To operate an amateur radio station one first must obtain a license from the telecommunications regulator of the country where the station is located. The ITU Radio Regulations provide a general framework but every country has its own regulations and requirements.
Recommendation ITU‑R M.1544 sets out the minimum qualifications of radio amateurs:
- that administrations take such measures as they judge necessary to verify the operational and technical qualifications of any person wishing to operate an amateur station;
- that any person seeking a license to operate an amateur station should demonstrate theoretical knowledge of:
- Radio regulations
- Methods of radiocommunication
- data and image
- Radio system theory transmitters
- antennas and propagation
- Radio emission safety
- Operating procedures
- Electromagnetic compatibility
- Avoidance and resolution of radio frequency interference
The ability to send and receive texts in Morse code is no longer an international requirement.
The best source of specific information about licensing requirements is the IARU member-society in the country concerned. A list of all these societies is available on the Global IARU website.