• ARRL/VEC VE Newsletter

    From Daryl Stout@HURRICAN to All on Wed Oct 21 19:37:58 2020
    ARRL VE Newsletter October 2020 - EXAM MAKER


    Inside this VE E-Newsletter:

    FRNs at Exam Sessions

    ARRL VEC Exam Maker Software Being Phased Out

    Remote Video-supervised Online Examinations

    Session Documents Upload Webpage

    Current ARRL VEC Exam Booklets

    Basic Qualification Question


    There is a considerable amount of information covered in this newsletter.
    As always, if you have any questions please contact us.


    FRNs at Exam Sessions

    The FCC has indicated VECs/VE teams should DISCONTINUE the practice
    of accepting Social Security Numbers at exam sessions.

    Examinees should register in the FCC CORES registration system, and
    receive an FRN *BEFORE* exam day.

    The FCC also advised VE teams to make it clear to candidates that
    some information about them will be made publicly available on the
    FCC's website, including their name, mailing address, and felony
    conviction status.

    Dorothy Stifflemire, the Associate Division Chief of the WTB
    Technologies Systems and Innovation Division, told VECs that new
    license applicants should create an FCC user account, and register
    their Social Security Number in the FCC Commission Registration
    System (CORES) before attending exam sessions. Registrants will be
    assigned a Federal Registration Number (FRN) which will be used in
    all license transactions with the FCC.

    She explained that auto-registration in CORES for examinees using a
    Social Security Number will be going away. In addition, since no mail
    is being sent because of the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants will not
    receive their auto-created password and FCC FRN, and will NOT be able
    to access their personal license record in the FCC License Manager
    database, or their FRN record in CORES. Going forward, she said, VECs
    should make sure all applicants are registered, and have an FRN before
    exam day.

    Additionally, FCC Mobility Division (MD) Deputy Chief Tom Derenge
    recommended that VECs make it clear to applicants that their address
    will be public information when the new license is issued. He suggested advising that an alternative address, such as a PO Box or work address,
    would be acceptable. Derenge pointed out that once an address is in the
    FCC database, it's nearly impossible to be permanently removed.

    See the news item about FRN use at exam sessions and other VEC/FCC

    NCVEC Conference News item link:


    Examinees can be directed to this information on our website, or directly
    to the FCC website.

    FRN registration information (see item #4):


    FCC Privacy information:


    FCC CORES User Account and Registration:


    We urge our VE teams to change procedures BEFORE the FCC turns off the
    Social Security Number auto-registration feature.

    Otherwise, this could cause a delay in processing applications to the FCC
    later on.


    Instructions for Examinees Registering for an FCC FRN before Exam Day

    Applying for a new Amateur Radio license?

    Register in CORES (COmission REgistration System), and receive your FRN (Federal Registration Number) before sitting for your exam, to ensure
    your new license is processed quickly and easily through the FCC's ULS (Universal Licensing System).

    To conduct business with the FCC, you must register through FCC CORES,
    and be assigned an FRN. This number will be used to uniquely identify
    you in all transactions with the FCC.

    View the FCC web page New Users guide to ULS for step by step
    instructions on the registration process, or the Commission
    Registration System Video Tutorials page for videos that help
    guide CORES users through a variety of situations.

    For assistance, submit a help request on the FCC's Support Services
    page, or call FCC at 877-480-3201 (Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. ET).


    What if a candidate shows up on exam day without an FRN?

    Please have the candidate register in CORES at the session on their
    smart phone or on a computer.

    Candidates should not need to be turned away from the session, because
    the registration process only takes a few minutes to complete.

    Additionally, candidates that pre-register in CORES will have all their
    login and password information, and can access their FCC license record
    as soon as it's issued.


    ARRL VE Exam Maker Software Being Phased Out

    ARRL VEC's Exam Maker test generating software will no longer be
    supported after December 2020. Adobe Flash player is being discontinued
    at the end of this year, which is our software's installation platform.

    An already downloaded and installed copy of Exam Maker should continue
    to work on computers. The program runs in its own environment on the
    computer, whereas the Flash Player problem is in web browsers during
    download. Even though the program will continue to function, we will
    not be able to push out any important updates to the software, question
    pools, or questions after December.

    We recommend that anyone using Exam Maker re-initialize their databases
    at some point before the end of the year. We've made a few changes to
    the pool files, and this will help ensure that everyone has updated
    their local databases, and has the most current versions of the pools.
    In the Exam Maker program from the menu bar, select "Update" and then "Initialize database". This will reload the complete set of exam
    question pools.

    Going Forward

    Rather than trying to find a solution for our outmoded software, we
    are urging our VEs to start using Exam.Tools, which is a more
    sophisticated computer system.

    The Exam.Tools website can be used for printed or online exams (see
    information below for creating an account). VE teams have been using
    the online exams for remote video testing, and at in-person sessions
    to minimize contact between VEs and candidates. ExamTools printed
    exams have the option to use the GradeCam program for grading tests.
    GradeCam will automatically grade exams in seconds using the camera
    on a phone or computer, which eliminates the need to manually score
    the tests.

    **Online or Printed Exams: Exam.Tools Instructions**

    The Exam.Tools system works well for online or printed examinations,
    and includes registering and and tracking candidates throughout the
    session, on screen exams and grading, online signing of CSCE and 605
    forms by the candidate and examiners, logging and compiling session
    stats, and VE participation list (test report summary), and output
    files for upload to the coordinating VEC. The program manages/handles
    almost everything needed to conduct a test session.

