Thursday, May 14, 2020

Hams Get Creative for License Exams

With typical amateur radio license exam sessions largely postponed due to coronavirus restrictions on group gatherings, hams are exploring new options. A growing number of Volunteer Examiner (VE) teams are offering remote test sessions, and some in-person exams are continuing, in accordance with local guidelines. Newsline reported recently on an exam session in Norway that was held in the woods! And the Blue Mountain, Oregon, Eagle newspaper reported that Grant County ARES held an outdoor test session in late April, while keeping the group size below the state's 10-person limit, keeping everyone six feet apart and requiring all participants to wear face masks. It was noted that all five candidates passed their exams.

In the United Kingdom, online exams are also being offered and the Radio Society of Great Britain reported that in its first month of offering remote exams, 216 candidates had taken the entry level (Foundation) test and that 93% of them had passed. This is a significant increase from the 79% passing rate in the four months ending January 31. According to Southgate Amateur Radio News, RSGB is suggesting that the higher pass rates are most likely due to candidates being able to learn at their own pace and wait until they feel they are ready before taking the exam.

CQ's June issue will have a comprehensive look at the different approaches being taken by several Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs) in the United States.