I use GOTA operators at my contest station with absolutely
no problem. After some short hands-on training, they do quite well. Such experience is more effective than answer memorizing.
A. A major
disillusionment with the current system is that the Section 97.509 administering VEs' work is predominantly accounting in nature. These VEs, moreover - quite disappointingly
- do not seem to follow up an examination using their own expertise to enlighten the examinee as needed, even though their
incorrect answer choices pin down for them the specific areas where it is that their examinee's technical and/or operational
knowledge is faulty.
Our Section 97.507 preparing VEs, moreover, seem to be caught up in a 1960s-era incentive licensing time warp.
The Element standards they are supposed to be using are codified in Section 97.503. They are supposed to prepare
written examination such as to prove that the examinee possesses the operational and technical qualifications required to
perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee. Element
2 is supposed to be concerned with the privileges of the basic Technician Class operator; Element 3 with the privileges of
the intermediate General Class operator; and Element 4 with the expert Amateur Extra Class operator.
If, in their Element 2 questions, the VEs have accurately identified the operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties
of a Technician Class operator, there should be little need for additional
qualifications for the General Class and practically none for the Amateur Extra Class.
Q. But it is the FCC rules that stipulate 35 more questions for General and 50 more questions for
Extra. So we have to pad our Elements 3 and 4 pools with hundreds of superfluous questions.
A. There is your roadblock.
Somewhere during the period starting with the 1983 initiation of the volunteer examiner system, our VEs should have called
this inconsistency to the attention of our regulator and advocated for more reasonable numbers of examination questions. Perhaps
Section 97.503 should be divested altogether of specifying numbers of questions.
For more Q/A on this topic, read GOTA Experience as Our License Qualifier
BE Informed No. 2.8.
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Q. Why do I have to pass a test in order to get a FCC call sign?
A. Because Section 97.501 says: Each applicant must pass an examination for a new amateur operator license grant and for each change in operator
Q. What is the exam all about?
A. Section 97.503 says that a written examination for a license grant must be such as to prove that the examinee possesses the operational
and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee. Possessing about
75% of those qualifications is the minimum acceptable for passing.
Q. Just who decides what those operational and technical qualifications are?
A. In places where the FCC is our regulator, our Section 97.507 preparing VEs are charged with doing that. It says: Each question on each VEC question pool must be prepared by a VE holding the required
FCC-issued operator license. In other places, the qualifications are determined by the regulatory authority there.
Q. What are the credentials of those VE question writers?
A. Our Section 97.507 preparing VEs are VEC-accredited hams holding FCC expert Amateur Extra Class operator license grants. Section 97.507 also authorizes intermediate General and Advanced Class operators to prepare questions for certain examination elements.
Q. Does it matter
which 25% the examinee doesn’t know about operational and technical qualifications?
A. It should matter very much, but our Section 97.509 administering VEs apparently are unconcerned. They reportedly do not routinely take any action to remedy an examinee’s partial lack of
more Q/A on this topic, read What Do Hams Really Need to Know? BE Informed No. 2.0.
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Get Your Own HAM CALL SIGN!
The quickest, easiest, and inexpensive way is to memorize the VEs'
questions and the VECs' answers in BE Informed No. 2.9.1 W3BE's NOTES - Get Your Call Sign.
Take/retake the free on-line practice examinations until you pass consistently. Then visit a VE session for a license examination.
the Rules - Heed the Rules!
Our ham radio is an internationally recognized hobby. It is comprised of millions of amateur
operators worldwide who must know how to cause or allow their amateur stations to transmit properly. We utilize electromagnetic
radiation technology that knows no political borders. We are, consequently, subject to wide ranging domestic and international
regulation. A working knowledge of the relevant rules is essential to not endangering ourselves, our families, or our neighbors;
and to not disrupting other radio communications.
What are the penalties for violating the rules?
(a) If the FCC finds that you have willfully
or repeatedly violated the Communications Act or the FCC Rules, you may have to pay as much as $10,000 for each violation, up to a total of $75,000. (See Section 503(b) of the Communications
(b) If the FCC finds that you have violated any section of the Communications Act or the FCC Rules, you may be ordered to
stop whatever action caused the violation. (See Section 312(b) of the Communications Act.)
(c) If a Federal court finds that you have
willfully and knowingly violated any FCC Rule, you may be fined up to $500 for each day you committed the violation. (See
Section 502 of the Communications Act.)
(d) If a Federal court finds that you have willfully and knowingly violated any provision of
the Communications Act, you may be fined up to $10,000, or you may be imprisoned for one year, or both. (See Section 501 of
the Communications Act.)
[48 FR 24890, June 3, 1983, as amended at 57 FR 40343, Sept. 3, 1992]
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