This page was last updated on: 09 July 2014
If you have just passed the tests for a brand new Amateur Radio License, congratulations! Your information from the testing session will be entered into the FCC licensing database in just a few days, under normal circumstances. As soon as your name and new call sign appear in the database, you may begin to use your new license and call sign. You do not have to wait for a physical license document to arrive at your mailing address.
Once your name and call appear in the database, your printed license document will be prepared and mailed to your home address (or whatever other address you may have put on your application) in a week or so. It should arrive within 3 weeks of mailing.
To find out if your new license is ready, you can look at the FCC database. click here to access the database.
To do a name search, using the "License Search" box at the center of the page, click on the down arrow in the "By Call Sign" box, and select "By Name".
Enter your name like this: Smith, Joe E and press the "Search" button.
After a few seconds, any names matching the search specification will appear. If more than one name appears, search through the list and find one that is closest to your name including the initial, and shows as "active" under the "status" column. Hint: Alaskan amateur radio call signs will start with the letters "AL", or "KL", or "NL", or "WL".
If you new license has been issued, it will appear when the search is complete. If the license has not been issued, don't despair. Sometimes these things take a few days to get processed, especially if a weekend or holiday is involved. Be patient, and check back every day. Soon you will be rewarded with your new call sign.
Sometimes, due to various reasons, it can take us a few days to get the data uploaded. If you are curious, simply send us an email click here to send email , and we will try to find out if your application has been processed, and if not, when it is scheduled to be run. Please give us at least a week before sending in a query, however. Please remember that this work is done by volunteers, and sometimes delays occur (they do occasionally have to pay attention to things other than ham radio, you know!)
As soon as your new license showing your name and call sign appear in the FCC's database, as evidenced by the search you just completed from the preceding paragraphs, you may begin operating. You do not have to wait for the physical license document to arrive in the mail! Just grab your microphone, keyboard, or telegraph key and go for it!
Temporary operating authority:
If you have just upgraded your license by passing additional elements, and if the elements you have completed will result in your having additional operating privileges, you may begin using them immediately! You do not have to wait until we have sent the upgrade data to the FCC. Your new operating privileges will be shown on the CSCE form you received at the exam session.
You will notice on your CSCE (Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination) form that one of the options under "Operating Privilege" has been circled. Also, at the bottom of the CSCE form, is a brief explanation of how to identify your station. You should use this special identification procedure until your license has been modified, and the FCC database shows your new privileges.
Once the changes have been included in the FCC's database, you no longer need to use the special identification. Just use your call sign as you have been doing before the upgrade.
Unless of course you have asked for a new call sign. In that case, switch to using your new call sign, and discontinue use of your old call sign.
As in the case of a new license, you will receive a printed license document in the mail within several days to perhaps 3 weeks, depending on how busy the FCC is, and whether or not other factors (such as a change of call sign) are involved. You can go to the FCC call sign database. click here
Once on the FCC page, Click on the "By Call Sign" box, insert your call sign, and press "Search". There will probably be 2 pages of information. The first is a summary page, Click on your call sign to get the details.
You can also check by using a commercial call sign server, such as www.qrz.com
If you have other questions about Amateur Radio in general, or specific questions about the testing program, you may send an e-mail to us. To send us an e-mail, click here
Use the links below to learn more:
List of Volunteer Examiners by name
List of Volunteer Examiners by location
When and where can I find a testing session?
What about the Remote Testing Program?
What do I need to bring to the exam session?
Where to find study materials for the written tests.
Learning the Morse Code - tools and techniques.
How can I become a Volunteer Examiner?
Volunteer Examiners Instruction Manual