So you want to take a remote US Amateur Radio License Exam? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Since the lock-downs with COVID-19 started the world of Amateur Radio testing has nearly turned on its head, and the HamStudy.org team has been at the center of most of it! If you read our recent press release then you already know about the group that grew up to take on this new challenge and it has been our privilege to provide the software that nearly all of them use.
It has been an interesting challenge, but I think we can definitely say at this point that fully remote examinations are a well defined thing — and still following all of the same rules and regulations as in-person testing have followed for years. In the last few months there have been over 1200 fully remote exams administered through GLAARG, W5YI, and ARRL (in order of how many each has done) and in the last few weeks the number of teams able to administer them have really picked up.
In short, it’s finally a good time to start looking for a remote exam session!
So here is what you need to know, and please read this list carefully — you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t read and how much trouble it causes those working to make this happen!
What you need to have to test
- First, you need to have a good internet connection capable of doing video conferencing. If you don’t then you might consider contacting the Anchorage ARC VEC who use an on-site proctor and thus have less stringent requirements for this.
- Next you need to have a good webcam on your computer — you may be asked to use a cell phone or similar as a second camera. You’ll need to be able to prove your test area is “clean”
- The specific video conferencing software used will depend on the VE team, but you’ll need to be able to install it.
- You will need a “clean” environment to take the exam in — one with nothing around that could be hiding cheat methods and one where nobody will be entering the room unexpectedly (which would probably void the exam). Amusingly, many people have started using a bathroom / washroom for this — a little weird, but who are we to judge?
Finding a fully remote / online exam
To find an exam session, go to https://ham.study/sessions/online
- Keep in mind that HamStudy.org *does not run these sessions*, so please don’t email us with questions =]
- Please don’t register for an exam until you are ready to pass! If you aren’t sure, we know a great website where you can take practice exams for free and see how you are doing. If you aren’t passing consistently then leave a spot for others who are, keep studying, and then sign up when you are actually ready. Remember, these are volunteer examiners running these sessions for you and there are others who want to take an exam as well — let’s not take slots we aren’t ready for.
- Please do not sign up for more than one exam session — scheduling these sessions is extremely tricky and if you register for more than one you are taking spots that others may need. There will be other slots available.
- Make sure you register for an exam session which is marked as “online“! The listing shows both if it’s online and how many slots are available if there is a limit — if it says the session is full just find another session. At the time of this writing I see at least 50 slots open in the next few weeks, so there are slots available and there will be more coming up.
- Always read the session notes carefully! Some sessions have special requirements or instructions for registering, usually to weed out people who don’t follow directions and reduce the impact. In short, if you don’t read the instructions there is a good chance you won’t be testing.
- Check your spam folder; most teams will require you to pay your exam fee before the exam day and may even remove your registration if they don’t hear back from you in a timely manner.
Finally, keep in mind throughout the entire process just how much time and effort your exam team has put in to make this possible! Be patient with them if some things don’t go quite to plan =] They want you to pass and will do everything that the rules allow to help you succeed!
73 and good luck!
By Benton Jackson June 15, 2020 - 10:12
Thanks for making this possible. It is a great pleasure to help welcome new hams to the hobby by administering online exams.
Benton Jackson, K0BHJ
President, Maple Grove Radio Club (Minnesota)
By Naomi G June 15, 2020 - 16:34
Thanks for posting this progress. it is a pleasure working with hamstudy.org and examtools.
We all work as a team so we can keep expanding our amateur radio community!
By Rob Engle June 17, 2020 - 11:37
I took my General test through the GLAARG team and it was a snap! And, yes, I used my bathroom. I think Naomi was one of my VEC’s! Thanks to everyone who has been working so hard to support this community and thanks to HamStudy for providing such a great resource to practice the exam. KK6LLF
By J. Corey Edmonds June 15, 2020 - 18:25
Good article! I knew remote exams were a new thing, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I’m studying for my Amateur Extra, wish me luck!
By Priscilla Smith June 15, 2020 - 19:13
Sweet, I have been studying to work up to passing the online practice tests. This makes me want it even more! Thank you for all the hard work!
By Jing June 20, 2020 - 12:28
Thanks to this site, I was able to take my Technician test and passed last June 14th. More power to this group and keep it up.
