Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Brandon Amateur Radio Society (BARS)

How can I find information on obtaining an Amateur (HAM) Radio License?
Radio licenses are granted by the Federal Communications Commission based on successfully passing a radio licensing exam. For general information see:

There are currently three levels or three classes of amateur radio operator licenses generally available:

  • Technician: For new operators, this is an entry level license class.
  • General: Intermediate level, for more experienced operators. Prerequisite is an active Technician License
  • Amateur Extra: The highest level of amateur radio license available. Prerequisite is an active General License.

Each level allows the operator access to progressively more frequency ranges in the radio spectrum.

How can I prepare for the radio licensing exam?
We recommend taking a training class augmented by using a study guide.

There are many study guides available. Perhaps some of the more user friendly texts are published by the ARRL (American Radio Relay League). Be sure to buy the most recent edition. (click on “Licensing and Education” in the far left column to see all the options of study guides available). Many of these are also available from Amazon. The study guides entitled: “ARRL Ham Radio License Manuals” (Technician, General, and Extra) all contain detailed information about how the exam is structured, the number of exam questions, the passing requirements, as well as a fairly easy-to-read explanation of important topics. These ARRL manuals list all the possible questions (with answers) in the exam pool from which exam questions on your exam will be randomly selected. If you enroll in a training class, many times the class will require a specific study guide. Be sure to check before you buy. Some training classes will provide a study guide as a part of the class fee.

Training classes are held periodically in our area and are presented by the Hillsborough County ARES RACES organization. To see a schedule of radio training classes as well as classes on on many other topics (including dates, fees, and other details), please see:

Practice exams are also available on-line for free:

It's a good idea to take practice exams to build confidence and to make sure you are ready to take the actual examination. It's possible to use these examinations to track your progress as you study. Generally, in most cases, if you're consistently scoring over 85% correct on multiple practice exams, you could reasonably expect to pass the actual exam.

Where and when can I take a radio licensing examination?
For a searchable listing of exam locations, dates and contacts in the United States, check out the ARRL website:

BARS offers radio licensing exam sessions in the Brandon Area usually the first Saturday of each month (with a few exceptions) as published on this site.

For specifics, contact Bill N4NOA by email at

If you plan to take an exam and are requesting any type of grandfathering (for example if you have a former but expired license), you will also need to contact Bill N4NOA prior to exam day.

When you present for your examination, there are certain requirements that must be met that day. We ask you to please be prepared to meet these requirements otherwise your exam date may have to be re-scheduled.

You are required to bring the following items with you to the examination location on examination day:

  1. The appropriate and exact amount of money to cover the examination fee. Payment must be in US Dollars, in the form of cash or a bank draft (check). Bank drafts must be made out to: “ARRL VEC.” We do not accept other forms of payment. We can't provide change so you must bring the exact dollar amount. Verify the specific dollar amount with Bill N4NOA before the day of the examination.
  2. A valid government issued photo ID that is current (has not expired). Photocopies, digital copies on a cell phone or other digital device, or reference links to a website will not be accepted. If a government issued photo ID is not available, we will accept a valid Student ID with a photo.
  3. Your current email address must appear on your examination paperwork.
  4. Your FRN (FCC Registration Number) must appear on your examination paperwork. You must bring the actual number with you. Before the day of the exam, you can obtain an FRN by visiting the website:
  5. A hard-(paper)-copy of your current or last radio operator license must be included with your examination paperwork. Photocopies are acceptable provided they are clearly legible. This requirement is not necessary if you are taking the Technician Exam. This requirement is also not necessary for an individual who takes and passes the Technician Exam and then takes the General Exam during the same exam session. This requirement is only necessary if you are taking the examination to upgrade your license (for example, from Technician to General or from General to Amateur Extra).

If you are unable to provide all of the above at the exam location on examination day, your examination may be re-scheduled. Please pardon our insistence on these items. We are obliged to follow ARRL and FCC guidelines in the total process of administering Radio Licensing Examinations.

How can I get help from a Mentor (also called an Elmer) with a problem, or help with getting on the air?
BARS has an active Mentor/Elmer Committee. To request help, send an email to

Please include a phone number contact and your call sign if you have one. We invite and welcome individuals seeking help to become active members of our organization.

How can I become a member of the Brandon Amateur Radio Society?
A membership application can be downloaded from the home page of this website, on the right hand column, or from the page:

Prospective members can print and complete the application and send it by US mail with a copy of their license (if applicable). Please include a bank draft (check) for the appropriate dues amount for the desired category of membership. The membership categories and dues amounts are described on the application. The check should be made out to: “The Brandon Amateur Radio Club, Inc.”

Our mailing address is:
The Brandon Amateur Radio Society
P.O Box 2307
Brandon, FL 33509-2307

Please note: The Brandon Amateur Radio Club, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation registered in the State of Florida, doing business as: Brandon Amateur Radio Society.

How can I get in touch with the Brandon Amateur Radio Society?
There are three ways to contact us. You can send an email to or you can send an online inquiry by using the form on this website:

From our Facebook home page, you can send us a Facebook Messenger message. This last method can be problematic unless it's a short and direct question or comment. It's often difficult for us to respond to longer, more complex inquiries without knowing details like your call sign, email address or phone number. Regardless of how you choose to contact us, we will try to respond in an efficient manner.

How can I make a donation to BARS or pay my membership dues on-line?
You can go to the home page of this website:

Click on the PayPal link found in the lower right column and follow the prompts. Remember that PayPal subtracts a prescribed percentage amount from your donation to cover their costs. It's always helpful to add several extra dollars each time you donate to cover these PayPal costs.

How can I enroll in the Amazon Smile Program so that Amazon sends a donation to BARS each time I place an Amazon order?
Go to:

You will be asked to select your charity, you can search for and select our organization using the following search terms:

The Brandon Amateur Radio Club Inc.

If that is not found, you can also try:

Brandon Amateur Radio Society

The correct name of our organization as listed on Smile.Amazon is:
The Brandon Amateur Radio Club Inc

Please note: The Brandon Amateur Radio Club, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation registered in the State of Florida, doing business as: Brandon Amateur Radio Society.

I still have questions. How can I get more information on the Brandon Amateur Radio Society?
If you've looked at all of the above referenced web sites and still can't find what you need, you can send an email to
We thank you for your inquiry!