FCHRE New Wendell Venue

Amateur Radio, Testing

Wendell United Methodist Church

By: Mark Gibson(N4MQU)

Lately I felt it necessary to explain FIve County Ham Radio Enthusiasts didn’t start off as a amateur radio volunteer examiner team.  A few of us wanted to have a place to go to locally where we would not have to drive to Smithfield and Raleigh but still get together to discuss amateur radio.  We started testing in 2018 in Wendell and found the fire stations in nearby towns very agreeable to allowing us to use their facility to test in.

When the pandemic closed the facilities to us one of our members offered to allow us to use their private office on Banks Road in Raleigh.  Due to the pandemic and parking limitations we had to start scheduling exams instead of having one session in a day we had several. We adapted and had over 130 Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) issued from Banks Road.  

So that brings us to today.  I started checking around for venues specifically in Wendell and found Wendell United Methodist Church agreeable to allowing us to use the facility.

The first Saturday in July wasn’t scheduled to be our exam date due to Independence Day but since the facility was available and we found VE’s willing to serve we decided to hold one.  This was mainly for us to check out the facility to see what was available to us.  The volunteers examiners for the inaugural testing session was KK4QEF, N4EVT, K4EUP, AJ4NX, AI8U, N4MQU, W2CK.  All but two were from Wendell! We had four visitors come to the meet and greet event.  One of them Gary Ybarra (KO4LRJ) decided to volunteer to become a VE. Two of the guest decided to take the extra class examination.  One of the guest suggested with this facility we could handle a amateur radio workshop event and offered to take the lead in this effort.  

FCVET was recently recognized by the largest amateur radio fraternity in the United States the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) North Carolina section manager for their superior efforts involved in organizing Volunteer Examination Sessions during the COVID 19 Pandemic. 

There are over 3,000 amateur radio operators in Wake County.

The team was the first team in North Carolina to offer no charge amateur radio exams.

Wendell amateur radio workshops will be held on the first Saturday of every month at 1:00 PM.  The no charge amateur radio exams will be held at 2:30.  Study tips and registration.

Thanks to the Wendell United Methodist Church for allowing us to use this facility.  

I had to put my portable office back in service


Fully equipped kitchen

Independence Day Net

Amateur Radio, Testing, Weekly Report

Happy Independence Day!

Amateur radio is one hobby that happens every day including on holidays! One year I was privileged to call the Virginia Fone Net on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
I will be your substitute net control tonight. Hope to hear you. A couple of weeks ago I received a message on Facebook about someone hearing our net from the Sandhills area. I gave them some information on getting a license and encouraged them to get licensed.
Please join us tonight at 7:00PM for the Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts net on the Carolina 440 network. You will be able to find your closest repeater at https://www.carolina440.net/440uhf-repeaters/repeaters-on-link.html. If you are not close to the repeater or are unlicensed and you would like to listen on line try https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/34503 Tony Hall (WW4TCH) is our regular net control station.

Thanks to the Carolina 440 net for the use of the repeater. If you would like to help see https://www.carolina440.net/membership/support.html. Tell them FCHRE sent you.

Our next no charge amateur radio exam is next Saturday July 10. https://fivecountyhre.org/study-tips-and-registration/ This is our last scheduled exam at Banks Road. We will hold exams there by appointments and maybe continue our once a month weekday exams where the applicants get their call sign in a couple of hours. The VE team is discussing our options.

Two New VE teams formed

Amateur Radio, Testing, Weekly Report


A little history

As most of you know FCVET was the first Laurel VE team formed in North Carolina. I had never lead a VE team and maybe had participated in two or three VE sessions before. That first exam wouldn’t have been successful without WD1U coming all the way to North Carolina from Virginia to help with our first exam. We had a tech in a day class with an exam to follow on the same day. 5 of our 9 students passed. My passion is for free exams. AA5AZ approached me about doing an exam in the Goldsboro area. The Neuse River Basin Team is now set up in that area. W4CEC announced his technician class with the exam to follow the only cost was for the exam fee. I couldn’t let that happen. I got volunteers from several VE teams to sign up with Laurel. I twisted Chris’s arm to form his own team to serve his area and his merit badge and radio classes he teaches. He conducts his classes all they way to Camp Durant to the American Legion building in Wake Forest.

Central Carolina VE Team

Now that things seem to be opening up and K7RLH has decided to start his Central Carolina VE team and serve the Central Wake county area. He has excellent on hands experience and has been a great help on giving exams at Banks Road. He most likely will be testing at the American Legion building in Fuquay-Varina.

Westmoreland Amateur Radio Club VE Team

I also would like to welcome a new Virginia team to the Laurel VEC. I am a member of the Virginia Fone Net and they recently held their convention. I suggested to the manager to hold a VE session there and he agreed I needed a couple of volunteers from the local area and KX4ZG, KC8VFN and W4GMF were the first three from the local area to jump on board. Westmoreland Amateur Radio Club decided to start a new VE team and KX4ZG agreed to become the team leader. They are a ARRL special service club and now they can give exams for free. We tested Friday and Saturday and got two to upgrade to General and one upgraded to Extra. Thanks to the VE’s that volunteered to Friday and or Saturday N4WDC, KC8VFN, KX4VG, AA4GB, N4MQU and WD1U.

FCVET Future

As far as Banks Road we are limited for parking. We are able to keep Banks Road open for appointments and maybe keep our third Thursday exam going. I have an extra set of supplies I can use for testing at special events or private exams or I am also hoping to find a suitable place in Wendell where we could have exams. We have signed up a couple of new VE’s in the Wendell area to help.

