ARRL General Bulletin ARLB013 (1996)

ARLB013 Question pool committee

ARRL Bulletin 13  ARLB013
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  February 23, 1996
To all radio amateurs

ARLB013 Question pool committee

ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, advised FCC Private
Wireless Division Chief Robert H. McNamara on February 23, 1996 that
the mechanism to maintain question pools for FCC Amateur Radio
examination elements has broken down and no longer operates as FCC
rules require. ARRL wants the FCC to issue a public notice to that
effect, clearing the way for the creation of a substitute mechanism.

The League s request stems from last year s decision by a majority of
the Volunteer Examiner Coordinators to incorporate a previously
informal organization as National Conference of Volunteer Examiner
Coordinators Inc. ARRL/VEC and some other VECs chose to not
participate in the corporation. At that time, Sumner emphasized that
ARRL Volunteer Examiner Department Manager Bart Jahnke, KB9NM, would
continue to participate with other VECs on issues of common interest,
and that the League did not want to change the cooperative
relationship that existed between the ARRL and other VECs. NCVEC Inc
later removed Jahnke from the question pool committee (QPC), which
had been the mechanism for VECs to cooperate in maintaining question
pools for written ham radio examination elements.

In October, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Deputy Chief Ralph
Haller confirmed that the NCVEC has no recognition in the
Communications Act or the FCC Rules, and that the FCC views each VEC
individuaIly. He said the FCC expected all VECs to be able to
participate in question pool activities. In December, the FCC s
McNamara asked NCVEC Inc president, Dalton H. Tunstill, WB4HOK, to
immediately reinstate the ARRL/VEC to a seat on the QPC. The
conference so far has refused, but stated that, if certain conditions
were met, Jahnke would be eligible for election to the QPC when the
conference meets in July. The League now formally requests the FCC to
advise Tunstill that the question pool committee operating
exclusively under the NCVEC Inc is no longer the mechanism through
which question pools for Amateur Radio Service examinations are
maintained and to issue public notice to that effect.

The League asks the FCC to terminate its agreement with any VEC that
took part in the decision to exclude the ARRL/VEC or other VEC from
cooperating in the maintenance of the question pools, as their action
violated Section 97.523 of the FCC s rules. The League has invited
all VECs to cooperate in creating a replacement Question Pool
Committee, which would be open to all FCC-recognized VECs.

The ARRL said its exclusion from the QPC caused material appropriate
for study by prospective Technician Class applicants to be left out
of the Novice (element 2) and Technician (element 3A) syllabi the
committee released February 1, 1996. The present syllabi are not
acceptable to the ARRL because study guides prepared for these
examinations won t include the missing material, and applicants won t
be tested on it.

The ARRL said its exclusion also resulted in errors in the revised
question pool for the Amateur Extra Class written examination,
element 4B, released by the Question Pool Committee December 1 for
use starting July 1, 1996. The League said VECs can correct this by
simply not using the defective questions in their examinations.

The ARRL/VEC coordinates approximately two-thirds of all FCC Amateur
Radio examinations.