Kalamazoo Amateur Radio Club and
Southwest Michigan Amateur Radio Team
Technician and General Licensing Courses

Amateur Radio licensing classes

Guy sending CW

The two local Amateur Radio Clubs offer 10 week courses designed to help new hams obtain their Technician class license, and holders of a Technician class license upgrade to General class. The courses generally meet at the main office of the Greater Kalamazoo Area Red Cross, 5640 Venture Ct, Kalamazoo, although the location may vary. There is no fee for the class itself.

The courses use the textbooks The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual - 3rd Edition for the Technician class, and The ARRL General Class License Manual - 8th Edition for the General class, both published by the ARRL. The instructor can purchase the books from the ARRL at a 25% discount, and students present at the first meeting of the course may pay the discounted amount to the instructor and receive the book usually by the next meeting. Alternatively, the book may be purchased at the full price directly from the ARRL by clicking here for the Technician manual, or here for the General manual. You can also purchase the manuals from Amazon, Technician manual here, and the General manual here, for a price which varies, but is usually less than the cost direct from the ARRL. If you can get free shipping, such as with Amazon Prime, you may end up with a better deal. Yet another option is the Kindle edition of the books, also available at the above links, which are even cheaper.

The textbooks each have support pages on the ARRL website where you can find additional information or help. These can be found here for the Technician book and here for the General book.

Upcoming Classes

No classes are currently being offered. When classes are again to be offered there will be a notification here.


When classes are offered you may pre-register online. Although not mandatory, pre-registration is encouraged, as it allows us to plan for the class, and saves time on the first day. Registration only takes a few minutes, and involves supplying a little basic information about yourself, including contact information. This information will be kept private, and will only be used by the instructor.

If you would like to receive a notification email when future classes are announced, click here.

If You Are Not Taking the Class

There is material on this website which can be useful to anyone studying for the General exam, even if they are not taking the class. Please feel free to make use of this material. On the Class Resources page you will find links to study materials for portions of the exam not covered in class. These include flashcards which can be printed and used to aid memorization, and a math drill page, which will provide practice and coaching for the math problems on the exam.


Caricature of John Tucker, WB8ZVV

John Tucker, WB8ZVV, is the instructor of the Technician class. He holds an Extra Class license.

Photo of Joe Borrello, W8UH

Joe Borrello, W8UH, is the instructor of the General class. He has been licensed since 1998 and has had an Extra Class license since 1999.


Licensing classes have been a fixture in the Kalamazoo area for at least several decades. Prior to 2006, when I began teaching the General class, it was taught by Jim Keesler, K8EXF, from the early 1990's to about 2005, when he moved to the Jackson area. He estimates that he had more than 60 students over the years. Prior to that, it was taught by Sam Brown, KB8SB.

Since there is no longer a Morse code requirement for any class Amateur Radio license, the General Licensing class no longer includes Morse code instruction. In the first year I taught the class, Morse code was taught by Jim Wades, WB8SIW. While I do have CW skills (I received my Extra Class license in 1999, when there was still a 20 word per minute requirement), I cannot hold a candle to Jim, who is proficient in different versions of Morse code, and can copy from an old style sounder.

Also much appreciated are the folks who have provided help and support, including Ron Schubot (N8CML), Chip Locke (WB8ALW), Don Verhage (KC8OQM), and John Tucker (WB8ZVV) who not only helps with the General class but also teaches the Technician class and runs the local ARRL VE sessions.