Radiotelegraph Operator

To obtain the FCC Radiotelegraph Operator license, candidates must pass the FCC written exams for commercial elements 1 and 6.  Candidates must also demonstrate Morse code proficiency by passing the performance tests for telegraphy elements 1 and 2 or provide proof of having met the requirements.  The Radiotelegraph Operator license is valid for the lifetime of the holder.

The following table shows the number of questions on each element exam and the number of correct answers required to pass each element.

FCC Radiotelegraph Operator License Exam Requirements

Element Exam Questions Correct Answers
1 24 18
6 100 75

The following tables show the subelements in each element, the number of questions in each subelement,  and the number of exam questions that will be taken from each subelement.  Do NOT attempt to memorize questions  based on the way they appear in the FCC question pools.  The questions and answer choices may be shuffled on the exams.


Subelement Questions Exam Questions
A 36 6
B 36 6
C 36 6
D 36 6
  144 24


Subelement Questions Exam Questions
A 616 100
  616 100


Self-Study Program

1.   Complete the NC4FB Element 1 Self-Study program at the link below.  When you are consistently scoring 85 or higher on the sample element 1 exams proceed to Step 2.

element 1 self-study program

2. Complete the NC4FB Element 6 Self-Study program at the link below.  When you are consistently scoring 85 or higher on the sample element 6 exams, make sure you can satisfy the requirements discussed in Step-3, then proceed to Step 4.

element 6 self-study program

3.  Make sure you can pass the telegraphy performance tests or provide proof of having met the requirements.  Table-1 lists the telegraphy requirements.


Table-1. Telegraphy Requirements

Amateur Extra Class operators (licensed before April 15, 2000) can receive credit for Telegraphy Element 1 (16 Code Groups per minute) and Telegraphy Element 2 (20 Plain Language words per minute) without examination toward the Radiotelegraph Operator license.   A photocopy of the Amateur Extra Class license must be attached to the FCC Form 605 Commercial Radio application to receive examination credit.  Bring the original Amateur Extra original and a photocopy to the exam session.

Telegraphy exams may consist of both transmitting and receiving tests or just a receiving test. Although the FCC rules provide that passing a telegraphy receiving examination is adequate proof of an examinee’s ability to both send and receive telegraphy, a COLEM may nonetheless include a sending segment in a telegraphy examination. Examinees must copy by ear and, if subject to a sending test, send by hand plain text and code groups in the international Morse code using all the letters of the alphabet, numerals 0-9, period, comma, question mark, slant mark, and prosigns AR, BT, and SK. Examinees must copy and send at the required speeds for one continuous minute without making any errors. Each test lasts approximately five minutes. The failing of any code test automatically terminates the examination. Code speeds are computed using five letters per word or code group. Punctuation symbols and numbers count as two letters each.

4. When you’re ready to take the written exams,  use the link below to locate a COLEM in your area to administer the exams and process your license application.   Make sure your COLEM can administer telegraphy tests if you need them for the license.  Not all COLEMS administer telegraphy tests.   Most COLEMS allow  candidates to take both written exams in the same exam session for a single testing fee.

locate a COLEM in your area

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