PVVET And FCC Updates

At this moment in time, exams hosted by the Pioneer Valley VE Team (PVVET) are still on hold. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the venues we normally use have placed restrictions to where we can not host an exam. We are keeping our eyes and ears open for any venues that will allow us and abide by any safety guidelines.

We are eager to bring back exams here in the Valley. The moment we secure a Venue that is safe for all, we will be making announcements.

FCC Is Imposing Fees

The FCC will be requiring a $35 application fee in the future. This applies to anyone obtaining a license, upgrading their license, renewing their license and to those who are applying for a vanity callsign. Admin actions such as address, e-mail or name changes will remain free.

This is independent from the VECs (Volunteer Exam Coordinator). The PVVET or any other VEC or VE (Volunteer Examiner) team will NOT be accepting FCC application fees at exams. This is done electronically through the FCC. The applicant will be responsible for paying the fee. At the time of writing, the FCC hasn’t implemented the fees… yet!

Please note that the PVVET and Laurel VEC do not charge for examinations. However, other VECs (ARRL, W5YI) still charge for the administration of the exam which is separate from any FCC fees. Budget accordingly!

FCC Requiring Valid E-mail Address.

The FCC will be requiring a valid e-mail address for candidates taking a new exam or for any application or admin update (renewal, vanity, name change, address change).

For new candidates, this will be done when obtaining a FCC Registration Number (FRN) through their ULS/CORES system.

For renewals, upgrades and vanity apps, the candidate/applicant will have to log into the FCC’s ULS and update their records prior to submitting an application. If you have a FRN but never logged into the ULS, you’ll have to do a password reset.

If you do not provide a valid e-mail address, your application could be dismissed and any licenses could be canceled. Careful!

This will be implemented in late June of 2021

FCC Will No Longer Be Accepting Social Security Numbers On Form 605

The FCC will be no longer be accepting Social Security Numbers (SSN) on the NCVEC 605 Form (AKA “NCVEC QUICK-FORM 605”) that is normally used with ALL amateur radio examinations.

This has been PVVET policy since our team was founded. We’ve always required candidates to obtain a FRN prior to the exam. However this will eventually be applied to ALL VE teams regardless of the VEC (ARRL, W5YI, Etc). Laurel VEC has implemented this policy starting January 1st, 2021 for ALL Laurel VE teams. Others VECs may have not implemented it yet.

You will still have to provide the FCC with a valid SSN but it will be done through their website.

What Does This All Mean?

The FCC is changing over to a paperless and fully electronic system. All correspondence from the FCC will be sent electronically. They will no longer accept mailed in applications. This also requires ALL candidates, no matter where or who they are taking an exam with to obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) prior to the exam as the VE team will need that number.

The FCC will be implementing a $35 application fee that will have to be paid online through the FCC’s website. This fee is because of the RAY-BAUM Act (Repack Airways Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern services) enacted by congress in 2018. It was originally a $50 fee but due to outcry from the amateur radio community, they’ve lowered the fee to $35

This can be difficult for certain people that don’t have access or have limited access to a computer and/or e-mail. Also difficult for people that do not have a credit/debit card. There isn’t much the PVVET can do. We will try our best to help you.

What Will Change With PVVET Examinations?

At this point in time, nothing much. However, that can change as things are updated and implemented. Here is what will most likely happen with PVVET related exams.

The exam registration process will be the same except the candidate will most likely have to confirm their e-mail address with the FCC.

The examination itself and the grading process will not change.

Passing candidates will be instructed what to do after the examination with a handout. It’s the responsibility of the candidate to pay the application fee AFTER the exam has been submitted to the FCC .

The PVVET will no longer be able to e-mail candidates directly when their license is issued/updated. They should be receiving an e-mail from the FCC when a license is issued/updated. This depends on variables such as payment received and felon status.

How Can I Take An Exam?

Even though we’re not hosting any exams at this moment in time, there are other ways you can take an exam. We suggest that you take an exam before the FCC implements any fees

Check with the ARRL’s “Find an Exam” page and see if there is a in-person exam being hosted near you. It’s strongly suggested to contact the liaison to confirm they are hosting exams prior to attending.