By Bill Plese - WB3LEW June 22, 2020 - 18:42
It has been around 44 years since I had to BOOK study for my Novice class license. At that time the examiner had to put the answers in an envelope for the FCC to grade. We would put a self addressed postcard in along with the test. WEEKS later that postcard arrived with a “passed” on it. A couple weeks later came the good stuff. I remember reading WB3LEW and thinking that isn’t so bad while sending CW. I never upgraded. I thought for sure the FCC would grandfather me to an Extra by now. No luck. I grabbed a sample test app for my cellphone and without any study scored a 68. The next few tries I got better and I am over the consistent passing range so I will be going down on July 7th for a walk in. Why a walk in? Just to bring back some memories. Why did I mention all of this? Well, we are over due for online testing. We were overdue 20+ years ago. Thanks for making this easier for the new hams. You deserve several rounds of applause! Keep up the good work! 73s & wish me luck LOL
By Bill Plese July 11, 2020 - 16:18
UPDATE – I took my Technician Class exam and passed! Now on to the General Class.
By Alexander Sharpe November 14, 2020 - 14:03
Great short story Bill, all the best to you.
By Douglas Keith March 29, 2022 - 22:39
My story is similar. I got my Novice and have never upgraded. That was about 50 years ago. I am going to have some down time after surgery and thought I would take the Tech test. Glad to see you passed.
By ken glanzer June 23, 2020 - 13:05
Where & when is the extra test given in SD near 57319?
By kd7bbc June 23, 2020 - 16:28
If it’s not on the sessions page we have no idea. We don’t run the exam sessions — we just provide tools for those who do.
By Howard Roark June 23, 2020 - 13:32
So I just registered and in the email it said I need TWO forms of government ID? Like a driver’s license and what, exactly? All I have is a DL right now.
By kd7bbc June 23, 2020 - 16:28
Please note in the article where it says “Keep in mind that HamStudy.org *does not run these sessions*, so please don’t email us with questions =]”
That email is actually a bit out of date and the specific requirements may vary from team to team depending on which VEC they work through. Contact the VE team using the email link in the registration email you received for details.
By WA5NER August 3, 2020 - 12:00
2 pieces of government ID: I had my driver’s license (photo ID) and social security card ready (yes, SS card is also government issued ID, even without a photo). My online examiner only wanted to see the driver’s license (front and back).
By kd7bbc August 4, 2020 - 11:14
The specific requirements for identification vary by VEC and sometimes by VE team; the VE team is required to follow the VEC guidelines, but may decide to add their own additional requirements depending on their comfort level as long as they don’t conflict with the VEC guidelines.
By Sandy July 1, 2020 - 11:40
Thank you for this opportunity. I had an exam scheduled locally 2 weeks ago but it was cancelled at the last minute due to not having enough VE’s to conduct the testing….COVID 19 related.
By W Rusty Lane July 26, 2020 - 22:51
I have really used this site to study for my Technician class HAM license. Thank you all for providing a site where I can study and take practice tests. I have taken several now and made 100% on each one. So now I’m ready to take my exam to get my license. I will do it here in eastern Tennessee as I have contacted a local HAM club that is giving the exams. I just wanted to say “many thanks” for this site. It was a very straight forward process and I knew there was a way to study without buying a book to do so. Thanks again.
By Cristian Romocea August 4, 2020 - 00:15
If I have a UK full/advanced hamradio licence do I start with Technician or is there a reciprocity agreement which means I can go for General?
By kd7bbc August 4, 2020 - 11:12
While it may be possible to use your UK license in the US (I’m not sure) there is nothing that I am aware of which would let you skip any license exams in the US based on a license from any other service, whether foreign or domestic
By Alex Alonso August 8, 2020 - 20:19
where do i submit my payment lol?? before testing or on test day ??
By kd7bbc August 10, 2020 - 11:19
Contact the VE team with any questions; the email should be the ‘reply-to’ on the registration email you receive (the one with the 4 digit pin) and there is a “contact volunteer examiners” link inside the email.
*Don’t* contact hamstudy support with those questions — we don’t know the answers!
By Murdo Laird August 9, 2020 - 13:10
I had an advanced license from 1995 till 2015 when due to personal circumstances I let it lapse – the FCC cancelled it in 2017, but I am still in the database as KO6WD. I have been told that if I pass a Technician Class exam, my old license would count in lieu of a General exam and I could then get a General Class ticket.
How do I make sure this happens?
By kd7bbc August 10, 2020 - 11:18
Just contact the VE team ahead of your exam and they’ll make sure you know what you need to do
By Harold L Thomas August 18, 2020 - 11:24
How do I pay? It didn’t give me an option to pay! Howold
By kd7bbc August 20, 2020 - 11:08
HamStudy/Examtools provides the exam listing and registration, but everything else about the exam is 100% up to the VE team — for any questions about how the exam is run you need to contact the team running the exam.
By Jesus August 21, 2020 - 08:49
Correct me if I’m missing something, but I feel this website is missing Study Guides. I see questions and practice tests, but I don’t really find that useful if I haven’t at least ready a Study Guide. Can you please direct me to where I can find this?
