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Author Topic: FCC CW Test Content  (Read 28458 times)

Posts: 25

« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2013, 10:17:15 AM »

I took both the 2nd Class Radiotelegraph and the General Amateur code tests in NYC in 1975 and I had to receive and transmit numerals, punctuation and letters for commercial and typical QSO for amateur.

Posts: 74

« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2013, 01:50:32 PM »

Yes, I remember having two ways to pass the test.  Answer 10 questions (7 correct passed, I think) or 1 minute correct copy.  I got rattled at the beginning and missed the call signs, so the 10 questions avenue was out.  I managed to buckle down and copy 1 minute 100% correct and passed.  Whew!   Grin

Posts: 509

« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2013, 04:38:03 PM »

I took a code test for 13wpm and a radio-theory exam (General & Advanced), in 1969 at the FCC Field Office in Pittsburg, PA.  Passed them both..

Took the code test for 20 wpm and radio theory exam (Extra), in 1998 before a VE team...

Ken KC8Y


Posts: 823

« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2013, 03:32:41 PM »

When I took the Amateur Extra exam at the FCC New York field office in 1971, the content of the cw test (played on paper tape on a 1930's style code machine) consisted of ship position reports (latitude and longitude coordinates).  Evidently, the FCC used the same tape for amateur and commercial examinations.  Does anyone else remember the content of their FCC cw examinations?  --Neil N3DF

Neil ...

I took the General, Advanced and Extra tests at the FCC New York field office in the final quarter of  1972 and first quarter of 1973.

The cw tests were texts of a typical Amateur Radio QSO  -- name, QTH, weather,  type and number of tubes in the radio, etc.

Mel - KS2G


Posts: 173

« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2013, 03:25:48 AM »

I took the CW test at the Chicago FCC office (39th floor of the Federal Bldg.) in November 1975.  As I recall, I was sent 5-letter groups of random letters and numbers, e.g.  KFBT7, AV43T, 90HGH, etc.

same here same office, same floor 1973, 5-letter groups, random letters and numbers, required one minute error free.. 

Posts: 255

« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2013, 02:50:23 PM »

Well, let's see.... got my novice in December of 1974 at Myrtle Beach AFB, SC. The test was given by a 1st Lieutenant (as I recall). There were four of us that passed and I became WN4LQO.

My tour in the USAF ended and I went home to St. Petersburg. Back then, you had to upgrade after 2 years or start over again. In 1976, I went to the FCC Field Office in Tampa, FL and took my Element 3 exam. No instant upgrade then. Received a letter from the FCC Field Office a couple of days later. I could see through the envelope "Notice of Failure of Amateur Radio Examination." My heart sank as I opened the envelope. This was my last opportunity to upgrade before my license expired. Looking at the form, there was nothing checked... what the heck? I flipped the card over. The note on the other side said I had passed Element 3 and they were forwarding my paperwork to Gettysburg for processing. I was now WA4LQO. Wow!  Roll Eyes

I went to college in Boca Raton, FL and, having finished my student teaching early, I worked on getting my code speed up to 13 WPM and studied for the Advanced Class license. In March of 1982, I drove to the downtown Miami FCC Field Office for the tests. First came the code... I put on an old set of wireless headphones and the code test started... my "magic pencil" started to copy every word, number and punctuation. I began to relax and tilted my head. The code faded away and I almost got whiplash snapping my head back upright. Just missing a couple of characters, I copied the rest of the QSO. The test was 10 questions, fill the blank. No problem with that or the Advanced theory.

In the late 80s, some of my ham friends said I should become a volunteer examiner. Wanting to be able to give all the exams, I began to work on my code once again and studied the Extra Class theory. After a few months, I felt I was ready, so I went to a VE session in Lake Worth, FL. This was in April of 1991. The lead VE would ask, "Did you study?" If you answered yes, then he said, "Then you'll pass!" I had and I did. I worked with this VE group for a number of years.

The code tests I took at the Miami FCC Field Office and the Lake Worth, FL VE session were both one side of an amateur QSO.

