The new N licence in ham radio: easy entry, exciting possibilities!

For many years, there have been discussions about whether Germany should follow the example of other countries and create a new so-called "beginner's licence". This licence class should make it easier to obtain an amateur radio licence, even with less in-depth technical knowledge. The aim is to enable access to less technically orientated people and thus make amateur radio as a hobby more attractive overall.

It was officially announced by the Federal Ministry in June 2023: During the summer of 2024 (probably June 2024), the Amateur Radio Ordinance in Germany will be amended, thereby introducing a new licence class called "N-Licence". This is associated with a completely revised catalogue of questions.

What impact will this have on anyone wishing to obtain an amateur radio licence?

The current licence system in Germany provides for two licence classes, "A" and "E". The A licence allows amateur radio operation without restrictions (within the framework of the law). The E licence only allows operation on certain bands and with reduced transmission power. The requirements for this licence are somewhat lower; a lower score in the examination is sufficient.

These two levels are now being supplemented by a third level. It was necessary to take both international and national requirements into account when adapting the licence classes.

The international rules allow for mutual recognition of the licence in other countries and therefore uncomplicated operation abroad (so-called CEPT regulation).

In Germany, for example, the national rules allow the privilege of self-construction. This right should definitely be maintained even with a new licence class. The consequence of this is that certain technical knowledge must be demonstrated.

Modular examination concept in amateur radio: flexibility and levels for individual licence paths

The examination will continue to have three components in the future:

  • Knowledge of radio operation (operating technology)
  • Knowledge of the regulations (legal knowledge)
  • Knowledge of technology

The first two components will probably be identical for all three licences. The technical part will be organised in such a way that it will begin with basic and simple technical questions. Answering these questions correctly is sufficient to obtain licence class "N". This is followed by questions that require a somewhat deeper understanding of the subject matter. If enough points are scored in these questions, then this is enough for the "E" licence class. Finally, the most technically demanding questions follow, the correct answers to which are required for the highest licence class "A".

This leaves it up to each participant to decide during the exam how far they want to go, up to N, E or A. And vice versa: if you are aiming for the A licence but do not score enough points for it, you can still apply for a call sign for the E licence. You can then top up your licence later by taking a new exam.

What distinguishes the three amateur radio licence classes in Germany?

In short: The authorised frequency ranges (bands) and the authorised transmitting power

Licence category
Ham radio band A E N
2200 m Yes
160 m Yes Yes
80 m Yes Yes
40 m Yes
30 m Yes
20 m Yes
17 m Yes
15 m Yes Yes
12 m Yes
10 m Yes Yes Yes
6 m Yes
2 m Yes Yes Yes
70 cm Yes Yes Yes
23 cm Yes
13 cm Yes
6 cm Yes
3 cm Yes Yes
< 3 cm Yes

The respective maximum permitted transmission power differs depending on the licence class and band. A detailed overview can be found on the website of the Federal Network Agency in Attachment 1 to the "Ordinance to the Amateur Radio Act".

Updated technical knowledge with a focus on relevance and practical relevance

This technical knowledge test is based on a completely revised question catalogue. A large team, led by the DARC training department under Prof Dr Matthias Jung, DL9MJ, has carried out extensive and very high-quality work. This is also recognised and welcomed by the BNetzA, as the questions have relevance and practical relevance. Many errors and ambiguities have been eliminated.

The new questions do away with old techniques. For example, there are no longer any questions on tube technology, but there are new questions on digital transmission types and software-defined radios. However, these new questions are also always graded, adapted to the respective licence class.

New entry-level licence in amateur radio: focus on opportunities for specialist dealers and revitalisation of the bands

All in all, the introduction of a new entry-level licence is to be welcomed. For us as specialist dealers, this naturally means a larger market, i.e. - if we do everything right - a growing business. For amateur radio, this licence will hopefully revitalise the bands and make it easier for interested people who have not previously dared to get involved. It is important that the existing principles of amateur radio are continued with the new licence class - internationality, self-build and fun with the technology.

And for all those who would like to find out more about amateur radio, there is more exciting information in our amateur radio guide.

What is the N licence?

The N licence is the newly created entry-level licence for ham radio. It enables radio operation on several bands with low transmission power.

What distinguishes the ham radio licence "N" from the other licence levels A and E?

The licence classes differ according to the frequencies that may be used and the transmission power. The N licence may use the 10 m, 2 m and 70 cm bands and the permitted transmission power is 10 watts.

Why should I get the N licence?

The new N licence offers an easy introduction to ham radio. You can get a taste of the hobby without much effort and experience and try out many aspects for yourself. After a few weeks, it will be clear whether you have decided on a new hobby and how you can continue.

How can I obtain the N licence?

Every ham radio licence (in Germany) requires an examination at the Federal Network Agency. There are different questions to answer depending on the licence class (A, E, N). The questions come from the subject areas of law, operating technology and technology. You can register for the examination via the Federal Network Agency, for example on this page:

Where can I find out more about the amateur radio N licence?

The training department of the DARC e. V. operates the platform There is an excellently structured course there that you can go through at your own pace. You can also find local groups at DARC e. V. ( that can help you with your training. The training department has a website that shows where training courses are offered:

Are the questions for the N licence exam available somewhere?

Soon, yes. The question catalogue has been completely revised and modernised in cooperation with the DARC Training Department. As the first exams for the N licence will not be offered until mid-2024, the new question catalogue will not be available until then. The DARC points this out on its website:

Does the N licence cost anything?

Yes, the examination costs a fixed amount, the exact amount of which is not yet known. In addition, there are annual administrative costs of around 30 euros. The amounts are charged by the Federal Network Agency.

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