Remote VE Session Methods that Hams in the Area Have Used

This article is a compilation of emails received from several new hams in the OCRA club on how they were able to obtain their amateur radio license via remote VE sessions there were available.

From Steve, now KO4EJX…

Dan,

I found the website for on-line exams thru Facebook, I think.  The site is https://hamstudy.org/.  There is a button to find a session and it tells you ff they are on line or in person.  I scrolled down until I found a session that was a) not full and b) at a time that I thought would work.  Primarily, eastern time, not pacific time!

I filled out a registration and paid the fee ($15) by pay-pal and they sent me all the info to  log into the Zoom session and a separate link for the exam.

Once the session started, 3 VE’s were on Zoom and I had to have two cameras, one on the laptop and a second on my phone or i-pad.  During the exam, I had to share my screen and have the second device muted and aimed at my hands and the computer.  Before the exam, we did a 360 around the room, under the table and everywhere else to make sure there were no notes, books or papers.  No cheating! I think that was part of the conditions to hold exams on-line.

The exam itself was on-line, click the letter with the answer and scroll down to the next one.  Once done, they graded it immediately and off we went.  The proctors were watching but turned off their video so they didn’t distract me.

I passed with 32/35 and had my call sign the next morning.  They sent the e-mail with the call sign before noon the next morning and then the FCC sent an e-mail a couple of days later.  Very easy/painless.  The main VE said in one e-mail they were using a beta exam software.  I’ll try to find his info and send it along so maybe the club can ask about that.  This was all thru the Columbia University ARC in NY.

Hope this helps and I enjoyed the meeting tonight.  Lots of fun and you guys make us newbies feel welcome!

Thanks
Steve

Here is the e-mail I received after registration for the on-line exam.    There may be several e-mails attached.  I’m not sure how this is going to forward!

STeve

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Alan Crosswell <alan+ve@columbia.edu>
Date: Mon, Jun 8, 2020 at 4:12 PM
Subject: Confirmed Hamstudy registration
To:  Steve…….
Now that you’ve registered on hamstudy.org and have received your 4-digit PIN, please follow the next steps. Upon successful completion of those steps, you’ll be assigned a time slot beginning somewhere between 6:00 and 7:45 PM Eastern Time.
  1. Make sure you’ve reviewed www.w2aee.columbia.edu/video-exams and that you meet the requirements for taking the test. If you are using a Mac, make sure you set permissions in advance. (This is a new Zoom feature as of late May, 2020.)
  2. Let me know if you plan on taking more than one exam element: We will allow you to take additional exam elements if you pass earlier elements, but only if you are well prepared. There is no additional fee for additional elements but we need to know your plans so we can schedule your and other candidate’s exam sessions accordingly, since we are only able to supervise one exam at a time.
  3. Pay the registration fee by sending $15 either by Venmo, Zelle or Paypal. Failure to send payment by 48 hours before the scheduled session time will result in your session reservation being cancelled.

VENMO

Send to @Alan-Crosswell (scan the QR code below) and provide the last four digits if Venmo asks: 7124

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From Ken, now KO4DHJ……

Dan,

When this pandemic hit I was ready to take my test at your March 7th testing session but…… (other obligation)……I passed on in person testing.

As April rolled around I was all ready to go and every test session was being shut down. I viewed a YouTube being done by Martin Brossman and a couple of guys that had been doing remote testing for quite some time in Alaska. So I recorded all their contact info and began my quest to remote test. I already had my FRN so all I needed to do was pay for the small registration & testing fee and find a proctor to monitor me while I tested. I found my neighbor across the street who is a General Class license holder who needed to qualify and be tested to be a proctor and obtain certification as a proctor by the Anchorage VECs. Once that was accomplished we needed to pick a date. That was May 7th at 6:00PM. The proctor inspected my kitchen, my laptop, table, scratch paper and pencil. Once the area passed inspection, I logged into the testing system and once sound tests were done and all 3 remote VEs could view and hear ok, the test began. In 15 minutes, I had passed Technician Class with 88.6% correct, then they offered General Class test which after another 20 minutes, I also passed General with an 86.8%. I was congratulated and asked if I wanted to try the Extra, which I said no.  Next an email document was sent and electronically signed my signature and that I’d have my call sign within the hour!

Waited my hour, no call sign, then I got a call from the Anchorage VEC telling me congrats for passing Tech, and because my proctor was only a General, I could only get credit for Tech.  Had I taken the Extra and passed it that night and only came away with Technician, I would have been a bit upset!

The AVEC also said  it would have been better if I had someone proctor that was not affiliated with amateur radio at all. Like a doctor, lawyer, police officer, sheriff deputy and not retired but active! My next choice would have been a retired federal prosecutor from church which wouldn’t have qualified because they need to be actively employed in their field of work.

All in all a great experience and I’ll get the General retest as soon as I can get a live in person session.

Feel free to modify the text if it is too detailed or feel I forgot a key point, I’ll answer any questions you have.

Ken

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