In order to get an amateur radio operator license you must take a test.  There are currently three categories of licenses granted by FCC, namely Technician, General, and Extra.  Test complexity and knowledge required to pass the test  increases as you go up the rank from Tech to Extra.  Tests are largely conducted in a particular area by volunteers examiners (VEs). VEs are certified by the ARRL.

1. Is there VE Testing in Bloomington?

Yes. BARC conducts VE Testing in the area normally on the first Saturday of each month at the First United Church, 2420 East 3rd Street in Bloomington, just west of Eastland Plaza. It is behind the PromptCare and IU Credit Union.

If you already have a license, you can ask for directions on the WB9TLH repeater at 146.640 (Negative offset, 136.5 PL tone) during Monday night nets at 7:30pm. If you're not licensed yet, you can still listen to the frequency. This is a good idea, since often there is more than one person with questions.

Testing always begins at 12:00 noon. Please arrive 20-30 minutes early to fill out all necessary paperwork.

Here is a list of other, nearby Indiana locations where VE testing is performed.

In summary: 

  • When: 12:00 noon on the first Saturday of each month (unless otherwise announced via this web site)
  • Where: First United Church on East 3rd Street in Bloomington (
    • 2. What do I need to bring to testing?

      • a) Money to cover testing fees, $15.00.
      • b) If you are testing for the first time, you will need 2 pieces of ID, one of which must be a photo ID.
      • c) If you are upgrading, please bring your FCC license, and any CSCE's you may have, as well as photocopies of these documents along with your photo ID.

      3. What else do I need to know about testing?

      Ham license test is a written test. The Morse Code test requirements was done away with in 2007, so getting a license is even easier now.

      a) You may use a calculator, the examiners will need to see it before testing begins to make sure you have nothing programmed into it.

      b) Write only on the answer sheets and not in the test booklet, use the back of the answer sheet for scratch paper. If you need additional scratch paper, it can be provided. All scratch paper will be kept with your exam and turned into the VEC.

      c) Anyone that accompanies you to the test site that is not taking a test themselves, must wait outside of the examination room.

      d) You may not watch the examiners as they grade your exam, however upon your request we will tell you how many question you missed.

      e) Test Papers and forms will be mailed out quickly after the exam, often license information is available via the internet by the end of the next week.

      4. Retesting

      If you fail the exam element and would like to try again, you may do so if the examiners are willing to stay the extra time to give the test and you pay the $14.00 VE fee again. (Please, if you were not close to passing, don't request a retest, you would be wasting our time and your money.) 

      Practice Tests

      There are many sites on the internet that allow you to take sample exams on the web. Here is a list:

      1. Current Pool of Questions for All Tests (see menu on left)
      2. AA9PW Sample Tests
      3. Practice Tests
      4. Practice Amateur Radio Exams