Amateur Radio Exam Training a New Team

Amateur Radio, Testing

By:Mark Gibson (N4MQU)

King Public Library PTVET

UNDER CONSTRUCTION 

 

The first exam session is a pivotal movement for a new amateur radio testing team.  The new team leader KX4ZQ took the two hour drive to Fuquay-Varina multiple times to witness how established teams did their exam session.  In this case he had two teams and locations to learn from. Five County VE Team (FCVET) and Central Carolina VE Team (CenCar) do our testing session in similar but they both follow the rules under the administration  of Laurel VEC. FCVET followed the process we learned in developing CenCar.  Allow the potential new team leader to do everything.  Update the computer print documents give instructions work through the computer glitches.  I make it a practice to allow the VE’s on the team to learn how to do everything in the testing process. While training the CenCar team it got to the point doing exam sessions I was able to set back and observe. Giving the session  manager (the person that operates the computer) during the exam session seems to be the best way to train an individual.

Computer Tips

Computer issues during the exam is the biggest issue we’ve had.  The computer tries to update and slows down the section manager program. The teams computer should pause the update of the computer.  I found this article.  The biggest problem I had doing the early days was the printer. I kept plugging the printer to the wrong connector on the printer.  The printer I have now there is only one choice.  Another problem if you use your printer on the WiFi at home and connect it at the test session there seems to be an issue transitioning to the portable operation.

Distractions During the Exam

Sometimes it is necessary to communicate during the exam. Try to keep noise down while testing is going on between team members.  You can’t control noise inside the venue but you can do so within the exam site.  After everyone completes the exam it is important to remain as quiet as possible while the session manager is completing the paperwork.  Use the pass fail percentage chart to check your grading work. Don’t let errors get to your section manager. 

Before and After the Exam

Before the exam the team leader has to establish the schedule.  This will be based on venue and the teams availability.  

Advertising 

The next thing is advertising.  Initially the VEC’s website then ARRL’s website. After that any of the available ham radio sites QRZ, eHam, others. But don’t forget the community websites and Facebook community sites. We need to get the non hams to learn about the availability of people of all ages to get their license.

Customer Service 

When I first became a team leader I heard from applicants that thanked me for responding so quickly.  They had been to other teams and they never heard from them.  I decided at that time to respond within 24 hours.  I have a text document I saved with answers to frequently ask questions that usually answers all the questions.  I acknowledge the registration of the applicants with the venues address and study tips. After the exam I notify them individually with their call sign and information for new ham radio operators. One thing we need to do better is getting new hams on the radio.

VE’s Responsibility 

Notify your team leader as soon as you know you may miss the exam or if there is a possibility you may miss it.  Three VE’s is the minimum but I like six.  Review your policy manual frequently.  If you want more responsibility or a different job let the team leader know.

FCVET Job Titles

From Richard Hall (K7RLH) CenCar

K7RLH

Repeated  opportunities for operation of SM is essential to grasping the nuances of the software and easing one’s mind when operating as I did (by myself) for the first time without your presence on 5 June 2021.  I believe that, while everyone learns by different methods, this is the surest approach to retention of the process.  Call it ‘hands on’ or ‘OJT’ or whatever, but practice makes life easier and hopefully one will have a session without errors.

From Christopher Cancilla (W4CEC) W4CEC VE Team

W4CEC

Procedure is important.

Not my procedure or your procedure, the new team leaders procedure

Each person is unique, learns and understands a different way, but all of the way, the paths, we use will get to the same result.

The result is important, not the way you get there.
A core team is important.

Use the core team to train new VE’s

Do not train them yourself, you have enough to do.

Percentage Chart

Pre-Test Instructions

BLANK_TEST_SESSION_POSITIONS

From Tony Hall (WW4TCH) Deputy Director (CenCar)
My Amateur Radio journey has been an interesting one.  I was originally licensed as KB4LWW in 1984.  I was 12.  But school, scouts, college got in the way and I allowed my license to expire.  I tested with FCHRE on June 6, 2020 and passed my Technicians exam and became KO4EBO.  Then I sat back and said , “Now I have it, what am I going to do with it?”  I decided in August 2020 that I wanted to get involved with emergency communication and realized I needed at least a General Class license to be effective.  I tested with FCHRE on September 26, 2020 and passed my General.  Once glitch was that I had applied for a new vanity call and that was granted the day that I took the exam.  There was some confusion but the FCHRE Team and Laurel VEC worked it out.  On Monday, I was WW4TCH, General Class operator.  I initially was not interest in going for my Extra but was told that while it wasn’t required, Extra Class was encouraged to be as effective as possible.  So I tested with FCHRE on November 7, 2020 and passed my Extra Class exam.  Mark immediately asked me if I want to be a VE.  I believe in giving back to the interests I have and said yes.  On December 5th, 2020 I was a VE on my first session. 
Each session after that was a learning opportunity.  The more experienced team members took every opportunity to train the new team members.  People took different roles are different sessions so they were fully trained. The team would go over the requirements and no corners were cut.  Ever.  Paperwork was checked and rechecked.  No one took for granted what the testing requirements were.  That makes an impact on the team members that are training.
In summer of 2021, The CenCar testing group was established and Richard Hall as leader and he asked me to be one of his deputys.  On October 2, 2021 I served for the first time as the Session Manager with Richard Hall providing instruction during the session. It has been an extremely rewarding 11 months. 
I believe the success in building these teams comes from Mark’s passion which is infectious.  The whole team is enthusiastic and motivated.  That, I believe, is the “secret sauce”.  You can teach someone how to grade the exam, check ID’s, provide testing instructions and run Session Manager.  You can’t teach them to care, and be generous with their time.
I am very proud of what FCHRE has accomplished and am honored to be part of such an outstanding team.
Tony

