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FCC Volunteer Examiner Sessions for Radio Amateur Licenses [ FCC Part 97 ]
Last Updated: 10 Sept 2023
Next Testing Sessions at this location: 08 October 2023, 1PM Eastern Time.
Please arrive no earlier than 12:30 PM to allow the team time to setup the test session environment for you.
[ Location: SVARC/W4RKC Clubhouse 2925 Grace St. Winchester VA 22601 ]
2023 Schedule: October 08; November 12; December 10
January 14; February 11; March 10; April 14; May 5; June 9; July 14; September 8; October 13; November 10; December 08
Need another location? Click here to search: http://arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session
Preparing For The Exam
Printed / Bound Study Guides and audio cd’s:
Publisher / Author: W5YI Group / Gordon West, WB6NOA
Available through the publisher’s link above, or Amazon.com / gigaparts.com / hamradio.com / dxengineering.com /
Entire FCC License Class question pool collections and valid to/from dates found here: http://arrl.org/question-pools
!!! Effective April 19, 2022 !!!
The FCC released a Public Notice<https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-307A1.pdf> on March 23, 2022, stating that the amateur radio application fees, including those associated with Form 605 application filings, would become effective on April 19, 2022. The Federal Communications Commission’s authority to impose and collect fees is mandated by Congress.
The $35 application fee, when it becomes effective on April 19, 2022, will apply to new, modification (upgrade and sequential call sign change), renewal, and vanity call sign applications. The fee will be per application. [Candidates 18 or younger are eligible for an FCC Fee Refund from ARRL.org https://www.arrl.org/youth-licensing-grant-program ]
Administrative updates, such as a change of name, mailing or email address, will be exempt from fees.
New and upgrade applicants will pay the $15 exam session fee to the ARRL VE team as usual and pay the $35 application fee directly to the FCC by using the CORES FRN Registration system (CORES – Login<https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do>). VEC and VE team licensing procedures will not change. [NOTE: $5.00 Test Fee for those candidates aged 18 or younger ]
When the FCC receives the examination information from the VEC, it will email a link with payment instructions to each successful candidate. The candidate will have 10 calendar days, from the date of the application file number being issued, to pay. After the fee is paid, and the FCC has processed an application, examinees will receive a second email from the FCC with a link to their official license. The link will be good for 30 days.
Per usual procedures, examinees that pass multiple exams at one session, will have one application transmitted to the FCC reflecting the highest level license class earned. Again, our procedures will not change. The candidates will have an extra step before the license is issued. VE teams can point candidates to our FCC Application Fee webpage www.arrl.org/fcc-application-fee<http://www.arrl.org/fcc-application-fee>. Our new ARRL VEC CSCEs also include information about the application fee and points candidates to the webpage.
What is Required to Take a Test
NCVEC QUICK-FORM 605 APPLICATION
If you have access to a printer, you may fill-out online and print the NCVEC Form 605 here prior to the exam day: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/VEs/NCVEC_Form_605_July_2022_INTERACTIVE.pdf
AMATEUR OPERATOR/PRIMARY STATION LICENSE
The FCC requires the VE Team to collect all of the information listed on the current NCVEC Form 605 (SECTION 1), including ALL fields except for a previous call sign in the case of an applicant that is testing for a first license. Candidates are asked to know the information on the form to ensure that they will qualify to take the exam. It is further recommended that the candidate fill out the fields in the form on a computer bring a printed paper copy to the VE session to expedite processing.
A VALID FRN IS REQUIRED TO EXIST AND BE PROVIDED ON THE FORM FOR THE CANDIDATE BEFORE THE VE TEAM CAN ADMINISTER AN EXAM TO THE CANDIDATE. This change went into effect on May 20, 2021. You can register for an FRN here: https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/support/universal-licensing-system-uls-resources/getting-fcc-registration-number-frn
FCC Video Tutorial – How-To create a Federal Registration Number: https://www.fcc.gov/rofrn
E-MAIL ADDRESSES ARE ALSO REQUIRED FCC CORRESPONDENCE, INCLUDING NOTIFICATION OF GRANT OF LICENSE. This requirement went into effect as of June 29, 2021.
PLEASE AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT AND WASTED TIME, BY MAKING SURE THAT YOU HAVE MET THE RECENTLY ADDED PRE-REQUISITE CONDITIONS LISTED HERE PRIOR TO ARRIVAL TO TAKE AN EXAM. THE VE TEAM CANNOT ADMINISTER EXAMS TO CANDIDATES THAT HAVE NOT PROVIDED COMPLETE INFORMATION, NOR DO THEY HAVE AUTHORITY OR CONTROL TO OPERATE INFORMATION SYSTEMS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST AT THE TEST FACILITY. Please be prepared with what is required when you arrive.
Positive Identification Requirement
Each candidate must be positively identified prior to being issued any test materials. Holders of valid state-issued drivers licenses and identification cards having a photograph are sufficient. Holders of federally-issued identification such as military identification cards, passports, or law enforcement agency identification cards are also sufficient. Municipal law enforcement identification cards with photograph are also sufficient. School-issued identification cards having photos are sufficient for students.
For candidates that are unable to provide a valid official identification card with a photo, two alternate forms of identification are required. Students or minors not holding a photo identification card will only require one alternate identification method if accompanied by a legal guardian holding a photo identification card as listed above.
