video thanks 73 your way

  20. John Mantey says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for putting together these videos. I took the Technician exam a couple of weeks ago and passed the test thanks to you and your very helpful videos. I will be sure to tell my friends about this blog.

    All the best,


  21. Bill Russell says:

    Dave Thanks for the videos!!! I just passed my Tech License on the first try. I used the Arrl book, your videos and Ham Test online. Your videos helped so much I am using them for the General Class as well Thanks again

  22. Nathan Jones says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for posting these videos. They definitely helped. I passed the technician test this morning. Plan on taking the general test in the next month or so.

  23. Brad Saunders (N1GZB) says:

    I was looking for a video to help a young lady get her Ham Ticket. Your videos really are the ticket to help those who cannot make it to a Ham Radio Classroom. I have taught several Technician classes over the years and I find these videos nothing short of excellent!! Thank you so very much for your labor on these great videos!

  24. Dave says:

    Alex, the second edition has been superceded by the third. The question pool was updated effective July 1, 2014, and the new book addresses the new question pool. That said, there wasn’t much change from the old pool to the new one, and so far all of the Technician videos are still okay. You should use the third edition of the manual. 73, Dave

  25. Alex says:

    Hi Dave,

    I am thinking of getting my technician license and I was looking at the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual by Ward Silver. I noticed the second edition of this manual is valid thru June 30, 2014. Would it be advisable to still use the second edition or purchase the 3rd edition for my study?
    Also, I have been viewing your tutorials on video and I understand the videos are referenced from the 3rd edition am I correct?

    Thank you for your time,


  26. Tim says:

    I just wanted to say Thank You from somebody who also lives in rural southern Colorado, San Luis Valley ( Away from what seems like everything). I wanted to actually learn as I went because I felt the flash cards was not the way I wanted to go . No elmers down here. I am very greatful that you took the time to be the closest thing to my elmer ! Please keep making these videos in all classes. I like others ARE taking the time to watch. To include my friend who she also wants to get a license.
    If nothing else this is a great starting point considering the nearest testing center is a Bank in Colorado Springs. About 3 1/2 hours from here.

  27. Tom says:

    Thanks Dave for the excellent videos and descriptions! Took and passed the Technician test this morning!

  28. Tom Pierce K8EBR says:

    Hi Dave,
    I’m a veteran ham now teaching both a Technician licensing class as well as a General-Extra upgrade class for the Mile High Radio Club in Idyllwild, California high on Mt. San Jacinto. This is not our first class but this is the first time your excellent on-line videos have been incorporated into the class. Thank you for making all your hard work available; the videos are right on the money.
    73, Tom Pierce K8EBR
    see for my bio

  29. Richie Britt says:

    Passed my tech exam 3/29/14. Thanks for these videos. Going for general now.

  30. Dave says:

    The Baofengs seem like good radios—I have one and like it. But note its size, particularly the antenna size. Without using an external antenna, like a J-pole, the range will be pretty short. Also, I strongly recommend that people (your family members) not buy equipment until they are licensed. I’ve seen too many people buy radios and never get the license. So buy one for yourself but wait until the others in your family are licensed! 73, Dave.

  31. Dave says:

    The “Now You’re Talking” book is pretty out of date. I don’t think the outline is the same as the current Technician study guide. But if you’re just catching up, I think you’ll find the videos helpful. Check in particular the General videos as they’re more in depth.

  32. Pam Sorenson says:

    Also, I don’t have a radio–and it has been years since I have operated one and need something cheap. I am looking at Baofengs. Do you have any thoughts on this as we need 6 of them.

  33. Pam Sorenson says:

    Okay, thank you. I will need the new book because my family is going to learn this stuff. I am a licensed ham but have forgotten almost everything. Can I use Now you’re talking to follow along with the videos for review?

  34. Dave says:

    Through June of 2014. As soon as I can get my hands on the updated book for July onward, I’ll start updating the videos.

  35. Pam Sorenson says:

    Up to what month of the question pools does the book cover?

