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