Get your Radio Amateur License!  

It’s the smart thing to do!

It’s an Interesting and Diverse hobby and quite addictive, I must warn you!

Register on our website to fast track your path to operating legally and responsibly.

But first, you need to pass the Radio (R) Amateur’s(A) Examination (E) or the RAE.


Join a Club- Most clubs run RAE classes one or twice a year. The course takes around 4 months and consists typically of 17 Lectures. It includes some very important hands-on practical sessions where you will, at some stage need to demonstrate your proficiency at setting up a radio and making initial contact. The study material is all downloadable from the SARL website.

From personal experience, I can Recommend Hammies for the younger set and or the West Rand Amateur Radio Club for all ages but there is almost certainly a great club near to your home. Use the SARL website to find a club and support them. Absolute beginners are always most welcome!

After joining the Club of your choice, you will need to Register for the Exam on the SARL website. Your Lecturers will guide you through the process.

Which Class License should I write? 

Class A (ZS, ZR): An international recognised license with full rights and privileges as set out in the South African Radio Regulations. Any person can write this examination, there is no age restriction.

Class B (ZU): Entry level license for persons under the age of 25. You are allowed to write the Class B examination up to the age of 20.  A holder of a Class B novice licence should write and pass the Class A examination before his/her 25th birthday after which the Class B novice licence will be cancelled.

Getting Started

  1. First, Download the latest curriculum from the SARL Website. Sometimes a written explanation of a topic will clear up confusion and help you to understand it. You will need these notes to follow your Lectures anyway.
  2. With regard to basic electronics and component functionality. There is a host of material available in a short lecture format on U-Tube. Also-Download or read through the Class B study guide for an excellent compact and simplified overview of the basics of Ham Radio.- highly recommended for the novice or those less technical irrespective of which exam you are attempting.
  3. Once you have completed about the first 6 chapters of your SARL notes or the first 3 or 4 lectures, start to take the online practise tests in HAM STUDY/TEST INDEX or try the Flash Cards. I can’t stress this enough. Start with the Basic Test and once you are consistently passing, move on to the more advanced RAE level Tests. Try to do at least one test or two a week and then increase the frequency as you get closer to the exam date. Don’t get discouraged by low scores when you first start. Keep at it and very quickly you’ll see your scores improve as you remember the correct answers. You can even run the tests on your mobile phone!
  4. The questions and answers in the Exam will be similar or identical to those in the practice Tests although the answers may not be in the same order. Don't get into the habit of remembering the answer number or sequence but rather focus on the keywords of the correct answer.


About The Exam

The official harmonised Class A -RAE Exam consists of 90 questions and you are required to get a 65% aggregate in order to pass.

There are actually two parts to the exam:

  • Regulation & Procedures -30 Questions
  • Radio Technical- 60 Questions

For most newcomers, the 2nd part of the Exam is the more difficult part and includes mathematical questions- but don't stress.

Each part is evaluated separately and you require 50% to achieve a pass in each separate section. It is generally a smart idea to attempt a maximum score on the Regulations & Procedures section in order to achieve the overall required aggregate of 65% with the minimum score on the TECHNICAL part (30 correct answers). So by deduction, you need to achieve 29-30 correct answers in the Regulations & Procedures section to make it easy on yourself. That leaves you with a minimum target of 30-31 points to be achieved in the TECHNICAL exam.

But keep in mind that our goal here is to Pass That Test... so, if a particular topic is giving you trouble, don't spend too much time on it. Go on to areas that you'll do better in. Usually, there is plenty of time to come back to those where you are unsure.

In the Exam

Tips to pass your SA RAE Exam.

The test question pools are arranged in “groups” of questions on related topics. In all cases, there will only be one or two questions from each group/chapter on your exam. So if there is a topic that you just can’t grasp, concentrate on areas where you are stronger.

Of course, when you come to that tough question in your exam that stumps you completely, take a guess! There are no penalties for wrong answers, so give it a shot!

  1. For the Exam, in particular, where there are formulas and math involved, concentrate on a few of the formulas that you understand well. The Formulas themselves are supplied to you on as part of the exam- so you don't have to know them in detail.
  2. As noted above, there will only be a few questions from each group, so if a particular equation gives you trouble, skip it and move on.
  3. In the exam itself and where you are not sure about the answer, delete all of the wrong answers, and you are left with just the question and correct
  4. Answer every question on your Exam. Start by answering the questions you know for certain. Go through the questions again, and answer the ones you're reasonably sure of. If there are still a few that you just don't know, take an educated guess. In many cases, you can eliminate one or two of the choices as obviously wrong. That will greatly increase your odds of a correct guess. Again, there is no penalty for a wrong answer. Finally, go through the test once more and make certain that every question is answered, and that you filled in the answer that you intended to.
  5. Don't overthink your answers. If you're not sure, go with your first guess -- it's most likely to be correct.
  6. Make sure your question numbers and answer numbers are in sync! NB
  7. Get a good night’s sleep before your Exam. Don’t stay up all night cramming. Tiredness leads to careless mistakes. In the very unlikely event that you don’t pass, even after using these tips, there will be another test session. But if you’ve prepared, YOU WILL PASS!!

I do not claim any official endorsement from the SARL or any Amateur Radio Club or Authority. This is a private initiative.

Some may complain that my approach teaches very little and its only purpose lies in memorising answers in order to pass the test. My answer is “you are largely correct”. I view the important step of passing your RAE Exam as just the FIRST step in a lifelong learning process. Actual learning will accelerate through practical experience AFTER you have begun to participate in your new hobby.

For The Future

Over time, I intend to add more learning material and presentations. This is already underway and will increase the value of the site as an adjunct to your lectures.

.A number of questions already have detailed explanations in the Answer section. This has improved the learning experience.

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