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Notes from the ARRL VEC Desk


The ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) is one of 14 VECs in the US that coordinate the efforts of Volunteer Examiners (VEs) who administer Amateur Radio operator license examinations. More than 11,000 active ARRL VEs throughout the country give back to Amateur Radio by administering approximately 40,000 Technician, General and Amateur Extra exam elements each year.

ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, noted that as of Sunday, July 1, the new Amateur Extra (Element 4) exam goes into effect. All Element 4 exams given on or after that date must use the new exams; any exams given using the previous version (2008 series) will not be accepted. All VE teams should discard the previous versions of the Amateur Extra class exam booklets on or after midnight June 30, 2012, as they will no longer be valid.

“Five versions of the new exam were shipped out earlier this month to those ARRL VE teams that are formally field stocked by the ARRL VEC,” Somma said. If you are a field stocked VE team leader and have yet not received the package containing the new Amateur Extra exam versions, please contact the ARRL VEC. Current exam booklets are listed on the ARRL VEC website. Field stocked VEs should check this page periodically to make sure they have the current exam designs.

For those ARRL VE teams who use the ARRL’s VE Exam Maker exam generating software, version 1.4 has been updated with the new Amateur Extra class pool. It was released on the ARRL VEC software web page on June 25. Exam Maker 1.4 contains the new Amateur Extra class pool that must be in use for exam sessions starting July 1, 2012.

Somma explained that field stocked teams should be especially vigilant about keeping the ARRL VEC informed of who has possession of the exam supplies: “Notify us immediately when your address changes or the teams field stock changes hands to ensure that any exam updates will be mailed to and received by the proper person. Periodically check your supplies to make sure they are current and that the quantities are sufficient.”

Somma also reminds VEs to never throw away the blue overlay grading templates, as the templates are specifically designed to always be used for all exams, no matter what exams are created. “These templates will never become obsolete,” she said. “What will be replaced are the paper instructions, the “Key for Templates,” that explain how to line up the template and which template corresponds with which exam version for proper grading. This key will be changed or updated to let VEs know how to match up the templates with any new exams that are issued. Please shred or destroy previous versions of the paper “Key for Templates” and only use the version that displays “Valid on or after July 1, 2012” in the upper right corner of page.”

If you are a General class licensee (or higher) and are interested in becoming an ARRL Volunteer Examiner, please visit the ARRL VEC website for information.



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