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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB003 (2021)

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ARLB003 FCC Invites Comments on Expanding the Number of Volunteer
Examiner Coordinators

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ARRL Bulletin 3  ARLB003
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  January 8, 2021
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB003
ARLB003 FCC Invites Comments on Expanding the Number of Volunteer
Examiner Coordinators

In a January 5 Public Notice, the FCC requested comments on whether
the current 14 Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs) are sufficient
to facilitate the efforts of their accredited Volunteer Examiners
(VEs) in administering amateur radio examinations. The ARRL VEC is
the largest of the 14 VECs in the US. Comments are due by February
5, and reply comments are due by February 19. After Congress
authorized it to do so, the FCC adopted rules in 1983 to allow
volunteers to prepare and administer amateur radio examinations, and
it established the system of VECs and VEs.

The Public Notice can be found online in PDF format at,
https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-9A1.pdf .

"VECs introduced consistency into the volunteer examiner program by
centralizing accreditation of volunteer examiners, coordinating the
dates and times for scheduling examinations, and managing the
various administrative tasks arising from examinations," the FCC
said. Authorized VECs may operate in any of the 13 VEC regions but
must service at least one region. The FCC pointed out that some VECs
now offer remote examinations.

"The Commission has long maintained 14 VECs and now seeks to
consider whether they continue to serve the evolving needs of the
amateur community, or whether there are unmet needs that warrant
considering expanding the number of VECs."

The FCC Public Notice provided questions for framing comments:

* Are the existing 14 VECs sufficient to coordinate the efforts of
Volunteer Examiners in preparing and administering examinations for
amateur radio operator licenses, or are additional VECs needed?

* What needs are currently being met, and which needs, if any, are
not?

* If the FCC were to allow additional VECs, how many more would be
needed to satisfy existing Amateur Radio Service license examination
needs? (The FCC indicated that it will likely cap the number of
additional VECs at five.)

* Given that VECs use a collaborative process to create examination
question pools and volunteer examination administration protocols,
would additional VECs enhance or hinder this process?

* How would increasing the number of VECs address the unmet needs,
if any, of the amateur radio community, and what obstacles or
complications could result from increasing the number of VECs?

Interested parties may file short comments on WT Docket No. 21-2 via
the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing Service (Express) at,
https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express .

Visit the FCC's "How to Comment on FCC Proceedings" page for
information on filing extended comments at,
https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/how-comment .
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