You can take examinations online! In 2014 the FCC authorized VECs to host examinations remotely. Originally it was meant for hosting exams in remote areas like Alaska but has been adapted for the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are many VECs and VE teams hosting examinations online. There are requirements and they will differ depending on who is administering the examination. Usually it’s a copy of ZOOM software, decent internet connection (to support video streaming and web access), web browser, photo ID, per-registration and electronic payment. Some teams/VECs require an additional camera (smart/cell phone).

If you are interested in taking a remote exam, we suggest you head over Hamstudy.org’s online session page and find a session that suites your needs. You’ll see if the session is full or if there is available seats as they are limited. We STRONGLY suggest that you thoroughly read the guidelines/rules that pertain to that particular exam as they will be different from other teams!

Once the PVVET is able to secure a venue and resume in-person examinations, we will be making announcements on all our social media accounts including this website. We do look forward to helping those obtain and/or upgrade their FCC amateur radio license.

Thanks for reading,
Jeff (NT1K)
Pioneer Valley VE Team

All In Person Examinations Are Still On Hold

The Pioneer Valley VE Team has not hosted any examinations since early March or 2020. The PVVET normally depends on the kindness of local municipalities, schools, libraries, and hospitals to provide us the space needed to host examinations. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, these venues have placed restrictions not allowing us to host examinations. The PVVET fully supports their decisions and have halted In-Person examinations.

Until the restrictions have lifted or the PVVET can secure an alternate venue while still complying with local, state and federal regulations, the PVVET recommends online remote examinations (fees will apply and have no association with the PVVET).

We suggest that when you are ready and certain that you’ll pass the examination(s) that you head over to hamstudy.org’s sessions page and find an online (remote) exam with available slots.

Each VE team and each VEC has their own unique set of rules and guidelines when it comes to remote exams. Please make sure to read and understand their instructions.

We hope to be hosting in-person exams in the pioneer valley again.
Thank you for reading!

Jeffrey Bail (NT1K)
Pioneer Valley VE Team

PVVET examination on March 22nd postponed

Due to concerns over the COVID-19 infection, The Holyoke Medical Center (our venue where the HCRA Course and PVVET exam is taking place) is restricting access to the hospital facilities of all non-essential personnel such as vendors, outside contractors, students and volunteers until further notice.

Due to the restriction, the Pioneer Valley VE Team is postponing the examination. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we will inform you when the next examination is scheduled. At this point it’s out of our control and we respect the decision that was made.

Please keep the FCC registration number (FRN) you’ve obtained during registration. This number can be used in lieu of your Social Security Number (SSN) on any Laurel/PVVET or ARRL examination. The PVVET will carry over all pre-registrations to the next exam so there will be no requirement to register again.

Thank you for your understanding.

Free exam after the HCRA Tech License Course (March 22nd, 2020)

UPDATE (3/12/2020): Our venue is restricting access to the hospital facilities of all non-essential personnel such as vendors, outside contractors, students and volunteers over the COVID-19 infection. The exam will be postponed. Candidates will be notified

The Hampden County Amateur Radio Association (HCRA) has asked the Pioneer Valley Volunteer Exam Team (PVVET) to host a free amateur radio examination after their technician license course. The exam itself is open to anyone wishing to obtain and/or upgrade their FCC amateur radio license. You do not have to sign up for the course.

Please check out the event page for more information about the examination.

If you are interested in the HCRA’s technician’s license course, please visit their website. If you are taking the course, you’ll still need to register for the examination as it’s separate from the class.

Two Examinations Coming Up (Feb/Mar 2020)

The Pioneer Valley VE Team (PVVET) will be hosting two FREE amateur radio license examinations soon. As of writing this, there is plenty of time to study.

Greenfield MA – Feb 24th

The Franklin County Amateur Radio Club (FCARC) has once again asked the Pioneer Valley VE Team to host a FREE examination. It will be held on Monday, February 24th, 2020 on the Greenfield Community College’s campus. Exam will start at 7pm.

Please Click Here for the Event . We do require that candidates pre-register and provide a valid e-mail address and/or phone number to be contacted with more details about the venue

MTARA Hamfest – Chicopee MA – March 7th

The Mt. Tom Amateur Repeater Association (MTARA) has asked the PVVET to help administer FREE amateur radio examination at their annual hamfest on Saturday, March 7th 2020 at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee MA. Exam will start at approx 10:30am.

