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SCARS Amateur Radio License Exams


The SCARS Examination Team is saddened to report that two of our volunteeer examiners have become Silent Keys.

Hank, AC5VT, was a veteran of the United States Army and was a volunteer with Pottawatomie County Emergency Management. Jerry, AG5OK, was a long-time club member and examiner. The club and this team will miss them.

When does SCARS hold test sessions?

The South Canadian Amateur Radio Society VE Team conducts examinations for Amateur Radio licenses on the first Thursday of each month in the Training Center at Norman Fire Department Station 7 in Norman, Oklahoma. The exam session begins at 6:30 pm. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged so that we can prepare paperwork in advance and manage demand. "Walk-ins" are welcome, but will be handled on a space-available basis after all pre-registered applicants are checked in. SCARS volunteer examiners are accredited by the ARRL VEC.

Upcoming Exam Dates and Results
Register for a regular test session
Date Elements
Passed
New
Hams
Upgrades Days to
issue license
January 5 6 3 3 8
February 2 9 5 4 13
March 2 4 2 2 13
April 6
"End of class" test session but non-participants are welcome!
       
May 4        
June 1        
July 6        
Totals 19 10 9 9 Days Average
Previous results: 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Dates noted in red are not on the first Thursday, usually due to a holiday.


What the heck is ham radio?

Please visit the ARRL site that explains hamradio. We'll open the link in a new window or tab so you'll remember to come back.


Is it true that Morse testing is no longer required?

It is true. Morse code telegraphy testing has not been required for any amateur license 2007.


Years ago, I was a licensed, but lapsed. Can I get it back?

Not quite. If you hold a Technician class amateur license but once held a higher class license, you can use that expired license to claim exam credit. The ARRL has all the details. But briefly, an expired General or Advanced license gives credit for the Element 3 exam, qualifying you for General, while an expired Amateur Extra license gives credit for the Element 3 and 4 exams, qualifying you for Amateur Extra.

If you do not currently hold an amateur license, you must take and pass Element 2, the Technician exam, before the credits can be applied.

In either case, the procedure is the same including the VEC fee.


I passed the General written test a few years back but never passed the code. Now that Morse is gone, am I automatically a General?

No! However, if you held a Technician-class license issued prior to 1987-03-21 and you can supply proof of that, you can receive credit for the current Element 3. This is true even if that Technician license has expired. The ARRL VEC has all the details.


Is it true that Technicians have HF privileges?

Yes! As of 2007, all Technician-class radio amateurs gain access to parts of the HF spectrum regardless of whether they ever passed a Morse code test. Technicians can use CW from 3525-3600, 7025-7125, 21025-21200, and 28000-28500 kHz. They can also use data from 28000-28300 kHz and SSB voice from 28300-28500 kHz.


Do I need to register in advance?

Yes, please! All paperwork is prepared in advance to speed the session. Registration also allows the SCARS VE Team to manage demand. "Walk-ins" are welcome, but will be handled on a space-available basis and will be processed only after all pre-registered applicants are checked in. Please use our online form to register and thanks!


Where is the test site located?

Norman Fire Department Fire Station 7
2207 Goddard Ave
Norman OK 73069-8412

Testing sessions are conducted in the Norman Fire Department Training Center, part of Fire Station 7. Engine 7's quarters are located on the grounds of OU's Max Westheimer Airport near the intersection of Goddard Ave, W Rock Creek Rd, and N Flood Ave (formerly US-77).

This event is not sponsored by or endorsed by the City of Norman or the Norman Fire Department.

  • Google Map to the Fire Station.
  • From OKC and points north: I-35 south to Exit 113 (US-77 S - caution: left-hand exit). US-77 becomes N Flood Ave. Continue on N Flood Ave until the W Rock Creek Rd/Goddard Ave traffic signal. Turn right on Goddard Ave. The firehouse is about 1/4 mile ahead on the left.
  • From Purcell and points south: I-35 north to Exit 110 (Robinson St). Turn left at the end of the ramp onto W Robinson St and head east. At the 3rd signal (N Berry Rd), turn left and head north. At the end of Berry, turn left and head west on Westheimer Dr. Westheimer Dr turns into Goddard Ave near the Airport terminal. The firehouse is about 1/4 mile ahead on the right.


What do I need to bring with me to the test?

