Remote Amateur Radio Exam Instructions
Here’s a way to be sure you will pass the exam: Recommended Study Method
1. You must meet these requirements:
a. There is no age requirement to become an amateur radio operator.
b. If you are under 13 you will have to have your parent or guardian fill out the COPPA Parental Consent Form, save it as a pdf, and email it as an attachment to email@example.com before you can register for an exam.
c. You will need a signed government-issued picture ID, like a drivers license, passport, school ID or identity card.
d. You must have a US address where you can receive mail from the FCC - that’s an FCC requirement.This has been changed to you must have a valid email address the FCC can send correspondence to. So make sure you are using valid non disposable email.
e. The candidate must consent to the audio and video recording of the session. We need that in case our VEC asks for proof. We will not video your ID documents.
f. All session audio, video, and screen-share contents for any fully-remote exam session could be recorded and retained for a year for test integrity audits, review, and training.
2. You need a laptop or desktop computer, with an up-to-date Chrome web browser and webcam. We’ve tried a few other browsers that worked, but it would be a shame to cancel the test session because your browser is incompatible. So make sure you have Chrome before the exam. Be sure you can share your screen and your camera at the same time -
you can’t do that on an iPad. iPads can be used if that is the only device you have, we prefer you to use a computer, either desktop or laptop.
3. You will need to close all applications except Chrome and Zoom. If there are exceptions, you will have to explain to the examiners and we might not be able to administer the exam. You should disable pop-ups and messages - they’re not likely to invalidate the exam, but they are annoying. Put all electronic devices in another room.
4. The camera must clearly show the candidate’s entire face or a side view that shows the entire test area. The camera must be high enough quality to be usable for reviewing identification documents. Please try out your camera here to see if you can read your driver’s license: http://zoom.com/test. If you can’t read it, we can’t read it, and you’ll need another government-issued signed picture ID, like your passport.
5. We need to see around the room, and we need to see at least your face during the exam. A side view showing you at the computer is even better. You can use one computer to take the exam and a cell phone (out of reach and with sound turned off so we don’t hear ringing or notifications) logged into the Zoom meeting to show a side view. If you’re planning to use two devices, make sure both can get to the Zoom test. Please try this before the session!
6. Only a single monitor may be used. If you use multiple monitors, turn them off or unplug them. The examiners will ask to verify the other monitors are not going to go on during the exam. If they do, and you turn around to look at them, the VEs will probably terminate the exam. Almost for sure, they’ll question what’s going on, because at least 3 VEs are looking at you at all times.
7. At the start of your exam session, you will need a way to show the VEs your screen, computer, and working space. This can be accomplished by one of the following:
i. A laptop with camera and microphone, running the Zoom app, to join the same video call.
ii. Alternatively, a webcam that will show the examinee at all times.
8. A stable broadband internet connection, of at least 3mbps download and upload. We have had to postpone/reschedule sessions that did not have enough bandwidth on the examinee’s side. If your audio or video is cutting out, we’ll put you back in the Waiting Room and might lose your place in line. We have terminated exam sessions due to insufficient bandwidth or unstable Internet connections. Test your internet speed at https://www.speedtest.net/ and https://fast.com
9. Hands-free speaker and microphone setup:
a. Built-in to the computer is best.
b. Headphones and headsets are NOT allowed for participants because we don’t know what you’re listening to. You might be able to take off the headset while taking the exam and put them on before and after to receive instructions.
c. Microphone must be on and everything going on at the examinee’s location must be audible to the VE Team throughout the exam session. We have successfully used a side-view phone, which was out of the reach of the examinee.
10. A quiet space with a clear desk or table that can be kept that way for the entirety of the session. The following circumstances could invalidate your exam and require that you reschedule or at least exit the test room and possibly go to the end of the queue.
a. Another person walking into the exam space or being visible or audible
b. Obvious candidate distractions from any source (including phones, watches, pets, standing up, leaving your chair, etc.)
c. Appearing to look at anything but the exam screen. Reaching for things outside the view of the camera. Eyes moving away from the exam screen.
d. Any other suspicious circumstances as determined by the examiners – we need to maintain the integrity of the exam process – please help us do that!
e. With 3 or more VEs watching your eyes throughout the exam, you’re really being scrutinized, even more than an in-person exam.
11. Register for the session: Go to https://hamstudy.org/sessions and select your exam session. Follow the instructions in the Notes.
Remote Amateur Radio Exam Instructions
NOTE: ALL THE INFO YOU PROVIDE, except for your email address and phone number, WILL BE PUBLIC IN THE FCC ULS DATABASE as part of your license. So, when giving your address (the place where the FCC can contact you), you might want to give a P.O. Box, work address, or something other than where you actually live.
This is a good place to mention that if you’re upgrading, and your name doesn’t match what’s on your current license (in ULS), there could be a delay in processing your exam results - the FCC kicks back applications where the name on the application doesn’t match the ULS entry. We’ve had slight variations in names, like JR as part of the surname rather than as a suffix. It might look the same to you, but the computer will see it as a different name.
Register for the session following all prompts. Your information will be used on your license application. YES, YOU DO NEED AN FRN, so follow the prompts until you have one. Hamstudy.org interfaces with the FCC website so you can get your FRN. If you have an FRN, hamstudy will use it to verify your info.
Complete appropriate payment for the exam based on VEC fees. You will receive an invoice for payment.
