FAQs

Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions. Before contacting the PVEET with any questions, please refer to the FAQs below. Your answers might be found.

Questions related to the registration process.

The PVVET requires that all applicants have a FCC Registration Number (FRN) prior to any examination.

If you currently hold a FCC amateur radio license and/or a General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) license, you have already been assigned a FRN.

You can Click Here to register using the FCC’s COmission REgistration System (CORES) website.

The PVVET has created a how-to guide on registering for a FRN

The PVVET will accept many forms of identification. We prefer either State/Government issued photo IDs such as.

  • State Issued Drivers License
  • State Issued Identification Card
  • US Passport
  • US Passcard
  • Military Identification

We will also accept

  • Photo School ID
  • Library Card
  • Utility Bills in your name/address
  • Non photo IDs

It’s suggested that if you don’t have photo ID, that you bring multiple forms of identification.

 

Most examinations with the PVVET require pre-registration. One of the registration steps requires the applicant to obtain a FRN if they don’t currently have one.  Those showing up to the examination should have a FRN. It’s very easy to do. It takes a couple minutes and the FCC will instantly issue you a number.

There are some special situations where the PVVET will host examinations that accept walkins without having to pre-register. We still require the applicant to obtain a FRN prior the examination date.

If an applicant shows up to the examination that allows walk-ins without a FRN, the PVVET will have the applicant attempt to obtain an FRN using the FCC’s CORES website. If there is a lack of internet connection or the applicant is not successful in obtaining an FRN, the applicant will be denied an examination.

It’s policy of the PVVET to not accept Social Security Numbers (SSN) under any circumstances.

The PVVET normally requires candidates to pre-register on our website prior to the examination. This allows the candidate to focus on the exam and it allows for faster and smoother check in period.

There will be certain situations where the PVVET will allow walk-ins (Those who haven’t pre-registered). If the PVVET is providing an examination in conjunction with a public event such as an amateur radio festival, we may allow walk-ins.

All candidates, regardless of their registration method, must obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) prior to the exam date.

 

The PVVET employs an online pre-registration process using google forms and/or Hamstudy.org’s exam tools. In most cases, we require that all applicants register for an examination online anytime prior to the day of the exam. Candidates that show up to an examination without pre-registering on this website will possibly be denied.

There are some special occasions where the PVVET will host an examination that will allow “walk-ins”. We would still prefer that you pre-register on our website to speed up the check in process.

Candidates will still need to bring Identification, supporting documents and copies of their supporting documents.

The FCC requires the applicant to check either “Yes” or “No” next to the question “Has the Applicant or any party to this application, or any party directly or indirectly controlling the Applicant, ever been convicted of a
felony by any state or federal court?”

The FCC wants to ensure each new licensee and licensees who upgrade
have the necessary character to be a licensee in accordance with the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended. It is also required on form 601 that are used by other services applying to the FCC.

You can read more about it here.

Please note that this is an FCC requirement and not a VEC or VE Team requirement.

It’s policy of the PVVET to only accept FCC Registration Number (FRN). We prefer to not handle Social Security Numbers (SSN) due to possible privacy concerns.

Accepting FRNs only also speeds up the registration process. This allows the applicant to pre-register on our website. Focus can now be dedicated to the exam instead of having to deal with paperwork.

It only takes minutes to obtain a FRN from the FCC. If you have a FCC amateur radio or GMRS license, you already have a FRN. Please see the FAQ for more information

ZERO! ZIP! NADA! FREE!

There are no fees associated with PVVET examinations in any way shape or form. There are no strings attached. No donations needed and there should be no admission fees associated with the examination.

We do ask that applicants obtain a FRN and pre-register on our website prior to the examination.

Load More

Questions concerning the examination process.

We do not allow electronic devices capable of mass storage to be used at or during the examination. This includes graphing calculators, cellular phones, smart phones, tablets, PCs, laptops, PDAs and other devices.

Calculators must be checked by the VE team.

All phones or other devices must be either turned off or silenced and put away from view before and during the examination.

