Stephen Hutchings WM7X

Washington Based W5YI VEC Contact Volunteer Examiner

Licensed in 1996, Stephen became an ARRL Volunteer Examiner in early 2015. Accredited by the ARRL, he quickly began to volunteer for local and regional in-person test sessions. In the winter of 2020, Stephen was sponsored by Gordon West WB6NOA, as a Volunteer Examiner with W5YI VEC. Stephen became a Contact Volunteer Examiner (CVE) in October of 2021, and quickly began scheduling internet based remote testing sessions. As a Session Manager for the ARRL and Contact Volunteer Examiner for W5YI, nearly 20 exam sessions are now held each week!

“The process, convenience and ease of remote testing is a no-brainer”, states Stephen, when asked why he prefers remote testing. He adds, “There is little reason, if any, to start a car or travel to an in-person testing opportunity anymore!”

Our goal

As ham radio operators ourselves, we are anxious to see new ones enter the hobby! Our many years of combined experience is enhanced further by sharing it with others. 

We remember well the feeling we had when we also passed our examinations. For some of us, it was long ago in front of a federal employee, at an FCC field office. We often were not told if we had passed, having to wait months for a letter telling us that we either fell short, or better, we received our license! For others, we drove to a Church, Boy Scout’s Office, Fire Station or Red Cross Building to sit before a team of Volunteer Examiners who administered our test with the old-fashioned bubble sheets! 

Testing for Amateur Radio licenses has certainly changed! College degrees, professional certifications, various trades, and other fields provide education to students remotely. The administering of remote examinations logically follows. Broadband internet, coupled with robust security, has created a ripe atmosphere for education. 

Your Amateur Radio Federal Communication Commission license is also easily obtainable remotely! 

Using the same technology that you’re already using and familiar with allows us to administer your next exam! You will find testing in your own home to be convenient and relaxing, leading to a better testing experience. You have already taken several practice tests by now. If you are scoring consistently above 85%. You are ready! Wouldn’t it have been nice to have had that last practice test, witnessed by a Volunteer Examiner (VE) team? Using an internet session, and your webcam or cell phone, it is much easier than you expect! In fact, most of our applicants who test with us are in and out of their session in 13-18 minutes. Driving to an ln-person session takes longer than that just to drive one way! With fuel cost, the time commitment, and inherent nervousness, your testing decision should be apparent. 

At times we have upwards of 30 VEs who attend a session! Why, when only 3 VEs are required?


We remember back when we passed, and that feeling of accomplishment we had in getting our license is conjured back up repeatedly when we see our applicants pass too!
We have the same convenient advantage of administering exams remotely, as you do in taking the exam remotely. We also did not have to get ready, travel, set up a physical session, compile paperwork or step outside our homes to test. 

We hope you will consider testing with our test team and allowing us to celebrate with you as you knock it out of the park!

Let's Do This!

Easily register for your own exam session