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VE Manual : Preface

The Federal Communications Commission released new rules in 2007 that removed CW - Morse Code testing as a requirement from ALL Amateur license examinations in the United States. A Report and Order was issued after the FCC considered more than 6,000 comments from the public.

Effective February 23, 2007, applicants are to be examined for three license classes, none of which requires a Morse code test: Technician the VHF/UHF entry level; General the HF entry level and Extra a technically-oriented senior license.

The Morse code examination - Element 1- was eliminated by FCC Part 97 Rules and Regulation. Under the new FCC rules, there are now only 3 examination elements:
Element 2: 35 question written test for a Technician License. Pool effective 7/01/10 to 6/30/14
Element 3: 35-question written test for a General license.Pool effective 7/01/11 to 6/30/15
Element 4: 50-question written test for an Amateur Extra license. Pool effective 7/01/12 to 6/30/16

The passing score for the Technician and General Class written exam is 26 questions answered correctly. The pass rate for the Extra Class exam is 37.

The National Conference of VECs Question Pool Committee (QPC) determines the specific mix and makeup of written examination questions which are used in all examinations.
Active VE teams will automatically receive notice of new question pools and associated new testing materials by email and USPS mail.

The new licensing requirements abolishing Morse code testing in the Amateur Service went into effect 30 days after being published in the Federal Register. The FCC December 15, 2006 Report and Order on the Morse code proceeding, WT Docket 05-235, appeared in the Federal Register on Wednesday, January 24, and the new Part 97 rules deleting any Morse code examination requirement for Amateur Radio license applicants effective February 23, 2007.

As previously was the case, Technician Class applicants with an old Technician Class operator license dated before March 21, 1987 automatically qualify for a General Class ticket without further testing. But it does not happen automatically. They must bring their old license document (or other evidence) to a VE exam session to "paper upgrade" their current license without examination.

Even a currently unlicensed applicant who held a Technician Class license before March 21, 1987 can become a General Class licensee by passing Element 2. Sec. 97.505(a)(4) grants Element 3 credit even though the license is expired.

The new rules also mean that all Technician licensees, whether or not they've passed a Morse code examination, will gain HF privileges identical to those of current Novice and Tech Plus (or Technician with Element 1 credit) licensees without having to apply for an upgrade. New Sec. 97.301(e) grants Novices, Technicians and Tech Plus operators CW privileges on 80, 40, 15 meters and CW, RTTY, data and SSB privileges on 10 meters.

The exact frequencies are (CW only) 3525-3600 kHz, 7025-7125 kHz; 21.025-21.200 MHz; ...(CW, RTTY and Data) 28.0-28.3 MHz ...and (CW and SSB) 28.3-28.5 MHz. The power limit is 200 W PEP output for Novice and Technician operators. The R&O does not change the operating privileges of Novice, Tech Plus, General, Advanced and Amateur Extra Class licensees.

The new Element Credit regulations (Sec. 97.505) effective February 23, 2007 are:

97.505 Element credit.

(a) The administering VEs must give credit as specified below to an applicant holding any of the following license grants or license documents:

(1) An unexpired (or expired but within the grace period for renewal) FCC-granted Advanced Class operator license grant: Elements 2 and 3.

(2) An unexpired (or expired but within the grace period for renewal) FCC-granted General Class operator license grant: Elements 2 and 3.

(3) An unexpired (or expired but within the grace period for renewal) FCC-granted Technician or Technician Plus Class operator (including a Technician Class operator license granted before February 14, 1991) license grant: Element 2.

(4) An expired FCC-issued Technician Class operator license document granted before March 21, 1987: Element 3.

(5) A CSCE: Each element the CSCE indicates the examinee passed within the previous 365 days.

(b) No examination credit, except as herein provided, shall be allowed on the basis of holding or having held any other license grant or document.

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