Anchorage Amateur Radio Club VEC Program

Special note: Look at the bottom of this page, and all subsequent pages, for a list of links to other related pages concerning the VE program, including a list of examiners, testing locations, what to bring to the exam, and more. For your convenience, the complete set of VEC page links are repeated here.

 Alaskan Amateur Radio Clubs  When and where can I find a testing session?
 Volunteer examiners by name  What do I need to bring to the exam session?
 Volunteer Examiners by location  Where can I obtain instructional materials?
 Volunteer Examiners Instruction Manual  How do I learn the Morse Code?
 How do I become a Volunteer Examiner?  What happens after I pass the exam?

Upgrading? Click here to move to the "What to bring" page, and then click on the links for upgrade notes and options, including a summary of upgrade possibilities.

Remote Testing: The Anchorage ARC VEC is currently working on a project to offer remote testing in areas where distance or other factors make it impractical to use a conventional VEC team approach to obtaining or upgrading an Amateur Radio license. There is no current estimate as to when this option may become available for users. The required system software is undergoing development and "proof" testing at this time. 

We are also waiting on some needed FCC rules adjustments to better accommodate the remote testing program. A NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) has been written, and has been approved by the FCC's Wireless Technology Bureau (the portion of the FCC that deals with amateur radio rules).  We expect that the NPRM will be released fairly soon, and once it is, then it will be about 3 months until the rules changes are in effect. 

When the remote testing system is ready for use, we will include links on this page explaining how to use the system, and how to apply for remote testing in your area. This service will be limited to those individuals whose physical and legal address is within the State of Alaska. Please do not ask us about testing for other states. There are no plans to expand this project to other areas at this time. If this policy should change, we will announce any new arrangements in the various national Amateur Radio media in plenty of time for applicants in other areas to take advantage of the process.

Who we are:

The Anchorage Amateur Radio Club sponsors testing for all classes of Amateur Radio license, operating as the Anchorage Volunteer Examiner Coordinator. The Anchorage ARC VEC was the first VEC in the nation to be certified, and likewise was the first to give an exam. The Anchorage ARC VEC is virtually alone in the nation in offering testing free of charge to all applicants.

The Anchorage ARC VEC provides testing services only for applicants living in Alaska. We do not offer testing for applicants living in other states at this time, and have no plans to expand our program to include other areas. If you are interesting in obtaining your amateur radio license, and live in one of the other USA states, please contact a radio club or testing organization in your area for more information. You might also try the ARRL (American Radio Relay League), or the W5YI group. Both of these organizations offer testing via affiliates in most states.

A brief history of the VEC program:

Prior to 1984, all Amateur radio licensing examinations were administered directly or indirectly by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) acting under the regulations set out in the Communications Act of 1934, which governed all aspects of radio communications in the United States of America. Amateur Radio exams were available only at one of the 23 FCC district offices scattered around the country, although in some circumstances (primarily when the applicant resided at least 125 miles away from one of the 23 district offices) examinations for the first 3 levels of license (Novice, Technician, and General) were available by mail. The General class license, if issued as a result of a mail examination, was known as the "Conditional" class. Even with the situation where exams could be taken by mail, the actual grading of the exams was still performed by FCC personnel, at one of the district offices.

The volunteer examiner program came into being as a result of several factors. Primarily due to budget cutbacks, the federal government decided to remove itself from the administration of most categories of radio license examinations. On September 13, 1982, public law 97-259 was enacted which amended the Communications Act of 1934 to permit the FCC to accept the services of private individuals and organizations acting to prepare and administer examinations for applicants wishing to obtain (or upgrade) an Amateur Radio license. Approximately one month after this legislation became law, the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) filed a petition requesting that only non-profit educational organizations be allowed to participate in the program.

A series of intermediate steps followed, which were concerned with how the examinations were to be developed, who would prepare the questions to be used, how the country would be divided into different regions so that paperwork could be routed more efficiently, and so on. One of the questions that arose was the one of how to handle the expenses involved in preparing, distributing, and administering the various exams. Another was who would certify the necessary volunteer examiners.

