Why do I need a ham license for my FPV drone? This is a question that comes into one's mind when they hear about a ham license. Some don't understand what a ham license is all about, while others don't have the time to process the permit.

But did you know lacking this particular permit can land you in jail? Ignorance is not a defense in the court of law. Its, if your responsibility to know the rules and regulations concerning drone operations. This is why we will expand more about the permit for you to understand why you need it.    

What is a HAM license? 

Before we understand what the license is all about, we will start by talking about Ham radio. Ham radio refers to a privilege granted by the government for civilians to use radio frequency bands for communication. Though, radio frequencies are supposed to be used by the security agencies in the country. 

For the government to guarantee there is sanity when using the radio frequencies, a body has been developed to govern individuals. In the USA, the body charged with this mandate is the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). And in China, the body is known as the State Radio Regulation of China (CRAC). 

For one to be given a permit, they need to be registered with the bodies. Nonetheless, there are three types of licenses one can have. They include: 

  • Amateur Extra: this is the highest tier permit one can have.  
  • General: the middle tier license
  • Technician: the lowest tier permit 

However, to acquire the permits, one has to study and take a test. Yes, a test is needed, and for one to be awarded any of the licenses, you must pass. For one to be considered a perfect candidate, you must score 26 out of 35. However, each license has its score and questions. 

For example, to acquire a technical permit, one needs to tackle 423 questions. But for the general and amateur licenses, one is expected to answer 700 and above questions. This means you need to study smart and hard for your FPV piloting license.

How the Ham radio works

Ham radios have been used for a while now; people have used it for a hobby like FPV piloting, others in emergencies, and local events. The reason why most people are using the frequency is that it allows worldwide communication.

This is done without the use of cell data, Wi-Fi, or even the internet. Instead, the device uses the cell towers to bounce off radio waves, converted into information. One can even transmit information worldwide if they have a reliable power source.  

FPV drones use wireless signals regulation  

If you thought flying drones with FPV is easy, then you'll have to think again. This is because one has to have a ham permit, which is given after passing the exams. To ensure all the drone operates follow this particular rule, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in the USA and the National Communications Commission (NCC) in China. These are the bodies in respective states that have been tasked with regulation. 

For importing the FPV drones from foreign countries, you need the device to be approved by the commissions. Some video systems tend to use higher frequency components, and to access them, and a permit is needed. This, in turn, prevents you from landing on the wrong side of the law. Plus, you will attract a fine if found guilty of using the FPV aircraft without a permit. 

How to get your Ham permit 

There are no shortcuts when it comes to acquiring the Ham License. One is expected to study and ensure they pass the test. The relevant bodies administer this particular test. This is just like your driver's test. Hence one needs to take time and prepare.

 Plus, most of the questions are not technical but need common sense to answer accordingly. The test covers basic electronics, radio theory, procedures, etiquette on radio frequencies, and government policies. Ensure you read through these sections before going for your exams.   


A ham license is a must-have for any FPV pilot, whether you are a beginner or an expert. Therefore, create time and go for the test. And if you have imported your drone from a foreign nation, it is approved by the relevant authorities. Never assume that the law will not catch up with you, because if it does, you will pay a huge fine.