MCARC Exam Session Info

Amateur Radio Exam Opportunities in the Marysville, KS Area


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Previous Exam Sessions

MCARC exam session history


Who:

The Marshall County (Kansas) Amateur Radio Club sponsors W5YI-VEC amateur radio operator license examinations periodically through the year as requested prior to our monthly meetings on the third Tuesday of each month (monthly meetings are generally not scheduled for July and December). The exam session will typically begin at 7 PM. Pre-registration for the session is required.

What:

Obtaining an amateur radio operator's license requires successfully passing the written elements required for a given license class as shown in the table below.

Latest Exam News

Element 2 (Technician) question pool updated as of 01 July 2010. Be sure you have a current study guide!

On Friday December 15, 2006 the FCC announced that it had adopted its Report & Order in WT Docket 05-235 that will eliminate the Morse Code exam requirement (Element 1). On January 24, 2007 the R&O was published in the Federal Register with an effective date of 12:01 AM EST, February 23, 2007 (11:01 PM CST, February 22, 2007). Complete details can be found at ARRL.org.

Exam requirements
License Element
Technician 2
General 2, 3
Extra 2, 3, 4

When:

The next exam session will take place upon request prior to a regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the MCARC--third Tuesday of each month except for January (Christmas supper) and July (county fair). The session will begin at 7 PM (one hour prior to the MCARC meeting). Pre-registration is required at least 48 hours before the meeting so we can schedule the session.

2010 MCARC Meeting Dates
21 Sep 19 Oct
16 Nov 21 Dec


2011 MCARC Meeting Dates
15 Feb 15 Mar
19 Apr 17 May
21 Jun 16 Aug
20 Sep 18 Oct
15 Nov 20 Dec

Where:

The exam session will be held at the Union Pacific Railroad conference room, 609 North 2nd St., Marysville, KS. The building is located on the west side of 2nd Street at the corner of Jenkins and 2nd Street. Please take a look at the Marysville Map page link below for a link to a map and driving directions from your location. This facility is handicap accessible.

A map showing the approximate location is on my Marysville Map page.

CSCEs

CSCEs dated more than 365 days prior to the exam session will not be accepted for exam credit. If unsure of your CSCEs validity, please contact N0NB as listed below.

Note! This may not apply if you are using an older CSCE for proof of Element 3 credit toward General. Check the exam credit page for details.

How:

Pre-registration is required for a session. You may pre-register one of several ways:

  1. via the Web:  MCARC Online exam registration
  2. email:  via n0nb@n0nb.us
  3. telephone:  785-562-5732
  4. snail mail:  via callbook address
  5. in person:  if you're really desperate!

With any method of pre-registration you choose please provide the following:

Within a week prior to the exam session your pre-registration will be confirmed with an email sent to the email address you provide or by letter sent to your mailing address. In the letter is information regarding how the exams are conducted, what items you should bring, what items we will provide, and driving directions to the exam site.

Registration assures that we will have enough exam materials on hand and that we will hold a session! Please be aware that sessions will be held only upon request from now on.

Cost:

The exam fee for 2010 is $14 (mandated by W5YI-VEC). The fee is payable at the session before you take any exam elements. Please pay by cash (exact change preferred).

Miscellaneous:

We only use the NCVEC form 605 for new license applications and upgrades through W5YI-VEC. Note that this form can only be used at a VE session and cannot be used to change your call or mailing address nor renew your license. We will have these forms available at the session.

Future Exams:

We will conduct exams as requested. Most likely prior to a meeting of the Marshall County Amateur Radio Club which meets the third Tuesday of each month at the address above. The usual start time is 7 PM.
It is necessary to contact us beforehand to be sure a session will be held!

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Background

Beginning in 1984, the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, turned over the administration of Amateur Radio Operator license examinations to the amateur radio community. Known as the VE, Volunteer Examiner, system, radio amateurs in the U.S.A. could once again take exams in their home towns, and at many hamfests around the country. Gone was the restriction of exams only being held in FCC field offices and then only a few times per year.

While the FCC retains enforcement oversight and issues the actual license document, the day-to-day burden of coordinating volunteer examiner teams fell to several organizations who entered into contract with the FCC to be VECs, Volunteer Exam Coordinators. Most exams across the country are handled by two VECs, ARRL/VEC and W5YI-VEC. The VECs provide the materials needed by the VE teams to administer consistent exams across the country regardless of the team's VEC affiliation. The VECs also verify the paperwork submitted by the VE team and then file the applications with the FCC who then assign licenses to qualified applicants.

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The Exams

Amateur Radio Operator license exams consist of three written exams covering basic electronics and radio theory, radio wave propagation, Amateur Radio Service Rules (Part 97), amateur practice, and RF safety. Let's look at these.