Identification A legal photo ID will be needed. A driver's license or Federal Common Access Card is ideal. If photo ID is not available, two forms of identification must be presented (birth certificate, report card, library card, Social Security card, utility bill, bank statement, Non-photo ID/driver's license, etc). Students may bring a school ID card, minor's work permit, school report card, library card and/or a written note from a legal guardian.
Licence, CSCE If you are already an Amateur Radio Operator and you are upgrading, you'll need to bring your original FCC license and a copy, as well as any Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE - also original and copy) for upgrades not yet reflected on your license.
Fee For 2017, the ARRL VEC fee for participating in the test session again remains $15. This fee covers ARRL VEC costs associated with preparing the exams and transmitting the data to the FCC. It covers all exam elements that a candidate passes in a given test session. An additional fee will be collected if a candidate wishes to retake a failed exam element.
Pencil or pen Tests are multiple choice and hand graded, so pencil or pen are permitted. Please note that all forms (Form 605, CSCE) must be in ink. The VE Team has a supply of pens and pencils but candidates are encouraged to bring their own. Note: Please do not write in the exam booklet - use the back of the answer sheet as scratch paper.
Calculator We have a few simple electronic calculators for candidates' use. Sorry, no PDAs, Smart Phones, or any other network-connected devices!
Form 605 Sessions go faster if you register for your exam. However, if you choose not to pre-register please be sure to fill out the NCVEC Form 605 (Instructions for Form 605) and bring the completed form with you to the session. This is the form that all VECs, ARRL VEC included, use to collect candidate information in preparation for transmission to the FCC. Complete Section 1 only and leave any confusing boxes blank until the exam session.

Note: The FCC requires licensees to register in their Universal Licensing System before a license can be issued. The ARRL VEC will handle this task for candidates, but for them to do that candidates will need to incude their TIN, or Taxpayer Identification Number, on the Form 605. Since the TIN is a candidate's Social Security Number, candidates should strongly consider obtaining an FRN ("FCC Registration Number") from the FCC's CORES system prior to registering for their exam session. This is a one-time task. Current licensees should have their FRN printed on their license; if not, FRNs can be determined by visiting an online callsign server.


Am I ready for the exam?

If you've studied the ARRL license manuals and are comfortable with the questions in the question pool, then you are probably ready to take the test.

If, on the other hand, you have been passing on-line practice exams and doing little else in the way of preparing, then it has been the team's experience that you are likely not sufficiently prepared to pass the written exam.

This is not a blanket indictment of on-line test sites, just our observation that students who fail the written tests, especially the entry-level Technician test, often state that they can't understand why they failed since they "always pass" the on-line test.

The Question and Answer Pools are in the public domain, per FCC regulation, but these provide no background material to help future hams actually understand the answers. There are many study guides available that do provide this background and the team has made some recommendations below.

The exam is a 35-question, multiple-choice exam. Questions are drawn from a pool of over 500 questions. The subject breakdown is covered in the next table.

Rather than try to memorize the pool, the SCARS VE Team recommends the following ARRL study guides for people interested in obtaining a Technician-class license:

For candidates studying for the General- and Amateur Extra-class licenses, the team recommends the following ARRL study guides:

As reference material, particularly for the Technician exam, the team recommends the FCC Rules and Regulations for the Amateur Radio Service (an ARRL publication)

Technician Exam Breakdown
Sub Element Subject Number of
Questions on Exam
(Total 35)
T1 FCC Rules 5
T2 Methods of Communication 2
T3 Radio Phenomena 2
T4 Station Licensee Duties 3
T5 Control Operator Duties 3
T6 Good Operating Practices 3
T7 Basic Communications Electronics 3
T8 Good Engineering Practice 6
T9 Special Operations 2
T0 Electrical, Antenna Structure and RF Safety Practices 6

Succesful candidates should be familiar (very familiar) with the following:

  • FCC Amateur Service Rules (47 CFR 97), especially amateur radio frequency allocations (47 CFR 97.301).
  • Basic station operation and RF safety
  • Basic radio wave propagation (D/E/F layers, tropospheric effects, etc)
  • Ohm's Law and other basic electronics
  • Formulae like "E = I x R", "468 / f" and "300 / f"


I can't make it to the SCARS exam session; are there others nearby?

The ARRL maintains a database of upcoming exams.


I passed the test, what is my callsign?

Once a candidate has successfully completed an examination for a new license or upgrade, the SCARS VE team completes the necessary paperwork and sends the results to the ARRL VEC by USPS First-Class Mail®. The ARRL VEC then verifies the paperwork and enters the data into a system that transmits the resulting information to the FCC. The FCC then updates its master database of Amateur licensees. Once a candidate's information and callsign appear in the the FCC database, the license has been legally granted and Amateur Radio operations may begin! A variety of databases are available on the net where candidates may check to see if the FCC has acted on their application.


Additional Resources


The SCARS VE Team

 N5UWY - Peter Laws, VE Team Liaison (191 as of November 14)

WX5DF  - Doug Forsyth (20)
AE5F   - Bill Lockett (38)
 W5JA  - Jud Ahern (40)
 N5KUK - Ken Brown (30)
WG5T   - Bill Baker (151)
KD5UGO - Phil Sinnett (16)
WB5ULK - Gary Skaggs (46)
WE5Z   - Norbert Suchanek (3)
KH6AAA - Tom Seale (31)
(Red indicates Top 5 in state)