Information Net for March 12

What Does a Volunteer Examiner (VE) Do?

Read by: ED KE4JWS


ARRL VE badge (Photo credit: Abraxas3d)

Volunteer Examiners (VEs) are licensed radio amateurs holding a General Class license or higher who offer their time to administer the FCC licensing tests. Learn how you can become a VE associated with the ARRL Volunteer Coordinator office (VEC) by reviewing the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Manual.

Relying on the training and experience of ARRL VEs who conduct FCC license exams, ARRL also authorizes VEs to conduct exam sessions for ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course. An additional registration with ARRL’s Continuing Education Program is required. Find more information at EmComm Field Exam Resources.

ARRL Volunteer Examiners Serve the Community

If you are interested in becoming an ARRL Volunteer Examiner (VE) and serving the Amateur Radio community, it’s easy and at no cost!


Just follow these three easy steps:

  1. Review the Volunteer Examiner Manual, paying special attention to Chapter 2: Becoming a Volunteer Examiner.
  2. Complete and sign the VE Application form and open-book review* (40 question review).
  3. Please fax, mail/courier or email forms (Adobe PDF file or scanned JPEG image showing your real signature) to the address below:**

225 Main St.
Newington, CT 06111 USA
Fax: 860-594-0339

Once accredited, you will receive in the mail a colorful, laminated VE badge, and badge clip to wear at exam sessions and a certificate suitable for framing. Please allow 3-4 weeks for the ARRL VE badge and certificate to arrive.

* If you are already accredited with a VE organization outside the ARRL, you must submit a copy of your accreditation certificate along with a completed ARRL VE application form to the above address.

** If the documents are faxed to the ARRL VEC, you need to mail the original application for completion of accreditation since we require your signature on file for identity confirmation on exam documents.

Extra Class Question of the Day: Contesting

by Dan KB6NU


March 1, 2012

Contesting is one of the most popular activities in amateur radio. While the rules differ from contest to contest, in general, the goal is to make as many contacts as possible in a given time period.

To enter a contest and be considered for awards, you must submit a log of your contacts. The contest organizers will check the log to make sure that you actually made the contacts that you claim. To make this easier to do, most contest organizers now request that you send in a digital file that lists your contacts in the Cabrillo format. The Cabrillo format is a standard for submission of electronic contest logs. (E2C07)

In contest operating, operators are permitted to make contacts even if they do not submit a log. (E2C01) If you do not submit a log, you obviously cannot win a contest, but there are several reasons why you still might choose to participate in a contest. For example, for big DX contests, some amateurs travel to locations where amateur radio operation is infrequent. Making contact with those stations during a contest gives you an opportunity to add countries to your total.

Read by: ADAM W8IFG

Another reason is that it will give you a good idea of the capabilities of your station. If, for example, during a contest, you need to call repeatedly before a DX station replies, it might mean that you should improve your antenna system.

There are some operating practices that are either prohibited or highly discouraged. On the HF bands, for example, operating on the “WARC bands,” is normally prohibited. Therefore, 30 meters is one band on which amateur radio contesting is generally excluded. (E2C03) The other “WARC bands” are 17 meters and 12 meters.

Another prohibited practice is “self-spotting.” Self-spotting is the generally prohibited practice of posting one’s own call sign and frequency on a call sign spotting network. (E2C02) The reason this is prohibited is that doing so would give you an advantage over other operators.

During a VHF/UHF contest, you would expect to find the highest level of activity in the weak signal segment of the band, with most of the activity near the calling frequency. (E2C06) VHF/UHF contesters stay away those portions of the band that are normally reserved for FM operation. That being the case, 146.52 MHz is one of the frequencies on which an amateur radio contest contact is generally discouraged. (E2C04) 146.52 MHz is the national FM simplex calling frequency.

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