Please Click Here for the event. We do require that candidates pre-register for the examination. We do not accept Social Security Number (SSN) under circumstance.

PVVET will be testing in West Springfield December 16th (2019)

The Pioneer Valley VE Team will be hosting a FREE amateur radio examination at the West Springfield Public Library on Monday, December 16th at 6:00pm. We will be testing for all FCC amateur licenses.

Please see our events page for detailed information

We do require all those wishing to participate in the examination to pre-register.

PVVET and the FCARC will be hosting FREE exams in Greenfield

The Pioneer Valley VE Team is teaming up with the Franklin County Amateur Radio Club and we’ll be hosting FREE amateur radio examinations in Franklin county.

The next exam will be held at the Greenfield Community College on Monday, November 25th at 7pm in the East Building. Room TBD

We also might be holding other FREE exams throughout the year in Franklin county.

As with any PVVET examination, we require all candidates to pre-register prior to the examination. Please provide valid information.

Please check out our events page for more information about the venue

Examinations Coming To West Springfield!

The Pioneer Valley Volunteer Examination Team (PVVET) is currently working with the West Springfield Public Library (WSPL) to provide FREE amateur radio examinations to the public for 2019. We’re planning to host examinations in July, September and December. The venue has been recently renovated and it provides the perfect exam environment and the location is perfect (just minutes from I-90, I-91, I-290, route 20 and route 5). They have been wonderful hosts and hope to continue doing exams there.

With this announcement, it’s a perfect time to start studying for your exam if you haven’t done so already. There are multiple ways you can study. Since the PVVET is about providing FREE examinations so we strongly suggest to use Dan Romanchik’s (KB6NU) “No Nonsense Study Guide” along with the flash cards and practice exams at Hamstudy.Org . Both are free of charge as Dan gives out free PDF copies of his technician’s license guide. You can obtain your FCC Amateur Radio license absolutely FREE of any charge. If you want detailed information we also suggest the ARRL’s “Technician License Manual” ($29.95) for those who want to learn the material inside and out.

As with all PVVET examinations, we require candidates to obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) and pre-register prior to the examination. We will make an announcement when registrations are open. If you have any questions, please refer to our FAQ section

PVVET is coming to Franklin County on April 10th

That’s right! The PVVET will be coming back to Franklin County to give another FREE amateur radio examination on April 10th. This time it will be following the Greenfield Community College’s and Franklin County Amateur Radio Club’s general class license course.

The exam will be open to the general public. As with any PVVET examination, we ask that candidates obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) and pre-register prior to the examination. Candidates must bring valid identification and those wishing to upgrade must bring a signed photocopy of their FCC amateur radio license that will be given to the team.

The exam will start at approximately 7pm at GCC. Building and room will be announced closer to the exam.

Check out our events page for more information. Also check out our FAQ section for details about the exam itself and the PVVET.

Two Upcoming Examinations (Feb, Mar 2019)

The PVVET has added two examinations to our events calendar. The Hampden County Radio Association (HCRA) and the Mt. Tom Amateur Repeater Association (MTARA) has asked the PVVET to provide examinations for their events.

HCRA Technician License Course Examination

On Tuesday, February 26th, there will be an examination following the HCRA’s Technicians license course at the Holyoke Medical Center’s auxiliary conference center. The public is welcome to attend the examination. Doors open at 7pm and exams will start after everyone has checked in.

Click Here for the event page for the February 26th Exam. Make sure to provide contact information. Please note this exam date may change if there are any cancellations during the 6 week course.

MTARA Hamfest License Examination

On Saturday, March 9th, there will be an examination during the MTARA Hamfest at the Castle Of Knights in Chicopee. The exam will start at 10:30am. The MTARA has acquired a bigger venue this year to provide ample space for candidates. There will be no entry fee for those taking the examination. However, entry fees will apply if you decide to attend the Hamfest itself.

Click here for the event page for the March 9th examination at the MTARA Ham fest.

Pre-Registration Required For Both Exams

As always, both exams will be FREE of charge! However, we do require that those wishing to participate in the exam to obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) and to pre-register. Both which can be done very easily on this website and only takes a couple minutes. At the exam you will need to bring Identification and if you are upgrading, you will also need to bring a signed copy of your FCC amateur radio license. If you have any questions, please look at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) as most questions are answered there. If you still have a question, you can always contact us