I became W4WLR in 1996 and, when my YF and I moved to AR, I became K5WLR.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!  Cool
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 02:53:38 PM by K5WLR » Logged

Posts: 1

« Reply #36 on: February 17, 2015, 09:45:17 AM »

I recall taking the 13wpm General Morse code test around April 1971 in the FCC Field Office in Greenwich Village NYC (Manhattan NY).   I want to say Houston Street which I reached via the A train (subway). 
Long featureless halls with mostly anonymous doors through a sterile classic government building.  A very large room for the test (light green?) with high ceilings, wooden tables and chairs, hanging ceiling lights (not well lit), lots of echo, and old architecture.   

A rickety black open frame paper-tape code oscillator with several tubes (you could see the tubes) attached to the worst headphones available, cloth covering on the wires.  Poor quality audio of course.  Add in a straight key that was probably mil surplus from WWI.

One had to take and pass the code test first before one could take the written test(s).

For 13wpm, one needed to correctly copy 65 characters in a row (anywhere within the 5 minute test interval).  It was normal text like a QSO, not code groups.  Yellow legal pad with #2 lead pencils (with erasers).  There was additional time given to make corrections before handing in the paper.
I squeaked through the code portion even though I was doing a solid 15wpm OTA.  Next came the written tests.  I had to take the General first before they would give me the Advanced test (2 separate written tests).  Breezed through both.

Then the long wait for the paper license to arrive in the US mail with my new callsign.  Meanwhile, I was still rock-bound with my Novice ticket and Heathkit HW-16.
My initial call was a WN2, which was assigned exclusively to Novices.  WA2 and WB2 were assigned to tech and above and there was no good way to know what you would get, ergo the wait.


Posts: 26

« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2015, 10:39:08 AM »

Ready for the flames!  Grin

Passed my Technician and General at the same time in November 2014, No code test required. Got my first key and a Begali Machine for Christmas 2014. Practicing like my hair is on fire(yes I still have hair) and now, a few months later, I can 75% copy on the air(15-20wpm) and 100% copy with the machine and key at 15wpm on the Spark with 20-25 on the Leonossa! Scheduled Extra exam for March 16.

Memorizing is Mesmerizing!


Posts: 1085

« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2015, 12:22:54 PM »

I went to the NYC FCC field office in the summer of 1976 for a tech test.  Code consisted of many five letter words like yacht, house and so on.  And I had to send, using their straight key for a minute or two, then the examiner said I passed that. 

Then took the general written.  I remember questions that appeared to require several rules and laws of electronics in one question.  Something like "You have an SSB transmitter with 800VDC on the final's plates.  How much current can your B+ ampmeter read and still be legal power?"  At the time I think you could have up to 1KW of "input power" on the RF amp, but there was something about being allowed higher peak envelope power PEP.  So you had to know how to calculate the input power, and also know the legal limit for SSB transmission.  Shamelessly plagiarized from another post: "Back when we measured plate input power instead of output power, the rule was SSB PEP was accepted as being "twice DC." And "DC" meant CW, key down. So an amplifier that was running 1 KW (input) on CW could, if switched to SSB, run 2 KW input. And that was legal. Many amplifiers of that period, such as the National NCL-2000, were rated that way - 1 KW CW, and 2 KW PEP SSB (not just 2 KW PEP - you had to add the term SSB to that! Otherwise you were going to be illegal and/or going to smoke something big time.)" So if that is correct, then you could have peaks of 2.5 amps of 800VDC.  But how does your meter respond to occasional peaks of current?  I probably got this question wrong...

After the test went to the men's room.  someone wrote on the wall "FCC = Funny Cookie Corporation"...


Posts: 1624

« Reply #39 on: February 20, 2015, 01:17:27 PM »

Jeez, I forget all this. Maybe someone can remind we of what the rules were in 1978?

I THINK my elmer gave me my novice CW exam (did he do the test too)?

I THINK I had to go to the Philadelphia FCC office to take my General license test/CW exam. Am I remembering this correctly?

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