Test out your computer, webcam, and microphone system by running Zoom in advance with someone else.
Verify that they can see and hear you, that you can share your screen
Verify that they can ready your ID.
Please do this in advance because it takes 15 minutes to do this if you’re not ready, and we have lots of folks waiting to take exams.
Ensure you have your ID ready to show to the VE team. You may use a drivers license, or any government-issued, signed picture ID. The GLAARG VEC folks only require that the VEs are satisfied as to your identity, so a Drivers License might be sufficient (if we can read it) - test to see that you can read your ID at http://zoom.com/test before the test session. A minor will have to have an adult verify both the adult’s identity and that of the minor.
Before the session:
1. Be sure to study. It would be a pity to go through all of this and then not pass the exam! We recommend using hamstudy.org and be sure you are regularly getting high passing grades on practice exams. You’ll need to take a lot of them to see a representative sample of the 420 questions in the exam pool – only 35 are drawn at random for any particular exam. Here’s how to use HamStudy.org to make sure you’re ready to pass! https://noji.com/hamradio/study.php#Recommended_Study_Method
2. Ensure all updates to your computer are completed the day before the exam. If your computer offers you a chance to update, defer it until after the exam.
3. Ensure you web browser has the latest updates:
For Chrome: Update Google Chrome - Android - Google Chrome Help
4. In order to minimize any concerns about the integrity of your exam, it is recommended to minimize any of the factors that could invalidate your exam. The recommendation is:
a. A completely empty and enclosed room, free of clutter, with all doors and windows closed (For example: a clean bathroom, dining room, bedroom, or library study room. You may also consider renting a study room or meeting room at your local library or school for this purpose).
b. Remove all objectionable materials from the space. This includes, but is not limited to, posters, flags, signs, etc, and is at the sole discretion of the examiners.
c. The space you are in should be entirely free of any electronics devices that could conceivably help you on the exam (leave your cell phone, smart watch, smart glasses, fitbit, tablets, other computers, security cameras, etc in another room and turned off) - exception: you can use your cell phone as a side camera to view you and your workspace. It has to be out of your reach throughout the exam.
d. The computer you are using for the exam should have all programs closed except Zoom and your browser, notifications disabled, and other background services turned off - turn off all chat programs, anything that could pop up on your screen, run all updates and reboot the computer at least an hour prior to the session
e. Ensure your internet connection is strong and reliable (if necessary, have others sharing your network reduce their usage during the exam). For example, have your family members stop streaming videos.
f. Setup your primary exam device and camera, ensure the focus and image quality are sufficient. Again, you can do that at http://zoom.com/test
5. Be sure to test your audio and video setup to ensure everything is working.
a. Ensure your internet connection is stable and sufficient (at least 3mbps download and upload) with https://fast.com/ or https://www.speedtest.net/
b. If others are using the same internet connection (especially on Wifi), inform them to avoid streaming video or downloading large files throughout the exam.
c. If your connection drops or the quality degrades significantly, your exam may be terminated and invalidated at the sole discretion of the VEs.
Taking your exam:
Be connected to Zoom and ready to go at least 5 mins before your scheduled session time. We prioritize the Waiting Room based on what order you joined. We usually have a queue of a
dozen or more people. You will be in a Waiting Room until the Host can bring you in. Sessions might run longer than scheduled, so please be patient. The Zoom Host (usually one of the VEs) will instruct you what to do and when to do it.
1. Ensure you are 100% focused during the entire exam session.
2. Any distractions or anomalies might void the exam at the sole discretion of the VEs (Volunteer Examiners). Anomalies include, but are not limited to:
a. Notable distraction by the candidate, such as eyes not remaining on the exam and/or wandering around the room.
b. Appearing to reference or use unauthorized materials (e.g. looks at cell phone, even just the lock screen, changing windows on computer, etc.)
c. Another person entering the exam space (on camera, physically, or audibly)
d. Participant getting up or leaving the room during the exam
3. Log into the exam session following the instructions you received during registration.
4. The VEs will ask you to move around your camera to check the room, exam table, writing paper, and any other items using both your primary camera and secondary viewing device (phone or mirror).
a. You may be asked to put things away, on the floor, close doors, windows, or otherwise. You should do these things ahead of time.
b. At any time during the session, you may be asked to move around your camera for the VE team to perform an additional check.
5. While taking the exam, the VEs will be on mute and have their cameras turned off to avoid any distractions to you. Remember, they will still be monitoring your session.
a. Your camera and microphone must remain active through the session.
6. If you have any questions during the exam, simply ask them verbally and the VE team will address any technical concerns you may have.
7. When you have completed the exam (and checked your answers if desired), the examiners will have you click the button grade the exam.
8. Your exam will be graded and you’ll know the results immediately.
After completion of your exam:
1. If you received a passing score on your exam:
a. The VE Team will submit your application to the Volunteer Exam Coordinator (VEC).
b. The VEC will review the session and upload the results to the FCC’s Electronic Batch Filing system. The VEC review could take a day or two, maybe more. The FCC usually processes batches of exams hourly, but the end-to-end process can take up to two weeks, depending on the volume of exams received by the VEC and how long it takes to resolve problems with your application, such as your name not matching your existing license..
You can search for your license here. We recommend searching using your FRN: http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchLicense.jsp
You will get an email from GLAARG VEC and Exam.Tools with instructions on how to download your license.
2. If you did not receive a passing score on your exam, you will have to reschedule to take another exam at another session.