Once these and other procedural questions were resolved, a two-tier arrangement was implemented. a relatively small number of VEC's (Volunteer Examiner Coordinators) would be chosen, and each of these would interface between the FCC and individual examiners, who became known as VE's (Volunteer Examiners). Thus, the FCC only needed to deal with a few separate organizations, rather than hundreds (or thousands) of individual examiners. At this time, there are 14 active volunteer examiner coordinators (VECs) in the United States.

The VECs coordinate their activities via membership in the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) which meets from time to time to decide issues of importance to volunteer exminers nationwide. The Anchorage ARC VEC is a member in good standing of NCVEC.

The VEC mission statement:

In accordance with the laws and agreements that set up the VEC system, the VEC's have been tasked with certain requirements. They are:

(1) To recruit, train and accredit a corps of VE's (Volunteer Examiners)

(2) To coordinate examination sessions as needed with accredited VE's.

(3) To inform VE's of additions, changes, and deletions to the VE program rules.

(4) To provide a source of license testing materials (exams) for all VE's accredited by their own group.

(5) To provide a source of requisite forms required to correctly document the entire examination process.

(6) To collect and archive successful applications, including all related documentation

(7) To prepare and maintain records of each testing session, including passes, failures, etc.

(8) To screen, approve, and forward successful applications to the FCC for further processing and issuance of licenses.

(9) To resolve errors or defects in applications or documentation before the information is forwarded to the FCC.

(10) To monitor the activities in all testing sessions, including having the authority to invalidate a testing session and decertify VE's should the need arise.

(11) To assist in the development and/or revision of a common pool of test questions.

(12) To evaluate test questions for clarity, accuracy, and completeness, and forward the results of their evaluations and their recommendations for any changes to the VEC question pool committee.

Anchorage ARC VEC policy statement:

Every VEC group has somewhat different policies, depending on it's needs and philosophies. The following is a short summary of our program:

We employ a team concept. Any group of 3 or more AARC certified VE's who give an exam are considered a team. One of these persons will be designated the "lead" or "contact" VE, who will be responsible for obtaining and returning exam materials (kits) to and from VEC headquarters, and who is also responsible for insuring that all of the testing materials remain confidential before, during and after the exam session. The contact VE assumes the primary responsibility for the correct handling of the exam, including making sure all the documentation is prepared properly and making sure none of the examinees is allowed to give/receive unfair advantage to/from another individual.

To be a VE under our program, simply send the VEC a completed application form together with a photocopy of your license to VEC headquarters. For more information about becoming a VE, please click here.

While VE's may be reimbursed for their expenses involved in administering exams, it is the policy of the Anchorage ARC VEC that no person will be charged to take an exam. At this time, all exams are completely free of charge. This policy may be changed at a future date.

Applicants who fail an exam are permitted to retake the exam immediately, if a different exam than the one they just failed is available, and in the opinion of the VE team, retesting would be appropriate. The decision of the VE team is final. Immediate retesting is usually considered if the examinee has failed by only a small percentage, or if the examinee has traveled a long distance at some expense to take the exam,or both.

Code testing: Code tests are no longer required for any clss of amateur radio license. However, being able to communicate using Morse Code is a valuable skill and remains very popular with mateur radio operators world-wide. Click here for more information about learning the Morse code.

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There are several links listed on this page (below). Use these links to learn about the various aspects of the testing programs we offer, and to find a Volunteer Examiner close to you. We hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to join the ranks of Amateur Radio Operators - the greatest hobby in the world!

If you have questions about Amateur Radio in general, or specific questions about the testing program, you may send an e-mail to us. To send us an e-mail, Click here

Use the links below to learn more:

Volunteer Examiners by name

Volunteer Examiners by location

When and where can I find a testing session?

What do I need to bring to the exam session?

What happens after I pass my exam?

Where to find study materials for the written tests.

Learning the Morse Code - tools and techniques.

How can I become a Volunteer Examiner?

Volunteer Examiners Instruction Manual

Alaskan Amateur Radio Clubs