In an effort to modernize its amateur radio license testing program, the Anchorage ARC VEC will become completely paperless effective July 1, 2020. It will be one of the few (if not the first) VEC programs in the United States to go completely paperless. The AARC VEC will no longer utilize printed, paper examinations, or session-related paperwork at any of their testing locations. All examinations will be conducted using their web-based examination platform; examinees will take their examinations on a computer that is connected to the internet. All documents will be electronically completed and signed by the examinee and VEs.
The Anchorage ARC VEC began pursuit of a web-based examination platform nearly one year ago. They found a suitable platform, worked with the vendor, and implemented their electronic examination system as a test-bed at the Radio Science and Operations Center (RSOC), in Anchorage, Alaska. The system not only renders one-time-use examinations for each individual examinee but also can provide a live video/audio feed using the examinee’s webcam/microphone. This feature has been utilized extensively during their remote testing effort.
The system has proved to be reliable and easy to implement. Examinations are graded immediately and automatically. When video and audio monitoring is used, those data streams are recorded and become a permanent part of the examination record.
In addition, the Anchorage ARC is unique among the 14 VECs in that they are able to file directly with the FCC almost immediately upon completion of any examination session (as soon as the paperwork is completed…well, actually, as soon as the electronic paperwork is completed!). If the examination is conducted Monday through Friday, examinees have their callsign or upgrade typically within 1 hour of examination completion. If the exam is conducted on the weekend, results are rendered by the FCC at 0800L Eastern Time on Monday morning…, Tuesday morning if Monday is a federal holiday.
On another note, the Anchorage ARC VEC welcomes a new testing team located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tom Oliphant (K0BUL) and Tom Obenchain (K0RZR) have been instrumental in putting together a team there in Colorado Springs. That group has not only helped significantly with our remote testing effort but has also just administered their first on-site examination session using our web-based testing platform and completely paperless. We welcome our team from Colorado Springs! You are a great asset to our team!