Candidates are not allowed to converse with each other while examinations are out.

All applicants need to obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) and pre-register on our website. At the examination, all applicants should bring their identification, writing utensils (pens and/or pencils) and a basic calculator.

Applicants who are upgrading must bring their signed license and a photocopy of their signed license to be given to the team. If the applicant doesn’t pass the examination, documents will be handed back.

Applicants who recently passed an examination but the FCC’s ULS HAS NOT UPDATED, must bring their original CSCE and a copy of their CSCE

Applicants who’s licensed has lapsed must provide proof of exam credit.

When you are ready!

It’s suggested that the applicant take multiple practice examinations online. https://hamstudy.org offers excellent resources for those trying to obtain or upgrade their FCC amateur radio license.

The PVVET feels that when the applicant starts averaging 80% or higher on the practice examinations, the applicant is ready for their examination. We also suggest that if possible, to look at the materials related to the next element as some of the questions from one element can also apply on the others.

If you are ready, you can look at our schedule for the next PVVET sponsored examinations. If not, you can also look at the Laurel VEC schedule. You can  also find an exam on Hamstudy.org or visit the ARRL’s find an examination page.  FEEs may apply when using other VE teams/VECs

VEs have to be accredited and sponsored by a VEC (Volunteer Exam Coordinator). There are currently 14 VECs operating in the US. Each VEC has their own unique set of policies and guidelines that might differ from other VECs.

Most (if not all) of the VECs are part of the NCVEC (National Conference of Volunteer Exam Coordinators). They are responsible for producing and maintaining the questions and answers to amateur radio examinations. That’s why the test questions are the same throughout different VECs. The NCVEC also helps solve any issues that might come up between the FCC and VECs. The NCVEC, VECs, VE Teams and VEs all have to follow the rules set by the FCC.

Currently the largest VEC operating in the US is the ARRL VEC. They are responsible for approximately 70% of the examinations administered. The PVVET is accredited by the Laurel VEC.  Even though the exam questions/answers are the same, the registration process, grading and submission process is different.

What applies to PVVET sponsored examinations will be different from other area VE Teams and their respective VECs.

Yes!  It’s very possible that you could take all three exams in one sitting.

The PVVET will issue one exam at a time. When you are finished with the examination, please inform the VE that you would like to take another test. The examiner will usually make an offer to take the next element.

 

Depending on the exam, you will have to answer 35 or 50 multiple choice questions.

  • Technician (Element 2) – 35 Questions – Must answer at least 26 questions correctly to pass
  • General (Element 3) – 35 Questions – Must answer at least 26 questions correctly to pass
  • Extra (Element 4) – 50 Questions – Must answer at least 37 questions correctly to pass

Cell phones or other devices capable of mass storage can not be used as calculators during PVVET exams.  We only allow basic calculators.

We ask for cellphones to be turned off during examination. No electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, PCs, PDAs and others are allowed to be used during the examination.

You may be able to use a calculator.

Please show the calculator to the VE Team before use. Calculators capable of mass storage (i.e. graphing calculators) are not allowed to be used. Cellular/Smart phones are not allowed to be used as a calculator.

Retakes are given at the discretion of the team. If applicants failed by only a couple questions and there is time allowed, the team will suggest a re-take. Applicants will be given a different version of the examination.

Retakes will not be given if the venue’s allotted time is running out.

Load More

Questions about what happens after the exam

Your license and/or upgrade will show up in the FCC’s ULS database anywhere between 1hr and 48hrs after the examination. We’ve had exams where the results were live in the FCC ULS within 1/2hr. However, there could be delays caused by government holidays or shutdowns.

If your e-mail address is on record with the PVVET, we will usually e-mail you with results.

The FCC no longer mails out printed copies of your license as of 2015. For new licensee’s, once your callsign appears in the FCC’s ULS, you are legally allowed to use it on the air.

It’s strongly suggested that you print and sign at least 2 copies of your license. If you wish to upgrade, you must bring a signed copy of your license that will be given to the team.

