W3BE'S BE Informed!
EXAMINATIONS
 
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BE Informed No. 2.17

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What Is A VEC Supposed to Do?

John B. Johnston W3BE

Q. One of our prospective VE team members seems to think he knows everything about amateur operator license examining. He claims there is but one VEC and all of our VEs work for it.

A. He should access the FCC webpage for the names and addresses of all of our 14 VECs and correct his faulty knowledge of our VE system, which has been with us since 1983. Your VE team might have some remedial training to do before accepting that guy’s services.

Q. What is a VEC?

A.  Section 97.3(a)(50) defines the term VEC as used in Part 97 to mean a volunteer-examiner coordinator. It is supposed to be an organization that exists for the purpose of furthering the amateur service and it has entered into a written Section 97.521 agreement with the FCC to coordinate the work of our VEs. The organization is supposed to be capable of serving as a VEC in at least one of the thirteen Appendix 2 VEC regions.

Q. What it is a VEC is supposed to do?

A. A VEC is supposed to carry out coordinating and processing duties in support of our Section 97.507 examination question preparing VEs (volunteer examiners) and for our Section 97.509 examination administering VEs.

Q. What is that all about?

A. A VEC is supposed to coordinate and process the work of our VEs in preparing and administering examinations for an FCC amateur operator/primary station license grant. The VEC is supposed to forward electronically to the FCC necessary applicant information and test results data collected from the VEs in connection with a successful examination. This requires keyboarding resources and knowledge of certain restricted access FCC computer protocols.

Q. How many VECs must present at an exam session?

A. One VEC is supposed to coordinate each examination session where an examination for an FCC amateur operator/primary station license grant is administered. There is no requirement that a representative of the coordinating VEC be in attendance at an examination session.

Q. Wouldn’t there have to a VEC rep present at any exam session whenever that is also the place from where the data is uploaded to the FCC?

A. Yes. The coordinating VEC would have to have a presence at the place where the necessary applicant information and test results data in connection with a successful examination is collected from our Section 97.509 examination administering VEs.

Q. As a VE, I don’t like telling a 95-year old man that he has to take a test.

A. Then you probably shouldn’t be a VE. One’s age should not have anything to do with our VEs’ determinations. Either an operator does or does not need to prove his/her possession of the operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee.

Q. Can the VECs accredit any ham be a VE?

A. No. Each VEC, however, is supposed to seek a broad representation of amateur operators to be VEs. The VEC is not supposed to discriminate in accrediting VEs on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin; nor on the basis of membership (or lack thereof) in an amateur service organization; nor on the basis of the person accepting or declining to accept reimbursement. The VEC is not supposed to accredit any person as a VE who is under 18 years of age.

   A VEC, moreover, is supposed to agree to coordinate examinations for any class of amateur operator license and to agree to assure that, for any examination, every examinee - except a representative of a foreign government - is registered for examination without regard to race, sex, religion, national origin or membership (or lack thereof) in any amateur service organization.

   A VEC is not supposed to accredit a person as a VE who does not hold an FCC license grant of Amateur Extra, Advanced or General Class operator; is not supposed to accredit a person as a VE whose grant of an amateur station license or amateur operator license has ever been revoked or suspended; and is not supposed to accredit a person as a VE if the FCC does not accept the voluntary and uncompensated services of the person.

   A VEC is not supposed to accredit a person as a VE if the VEC determines that the person is not competent to perform the VE functions, nor is a VEC is supposed to accredit a person as a VE if the VEC determines that questions of the person’s integrity or honesty could compromise the examinations.

Q. Is the VEC supposed to prepare the exam questions?

A. No, the VEs are supposed to do the preparing and administering. Each VEC is supposed to cooperate with all other VECs in maintaining one Element 2 question pool of at least 350 questions concerning the privileges of a Technician Class Operator. The VECs are supposed to assure that each Section 97.523 Element 2 question pool is published and made available to the public prior to its use by our VEs for assembling question sets.

   Similarly, the VECs are supposed to maintain one Section 97.523 Element 3 question pool of at least 350 questions concerning the privileges of a General Class operator, and one Section 97.523 Element 4 question pool of at least 500 questions concerning the privileges of an Amateur Extra Class Operator.

Q. What VE-VEC coordination interaction is supposed to happen?

A. The coordinating VEC is supposed to agree to coordinate each examination. It is supposed to provide Section 97.507(c) instructions to the administering VEs for preparing, or obtaining from a supplier, each written question set (the series of examination questions on a given examination selected from the appropriate question pool) administered to an examine, and is supposed to give to the administering VEs instructions for submitting to the coordinating VEC the application documents from successful examinees.

Q. What VE-VEC processing interaction is supposed to happen?

A. The coordinating VEC is supposed to collect and screen for correctness the applicant and test results information collected from the administering VEs; is supposed to resolve all discrepancies and verify that the VEs’ Section 97.519(b)(2) certifications are properly completed. Only then, the coordinating VEC is supposed to keystroke and upload the data to the FCC via the Internet.

   The coordinating VEC is supposed to retain for at least 15 months the source documents for all examination data forwarded to the FCC; is supposed to make available to the FCC upon request all applicant information and test results collected from the VEs; and is supposed to make examination records available upon FCC request.

Q. How much can the VEs and VECs charge?

A. A VE may be reimbursed by examinees for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in his/her Section 97.507 examination preparing and Section 97.509 examination administering.

   A VEC may be reimbursed by examinees for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in its Section 97.519 examination session coordinating and for processing an examination.

Q. Aren’t the VECs also responsible for the license application form?

A. Not according to Section 97.17(b)(1). It says that the VEs may collect all necessary information in any manner of their choosing, including creating their own forms. This seems to be sufficiently flexible as to allow VEs to choose using NCVEC Form 605. Section 97.509(m) says, moreover, that the coordinating VEC must give to the administering VEs instructions for submitting to the coordinating VEC application documents filed by successful examinees.

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July 14, 2016

Supersedes all prior editions