  36. Steve says:


    Great site, thanks for putting it together!

    I ride my utv’s in your backyard all of the time (now you know how those tracks got there- lol)

    I will try to coordinate a trip on your days off and we can do BB/Imogene or do the Alpine Loop.

    Thanks Again,


  37. Chad says:


    I very much appreciate the time you took to make these videos. After being in the IT field for around 18 years I decided to add a hobby and study for my technician exam. I’m very much a novice in the electrical, frequencies, etc field and if there is anything below a novice, that is me. I’m studying along in the book while watching your videos. They have helped a great deal.

    I just bought a BaoFeng UV-5RE Plus so I can play around and start to learn. I live in a rural area in the Shenandoah Valley but my neighbor just happens to be a 25 year guru with everything involving this subject. He took the time yesterday to come over and teach me a few things. Anyway, thanks again for the videos. Take care,

    Best Regards,


  38. Chuck Tucker says:

    Dave Thanks so much! At age 61 after 37 years in commercial pyrotechnics I need to slow down physically, what a great hobby to transition in to! I live at lake Cuyamaca in Julian Calif. with all my phone communication being cellular, I know feel better having amateur radio as a backup in case of fires,earthquakes etc, Sincerely, Chuck Tucker

  39. Mundy says:

    Dave, I already have my Technician’s license. I just finished taking advantage of your videos in order to refresh my knowledge that will make it easier to start the path on becoming a General. Your instruction is brief, direct and makes the perfect companion to the ARRL book or simply as a refresher course. Thank you for interjecting tidbits of wisdom from your personal experience in these videos as well! 73, KB6MUN

  40. Cliff says:

    As a meteorologist in TV and have flown many tropical severe systems, I’m being born into Ham Radio. I am an amputee now, after serving my nation in the past, and I’m Blessed to have been pointed to your direction, even though you are “Omni directional.” Go with peace and know you serve others and ultimately a Higher Power. C

  41. Andy Zhu says:

    Hi Dave! Stumbled upon your videos while browsing reviews on handhelds and just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for taking the time to do these. I just bought the ARRL guide and I’m using your videos as a supplement to my study for the technician license. Appreciate all the effort you put into helping this community grow. Hope to talk to you when I get my ticket 🙂


  42. John Hughes says:

    I know you have spent many hours, days, weeks making this video training available for us beginners. I am 81 years old and only now studying for my first Technician license and your presentation has made the task enjoyable and easier. I’m still as active as when I was 40, so I can climb up and build my Antenna when I’m ready.
    Thanks !
    John Hughes

  43. William Wrublesky says:

    Hello Dave,
    Thanks for putting these videos together for us. I just took and passed the Technician Class exam and the material in the book made a lot more sense after viewing your videos. I hope you consider doing the same for the General Class license exam.

    Thanks again for all your hard work in putting this together.


  44. Jim says:


    Thank you for the supplemental videos on YouTube, to assist me in studying for my technician license. It certainly has been appreciated.


  45. Steve Pulley says:

    Thnx for your video series, it brings the ARRL material to life. My sons and I are studying for the
    Tech. ticket, but I plan to take both Tech. and General tests while at the test center. Great live demo’s with Lew on the air. I encourage your work on the General series.

  46. Billy Crockett says:

    WOW! this is great! I have been trying to figure out how to study the ARRL manual and found your video. Thanks for making the video. Billy C.

  47. dave says:

    Hi, Dan, yes, I’ve been thinking about doing a set of videos for General. Not quite just this moment, though. I’m trying to get a book out the door. 73!

  48. Dan aka KK4GDJ says:

    Thanks.. Do you have a similar tutorial for the material for the General exam?

  49. Mitch Fortner says:

    Dave, I just wanted to encourage you to continue on this project. I’m studying for my first license at this point and take the test on January 20. Your videos are great compliments to my study material and really give some practical visual cues to the text and the website that I’ve been using. Please keep up the good work.

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