FCC Providing Flexibility to Volunteer Examiners in Developing Remote Testing Methods

ARRL VEC logo/bannerFrom ARRL Web:

05/03/2020–The FCC has clarified that nothing in its rules prohibits remote amateur radio testing, and no prior approval is needed to conduct remote exam sessions.

“The Commission provides flexibility to volunteer examiners and coordinators who wish to develop remote testing methods or to increase remote testing programs already in place,” the FCC said in an April 30 news release. “We recognize that some volunteer examiner coordinators may not have the immediate capacity for widespread remote testing. We expect those volunteer examiner coordinators with limited remote testing capacity to work closely with those requesting such testing to prioritize any available remote testing slots.”

ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, said she’s gratified to see that the FCC appreciates the need for remote testing. “Many of our VEs and VE Teams have been employing remotely proctored exam sessions with both video and in-person components, and following social-distancing protocols, where necessary” she said. “Some ARRL VE teams have shown great promise in administering exams remotely.” Somma also said that as states begin to lift restrictions, the possibility exists to restart in-person amateur radio exam opportunities.

“We urge our VE teams to keep up to date so they can make informed decisions based on local community guidelines, as each community is unique,” she said. “Our volunteers should use their best judgement when deciding whether or not to begin conducting in-person exam sessions. It is important to us that you feel confident when choosing your course of action, because the health and safety of our VEs and the examinees is the top priority. VE teams that choose to conduct in-person sessions should re-start consistent with local restrictions and guidelines.”

To find amateur radio license exam sessions in your area, visit the ARRL website. Candidates should verify with their VE teams that the exam session is being held and if any special procedures are required to attend. 

Eastern Massachusetts ARES Net – Monday 5/4/20 at 830 PM ET

Hello to all…

The May Eastern Massachusetts ARES section net will be Monday May 4, at 8:30 PM on the MMRA Repeater system.

For frequencies that will be linked into the ARES Net on the MMRA Network, please see the following link from the MMRA web site detailing the repeaters that will be linked in through Hub 1:


We look forward to your participation and remember, we are always looking for Net Controls to run the ARES Net. For tonight’s ARES Net, we will be providing another update on COVID-19, what we are doing to monitor this health emergency from a communications needs perspective and what you can do as ARES volunteers or general Amateur Radio Operators during this health emergency to prepare for any communications issues during this time. A link to a document that we had created for ARES awareness last month is available at the following link:

We will also have some announcements on training and exercise opportunities in the month of May. Updates on those events will be posted via email and on the Eastern Massachusetts ARES Web Site at https://ema.arrl.org/ares. Thanks for your continued support of ARES!

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 508-346-2929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: rmacedo@rcn.com
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May 04 2020 – MEMA RACES / ACS / Emergency Communications Net

Mike “Sparky” Leger-N1YLQ, MEMA Region 2 RACES Radio Officer writes:

Hello to all,

I hope that everyone and your families and friends are continuing to stay healthy! Trying to remember what day it is has been a challenge as the normal workweek and routines have long since gone out the window as we distance socially from others… and temporally from our daily routines to make things work as best we can.

Tomorrow, May 4th 2020 is the first non-holiday Monday of the month and, as such, is our RACES/ACS/Preparedness night. We will be holding our sector nets on the normally assigned frequencies. As with last month, many EOCs and Community operating points are not accessible by our operators, so I continue to ask those who cant get to their EOC or normal RACES operating post to please check in from home or a mobile rig if possible.

As always, I am looking for Net Control stations to staff two of the four sector nets for the evening. Sector 2D is already covered as it always is. I can run the Sector 2A net from my home QTH in Acushnet (though if someone else wants to act as NCS for 2A for some practice, I am more than happy to let them have at it.) I am looking for NCS operators for Sector 2B (Plymouth County) and 2C (Cape and Islands.) Please let me know if you are interested,

For the net we will once again be working with the form AR-2 AR2 SHORT FORM INSTRUCTIONS and collecting information from our RACES operators. I have attached the AR 2 Short Form for reference. I will be looking for the following data items from the Form AR-2 during what would normally be our simplex test…

Items 1, 2 (If still activated), 3 (If still activated), 4, 5, 6, and 17.

Any requests or updates that do not fall within the AR-2 parameters can be sent using NTS formatted messages.

I am asking that all Net Control Stations please record the information from the AR-2 in a spreadsheet that you can e-mail or on a piece of notebook paper that you can scan or send to me as a photo.

I continue to ask that any operators who have the time, please try to check into sector nets from near-by sections. This will allow any our Net Control Operators to practice fielding nets with a strong check-in count and will also serve to help practice with relays or modified sector assignments in the event that a single repeater is out of service.

For those operators who serve as Net Control Operators, please try to remember to send me a list of the stations and communities that check into your nets. The numbers are reported to MEMA to show them our level of participation. I am continuing to work on a graphical map based report to show which parts of our section have strong coverage and which areas may need a more targeted recruitment campaign to improve our ability to provide back-up communications in an emergency.

