eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: OKC on August 30, 2006, 09:47:30 AM

Title: Code Test
Post by: OKC on August 30, 2006, 09:47:30 AM
Dear Elmer,

I am wondering if one of you is a VE and would tell me how the code testing goes.

Will I take the test on a computer?

Is the code keyed outloud by the VE with a code oscillator?

Do I write it down, or key it into a computer?

Is it at exactly 5 words, and 15 Farnsworth?


...You get the idea.

I'm a little worried about preparing myself in a way that may not get me ready for what really occurs at test time.

Thanks for your time.

Graham Welch - OKC

Title: Code Test
Post by: N8UZE on August 30, 2006, 10:25:10 AM
1.  "Will I take the test on a computer? "

Unlikely.  Most places I'm familiar with, it's write it down with pencil & paper and the written test is also on paper.  There are exceptions though

2. "Is the code keyed outloud by the VE with a code oscillator?"

Generally it is either one tape, CD or sent by a computer.  I've never seen anyone sending it by hand.  It could happen but it would be most unusual.

3. "Do I write it down, or key it into a computer?"

Normally you will write it down.

4. "Is it at exactly 5 words, and 15 Farnsworth? "

Almost always.  So practice just slightly faster say 7/15. This way the test itself will sound relaxed.  The tone is typically 750Hz.

The test typically goes something like this.
a. Optional warmup code (often omitted though)
b. Code test itself.  It will start with a series of Vs so the applicants can adjust to the tempo.  The Vs do not count as part of the test.  The body of the test is designed to sound like a typical QSO.  Both call signs will be given near the beginning and again near the end.  One of the call signs is almost certain to contain the "/" character.  The test contains all the letters, all the numerals, the comma, the period, the question mark, the / character, the prosign BT (also written =), the prosign AR (also written +), KN and/or K, and SK.
c.  Once the code tape or disc is done, you will have time to go over your paper to fill in any blanks or correct obvious mistakes.
d.  The VEs will give you the written test to take.
e.  To pass you must answer 7 out of 10 questions correctly OR have solid copy of 25 characters in a row on your copy sheet correct.  Note that the numerals, punctuation, and pro signs count as two characters due to their length.
f.  Some teams check the written test first and don't check the copy if the written is OK.  Some check the copy first.  Others check both the copy and the written.

The best idea is to call the VE team that you plan to test with and find out exactly how they set up the test.

And you really should have done a search first on the board as this question has been asked and answered many times.

Title: Code Test
Post by: EXWA2SWA on August 30, 2006, 10:29:30 AM
Depends on the VE team that does the testing.

The W5PAA team in Oklahoma City uses computer-generated code, set to 5/15. You will hear the code through speakers and copy with either pen or pencil on paper. Passing is with either 7 right out of 10 fill-in-the-blank questions or one minute of solid copy (25 characters). If you have a special need, be sure to let the VE's know beforehand so you can be accommodated.

I'm sure there are acceptable ways to copy on a computer, but I haven't encountered a need to address that in my short VE career (only a year or so).

One point to be made: every VE wants every applicant to pass every element attempted. While we won't give an applicant an unfair or illegal opportunity, we will do whatever we legally can to make the experience positive and, we hope successful.

If I can help further, shoot me an email at the address on for my callsign.

Best of luck!