The wait for a Tech license is unnecessary

Discussion in 'Becoming a Ham - Q&A' started by WRKS480, Feb 19, 2021.

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  1. KE8QEP

    KE8QEP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It would be nice if it became policy to electronically file the results (which is already an option). My results for the technicians license were filed electronically and it only took a day or two to show up on the FCC database.
    WZ7U and KO4ESA like this.
  2. WJ4U

    WJ4U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ah, so the problem is not with the FCC but with your VE. Laurel VE sends their test results electronically and, as I said above, it only took a day (not counting Sunday) to get my call.
    KO4ESA, K4PIH, N2EY and 1 other person like this.
  3. WRKS480

    WRKS480 QRZ Member

    The problem is that VEs still have to use a third party umbrella VEC (I think that's the case) and still have the snail mail option. As I understand it, they have 20 days to file. Under what circumstances would nearly three weeks' delay be justifiable? Note: An examinee has no power to control what the VE does, and asking would be bad form in my opinion.
    KO4ESA likes this.
  4. WJ4U

    WJ4U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not at all! I would ask them why they don't take advantage of electronic submission!

    BTW, we just got a Christmas card in the mail that was postmarked 12/22. Trusting USPS for speedy Amateur Radio test results at this time is ludicrous.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
    KO4ESA, N2EY and K7JEM like this.
  5. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    You need to understand that some VEC's (Laurel) send their documents in electronically. Others, like ARRL don't necessarily do that. I have been involved (as a VE) in numerous test sessions where the results showed up on the FCC database within 12 hours.

    So, it's really who you choose to do the testing. Ask them before hand how long it typically takes. If they tell you 10+ days, they are obviously not processing things as fast as they could.
    KO4ESA, AJ4GQ, WJ4U and 1 other person like this.
  6. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats and welcome!

    IMHO, you should have at least tried it. As I understand the VE procedures, all it would have cost you is the time. You might have passed it and saved yourself a second trip.

    That's great - I suggest going for Extra at the same time.

    As others have pointed out, that's just how that particular VEC session works. Others file with FCC electronically - a system that has been in place for years - and the results are on the database in a business day or two.

    Why your VEC session folks still use USPS is unknown - but be aware that the paper chase delay was dealt with long ago.

    But you miss one crucial point: Cost/benefit ratio.

    The FCC and the VEC system do not have anything like the resources of the US military. Amateur Radio is just a small part of what FCC does - a legacy service regulated by a legacy agency. Heck, the FCC doesn't even send you a paper license unless you specifically change your personal setting on the website, because printing an mailing a paper license costs them maybe a dollar. That's how limited FCC resources are for Amateur Radio.

    The VEC system is all unpaid volunteers; the fees paid to take a test go to recover expenses only - facility rental, printing, postage, etc. (Yes, it would save postage and duplication if they file electronically.) VECs cannot issue licenses, only FCC does that. All VECs do is conduct test sessions and issue CSCEs, which existed before the VEC system was created.

    So, what you're asking is for the FCC to change the rules so that VECs are empowered to actually issue licenses. That's a pretty hard sell! Maybe FCC could be convinced to do that - but the benefit would be the elimination of a delay of a few business days at most (if all VECs used electronic filing). The costs would be considerable, both for FCC and the VECs.

    FCC policy is that the actual Amateur Radio license is the ULS record, not some piece of paper. An "instant upgrade" to General or Extra is only a modification of the license, and the licensee has to ID with "temporary AE" or "/AE" until the ULS record shows the change - in a few days at most, if electronic filing is used.

    In fact, it could be argued that CSCEs and "instant upgrades" are unnecessary with electronic filing. However, note that CSCEs only involve VEC resources.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to get all VECs on board with electronic filing FIRST, so that the postal costs and delays would go away?

    You mention "if current technology were properly applied". That's the bell-the-cat question: what is applied, who applies it, who maintains it, and who pays for it?

    The above is not a trivial question - here's why:

    Once upon a time, FCC did most Amateur Radio license testing. They had offices in most big cities and would send traveling examiners to sessions all over the USA. They'd even have exam sessions at hamfests, conventions and club meetings. Of course in those pre-ULS days, the paperwork still had to go to FCC HQ for processing.

    If the testing was still done by FCC examiners today, it would be a simple matter for the examiners to electronically file all new and modified licenses right at the test session, print out licenses, and done. Like the DMV (....oh...wait...)

    Trouble is, FCC doing the routine testing went away over 35 years ago, for one reason: to save FCC money. They got unpaid volunteers to do much of the work that used to be done by paid Federal employees. Commercial license testing was handed off to contractors - typical fee of $100 or so. FCC offices in most cities closed, too.

    No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

    (FCC can still conduct testing if they want to. Any licensee whose license was earned at a VEC session can be called in for retesting by FCC at any time. Such retesting is extremely rare, but it has happened when there were questions about the procedures not followed at a testing session.)

    73 de Jim, N2EY

    And for those other than the OP, let me say one word:


    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
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  7. KA3CTQ

    KA3CTQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Rhode Island Swamp Yankee?? that is a new one to me.
    KO4ESA likes this.
  8. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page

    So people complain about waiting more than a few days for an amateur radio license once they past the test, But will wait at least a week+ for a postcard to activate their LoTW?
    KO4ESA and K3XR like this.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can't legally operate without a license. That's the OP's issue.

    LOTW is an optional, FREE service that saves everyone big bucks on QSL cards.

    As different as chalk and cheese.
    KO4ESA likes this.
  10. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree you can't operate without a license, I'm pointing out that some complain about any wait but are willing to wait for other things along the same line. Let's hope cheese and chalk are not the same, although some of the cheap pizza I've had seems to be covered in chalk.
    KO4ESA, WD0BCT and N2EY like this.
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