It’s possible for candidate to receive a paper copy of their license from the FCC. Prior to the examination, the candidate can create an account on the FCC’s ULS and opt-in for a paper license.

If you’ve already been issued a license and have upgraded at an exam session, soon as you get the signed CSCE, you will be allowed to use the frequencies allowed by your license immediately.

If you upgraded to general class (element 3), you will have to sign with “/AG” or “Temporary AG” or “Stroke AG” when you are on frequencies reserved for general and above. For example you would say, “This is KC1XXX temporary AG”

If you upgraded to extra class (element 4), you will have to sign with “/AE” or “Temporary AE” or “Stroke AE” when you are on frequencies reserved for extra class operators. For example you would say, “This is KC1XXX temporary AE”

Once the FCC ULS has updated with your new license class, you no longer have to add the temporary AG or AE suffix to your callsign. You also don’t have to add the temporary AG or AE on frequencies that you were allowed to operate on with your previous license.

If you did not have a license and passed your element 2 along with element 3 and/or 4, you can not transmit until your callsign is issued in the FCC’s ULS.  Once your licensed has been issued and appears in the FCC’s ULS, you do not have to attach the temp suffix since you were issued either a general or extra class license.

There so many aspects to amateur radio that it would be impossible to list them all here. The PVVET strongly suggests that you join an area club.

First thing we usually suggest to new hams in the area is to get on the air! You went through all that studying for license, put it to good use. There are many active repeaters in the valley. There are even some that are networked that make a device like a handheld radio communicate around the world using IP (Internet Protocol). There are even some newer digital modes such as DMR, D-STAR and Yaesu System Fusion in operation around the valley.

You can find a list of up-to-date frequencies at the New England Repeater Directory.

Yes!!

There are many amateur radio clubs in the pioneer valley. Some of them will offer a free 1 year membership to newly licensed hams. It’s strongly suggested that you join at least 1 club. There may be representatives from area clubs at PVVET examinations who will help you obtain membership.

Check out our clubs page for area clubs

Why?

By joining a club, you’ll be able to meet many operators that live in the area. You will also be able to explore the many aspects of amateur radio and what it has to offer. You may learn something new that you can apply to the hobby or your everyday life. The clubs will also be there in a time of need. Have trouble deciding on what antenna to put up or you need a hand putting it up? The club could be there to help. Or you might have a unique skill that could help out your fellow club members.

Clubs also help out the community in a time of need when normal means of communications has been compromised. There is a network of dedicated hams in the pioneer valley who focus on communications in a time need.

Now that you have your license, there are many aspects of amateur radio that you can enjoy. There is so much that we wouldn’t be able to list them all.

The PVVET does suggest that you join a local club. That way you can interact with area operators and see what the area has to offer.

You can view our list of area clubs

Congratulations!

After the examination is completed, the session will be submitted electronically for review. Once the review process is finished, the information will be submitted electronically to the FCC for processing.

You will be provided with a Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) before leaving the exam. The CSCE is proof that you’ve passed your examination(s).

If you are obtaining your first license, please visit the FCC’s ULS website and search for your new license, once it’s listed in the FCC ULS Database, you will see your call sign and you will be legally allowed to use it on the air.

If you are upgrading to a General or Extra class license, you are legally allowed to immediately use those privileges. However, if you are transmitting on those frequencies, you have to affix /AG for general and /AE for extra to the end of your callsign whenever you are identifying

For example: This is “KF1XYZ Stroke AG”

If by any chance you take another examination before the FCC’s ULS is updated, you will need to bring the CSCE and a copy of the CSCE to the examination. If the ULS has updated, it’s best if you print 2 copies of your license, sign them and bring them to the examination.

Load More

Questions about the Pioneer Valley VE Team

Other than being volunteers for the Laurel VEC, the PVVET is not associated or sponsored by any club of any kind. We’re an independent group of hams dedicated to providing free examinations here in the pioneer valley.

