Amateur Radio Exam Sessions
Upcoming Exam Sessions 2023:
- Saturday, October 14, 9am to noon, Bennett Valley Grange Hall
If you’ve been studying for a new license or upgrade, your next opportunity to take your test in-person will be Saturday, October 14, 2023. This will be at the Bennett Valley Grange Hall in Santa Rosa.
However, you might also consider taking an On-Line Exam. PARC is one organization that is offering such exams. To see what this entails, please visit PARC’s website for On-Line Exams. Please understand that following these instructions is required to ensure the integrity of the exam and to be respectful of the time required by the Volunteer Examiner (VE) team and any other candidates that are scheduled after your slot.
Directions to Bennett Valley Grange Hall:
From Hwy 101, take the Hwy 12 exit east. At Farmer’s Lane, turn right and go two blocks to Bennett Valley Rd. Turn left onto Bennett Valley for 1.8 miles, where Bennett Valley Rd. meets Yulupa Ave. Turn right to stay on Bennett Valley Rd. Continue on Bennett Valley Rd for approximately 2.25 miles to Grange Rd. Turn right onto Grange Rd. Bennett Valley Grange Hall will be approximately 0.5 miles from from Bennett Valley Rd on the right, at 4145 Grange Rd.
Testing begins at 9:00am. Please arrive by 8:45am
Candidates should bring the following:
- Face mask
- One (1) photo ID or two (2) non-photo ID
- FCC Registration Number (FRN)
- Original and photocopy of your current amateur radio license (if licensed)
- Original and photocopy of any valid CSCEs (if applicable)
- Original and photocopy of any documents submitted for exam credit (see Exam Element Credit below)
- #2 Pencil and eraser
- $15.00 exam fee for adults (18+ years of age) or $5.00 for minors (proof of age required). Checks should be made payable to “ARRL-VEC”.
Calculators may be used, but it must be demonstrated that all memories and programs have been erased. The calculator function in a cell phone or PDA may not be used!
If you have any special needs, please contact Brian Torr, N6IIY in advance.
Obtain an FRN Prior to Exam Session:
One of the pieces of information required is a Federal Registration Number (FRN). In the past, we used to allow the use of a Social Security Number (SSN) if you did not yet have an FRN. However use of SSNs is no longer allowed. Those that are upgrading already have an FRN and that should be used. Also, by using FRNs instead of SSNs, the processing of the paperwork after the exam can be expedited.
Applicants for a new license must apply for an FRN directly from the FCC before the exam.
To apply for an FRN, go to this FCC website:
Follow the link to New User Registration.
You can also find some helpful information regarding the FRN process at this website:
FCC Application Fee Required for New, Renewal, and Modification Applications
Beginning April 19, 2022, the FCC requires a $35.00 application fee to be paid within 10 days of the application being submitted before a license will be issued. This will apply to new, renewal, and modification applications that request a new vanity call sign. The fee will be per application.
Administrative updates, such as a change of name, mailing or email address, and modification applications to upgrade an amateur radio licensee’s operator class, will be exempt from fees.
Minors (under 18 years of age) may apply to the ARRL-VEC for a reimbursement of the $35.00 application fee. Refer to the Youth Licensing Grant Program for more details.
When the FCC receives the examination information from the VEC (in our case, the ARRL-VEC), it will email a link with payment instructions to each qualifying candidate. The candidate will have 10 calendar days, from the date of the application file number being issued, to pay. After the fee is paid, and the FCC has processed an application, examinees will receive a second email from the FCC with a link to their official license or, in very rare instances, an explanation for why the application was dismissed or denied. The link will be valid for 30 days.
Please note that you will NOT be able to pay this fee at the time of the examination; you must wait for the e-mail from the FCC to arrange payment.
If You Will Be Upgrading – Downloading and Printing Your Amateur Radio License
If you will already have a license and wish to upgrade, you must bring your signed, current license (must be the Official Copy, not a Reference Copy) and a photocopy of that license to the exam session. Click here for instructions on How to Download Your License on the FCC Database . After you download the official copy, be sure to sign it and then make a photocopy of it to bring to the exam session. Thanks to Andrew Raike, KE6HID, and John Breckenridge, WB6FRZ for putting this document together.
Exam Element Credit for Expired Licenses
The FCC now offers partial credit for expired General, Advanced or Amateur Extra class Amateur Radio licenses. A license that has expired and gone beyond the two year grace period will be canceled in the FCC system. The licensee will not automatically qualify for a new license. At a minimum, previous license holders must take the current 35-question Technician exam at a VE exam session to return to Amateur Radio.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide documents to obtain this credit. For information on where to obtain such documents, refer to the following URL (expand the link to “Valid Forms of Exam Element Credit for Expired Licenses”)
Please have these documents before appearing at an amateur radio exam session.
Brian Torr, N6IIY
(707) 575-5871 (home)