By kd7bbc September 16, 2020 - 17:31
HamStudy is not really a full instructional resource, though you can learn more than you might expect by reading the explanations which go with each question. HamStudy was really intended to be used as a supplement to another resource, however. You can find a list of some of the resources we know of at https://blog.hamstudy.org/links
By Christian Sweningsen June 19, 2021 - 14:24
Thanks, but that link does not work (seems to be internal??
By kd7bbc June 19, 2021 - 21:24
Check it again, updated. Not sure how that happeend.
By Jon Alan Neel September 2, 2020 - 12:03
I need to study for my exam & thought this website was a good start.
By Rivka Reid September 12, 2020 - 11:31
The HamStudy software is fabulous stuff! It WORKS, it lets me see if I am prepared, and the tracking of missed questions – and the available explanations are super. Didn’t cost much either. And clearly a work of enthusiasm, not joining just another app trying to do something scummy with me and my phone. Well done in the public service! Thank you!
By STEVEN RAY September 14, 2020 - 15:59
I suggest something similar to ARRL in early spring when all of the places that support in person exams shut the Amateurs out due to fear of the virus. It’s great to see someone else picked up the ball and has succeeded, thank you.
By Dwayne Hammonds September 20, 2020 - 19:01
Have always had an interest in ham radio and never got a chance to do it until now.
By Jeremy October 9, 2020 - 09:50
Do I have to take the online test in my state? Or can I take any of the online tests
By Dick mcgrane October 21, 2020 - 18:24
Can I get grand farther upgrade tech to general
With documentation of prior tech license before
By kd7bbc October 21, 2020 - 18:47
Double check with the VE group before registering, but you should be able to do.
By Dick mcgrane October 21, 2020 - 19:23
Any VE on line I could ask or group that performs this service.
By kd7bbc October 22, 2020 - 11:50
Yes, you could ask any VE online or group about that service. Find them at https://ham.study/sessions/online
(this is not a discussion forum, so not the place for specific discussions)
By Thracy Varvoglis October 25, 2020 - 11:14
Wanted to thank the entire HamStudy.Org and the W5Y1-VEC team for assisting me in passing my General. Took the test this am under Steve Pawl N1SEP and his team. Thrilled and now pumped about my Extra.
And 73 from KC1NLX/AG!!!!!
By Reina November 13, 2020 - 18:01
I will be great if you Hamstudy have Spanish practice test too.
By kd7bbc November 21, 2020 - 13:42
This isn’t the final way it’ll work, but for now you can use:
By Muriel Tillman December 7, 2020 - 22:36
I was referred to Hamstudy.org by Jason M. and Stephen K., at Silvercreek Amateur Radio Association. I am so thankful for the helpful and professional way they have given me guidance and advice, in my attempt to gain my Amateur Radio license. Hamstudy.org is a fantastic tool and I am grateful to have this resource available to me. I plan to take my test for Technician and General operator before the month of December is over. I am excited to also have the opportunity to take the exam remotely, if necessary. Thank you, Hamstudy.org and all the Amateur Radio enthusiasts and volunteers, that make this possible!
By Chuck Bowen February 25, 2021 - 21:16
I just passed my General class exam online tonight. Thanks to hamstudy.org and the Red River Radio Amateurs in Fargo ND! Great club! Great testing! It was a little rocky at first due to my own computer illiteracy but those guys got me through it.
By john Price September 2, 2021 - 06:02
Will I be able to review the entire test after completing it to be able to check my answers?
By kd7bbc September 5, 2021 - 12:47
Assuming they use the ExamTools system it works very similarly to the practice exams on hamstudy.org — you have all the time the VE team is willing to give you to review your answers and change all the right answers to wrong ones =]
I would expect any examination system — paper or computerized — to work the same.
By Diana Allen December 15, 2021 - 10:37
Have WANTED to upgrade for several years, BUT live in a rural area with NO testing available; and due to disabilities am NOT able to travel to nearest in person testing site.
Online would be great EXCEPT, that 1. My newest computer is win 7 pro, desktop with no webcam AND limited internet; 2. My phone is “lifeline service” (phone only service paid for by state,) so NO camera availability even as “secondary” for the needed video connection; and 3. Limited income.
MAYBE they will figure out a way, eventually, for me, and those like me to upgrade, (from Novice to General in my case,) which should NOT be a “knowledge” problem since I DO ALSO HAVE a General Radiotelephone License as well, AND an Applied Electronics degree, with a Computer systems and programming minor, and 20 plus years “field” experience before becoming disabled!
Have a nice day.
By Neil Fox January 12, 2022 - 18:55
You can use a cell phone, depending on the VEC you are using. In fact, you can use zoom on the cell phone and do the whole thing on that, according to what I recently read.