• Classes And Exams (B)

    From Daryl Stout@HURRICAN to All on Sat Jan 7 00:05:00 2017

    2) The valid time on a CSCE REMAINS at 365 calender days. Note that the
    FCC DECLINED a proposal for "lifetime CSCE credit". If one receives a CSCE
    on July 1 in a non-leap year, that CSCE expires at 12 midnight local time
    on June 30 of the following year. If the CSCE is issued on July 1 of a
    leap year, the CSCE expires at 12 midnight on June 29 of the following

    3) The number of VE's required to proctor a session REMAINS at 3. The FCC
    noted that the ARRL, the W5YI-VEC, and a large number of commenters were AGAINST reducing the number from 3 to 2...because with 3 examiners, it "increases the rate of accuracy and integrity, and reduces the chances
    of fraud".

    4) Created the capability for "remote exam sessions", with at least
    one certified VE present, with the capability of monitoring, grading,
    and certifying the exams through the internet. This is especially true
    in remote locations, such as Alaska, Anarctica, etc. In these areas,
    examinees are lucky to have an exam session either twice a year, or
    even quarterly. The actual mechanics of the session "will vary from
    session to session, and from location to location"...noting that setting
    such could limit the flexibility of VE's and VEC's. However, the rule that "administering exams responsibility" is in force, whether for remote tests
    or not.

    Preparing For An Exam:

    Normally, you can't just "walk in off the street" to take a license exam without some preparation. You will be tested on the FCC Part 97 rules,
    as they relate to amateur radio, privileges per the appropriate license
    class, RF safety, propagation, "good amateur practice", various operating modes, electronic theory, formulas, and calculations; and this is the case
    for EACH license exam...Technician, General, and Amateur Extra.

    Each of these is in more detail, as you progress up the amateur radio
    license ladder...going from Technician, to General, to Amateur Extra.
    Passing the more difficult exams gets you more amateur radio privileges. Whether or not you stay with one license class, or upgrade, is totally
    up to you. After all, amateur radio is a HOBBY...although some would
    consider it an OBSESSION (grin!).

    Like it or not, studying is NOT fun. But, you can study with a local
    ham radio club study group, or do it on your own. The American Radio
    Relay League (ARRL) website (www.arrl.org) has links to classes. Choose
    your state (if it's not listed, then no classes are currently scheduled),
    and look for a group in your area. It's wise to check with the contact
    person to verify details, and check for any last minute changes.

    Here are 10 options for study material:

    1) The Question Pools alone. These are available at either the ARRL website (http://www.arrl.org/question-pools), or at the NCVEC website (http://www.ncvec.org). You will need the appropriate utilities to read the
    PDF or Microsoft Word files.

    2) The NC4FB website (http://www.nc4fb.org). It offers an extensive array
    of ham radio learning and study materials. You can find study plans, flash cards, PowerPoint presentations, specialized explanations of concepts,
    such as "Ohm's Law for Technician License Exams", and even commercial
    exam preparation materials. Everything is free, and available to anyone.
    A great feature is the practice exam section. This site also offers
    Canadian amateur radio license preparation, and commercial study for the
    GROL (General Radio Operators License) + ship radar endorsement.

    3) The AA9PW website (http://www.aa9pw.com). A special item of note is the proven accessibility to blind users. There is an option for "no figures"
    in the exam, and many blind users do indeed report that this site works
    well for them. Additional features include on line Morse code training,
    and a Morse code app available from the iTunes store (even though Morse
    Code is no longer required for an amateur radio license). The site also includes practice exams for commercial licenses.

    4) The QRZ website (http://www.qrz.com/exams). Besides practice exams, it
    also includes a "Practice Tests 2.0 Large Print Edition", that features scalable fonts for those users who can see the screen, but who require
    large print. The font size can be scaled to the user's needs.

    5) The Ham Exam website (http://www.hamexam.org). It offers up to date
    exams on line, and includes a "flash card" learning option. What is unique
    here is that you create an account (it's free), and as you use the site,
    it learns which questions are giving you trouble and will emphasize those
    in subsequent practice exams.

    6) The Radio Exam website (http://www.radioexam.org). It offers exams for
    all three levels, but interestingly enough, it allows for testing on each section of the pool separately, as well as selecting questions from the complete pool.

    7) The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) website (http://www.arrl.org).
    It has license preparation materials for the Technician, General, and the Amateur Extra exams. Cost varies per item.