We also help find area clubs for candidates depending on their home location. Many of the VE’s within the team may belong to various clubs, other VECs or other VE teams. It’s all about helping!

A VE is known as a Volunteer Examiner.

A VE is responsible for administering or helping with the administration of examinations. The includes checking in the candidates, answering any questions, issuing exams, grading exams and to ensure that paperwork related to the examination and candidate is properly filled out.

Each examination session will have an appointed “Team Leader” Or “Liaison”. They are responsible for securing a venue, setting up the examination, ensure the paperwork is in order and submitting the paperwork.

All VE’s and VE teams must be accredited by a Volunteer Exam Coordinator (VEC). The VEC is responsible for the VE teams and they will act as Liaison between the team and the FCC. There are currently 14 VECs in the US. The PVVET and its VEs are accredited by the Laurel VEC.

VE’s within the PVVET are added by the team leader. VE’s that volunteer with PVVET may also be involved with other VE teams and their respective VEC.

The PVVET is a fairly new group. At this time we are limiting ourselves to 4 examinations a year. If we see large turnouts, we’ll consider monthly examinations depending on venue availability.

No.

The PVVET is not associated with the ARRL. Our examinations are not handled by the ARRL VEC. Our examinations and examiners are accredited by Laurel VEC. This allows us to offer free testing and electronic submission.

With the exceptions of the events listed on this website… No.

The PVVET is not associated or sponsored by any club or group other than itself. Most, if not all the VEs that make up the PVVET also help other teams and their VECs in the area administer examinations.

There may be fees associated with other examinations in the area.

The PVVET does not accept donations or sponsorship of any kind. We’re an independent team and wish to remain so.

If you insist, we ask that you become active in area amateur radio clubs instead. They need your support in more ways other than financially. Please volunteer your time to help support amateur radio in the area! Get on the air, be active!

VEs have to be accredited and sponsored by a VEC (Volunteer Exam Coordinator). There are currently 14 VECs operating in the US. Each VEC has their own unique set of policies and guidelines that might differ from other VECs.

Most (if not all) of the VECs are part of the NCVEC (National Conference of Volunteer Exam Coordinators). They are responsible for producing and maintaining the questions and answers to amateur radio examinations. That’s why the test questions are the same throughout different VECs. The NCVEC also helps solve any issues that might come up between the FCC and VECs. The NCVEC, VECs, VE Teams and VEs all have to follow the rules set by the FCC.

Currently the largest VEC operating in the US is the ARRL VEC. They are responsible for approximately 70% of the examinations administered. The PVVET is accredited by the Laurel VEC.  Even though the exam questions/answers are the same, the registration process, grading and submission process is different.

What applies to PVVET sponsored examinations will be different from other area VE Teams and their respective VECs.

Yes!

If you’re a representative of an area club, maker space, hacker space, robotics team, radio controller club, electronics club or an amateur radio instructor or School Instructor and would like to hold an examination for your group/class, we would like to help you.

The PVVET requires at least a one month notice to prepare VE’s and possibly promote examinations if the public is allowed. If the PVVET can not require the needed amount of examiners for the planned date, it will have to be moved.

Thank you for your interest.

The PVVET operates under the Laurel VEC.  Volunteer Examiners (VEs) must be accredited with Laurel VEC in order participate in PVVET sponsored exams. The PVVET can not accept accredited VEs from other VECs such as ARRL, W5YI and others.

The Laurel accreditation process is different compared to other VECs. Laurel VEC does not accept VE applications directly. VEs are added by the team leaders and will be reviewed by Laurel before being accepted.

For more information, please visit the Laurel VEC’s website.

At this point in time, the PVVET has enough VE’s but if you are still interested, please contact us and we’ll keep you in mind if we need more.

The PVVET is accredited by the Laurel Volunteer Exam Coordinator. Since 1984, Laurel VEC has proudly been offering free exams.

The PVVET is comprised of amateur operators who volunteer their time to help support amateur radio in the community. The operating costs are funded by the volunteers that are within the team. The PVVET does not and will not accept monetary donations.

 

Load More