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FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud

from The ARRL Letter/ARRL on February 11, 2000
Website: http://www.arrl.org
View comments about this article!

FCC PROBES CALIFORNIA ARRL-VEC TEST SESSION

The FCC is investigating possible irregularities in a Huntington Park, California, ARRL-VEC examination session late last summer. In separate letters on January 28, 2000, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth posed a series of questions to the three Volunteer Examiners listed on the manifest for the September 12, 1999, session--Moises Morales, KB6QMR, of Garden Grove; Juan Huitron, AC6HK, of Santa Ana; and Daniel Granda, KA6VHC, of Whittier.

In his letter, Hollingsworth noted "several irregularities regarding the examinations" and requested the VEs provide specific details regarding several Form 610 packages submitted following the session. None of the 20 applicants in question at the September 12, 1999, session has been issued an Amateur Radio license.

The FCC asked for an explanation of missing and/or incorrectly graded Morse code and written examination documents. The FCC also asked each of the VEs whether he signed the documents in question; whether he authorized anyone to sign on his behalf and, if so, whom he authorized; whether he was present for the September 12, 1999, examination session at Huntington Park or any part of it; and his involvement, if any, in the examination session. The FCC also wants to know why 19 of the 20 applicants cited missed Question 5 of the Morse code examination.

The VEs were given 30 days to reply to the FCC. The ARRL-VEC is cooperating in the FCC investigation.

FCC CONTINUES W5YI-VEC SOUTH CAROLINA EXAM AUDIT

As part of a continuing audit of several W5YI-VEC examination sessions last summer and fall in South Carolina, the FCC is seeking details from two volunteer examiners concerning a test session in Iva, South Carolina. The FCC already is looking into W5YI-VEC exam sessions in Clemson last summer.

In separate letters January 28, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth wrote volunteer examiners Eugene D. Watring, AF4DB, of Iva, and James F. Chambers, KF4PWF, of Greenville, both South Carolina. Hollingsworth requested that Watring and Chambers provide detailed information concerning the October 9, 1999, exam session in Iva at which both were listed as an assisting VE under William J. Browning, formerly AB4BB and AF4PJ, a central figure in the probe. Browning's Amateur Extra license was canceled after he failed to appear for retesting.

Copies of testing-related documents that Browning had submitted following the examination session accompanied the FCC inquiry. Hollingsworth asked Watring and Chambers if either signed the test session manifest or any Forms 610 or authorized anyone to sign on his behalf; if either was present for the exam session or any part of it, and, if so, the time and location; the nature of his involvement, if any, in the October 9 examination session, and, if not present, how he became aware that his "purported signature" appeared on the exam session documents. Watring and Chambers were requested to provide the information within 30 days.

The FCC has requested that Chambers retake his Amateur Extra class examination. Several individuals who took and passed examinations at the targeted South Carolina sessions last summer and fall were designated for retesting. The FCC already has canceled the licenses of two individuals tested at the October 9 session after the individuals failed to show up for retesting.

Chambers, Watring and Browning were said to have served as VEs for other W5YI-VEC testing sessions last summer, and the FCC also is looking into allegations of irregularities at those sessions. The W5YI-VEC is cooperating in the probe.

Member Comments:
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FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by KJ6C on February 23, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I fear that it wont matter much longer. It appears that we are heading in the direction that CB radio took, no licence at all!
 
FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by NK4P on February 22, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I don't know why anyone wants to "cheat" on the exams - you have the questions and answers available for study. It does not take a lot of time to put out some effort to review and study the exam materials and earn that passing grade. You might even learn something! The VEC's that condone and promote cheating and/or "buying" a license need to be expelled.
 
FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by N8XMS on February 18, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Please keep in mind that the problem situations that make the news represent a very tiny fraction of the VE sessions which take place across the country each year. I just upgraded to Extra Class (including the 20 wpm) at a VE session run by Arrow Communications Association in Ann Arbor, MI. They were well organized, properly staffed, and ran everything in a smooth and professional manner.
 
FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by ND6A on February 15, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I think it is time for this to happen. More inquiries need to be made whenever questions arise about the validity of a test session. A few of the people that are VE's are making a bad name for the rest of us. K6HAM's comment about "people (as a whole) tend to cheat" is an extreme statement that I believe is not the case . I believe most people are honest, but there are a few bad apples out there ruining the whole bushel.
 
FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by AC3P on February 15, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I've always felt that the FCC should take the testing process back.

Although I've been a VE for only about 2 years I see more of a chance for honest mistakes that outright cheating at the sessions I've attended.

When there is a large number of examinees and a small number of VEs which is usually the case, the potential for error increases.

The FCC is a gov't. agency and should be giving gov't exams.

Although the VE program has good intentions, I feel the whole regulating process belongs with the FCC. They need nore funding so they can do their job.
 
FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by K9SOX on February 14, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
It is becoming readily apparent that the FCC should have never turned over license examinations to volunteers. No doubt there are many more getting away with cheating than are being caught. It is high time for the FCC to resume responsibility for administering ham license examinations.
 
FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by K6HAM on February 14, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
The FCC should become more involved in the testing arena. Let's face it, people (as a whole) tend to cheat. I hope that the FCC takes a more aggressive approach in this area (thank you K1XT).
 
FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by WA2OCG on February 14, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I wondered why everyone was passing their Extra exam!! Either the VEC become much more strict in administering exams, or the FCC will have to do it for them.
 
FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by K1XT on February 12, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Looks like it's time to go back to the old system of the FCC administering the exams. I'm not especially surprised to see these accounts arise. But I am glad to see that the FCC is taking an aggressive approach to the inherent problems that come with allowing almost anybody to administer a test for federal license of any sort.
 
RE: FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI  
by WB4QNG on June 21, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with most of the rest of the post. Maybe the FCC should take the testing back. Even though it was a pain when they only came on the first Friday of every third month. I am glad to see the FCC is checking them out.
 
RE: FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI  
by RADIOWIENER on June 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I do not know about "most people being honest". But i do know about my own VE session. When I took my exam in Louisiana there were more VEs in the room than there were people taking the exams. Three of the VEs were sitting at my table! I took an exam at the FCC a few years ago that was no where near as well monitored as this one. I assure you that there was no cheating in that W5YI examination session. BTW I missed 2 questions.
 
FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI Aud  
by AB8RU on May 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I became a VE recently, I'll say this much if you hold a tight ship policy on how things are done correctly you will not have any problems.

But if you want to be dishonest about things then you don't need to be a VE period.

I can say my last session we had a 50 % Passing class and a 50 % Try again cause you failed. to me thats the honest way to do it.

It only works right when you want it to.
 
RE: FCC Launches Probe of ARRL VEC, Continues W5YI  
by KE4YNN on November 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
In no way should the FCC be expected to be involved with the testing. Spend taxpayer money to have the FCC administer tests for a hobby? Absolutely not! I know thats the way it used to be. However, I can think of thousands of other things I would like to see taxpayer money spent on. If you want the FCC to look over your shoulder then the exam price needs to go way up to cover it. If it came down to it I would rather see the exams go away entirely or put up with cheating and keep going like we are now. Lets put more money into education. Lets approach the schools and get the children more involved with our hobby. I do not care why 19 of 20 people missed question five of the morse code exam. I do care that our hobby may lose spectrum. I do care that more youth would rather send a text message on a cell phone than key up a local repeater. There are bigger fish to fry.
 
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