Further explicit details of what identification documents will satisfy requirements are specified on the ARRL’s page discussing what to bring to an amateur radio session. [ http://www.arrl.org/what-to-bring-to-an-exam-session ]
In cases where instructions are not followed and guidelines are not listed (i.e. in the case of expired drivers license or state ID being presented as a single ID), therefore fall to the discretion of the VE Team. ALL SVARC / NSDXA VE Team decisions are likely to err on the side of not risking integrity and are final. They are not open to debate, argument, or challenge by any candidate or other non-VE personnel at the test location.
Test Fee – $15.00 [$5.00 for candidates aged 18 or younger ]
The Current test fee is $15.00 USD. Cash, check and money orders are acceptable payment methods. Checks and money orders made payable to ARRL VEC. Please note that the SVARC / NSDXA VE Team does not yet have the means to accept digital, debit, or credit card payments for exams.
Note that a candidate that has successfully passed one exam may test for the next higher class of exam without paying an additional fee; however, an additional fee is required for each subsequent attempt on any exam that was not passed. For example, a candidate that passed a technician class exam would be able to take the general class exam without paying an additional exam fee. If that same candidate passed the general exam at the same session, that candidate would be eligible also to take the extra class exam at that time if they wished to attempt it. On the other hand, if a candidate did not pass the technician exam, they might elect to make a second attempt. In this case, a second exam fee of $15.00 USD will be collected prior to issuing a second examination.
Printed Copy of Existing and Expired Licenses and CSCE Documents
License holders should be prepared to provide printed copies of any current licenses or previous licenses held for any upgrade or re-instatement options to provide in the package that will be sent to the ARRL for processing. Additionally, holders of CSCEs indicating credits not indicated on the current license should also be provided to verify eligibility to take an exam. An example of the latter case would be a candidate that holds a technician class license and recently passed a general class examination, which is not yet reflected on the current license. The CSCE will serve as proof of passing the General Class element, making the candidate eligible to take the Extra Class license exam.
No Notes and no formulas in Calculators
The VE Team keeps a couple of basic calculators on hand that may be used by exam candidates. No notes or calculators with stored formulas are allowed to be used. Cell phones or similar smart devices having calculators are also prohibited from being used. Cell phones and similar smart devices are required to be turned off while candidates are taking tests to prevent unnecessary disruptions to all candidates taking tests.
Appropriate Attitude and Respect for Rules
This VE Team reserves the right to refuse service to anyone for no reason. It is truly sad that this needs to be said, but it seems necessary.
This SVARC / NSDXA VE Team operates in good faith and with unwavering integrity in all that we do to preserve and perpetuate the FCC’s continued acceptance of this way of administering amateur radio licensing to the general public. As there is a test involved to attain the status of amateur radio operator anywhere in the world, it is fair to say that an amateur radio license is earned. Certainly, it is not an entitlement. The amateur community here in the United States remains proud of the achievement of those successful, as well as the pedigree of integrity as demonstrated by diligently paying careful attention to the details in all that we do to provide and perpetuate the service.
While the ARRL VEC provides a lot of explicit instruction and guidance on those they certify as VEs, not every situation is “in the book”. Sometimes, VEs must make a judgment call, and sometimes a candidate may not agree with a VE’s judgment call. We would ask that candidate to remember that the ‘V’ in VE stands for volunteer. We would also ask the candidate to consider that the VE receives nothing in return for enabling the test session to occur. Sure, the VE is human, as is the candidate. The purpose of the VE is to enable an exam session, and ensure it is done to the standards required by both the ARRL VEC and the FCC. Erring on the side of caution in questionable matters is often necessary to protect the validity of the entire session for all of the candidates attending and working toward achieving their amateur radio license goals.
For this reason, we find it necessary to state it here – VE decisions on undefined gray areas are not open to challenge or discussion by non-VE team members. Any attending a VE session that becomes belligerent, disruptive, threatening, or deemed an unacceptable security threat must leave the session and property where the session is being held. Permanent banning of any or all components that comprise an unacceptable security risk may also occur. Law enforcement having jurisdiction will be contacted for engagement as deemed necessary to address any threat to the integrity of VE Testing events.
Finding VE Alternative Sessions
We understand that this is inconvenient and just plain not fun. We can suggest that you might be able to find an alternative testing session being offered elsewhere using the ARRL search tool (http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session). Other popular alternative Volunteer Examination Coordinators (VECs) such as the WY5I VEC group and the Laurel VEC offer amateur radio licensing test sessions .
“So you want to take a remote exam…” – find out how and where you can do this.
Online Amateur Radio Testing
Organizations offering (as of December 14, 2020) online testing include the WY5I VEC group and the Greater Los Angeles Amateur Radio Group (GLAARG) VEC, with details available at https://glaarg.org/remote-sessions/.
Exceptions to Normal Monthly Testing
August – No VE session is held at the SVARC clubhouse, as there is a VE session held in conjunction with the SVARC Berryville Hamfest (held the first Sunday in August annually).
When our date for June conflicts with the Ol’ Virginia Hams (W4OVH) Hamfest , we usually switch to the first Sunday in June.
DISCLAIMER – Inclement weather can cause last-minute cancellation of a VE session. If there is any question with regard to whether a VE session will be held or not, please contact the SVARC VE Team Coordinator.