 

Editors Note:  Tony Hall is not related to Richard Hall. We had to do a manual entry for Tony’s general exam because the database we use hadn’t been updated.  A question on the 605 asks does the applicant has any applications before the FCC that had not been acted upon by the FCC.  The answer was no but it wasn’t updated in the db.  We had to do a manual application and Tony had to come back to sign the paperwork.  At the time I wasn’t sure what was going on.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION 

FCHRE Building on a Legacy

Amateur Radio, Testing

By: Mark Gibson (N4MQU)

The first document amateur radio operator in Wendell, NC in 1930.  W4AVT G.H. Wright, Jr.  He happened to be the post master of Wendell. Five County Ham Radio Enthusiast started testing in Wendell on July 3, 2021.  We have had 20 applicants testing so far.  9 have passed the technician exam, 6 have passed the general exam and 3 have passed the extra class exam.

Third Thursday of September Exam

Amateur Radio, BRTC, Testing

By: N4MQU 

KK4ZQ Jeffrey Webster Team leader Piedmont Triad VE Team

Thanks to the VE team KK4QEF, K4WCA, W2CK, N4MQU, KX4ZQ

We have three new amateur radio operators to announce!
KO4TIN of Raleigh
KO4TIO of North Myrtle Beach, SC
KO4TIP of Raleigh

Be sure to welcome them as they get on the air.

I love those weekday exams the new amateurs getting the call the same day as the exam. Thanks to KX4ZQ for being the session manager. Good luck to him as he establishes his new team in Winston Salem.

K4WCA, KK4QEF

August Activity

Amateur Radio, Weekly Report

August Activity

We welcome the following new members to the group. N4EWE, KY4SLR, NC1PA, KO4SFQ, KO4SFQ, and Jetter Lewis to the group so far this month.  They completed the application on our website at http://www.fivecountyhre.org/application/. If you receive our group io emails and have not completed your application I invite you to do so.  We have 240 group io subscribers and 103 members on our application.

JARS Meeting

The meeting of the Johnston Amateur Radio Society will be Thursday.  We meet at the Cleveland Draft House 461 Shotwell Road, Clayton, NC 27520.  It is not uncommon to belong to multiple clubs. The meeting starts at 7 if you want dinner be there at 6 PM.

If you are new to the group please introduce yourself

Please post an introduction to yourself if you haven’t don’t so.   Just post a new message to the group.io account. Also please add your call sign to your profile (If you are licensed) I usually put it in the name block.

Add to your QRZ page

If you are a US Amateur you have a QRZ page.  Go to their FAQ section to get help.

Weekly Net

Please join us tonight at 7:00PM  for the Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts net on the Carolina 440 network. You will be able to find your closest repeater at https://www.carolina440.net/440uhf-repeaters/repeaters-on-link.html.  If you are not close to the repeater or  are unlicensed and you would like to  listen on line try  https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/34503 Tony Hall (WW4TCH) is our regular net control station.

Thanks to the Carolina 440 net for the use of the repeater. If you would like to help see https://www.carolina440.net/membership/support.html.  Tell them FCHRE sent you.

Third Thursday Exam Session

Due to a scheduling need at Banks Road Thursday we will reschedule the exam there to Wednesday if we get any applicants so far we have no applicants.

Same no charge service two new locations

Amateur Radio, Testing, Weekly Report

By: Mark Gibson (N4MQU)

Next Saturday August 7 is the date when the new team of Central Carolina VE team will have their first exam at the American Legion in Fuquay the exam starts at 10:00 AM. Wendell will have the HF antenna workshop at 1:00 PM exam will be at 2:30 PM details for the Wendell event http://www.fivecountyhre.org/high-frequency-antennas-for-beginners/.

Registration for both exams 

http://www.fivecountyhre.org/study-tips-and-registration/

Five County expands to Virginia!

Not really but it sounds good.  My Virginia Fone Net friend Mark Horner (KX4ZG) started his own Laurel VE Team Westmoreland Amateur Radio Club VE Team and asked me to come up to train the new members.  I was blown away by Mark and his wife’s hospitality.  He had his first exam session and one of the applicants came away with Extra.  Be sure to send your friends in the area to that club.

KX4ZG and N4MQU

Berryville Hamfest 

The Berryville Hamfest came the next day after the exam session.  I didn’t buy anything but met a great many friends and even shook hands with Marv Hoffman (WA4NC). He is currently the NC section manager but is running for the Roanoke Division Director and would appreciate ARRL members  support.  We need more volunteers and I applaud anyone that steps up and run for office.
I took some video I hope to post on the website.

