Getting an amateur license in the USA has three class levels to go through. Technician is the first level that will get you on the air with some radio band restrictions. General is the second level that opens up the bands and allows you more capability. Finally there is Extra class that is the top level that has full privileges. More details on this is seen at the ARRL.org web pages and we will not re-do them here. “VE” is short for Volunteer Examiner” and the VEC testing program is administered by the ARRL.
There are many resources to use to study for the tests they include paid service that helps you learn the material and practice the test questions on line: Ham Test On Line. This allowed me to pass the extra class.
- Ham Radio Practice Exams from KD0FNR – Practice each of the 10 subelements using the ARRL license books or take practice exams. Get to the 10 subelements by clicking on SUBELEMENT above the question.
- Ham Test Online – Highly recommended.
- American Radio Relay League – Licensing, Education & Training
- Amateur Radio Examination Question Pools – On the ARRL web site.
- Practice Ham Exams – QRZ’s Practice Amateur Radio Exams
After you have studied and do well with the practice test, then you are ready to take the test at a VE Session that the clubs put on. You will first need to register with the FCC at this site: CORES and get a FRN number but you must have a valid email address to do this. Due to Covid, appointment needs to be made by calling the person in charge of the VE session after you have your registration number (FRN). Find a local testing site at ARRL HERE.
The Pamlico Amateur Radio Club (PARC) in Washington, NC holds Exam Sessions in Washington on the odd numbered months (i..e. Jan, Mar, May, etc.) at 10:00 AM on the second Saturday. The exams are by appointment only (no walk-ins) and must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. This can be done by sending an email to Tom Kottke WT4TK at email@example.com. If there are any questions, you may call him at 252-402-8950.
You will need to have with you the following items for the test:
1: FRN number from the FCC registration system CORES (with email address)
2: If you have a license, make a copy and bring the original.
3: Photo ID (or bring a parent if you are a youngster, no ID)
4: Cash for the fee ($15).
5: 2 pencils, ball point pen, simple calculator.
This effort is worth it as it becomes a life long hobby that has so many different areas to learn, build skills or have fun. Look forward to hearing you on the radio bands.
73, Peter N4PVH.