The FCC released a public notice on April 30, 2020 confirming that the ham radio license exam may be held remotely.
In this article:
The simple answer: YES!
How it works
Ham radio license tests are administered by Volunteer Exam Coordinators (VECs) that are approved by the FCC to administer the exam. Some VECs offer remote testing, but many of them still do not.
There is some setup required with a webcam, a Zoom meeting, and possibly a qualified proctor – it all depends on which VEC you choose to administer your exam. Each VEC will have their own detailed requirements and instructions.
Before you get in touch with a VEC to try to schedule your exam, make sure you have studied for the exam and can easily score the 74% required to pass. If you’re not sure on where to get started check out our guide on how to get you ham radio license or take a free lesson.
Top VECs that offer ham radio license testing online:
1. Greater Los Angeles Amateur Radio Group VEC (GLAARG)
GLAARG has stepped up to the plate and is now offering remote tests with much success. Some of our students have reported successful results and a good experience with the GLAARG team.
2. New England Amateur Radio (NEAR)
New England Amateur Radio (NEAR) recently showed up on a radar – and some students are raving about their experience testing with NEAR. They do not require a proctor and follow a process similar to GLAARG. Before getting started, make sure to check out their rules and protocols.
3. Aurora Amateur Radio Group (AARG)
The Aurora Amateur Radio Group based in Kodiak, Alaska offers remote examinations to anyone in an environment where a group of dedicated volunteers are proud to serve. To serve America’s under served through compassion, leadership, professionalism and integration of 21st century technological innovation regardless of physical location are things we strive for. We are more than glad to help anyone that wants to be treated like family and leave with a smile! Feel free to check out the Aurora Amateur Radio Group. You will not be disappointed!
4. Anchorage Alaska VEC
The Anchorage Alaska Amateur Radio Club is the VEC that has offered the ham radio test completely online for the longest amount of time. In addition to their exam software and logistics, they also work hard to maintain the integrity of the testing system.
That being said, you may experience some delays in working with AARC. They also require a proctor, which will require extra work to find a proctor that meets the requirements. Because they use a proctor system, Anchorage can administer exams even if you do not have access to a high speed internet connection.
Should you consider taking the exam in-person?
Let’s be honest – there is a lot of setup required to take the exam 100% online and remotely. It’s worth at least considering taking the exam in per person. And the truth is that it is a good opportunity to meet local club members that you may even make contact with on the local repeater.
Search with ARRL, and just use your zip code for best search results. Get in touch with the local club and see if they can accommodate your situation.