Written Exam Elements

There are currently three written elements, one for each license class. Each element is intended to be progressively more difficult than the previous and cover topics appropriate to the given operator class. The questions on each exam are drawn from a "pool" of questions plus answers for that exam. There are approximately ten to twelve times as many questions in each pool as appear on each exam element. The exam must be made up using both the question and its answers verbatim as they exist in the pool. VE teams are not permitted to make up their own questions, correct answer to each question, nor the detractor answers for each question. VE teams often generate their own exams using software provided by the VEC for such a purpose or they can manually create their own exams following the requirements of the Question Pool Committee that has agreed on how many questions of each sub-element (topic) must appear on each exam. The table below shows each element, its total number of questions, and the number of correct answers needed to pass:

Element Questions Passing
2 35 26
3 35 26
4 50 37

The question pools are maintained by an entity called the Question Pool Committee, QPC, made up of one representative of each of the VECs. The QPC meets once each year to consider new questions and answers for one of the pools. The pools are updated in rotation annully with each pool remaining "stable" for three years.

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The Exam Session

The first order of business at an exam session is filling out forms. NCVEC Form 605 is a simplified paper version of the "Quick Form 605" introduced in 1999 when the FCC transitioned the Amateur Radio Service into the Universal Licensing System, ULS. NCVEC Form 605 can only be used at a VE session for applying for a new or upgraded operator's license.

Concurrent with ULS the FCC now requires applicants to provide their Social Security Number, SSN, with each application for a new license, to upgrade a license, or to renew a license beginning August 16, 1999. If an applicant wishes not to disclose their SSN to a VE team, they must pre-register with ULS and obtain a Federal Registration Number, FRN, a ten digit number to be used in lieu of an SSN to identify oneself to ULS. Beginning August 16, 1999, VE teams are required to have applicants write in their SSN or FRN on NCVEC Form 605. To learn more about ULS as it applies to amateur radio, check out the ARRL W1AW bulletin of July 29, 1999.

Part 97 requires VE teams to verify the identity of exam applicants. This can be accomplished by providing the VE team with one form of photo ID or two other documents as ID.

The current exam fee is $14.00 and is good for as many elements as you can pass. A failing score on an exam requires payment of another exam fee to take that element again. If an element is taken a second time at a given session, the same exam will not be administered. At the MCARC sessions an applicant will be allowed to take a given element twice in one session.

Exam Sitting

Once the application form has been completed and the fee has been paid, you will be able to sit for your exam element(s). After you have completed a written exam, the test booklet, answer sheet, and any scratch paper you used must be surrendered to the VE team.

After the exams have been graded, you will be informed of your score, and whether you passed or failed, however, the VE team cannot divulge any specific questions you might have missed, nor can you review the exam.

CSCE

If you successfully pass one or more elements at the session you will be given a Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination, CSCE. The CSCE states what elements you passed at this exam session. CSCEs are valid for 365 days from the date of issuance and valid original CSCEs issued by a VE team of any VEC must be accepted by a VE team of any other VEC. A CSCE is not a license document, but you may operate using new privileges if you qualified to upgrade a current license. If you qualified for a new license, you must wait until your new call-sign appears in the FCC's electronic database before you may operate.

There are two ways to demonstrate credit for exams already passed. The first is your current un-expired Amateur Radio Operator's License. You automatically receive credit for all elements required to qualify for your current license. The second is a CSCE issued within the past 365 days stating that you passed additional elements above those required for your current license class (this case will be rare with the elimination of the Morse Code exam). In either case, the VE team needs to verify your original unaltered license and/or CSCE document, however, the VE team requires only a copy to be sent along with your application form. You should always keep your original documents and only surrender a copy of them for a license upgrade!

Waiting for the License

Most license applications are processed within ten days to two weeks and you can expect your new license or your upgrade to appear in the FCC database in that time.

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Summary

Amateur radio licensing is a complex issue. I have only hit the high points here, but there is enough to keep even the most interested amateur attorney busy for several days. If you have any questions about anything on this page or on items I may have missed, feel free to write me at n0nb@n0nb.us.

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Exam Study and Practice

Thanks to the Internet, there are sites dedicated to providing study lessons and practice exams. If you make use of these sites please thank the amateurs who make them available (note that my listing a site here is not an endorsement or recommendation over any other).

Exam Study Lessons

Study for your first ham radio license at Ham Elmer

Practice Exams

AA9PW's Amateur Radio Exam Practice Page
QRZ's online exams
eHam.net Ham Exams

Other Exam sessions

From ARRL Web you can search for an exam session near you.

Exam Credit

What exam credit your current license provides

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Original content Copyright © 1997-2014 Nate Bargmann NØNB n0nb@n0nb.us
any other content copyright by respective author(s).

This page last modified
October 8, 2010
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