“Drive-in” Volunteer Exams Seen as an Alternative to In-Person Sessions

ARRL VEC logo/bannerGiven the risks associated with the COVID-19 virus while conducting  in-person Volunteer Exam sessions, several clubs across the country are beginning to explore an alternative–“Drive-In” VE sessions.

The Newport County (RI) Radio Club is holding its next licensing class online starting on Tuesday April 21st at 5:30 PM. It will be held weekly using “Zoom.” At the conclusion of the class, the team will hold an ARRL VEC-sponsored “drive-in” exam session. Students will remain in their cars to keep social distancing.

An ARRL VEC-sponsored team associated with the Warren Country Radio Club in Eastern New York conducted a “drive-thru” amateur radio exam session on April 5, 2020. 

According to ARRL Eastern New York Section Manager John Fritze Jr., K2QY: “I visited for a short while to see what how they managed this… I was very impressed with the professionalism and the degree into which […] safety was observed.  Everyone in direct contact with either the examinees or the test materials wore face masks and gloves (which were switched out so there was no cross contamination).   All examinees were warned to use a bathroom before coming to the test location.  All examinees were confined to their vehicles which were checked for any papers or electronics which could be used to cheat.  VEs stood in front of and between two cars so each car could be observed by VEs from two angles.  All instructions were given using a portable FM transmitter using low power in the commercial VHF range and received on the individual car radios.  The VE team spaced themselves more than six feet apart at a long table in front of the examinee’s vehicles.”

A video about the Warren County RC test session by Mickey Corentto, N2MC, documents how it was implemented.

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