Amateur Radio License Exams (In-Person Only)
For this year's in-person GRCon, we will once again be hosting Amateur Radio License exams for those interested in obtaining or upgrading their licenses (check out ARRL's overview for more details about Licenses).
Amateur Radio License Exams will be offered: Thurs. Sept 29 1:30 - 4:30 pm
We are working with the Laurel VEC to provide exams. Volunteer Examiners provide an invaluable service to the amateur radio community. Since its inception in 1984, the Laurel VEC takes great pride in the fact that it has never charged a fee for its services.
Taking a license exam at GRCon does not cost anything, but if you pass the exam and wish to get a new or renewed license, there will be a processing fee paid directly to the FCC. After passing the exam you will have 30 days to decide if you want to apply for the license and pay the processing fee.
Walk-ins are welcome, but pre-registration for exams is greatly appreciated, and will expedite the registration process. You can pre-register on our registration page by entering RADIO_EXAMS_GRCON22 as the voucher or choosing the add-on option when you register.
Details About the Exams
All 3 exams are available: Technician, General, and Amateur Extra. Applicants may take any exam(s) they have prepared for, in any order. A lower license class exam does not have to be passed in order to take a higher license class exam. For example, the Technician Class exam does not have to be passed to take the General Class exam. But, both would have to be passed to be eligible for a General Class license.
Exams are closed book. No books, notes, or any other materials are allowed.
Applicants who are not successful may be allowed, at the discretion of the VEs, to retest at the same session if they were very close to passing, and there is time for another exam. Many applicants have found it helpful to take any of the on-line exams that are available, more than once, to determine whether they were ready to take their license exam.
FCC Registration Number (FRN)
The FCC requires you to use a Federal Registration Number (FRN). The FRN is a unique number the FCC uses to identify you. Your Social Security number is required by the FCC when you obtain an FRN, but the FRN is used after that for your transactions with the FCC.
An FRN can be obtained here. It is highly recommended that you get an FRN before coming to the exam session as this speeds up the process at the session. If you need assistance obtaining an FRN a VE may be able to help you at your exam session, time permitting, and you will need access to your email at the session.
At an exam session, if you have not pre-registered for the exam session, you can show your FRN on a printout from the FCC CORES system, or display it on your phone or other device. If you currently have an Amateur Radio license your FRN will appear on your license, in the FCC ULS database, and in the FCC CORES database. FRNs are not just used for amateur radio licenses. You might already have an FRN if you have a GMRS license or had some other transaction with the FCC.
FCC CORES Registration Tutorial Video using the CORES system.
The Volunteer Examiner Team is sponsored by the Laurel VEC who administers free amateur radio license exams.
You will have to pay an FCC processing fee for certain applications. New licenses and renewals are subject to a fee. License upgrades are not.
LARC-VEC Form 605
We will computer-generate LARC-VEC Form 605 for you at the exam session. There is no need to fill one out ahead of time. You must use the LARC-VEC Form 605 version of the form at the exam session.
License Renewals for Individuals
The LARC-VEC Form 605 can be used at exam sessions for individuals to apply for license renewals. A government-issued photo ID is required. Licenses can only be renewed during the 90-day period prior to the license expiration date, or within the 2-year grace period following the expiration date. If your license is within the 2-year grace period, you may not transmit on the air until your license has been renewed. We cannot issue or renew club call signs. We cannot issue vanity call signs.
Name and Mailing Address Changes
If you have a record in the ULS, name and mailing address changes from what is currently in the ULS can be done at an exam session, but require proof. Examples of acceptable proof are any document that indicates your new address such as a driver’s license or library card, or that indicates you receive mail at the new address such as a tax bill, electric bill, water bill, etc.
The FCC no longer mails paper licenses. You can print one yourself from your ULS record if you wish. Note that the FCC considers the ULS electronic record to be the official record of your license.
Do you have any actions pending with the FCC?
If you do, let the VE team know when you check in at your exam session or when you pre-register. You should as soon as possible provide the FCC with any necessary follow up information or an FCC processing fee resulting from your exam session. Except for that, it is recommended that you do not conduct any other amateur radio-related transactions with the FCC until your exam results and all other pending actions have been processed, and you have the results from the FCC.
What To Bring To Your Exam Session (#2 and #3 are usually provided with your pre-registration data):
1. A government-issued photo ID.
2. A mailing address (FCC required), email address (FCC required), and phone number (expedites processing your exam results if the VE team needs to contact you with questions).
3. FRN. It is highly recommended that you obtain your FRN before coming to the exam session. It’s best to bring a printout from the FCC CORES web site, or be able to display your FRN on your phone or other device.
4. If you are applying for exam credit, bring your proof with you. A copy must be left with the VE team. Contact Mike at email@example.com if you have any questions about what is needed for exam credit. This item does not apply to applicants who will be taking only the Technician exam.
Calculators will be available to borrow at the exam session. You may bring your own calculator to use as long as nothing is programmed in it or stored in its memories. You may not use the calculator in a smartphone or cell phone. Cell phones, devices that can be connected to the internet, any other electronic devices, or devices that make noise must be turned off and out of sight during your exam.
Pens and pencils are provided at the exam session. Forms are filled out in ink or printed using a computer. Signatures must be in ink. Exams may be taken in pencil, and clean, complete erasures are permitted if you need to change an answer.