The Volunteer Consulting Engineer Program
The Volunteer Consulting Engineer Program provides assistance to amateurs who may need to meet structural requirements set forth by local zoning authorities. Such engineering requirements are often necessary to obtain a permit to erect an antenna support structure. Hams often need an "expert witness" to certify that the tower in question meets or will meet the engineering requirements of local ordinances. Amateurs who need assistance are referred to Volunteer Consulting Engineers in their area.
As with Volunteer Counsels, VCEs are not expected to provide their services for free, but are asked to provide an initial consultation gratis and to consider giving discounted rates to amateurs where possible to meet a common goal for the good of Amateur Radio in the community. Unfortunately, there are some states where the ARRL has no VCEs.
VCEs shall keep their Division Director apprised of engineering work that they are doing if it was a result of a referral through the VCE Program.
VCEs must be full ARRL members, and licensed amateurs as well as Registered Professional (structural, civil or mechanical) Engineers. If you are interested in becoming involved in either program, please complete the application and mail it to the Regulatory Information Branch at ARRL Headquarters. Locate an existing Volunteer Consulting Engineer in your area.
ARRL Volunteer Consulting Engineer Program Policy
ARRL Volunteer Consulting Engineer Program
The purpose of the ARRL Volunteer Consulting Engineer is to make available to ARRL members a pool of qualified registered professional engineers who are Amateur Radio operators. VCE appointments do not require Division Director approval. As professionals, VCEs work to assist amateurs regionally with a variety of technical issues which can only be handled by a registered professional engineer. Most amateur needs involve antenna zoning restrictions and a possible need for expert technical testimony at zoning hearings.
A list of VCEs nationally can be found at:http://www.arrl.org/locate-a-vce.
Potential VCE candidates must complete a VCE application and forward it to ARRL HQ for processing. Applications are available from ARRL HQ. An on-line application is available at: http://www.arrl.org/vce-application.
Amateurs may access on-line PRB-1 material at http://www.arrl.org/prb-1
Provides online PRB-1information and other regulatory and technical material to VCEs at no
The Volunteer Consulting Engineer:
Must be an Amateur Radio operator;
Must be a member of ARRL;
Must provide an initial consultation to ARRL members at no cost;
Must provide a profile for referral to ARRL members which will include, but is not limited to, the name, call sign, address, phone number, area of specialization and state(s) in which state registration has been obtained;
Must be a registered professional engineer (structural, civil or mechanical) by the appropriate department of state government;
Must notify the Regulatory Information Branch at ARRL HQ of contact information changes (many VCEs prefer that office contact information is given to amateurs seeking referrals while the QST mailing address remains at the home address);
Should be able to provide expert testimony and information on issues such as, but not limited to, structure wind loading, guy anchor requirements for given soil conditions, antenna height effectiveness and data on antenna structure safety and consistency with local building codes;
Should work as a team with section and division-level ARRL appointees;
Should attend ARRL-sponsored regional technical and regulatory seminars when possible;
Should work with regional Volunteer Counsel members concerning legal aspects of cases and with other ARRL Section-level volunteers as needed;
May be called upon to speak at Amateur Radio gatherings on their area of expertise.
An Amateur Seeking Engineering Advice:
Must be an ARRL member at the time assistance is provided;
Must understand that a reasonable fee may be charged by the VCE for time spent after the initial consultation;
Must understand that ARRL holds no liability for the actions of VCEs;
Must understand that VCEs are not lawyers and can’t provide legal advice.