Licensing & Test Sessions
For years, the RCARA has offered testing sessions on the second Saturday of odd-numbered months at 9:00AM, alternating with the Tri-State Amateur Radio Association to offer monthly testing opportunities. Our club is a Laurel-affiliated club, meaning that all test examiners are volunteers & we have never charged a fee to test to become an amateur radio operator, or to upgrade your license.
Starting January of 2020, our club will be moving our testing sessions immediately following the monthly meeting, the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:00PM. Anyone who is interested in becoming an amateur radio operator or is interested in upgrading is welcome to test following our monthly meeting. With the move to weekday nights, this also shortens the time that information is submitted, meaning you can get on the air faster. We also offer testing during our yearly Tailgate Hamfest, more info can be found here.
In addition to regular monthly testing, we also offer testing sessions on a case-by-case basis. Since not everyone can meet on the same night every month, we will do our best to offer a date where VE's (or Volunteer Examiners) can meet and offer testing for you, or a group of people that can't make it to our monthly meeting. We also offer information on testing & study material for groups or clubs with members interested in becoming ham radio operators.
For any potential amateur radio operators or upgrades, we recommend the HamRadioExam line of apps that can be found on the App Store and Google Play store on your phone or tablet. All apps contain the current question pools, offer sample tests as well as a listing of the correct answers for each question, depending on your preferred method of studying.
What do I need to bring?
A: A valid photo ID (children without photo ID may test if they can prove their identity to the VEC team leader) an official copy of your current, signed, amateur radio operator's license (if you are upgrading) the original & a copy of any document(s) to use as element credit, & a positive attitude.
What will happen?
A: You will fill out some basic forms for ID and processing, then you are given pre-exam instructions and rules for testing. ALL CELLPHONES MUST BE TURNED OFF, YOU CANNOT USE THEM, EVEN AS A CALCULATOR. You may bring your own calculator, providing the built-in memory has been cleared. The test will contain 35 questions for Technician and General, and 50 questions for Extra. You must answer at least 26 (Tech/General class) or 37 (Extra class) questions correctly to pass. Once you are finished, it will be graded by the VE's. If you pass, the VE team will prepare paperwork to be submitted to the FCC. If you fail, and you answered at least 24 (Tech/General) or 35 (Extra) questions correctly, you will be given a second opportunity to test if time allows. Otherwise, you will need to study harder and try again another day.
If I pass, when can I start using my new license?
A: You can start operating as soon as your license is shown in the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS) database, which could take up to 14 days, but typically takes 1-2 days following the exam date. If you included an e-mail address and the ULS has processed your information, the FCC will send you an e-mail with a link and instructions to download your new license.
Do I need to know morse code to test?
A: No, morse code was removed as a requirement as of February 2007.
Can I test/upgrade as a felon?
A: Yes, but you must indicate your felony status on your application. This does not bar you from obtaining a license, but keeps consistency across the FCC's various application forms
Other FAQ's may be listed and can be viewed at https://www.laurelvec.com/?pg=faq.
For more info or questions on testing, please contact Darrell Smith, NU4P, Lead VEC, by phone at (606) 547-6639, or by e-mail at NU4P@arrl.net.