    8) The W5YI website (http://www.w5yi.org). It has the study guides done
    by Gordon West, WB6NOA...with similar materials to what the ARRL has
    available. Again, cost varies per item.

    9) If you are disabled, and need assistance with learning the materials,
    you can contact Handi-Hams (http://www.handiham.org). They help people
    with disabilities obtain, then study the material to obtain or upgrade
    their ham radio license. Once again, cost varies per item. More resources
    for the disabled are located at:


    If you have a disability, the Volunteer Examiner (VE) Team may be able to
    make certain accomodations for you to take the license exam, such as
    giving a test without schematics, graphics, or diagrams...for an
    individual who is blind, or severely visually impaired...or reading the questions and available answers to the examinee...who, in turn, tells the
    VE what answer to mark on the test.

    YOUR DISABILITY IS NOT OBVIOUS...and it's best to notify the VE Team as
    far in advance of the test session as possible, so that proper
    arrangements can be made. If you wait until the test session itself to
    notify the VE Team of your disability, they may NOT be able to make the accomodations for you to take the exam...and you will either have to
    take the exam without special assistance, or wait until another scheduled license exam session. If the VE Team is limited on exam materials without
    any schematics, graphics, or diagrams (these are usually reserved for
    those who are blind/extremely visually impaired), you may only be able
    to have one try at that particular license class exam at a test session;
    and will have to attend another session to "try it again", should you
    fail the exam.

    10) Ham Test Online (http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/index.html).
    This option only requires a computer and internet connection (either
    dial-up, DSL, broadband/cable, etc.). It is all web browser based, with
    nothing to download. Unlike the options where you have to buy books, etc.
    for each license class, you get a two (2) year subscription at different prices, depending on which class of license(s) you want to study for
    (see the price list for details). It can be cheaper than all the other
    license class books combined from all the sources noted above!! You can
    take as long as you need to study...in the privacy of your home, to take
    as many practice tests desired. Once your study time, plus your practice
    test scores are both above 80% on a consistent basis, you're ready for
    the real thing at a VE Test Session. However, if after adequate study
    time and practice tests, you still fail on exam day, just send them
    PROOF of the failure...and they will CANCEL your subscription, and REFUND
    your money. Around 1% of all who have signed up with them have requested
    a refund.

    Personally, it was the best money I ever spent in amateur radio. I went
    from Technician to General in only 14 days...and to Amateur Extra just
    13 days later!! This is because I studied 2 hours a day for 2 weeks;
    but your ability to study along that line may vary. I do NOT recommend
    studying for more than 2 hours a day, or you will get burned out!!

    It does NOT matter how many you miss on the exam...just as long as you
    PASS the test!! Plus, there is no disgrace if you don't pass a license
    exam the first time; you can retake the license exam, with a DIFFERENT set
    of questions, if the VE team has the capability for you to do so...and
    provided you pay an additional test fee. Many hams have had to do just
    that when applying for a new license, or an upgrade...and they are on
    the air today. Also, the number of "re-tests" per failed element at a
    test session may be LIMITED. Chances are if you fail an exam more than
    twice in the same session...especially by a large number...that you
    need more study time on the material.

    License Exam Locations And Requirements:

    The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) website (www.arrl.org) has a
    place to search for license exams in your area. Click on Exams, enter
    the search criteria, and click on search. Once you find a test session
    and location that meets your liking, click on Learn More, and then
    either write, call, or email the contact person for more details.

    Concerning the license exam sessions, some will require pre-registration
    (no walk-ins), others will allow walk-ins (there may be a time limit for walk-ins to arrive), while others will permit both. Check with the VE
    Team contact person for details. These can be at libraries, meeting
    rooms, restaurants, etc. If an examinee has serious health issues in
    traveling to an exam, the VE Team may do an "on demand session" at
    their location...whether at their residence, or even in a hospital room.

    NOTE: The number of examinees at a test session, or a time limit to enter
    the exam session, may be LIMITED. Once that number is reached, or the time limit for walk-ins is reached, no further examinees will be allowed to enter the test session. If pre-registration is required, and there is a limit
    on examinees at a particular session, you need to "get your name in the
    hat", by contacting the VE Team in charge of the session as soon as
    possible. Otherwise, you may be "locked out" from the test session.

