This post should hopefully describe the process I went through when applying and getting an HAREC examination certificate for HAM radio. Somebody might hopefully find it informative.

Step 1 - Choose your destiny

There are essentially just two classes of licence you can get i Czechia:

  • Licence class A (HAREC) - “full version” licence
  • Licence class N (NOVICE) - “demo version” licence

With the class A (HAREC) you can use all the CZ legally permitted HAM bands and the output power of your transmitter (going up to 3000W, depending on the band and some other stuff), whereas with the class N (NOVICE), you can use smaller portion of the HAM bands and the transmit power output of “just” 10W.

Since the exam questions and answers for both classes are available, you can see, that the difference in the questions is not that big. And since you are memorizing a lot of stuff for class N anyway (aka demo version), it won’t hurt to memorize a little more to get the class A (aka full version) right away. At least these were my thoughts, so I applied for A (HAREC) licence.

No matter which class you choose, there is an optional possibility to apply for the telegraphy test extension. However, I am not (yet) that hardcore to apply for it (in other words, I know nothing yet about morse code). I might apply in the future, time will tell. I asked the exam committee and you should be able to do it separately without re-doing your A or N licence once again, which is cool.

Step 2 - Apply and pay

There are two applications you need to fill and pay respective fees.

First one is signing up for an exam. You just grab the pdf form on the Czech Telecommunications Bureau website, fill it and send it. You can either send it via post (the old skool way), or via “czech-data-box” (datová schránka - which is essentially government-backed shitty e-mail service) if you have any. Since I have one, I sent it thru data box. It is fast and you will save money for postage fee, yay! However, you must still pay the fee for signing up to the exam which was 600 CZK in the 2023 when I was applying.

The second form you have to fill and apply for is request for usage of amateur radio bands . It follows the same process, but there is no (I believe) standard document to grab from the website, so I used example one that I found somewhere on Czech Radio Club website. Now fill it, send it and pay another 600 CZK fee via the wire transfer.

After applying no one from bureau replied, but eventually, after a month or so, the exam invitation came to my data box.

Invitation for the exam I have received

Step 3 - Learn the stuff

According to the licence class you are applying for, you need, of course, learn the questions and answers. Czech Telecommunications Bureau issues this study material as PDF on their web (do not forget to check their website anyway, there might be newer version available by the time you are reading this).

Oh, and have I mentioned I have made myself an iOS app for training the test questions? Ham operator app (Czech language-only) is available on the AppStore for all Czech HAM radio operator candidates and can be downloaded for free.

Thanks to Martin OK2UEC for providing questions for my app.

Ham operator app's icon.

Step 4 - Exam day

I went to Prague to the Czech Telecommunications Bureau office. Right after entering, there is a reception. where I signed that I am here. I have received the visitor’s badge and waited until 9AM when the exam was starting. According to the presence list, there were 8 people applying for class A and 3 people applying for class N. However, the real count was 5 people. Even the examination committee was surprised, since according to them, usual number of people for each examination day is around 20.

We went to the big meeting room, where we were introduced to the committee and they checked our ID cards, so they know that we are the actual people who signed for exam. We sat next to each other with a big gap of 2 chairs, because the room was big and the number of people small. This was of course so you could not check your neighbour’s test for answers. However, they have two tests, and they distribute it in a way that your neighbours have the different one than you, so you cannot steal the answers anyway.

The test is made of 80 questions in total:

  • 20 questions from laws
  • 20 technical questions (electrical and radio theory)
  • 40 questions from HAM-related radio operation knowledge

Each question has three options A/B/C and you have to mark the right one in your answer sheet. The time limit for the test was 60 minutes. When somebody finished the test, he went outside the exam room to lobby, where he waited until everyone was finished. I was the last one giving the finished test to the committee so no lobby for me, but it paid of well - I had no mistake in the test 💪.

After the test, everyone was invited back to the exam room, where the results were announced and if you passed, the last step was to check if you paid everything and propose your own call sign. That was all for that day.

Step 5 - Profit

Now the bureau has to issue the certificates, check if your proposed call sign is available for use, and they will send certificates by mail which can take up to 30 days according what the committee said.

Looking forward to seeing you on the bands!

UPDATE 2024-02-16: My licence arrived exactly 15 days after the exam was passed.