ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB049 (2002)

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB049
ARLB049 NCVEC endorses trial of amateur testing via 
videoconferencing

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ARRL Bulletin 49  ARLB049
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  August 7, 2002
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB049
ARLB049 NCVEC endorses trial of amateur testing via 
videoconferencing

The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators has
endorsed experimental use of videoconferencing technology to conduct
Amateur Radio testing in remote areas of Alaska. Meeting July 26 in
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the NCVEC voted 6-3 with two abstentions
to back a one-year trial run to be conducted by the Anchorage
Volunteer Examiner Coordinator.

Jim Wiley, KL7CC, of the Anchorage VEC told his VEC colleagues that
it's very expensive to provide Amateur Radio test sessions to the
thousands of Alaska residents who live in remote areas. The vote
followed discussion on whether having a VE team remotely monitor a
test session while an unlicensed individual proctored the exams on
site would comply with FCC Part 97 rules. Section 97.509(c) calls
for three VEs to be "present and observing" the examinees.

Bill Cross, W3TN, of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau,
pointed out that the VEC and the VEs are responsible for the proper
conduct of the exams. He said that no rule changes appeared
necessary because VECs already have authority to determine the
manner in which their VE teams conduct examination sessions.

Cross emphasized no VECs would be required to coordinate exam
sessions using a testing method they were not comfortable with.
"The conference was willing to allow the Anchorage VEC to conduct a
trial in Alaska of the program it has developed after it describes
the program in further detail," he said.

Wiley said he believes ham radio tests can be administered using
videoconferencing technology without compromising exam integrity
while maintaining "the same level of confidence in the testing
process" that now exists. He agreed to provide progress reports to
the NCVEC on the videoconferencing trial.
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