    1. Watch the Exam.Tools training video playlist.

    2. Read all the Process Tips especially process tip #2, and create
    an account. Other helpful information is located in the exam.tools documentation site.

    3. Register in the sandbox/development site at http://hamstudy.dev/
    and then login at https://beta.examtools.dev/ with your team members.

    DO NOT use a Facebook or Google login: Make a "real" user. The sandbox/development site is used for any training purposes, and runs
    on its own database to avoid any issues with the Exam.Tools production environment.

    4. Review the ARRL/VEC ExamTools Tier 2 Frequently Asked Questions.

    5. Join the VE Discord discussion group at https://discord.gg/CsKrBmA
    where you'll find lots of useful information, including how to register
    for ExamTools.org as a VE, and how to upgrade your VE Discord membership access. Specifically, this information is in the #process-tips channel.

    Make sure to read all the process tips in this channel. This is the place
    where all the relevant information you need can be found, unlike other channels, which may overwhelm you with the amount of information they

    6. Join an existing ARRL VE team as a VE for a live training session. Volunteer in the #arrl Discord channel so you can see the real system
    in action.

    VE team leaders require VEC authorization to use the Exam.Tools exam
    sessions system. ARRL team leaders should email ARRL VEC (VEC@arrl.org)
    for the emailed authorization approval after the VE team members have
    created accounts, and trained with an experienced team.


    Remote Video-supervised Online Examinations

    The remote video exam session is conducted using an online video
    conferencing platform, and a web-based examination system with
    on-screen tests.

    ARRL VE teams must meet the following criteria, and adhere to the
    following rules/policies, to participate in the Remote Video
    sessions program. Long-standing, well established teams with a
    history of adhering to the highest degree of examination integrity,
    and that consistently submit accurate exam documents consistent
    with ARRL VEC standards will be selected to participate.

    Time and experience with in-person exam sessions is invaluable when transitioning to video sessions.

    Team leader experience at in-person sessions and/or training with
    an established team as a team leader for video sessions is required.

    VE teams have been using the Exam.Tools online exams for the remote
    video sessions. See the preliminary Exam.Tools instructions in the
    section above to get started.

    Interested ARRL VE team leaders must contact the VEC department
    (VEC@arrl.org) to be approved, and receive the complete
    video-supervised online testing procedures and instructions.


    Session Documents Upload Webpage

    The US Postal Service has been slow and unreliable with moving mail
    and packages through their system. Some exam session packages have
    been unexpectedly delayed.

    Uploading completed sessions as a PDF file (scanned documents) via
    the web allows for quicker processing to FCC. Please contact the VEC
    department (VEC@arrl.org) for the information on e-filing exam session documents through our secure upload page. Authorized VEs will be sent
    the upload page URL which is hidden from the public.

    The VE team must only accept FRNs (Federal Registration Numbers) at
    the session. Social Security Numbers are NOT permitted on any exam
    documents or session files that are uploaded. Candidates will have
    to be registered in the FCC system, and have FRNs already issued.
    Refer to the FRNs at Exam Sessions item above for the examinee
    registration instructions.


    Current ARRL VEC Exam Booklets

    Field Stocked VE team leaders should ensure they are using the current
    ARRL VEC Exam Booklets created from the current public question pools.
    Visit the Exam Booklets web page periodically to confirm your booklets
    are up to date.


    Basic Qualification Question

    Applicants are required to answer the FCC basic qualification question
    if they are filing for any of the following purposes indicated:

    New, Amendment, Modification (Upgrade or Call sign change), Renewal
    or Renewal/Modification. Applicants filing for any other purpose are
    not required to answer this question (e.g.: address change).

    If an applicant answers "YES" to the basic qualification question
    (felony question), they must submit the required documentation
    directly to FCC.

    Please instruct your candidate to follow the outlined FCC procedures,
    and reference the application file number. The candidate must take
    action within 14 days of the application filing date, or the
    application will be dismissed by FCC. The candidate should not
    communicate any information or documents to the Volunteer Examiner
    team, or the VEC.


    The ARRL VEC Staff is Ready to Serve You

    As always, the dedicated VEC staff are here to answer any questions
    you may have.

    ARRL VEC Number: (860) 594-0300
    Address: ARRL VEC, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111
    Email: VEC@arrl.org
    Web: www.arrl.org/volunteer-examiners
    ARRL VEC Fax: 860-594-0339

    Maria Somma, AB1FM, Manager
    Amanda Grimaldi, N1NHL, Assistant Manager
    Stephanie Borden W2MAU, Service Representative
    Ann Brinius, Service Representative
    Lisa Riendeau, Service Representative
    Joshua Nance, Service Representative

    We thank you for your efforts and interest in the ARRL VEC program.


    ARRL VEC VE Newsletter is published by the American Radio Relay League,
    Inc. - the national association for Amateur Radio (R).

    Material from the ARRL VE E-Newsletter may be republished or reproduced
    in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit
    must be given to The American Radio Relay League VEC.

    Maria Somma, AB1FM - VEC Manager / Editor
    ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio ®
    225 Main Street
    Newington, CT 06111 USA

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