The FCC created the Volunteer Examination Coordinator system to provide initial licensing examination for prospective new hams and upgrade examination opportunities for those already licensed. FCC authorized VEC organizations to oversee the work of their certified Volunteer Examiners (VEs) and serve as a liaison between the exam applicants and the FCC.
Volunteer Examiners (VEs) are US licensed Radio Amateurs holding a General Class license or higher, who offer their time to administer the FCC licensing exams through an FCC authorized Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) organization. A team of three or more ARRL VEs are able to test candidates applying for a new license or upgrading an existing license.
Exam sessions are conducted by volunteers working under the direction of the FCC and a Volunteer Exam Coordinator (VEC). There will likely be a charge for taking the exam. The exam fee is set by the VEC and is usually $15 or less. Contact the exam session administrator to determine the fee that applies to the exam session you plan to attend, the documents required and to verify the session date and time. VEC organizations may have different policies regarding candidate procedures and requirements. The FCC does not charge a fee to issue an initial license or for standard changes to a license. However, there may be fees for other FCC services.
What to Bring
1. A legal photo ID (driver’s license, passport)
2. If no photo ID is available, two forms of identification:
a. non-photo ID/driver’s license (some states still have them)
b. birth certificate (must have the appropriate seal)
c. social security card
d. library card
e. utility bill, bank statement or other business correspondence that
specifically names the person; or a postmarked envelope addressed
to the person at his or her current mailing address as it appears on
the Form 605.
3. Students/minors may bring any of the above items and/or a school ID,
minor’s work permit, report card, or a legal guardian may present a
4. Social Security Number (SSN) or your FCC issued Federal
Registration Number (FRN); VEC’s are required by the FCC to submit
either your SSN or your FRN number with your license application
form. If you prefer not to give your SSN at the exam session, then
you may register your SSN with the FCC before exam day. Once you
have a FCC issued FRN, you may no longer use your SSN on the
application. For instructions on how to register your SSN with the
FCC and receive a FRN, visit the FCC’s FAQ page and the
FCC’s registration instructions page. Please note that some
exam teams will only accept a valid FRN on your application.
Check with your local exam team before exam day.
5. If applicable, bring either a photocopy of your current Amateur Radio
license or a reference copy printed out from the FCC website, the
license information printed from ARRL website or QRZ website,
or the original(s) and photocopy(s) of any Certificates of Successful
Completion of Examination (CSCE) you may hold from previous
exam sessions. If your license has already been issued by FCC,
the CSCE showing license credit is not needed. The photocopy(s)
will not be returned.
Instructions on how to obtain an official FCC license copy are on
the ARRL Obtain License Copy web page.
6. Two number two pencils with erasers and a pen.
7. A calculator with the memory erased and formulas cleared is allowed.
You may not bring any written notes or calculations into the exam session.
Slide rules and logarithmic tables are acceptable, as long as they’re free
of notes and formulas. Cell phone must be silenced or turned off during
the exam session and the phones’ calculator function may not be used.
In addition, iPhones, iPads, Androids, smartphones, Blackberry devices
and all similar electronic devices with a calculator capability, may NOT
8. Bring a check, a money order or cash to cover the exam session fee(s).
Check the ARRL VEC’s current exam fees.
How to Prepare for the Exam
There is no one way to study for the exam. It is estimated that the average person will have to invest 20 hours or more of study to successfully pass the Technician level exam.
So how do you do it? Study methods include reviewing and studying the material from the Federal Communications Commission on the Amateur Radio exam. This is arguably the least helpful study tool. The Amateur Radio League (or ARRL) has published a pretty good study guide. Moreover, they do a good job of presenting radio fundamentals.
This writer used the Gordon West study guide and the applications available from the Apple store. My favorite application was HamStudy.org.
Finally, a reportedly good online study tool is HamTestOnline.
Whatever tools you use one must simply put in the time. The exam is not hard however most things are not hard when you are prepared. The key is to be prepared.
Finally, one note. Avoid simply memorizing material. You are better off learning radio operation fundamentals.
Location of the Kent County Examinations
KCARC VE Test Sessions are held at the Wyoming Methodist Church, 216 Wyoming Mill Rd, Dover, DE 19904
The session begins promptly at 9 am (unless otherwise indicated)
Dates of Tests
Last Updated on