    Also, with pre-arrangement, pre-payment may be required. However, if
    on exam day, if you have a valid reason where you can not make the test
    session as originally planned...due to a last minute emergency, conflict,
    etc., you may be able to arrange a refund by contacting the VE Team in
    charge, and providing an explanation. However, any refunds are at the discretion of the VE Team. But, if you do not contact the VE Team Contact person, and are basically "a no show", your pre-payment is non-refundable.
    If you miss the test session, it'll be up to you to arrange a future test session, if you're wanting to obtain a ham radio license, or an upgrade... basically, starting the process over again.

    It's wise to contact the person overseeing the exam session for any
    special information. You can also go to:


    Enter the desired criteria (in one category), and click on search.

    Those at hamfests may have a large amount of people wanting to test...
    so, allow yourself plenty of time at one of these sessions. If you go to
    a hamfest for the license exam ONLY, you won't be required to pay a fee
    to enter the hamfest. But, you will be required to pay the license exam
    fee, applicable parking fees, highway tolls, etc.

    However, if you plan to explore the hamfest as well, you will also have
    to pay the hamfest admission fee. If you pass the exam, you're likely to
    want to look for a new ham radio transceiver...so, taking an exam at a
    hamfest can be VERY beneficial to you.

    In the United States, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) conducts
    a National Exam Day Weekend the last weekend of April and September every
    year. Check with local area ham radio clubs to see if they plan to do
    license exam sessions in conjunction with these special weekends.

    As noted above, a MINIMUM of three (3) VE's are REQUIRED for ANY license
    exam session. If less than that show up, the exam session can NOT take
    place. If only a Technician Class exam will be given, the VEs must be at
    least General Class licensees. If only Technician and General exams will
    be given, the VEs must be at least Advanced Class licensees. But, if all license exams (Technician, General, and Amateur Extra) are to be given,
    the VEs MUST be Amateur Extra Class licensees.

    When going to a test site, bring:

    1) The ORIGINAL and a PHOTOCOPY of your license, if you are already
    licensed, or if the licensed is expired (even if more than 2 years).
    The photocopy of your license will be sent off with your exam

    2) A Photo ID, such as a Drivers License, Passport, State ID, etc.
    Lacking a photo ID will REQUIRE two (2) forms of identification,
    such as a Birth Certificate, with the appropriate seal affixed, a
    utility bill, bank statement, or other piece of mail addressed to
    you, are alternate forms of ID.


    Posted by VPost v1.7.081019
  • From Daryl Stout@HURRICAN to All on Tue Oct 13 00:06:36 2020

    Question Pools And Effective Dates:

    The amateur radio license class Question Pools are to have at least ten
    (10) times the number of questions that are on the license exams for each
    test element. With 35 questions on both the Technician and General Class License Exams...and 50 questions on the Amateur Extra Class exam...
    depending on which element, or how many license class elements you plan
    to test for, you'll have from close to 400 to over 1600 questions to study. And, because they're in the pools (unless a particular question has been withdrawn), there is a CHANCE that ANY of the questions in the pools WILL appear on the test!!

    The Question Pools are updated and released every 4 years, based on new technologies, rules changes, etc. The actual release date is around six
    (6) months prior to the effective date (January 1st release date for a
    July 1st effective date).

    This allows time to catch any errors...and change or withdraw any
    questions that are vague, with incorrect data, etc.; so that various
    companies that publish study guides can have accurate information in their products. The ARRL Question Pool website on the Internet (www.arrl.org/question-pools) has this information as well.

    Technician: Changed in 2018; changes in 2022, 2026, 2030, etc.

    General: Changed in 2019; changes in 2023, 2027, 2031, etc.

    Extra: Changed in 2020; Changes in 2024, 2028, 2032, etc.

    DATES. If not, you could be in for a "rude awakening" on exam day.

    On The Thunderbolt BBS (tbolt.synchro.net), in the Ham Radio Exams file
    area, are as follows (all of these require the Adobe Acrobat Reader to
    view them) -- NOTE the EFFECTIVE DATES. When the new ones become effective,
    the old ones are REMOVED from the files area. You can download these also
    from the NCVEC website, or the ARRL website -- the URLs are noted later
    in this bulletin/message thread.

    Amateur Radio Technician Class license question pool, valid from July 1,
    2018 to June 30, 2022. Requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

    Amateur Radio General Class license question pool, valid from July 1,
    2019 to June 30, 2023. Requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

    Amateur Extra Class license question pool, valid from July 1, 2020 to
    June 30, 2024. Requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

    Schematic Diagrams are included with each file. Updates have been made
    with any issued errata.

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