The Region #2 and State Net Schedule for this evening is as follows:

Sector 2A
147.00 /+0.60 PL
19:30 Local

Sector 2B
145.39/-0.60 PL 67.0
20:00 Local

Sector 2C
146.955/-0.60 PL 88.5
20:00 Local

Sector 2D
146.865/-0.60 PL 103.2
19:30 Local

6-Meter State Net
53.31 / – 1.0 PL 71.9

Note: 53.31 has been reported to be having difficulties lately.
The appropriate people are aware and working to remedy any issues.
19:00 Local

3930 KHz LSB moving up to 3955 KHz until there is a clear frequency
18:45 Local

I appreciate you all answering the call to serve even when things are uncertain and tough to manage as they can be right now. Thank you all for helping us keep things on track and prove that we remain consistent. This net provides a monthly reminder that we stand ready with a quiet professionalism prepared to serve as a voice to whomever needs one to get help and resources where they should be.

If you know someone who would benefit from being on this list, please have them contact me at WC1MAB@gmail.com and I will add them to this distribution. Thank you all!

If anyone has any questions or comments I can be reached by e-mail or cell phone. Thanks for being a part of our team and I look forward to hearing back on who can participate this month.

Michael Leger (N1YLQ)
MEMA Region #2 RACES Officer

Eastern Massachusetts Hospital Net – Saturday 5/2/20 at 1000 AM EDT

EMA ARES – DEC Healthcare Liaison – K1JRO-John O’Neill writes:

Thanks to the Allan and the group at the Mansfield EOC for stepping up and taking Net Control for 2 months in a row.

At the conclusion of the regular analog net, after the net closes, I would like to try the DMR Net once again. Plea​se see the bottom of this note for the DMR details. NEDECN (NEDECN.ORG) is graciously supporting the EMHN by providing us with our own Talkgroup on a number of their repeaters covering Eastern MA. I would ask that those interested in DMR to consider a donation to NEDECN and / or becoming a member. Their network of linked repeaters throughout New England is extensive.

Net Control for the May 2, 2020 Eastern MA Hospital Net will be the Mansfield EOC. The net will commence at the usual time of 10: AM using the following repeaters / frequencies in the order listed.

1. Sharon 146.865 tone 103.5
2. Bridgewater 147.180 tone 67.0
3. Plymouth 146.685 tone 131.8
Simplex 147.42

The Net will then return to the Sharon Repeater for any final comments and Net closing.

NET Protocol: Please wait for Net Control to ask for Check-ins. When asked to check in please use the standard net check-in procedure which is: Here is.., un-key, wait 3 seconds to check for doubling, then give your or your facilities call sign, your first name, and your facility’s name.

We extend an invitation to any health care facility or EOC of any city or town that is served by one of the participating hospitals to join the Net. We also extend an invitation to any RACES or ARES member to check in during the NET.

We are always looking for groups or organizations to try their hand at Net Control duties. If you are interested in giving Net Control a try please let us know. We can be reached by sending an email to ssharg@outlook.com. The goal is to rotate Net Control practice and the experience among as many individuals and groups as possible.

South Shore Hospital Amateur Radio Group is seeking licensed Amateur Radio Operators to join their group. For information on joining them please contact Amy Parker in Volunteer Services at AParker@southshorehealth.org

We thank the repeater trustees for their generosity in allowing us to conduct the monthly nets and the use of their systems in an actual event. The following list of repeaters is available for our use. Only a few systems are used each month with the selection of those used made by Net Control for that month. More systems are being added to the list on a regular basis.

Analog Repeaters
Attleboro 147.195 tone 127.3 (Sturdy Memorial Hospital)
Belmont 145.430 tone 146.2
Boston 145.230 tone encode 88.5 tone decode 100.0
Bridgewater 147.180 tone 67.0
Danvers 145.47 tone 136.5
Dartmouth 147.000 tone 67.0
Fall River 146.805. tone 67.0
Falmouth 147.375 tone 110.9
Mansfield EMA 446.925 tone 100.0
Mansfield 147.015 tone 67.0
Marshfield 145.390 tone 67.0
Norwood 147.210 tone 100.00
Plymouth 146.685 tone 131.8
Salem 146.88 tone 118.8
Sharon 146.865 tone 103.5
Weymouth 147.345 tone 110.9 (South Shore Hospital)
W. Bridgewater 146.775 DCS 244
Wrentham 147.09 tone 146.2

DMR Repeaters
NEDECN DMR Repeaters supporting EMHN
Boston 449.1750 Offset -5.00 CC1
Hingham 146.4300 Offset -1.500 CC1
Bourne 145.2000 Offset -0.600 CC10
Dennis 146.4700 Offset -1.500 CC11
Martha’s Vineyard 145.180 Offset -0.600 CC10

All repeaters: EMHN Talkgroup #8851 Time slot #1

We look forward to hearing from you all on the Net.


John O’Neill K1JRO
President, South Shore Health Amateur Radio Group
EMA ARES – DEC Healthcare Liaison

South Shore Health Amateur Radio Group – W1SSH
55 Fogg Road, Box 42
South Weymouth, MA 02190

RSGB RadCom May 2020 Edition Available to All Radio Amateurs Online

Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, writes on the ARRL-IARU list:

As another part of the RSGB “Get on the air to care” campaign, the May edition of RadCom is being made available to radio amateurs around the world to read online as a sample edition. A number of IARU national societies have taken a similar step and the RSGB is happy to join those societies in supporting the worldwide amateur radio community during these difficult times:  www.rsgb.org/sampleradcom.

Best regards,

 Steve Thomas, M1ACB
General Manager
Radio Society of Great Britain
01234 832 701