Sunday night at 7:00 PM

14 Repeaters are on the Raleigh Carolina 440 UHF Link System full time covering over 45,000 square milesof mobile coverage. In addition to the RF Linked repeaters *Expandable coverage using IRLP, AllStar and EchoLink are available. 

Thanks for reading.  Remember I know some post you are not interested in.  There are various options like muting the topic.  You don’t have to leave the group.
Mark Gibson 

High Frequency Antennas for Beginners

Amateur Radio, Antennas, Test, Workshop

A rod to support one end of an HF antenna

The public is invited to attend an introduction to high frequency antennas at Wendell United Methodist Church. The speaker will be Curt Phillips The workshop takes place on Saturday August 7 at 1:00 PM.

This one-hour workshop will be focused on HF (shortwave) antennas for those new to HF and those with space or other restrictions.  Handouts with web links for additional information will be distributed.  

Curt Phillips (W4CP) has been a licensed amateur radio operator since he was 13 years old, over 50 years now.  He has written on radio, electronics and engineering topics for numerous national publications, and has taught radio, electronics and energy engineering topics at NC State and Virginia Tech among other universities, as well for several local community colleges.  He is a Life member of the American Radio Relay League. 

Amateur radio exams will be given following the workshop at 2:30. All applicants must have a FRN issued by the FCC or a call sign and a valid email address.  There is no charge for the exam. Walk-ins will be accepted but registration is preferred.  Please register at http://www.fivecountyhre.org/study-tips-and-registration/

For background

FCHRE was recently recognized by the largest amateur radio fraternity in the United States the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) North Carolina section manager for their superior efforts involved in organizing Volunteer Examination Sessions during the COVID 19 Pandemic.

From the Federal Communication Commissions website

The amateur and amateur-satellite services are for qualified persons of any age who are interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest. These services present an opportunity for self-training, intercommunication, and technical investigations. Twenty-nine small frequency bands throughout the spectrum are allocated to this service internationally. Some 1,300 digital, analog, pulse, and spread-spectrum emission types may be transmitted.  
HF antennas provide more choices for communication at all times before during and after communication outages. Amateur radio operators are licensed by the FCC to operate on amateur radio frequencies.

Johnston County Tornado Photo By Paul Dunn

 

August Dinner Gathering

Amateur Radio, Dinner

By: Mark Gibson (N4MQU)

We had great food at Mclean’s for our dinner.  I appreciate all those that came.  We had a great informal discussion on various topics.  Looks like we have a lot of talent in the group.  It looks like our August gathering will again be on the fourth Thursday for August but we did talk about maybe changing. 

August 2021 Dinner

 

Poll results

Amateur Radio, Testing, Weekly Report

 

Our Monthly Gathering 

Please Join us Thursday July 22 at 6:00 PM at our monthly gathering at Mclean’s  in Zebolon. 418 W Gannon Ave, Zebulon, NC 27597

Dinner starts at 6:00 PM tell them at the front the radio club.  

Repeater in that area is 444.875+  100.0 PL. 

Weekly Net

Please join us tonight at 7:00PM  for the Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts net on the Carolina 440 network. You will be able to find your closest repeater at https://www.carolina440.net/440uhf-repeaters/repeaters-on-link.html.  If you are not close to the repeater or  are unlicensed and you would like to  listen on line try  https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/34503 Tony Hall (WW4TCH) is our regular net control station. 

Thanks to the Carolina 440 net for the use of the repeater. If you would like to help see https://www.carolina440.net/membership/support.html.  Tell them FCHRE sent you.

Add to your QRZ page

If you are a US Amateur you have a QRZ page.  Go to their FAQ section to get help.  

Poll Results 

Amateur Radio Workshop topics top votes.  Looks like more of our voters are interested in HF Antennas with 17 votes followed by a tie Basic home amateur radio station and Portable HF antenna considerations.  Both of those had 9 votes.  If you have expertise in this area please send me a message we will get you scheduled.  We can start at 1:00 PM for the workshop and the exam would start at 2:30 so that will give you 90 minutes.  Our workshop will be on August 7at Wendell United Methodist Church.  

Our next exam

Don’t forget we will have two locations for our first Saturday exam.these exams will be August 7 in Fuquay Varina and Wendell.  Details and registration at http://www.fivecountyhre.org/study-tips-and-registration/

We have exams available at Banks Road on the Third Thursday and by appointment.

Weekly Net

Please join us tonight at 7:00PM  for the Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts net on the Carolina 440 network. You will be able to find your closest repeater at https://www.carolina440.net/440uhf-repeaters/repeaters-on-link.html.  If you are not close to the repeater or  are unlicensed and you would like to  listen on line try  https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/34503 Tony Hall (WW4TCH) is our regular net control station. 

Thanks to the Carolina 440 net for the use of the repeater. If you would like to help see https://www.carolina440.net/membership/support.html.  Tell them FCHRE sent you.

Mark Gibson