Thank you

I really appreciate 76 people that have volunteered to be a FCVET member. I appreciate the 118 applicants we have tested this year (until end of May)This worked out to 65 new Technicians, 31 new or upgraded Generals, 8 new or upgraded to Extra. This represents a savings of $1,770 for the applicants. This does not include the fee for retakes. We had a recent upgrade to Extra class after taking the exam four times. That would cost them $60.00.

Thanks to the ARRL for promoting non-ARRL teams on their website. Thanks to Laurel VEC for offering free exams.

June Dinner Gathering

Our June dinner will be on June 24 at Mclean’s in Zebolon. 418 W Gannon Ave, Zebulon, NC 27597
Dinner starts at 6:00 PM tell them at the front the radio club.
444.875+ 100.0 PL. KF4AUF Wendell, NC


The new moon was Thursday. I still want to take that camping trip the Staunton River State Park.

Thanks for reading,

Mark Gibson (N4MQU)
FCVET Team Leader

20210502 First Sunday Report

Amateur Radio, BRTC, Testing, Weekly Report

Weekly net

Please join us 7:00PM Sunday for the Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts net on the Carolina 440 network. You will be able to find your closest repeater here If you are not close to the repeater or are unlicensed or you would like to just listen on line try here. Tony Hall (WW4TCH) is our regular net control station.

If you have thought you would like to serve the community during an emergency the best way to get ready is to learn to call a net. Let me know if you are interested in becoming a net control operator. This net is checkin driven meaning you can bring up other subjects like, building models or astronomy.

Thanks to the Carolina 440 net for the use of the repeater. If you would like to help out or join the group click on the link.Tell them FCHRE sent you.

Our  in person dinner gathering returns!

Tuesday May 4 6:00 PM Mclean’s 418 W Gannon Ave, Zebulon, NC 27597

April by the numbers

22 applicants 11 New Technicians 2 New Generals 6 Upgrades  to General 2 Upgrades to Extra 

Sunday net checkins 

I think the system is missing a net somehow but what it shows is 33 but I know that is in error. I think it is missing the net I called.  Help the numbers look different this month by checking in. You can check in even if you are not from the area.  Check the Carolina 440 link above.

Groups IO

We hit 202 members in April and had an all time record (since June 2019) of 350 messages that means everything was counted responses to posts etc. I’ve had people leave the group due to the number of posts.  Please don’t do that. At the bottom of the email are options like no emails or mute topics.  You have options.

May 1 testing session 

19 Applicants 11 new Technicians 3 New Generals 2 Upgrades to General

A visit from the section manager 




We had a visit from the ARRL North Carolina Section Manager Marvin Hoffman (WA4NC) at the test session May 1.  He presented the FCVET with the SUGAR award.  Supporting Upgrading Growing Amateur Radio. The certificate reads in part “Recognizes The Five County Amateur Radio Enthusiasts for their superior efforts involved in organizing Volunteer Examiner Sessions During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Thank you For coming Marv.  We also welcome Marv to the FCVET.  Several times during the year when COVID news got bad I had asked the team to make sure they were still willing to conduct the exams and never got one to say no. 

Astronomy Events

Photo Credit: KD4WJD Hugh Cashion

I see the local astronomy club went out last night.  The weather has been great for astronomy.  I was out Tuesday night. With the pink moon waning looks like May 4 – 6 is a good night for ETA Aquariid meteor shower.  Looks to be partly cloudy but maybe we’ll get lucky.

Age is no barrier

Age, Amateur Radio, Testing

Are you ever too old to upgrade? On the April 3rd exam we had two people I wanted to mention two that upgraded. One person upgraded to general and the other upgraded to extra. Congratulations to Kathleene Young (KM4BYD) and Robert Sepe (KO4LZT) Kathleen is 70 and Robert is 76. They gave me permission to use their age.

70 year old Kathleen Young (KM4BYD) upgraded to general

76 year old Robert Sepe (KO4LZT) upgraded to extra

20210403 Testing Session Report

Amateur Radio, BRTC, Testing

We had a busy testing session with 13 new licensed amateur radio operators. 11 technicians and 2 new generals. Not to even mention the 1 upgrade to Extra and 6 General license upgrades granted. Congratulations to everyone. Thanks to the VE’s KK4QEF, WW4TCH, WA2KQY, AI8U, K7RLH, N4MQU, K9JWS for the successful session.

Parking lot full of applicants and VE’s

Amateur Radio Fee Effective Date April 19, 2021

Amateur Radio, Testing

By: Mark Gibson (N4MQU)

I just started reviewing this document. Looks like Amateur radio fee of $35 will go into effect April 19, 2021. This is not for your license exam this is for your License. Laurel VEC will not be collecting any fee.

38. After reviewing the record, including the extensive comments filed by amateur radio licensees and based on our revised analysis of the cost of processing mostly automated processes discussed in our methodology section, we adopt a $35 application fee, a lower application fee than the Commission proposed in the NPRM for personal licenses, in recognition of the fact that the application process is mostly automated.[66]

Link to Rule for the Application Fees.


Please if you know anyone considering taking an amateur radio exam please do so before April 19. For tips on how to study for the technician exam see Steps to tech. Five County VE team will do anything we can to support additional activity. We have 14 registered to take their exam at this time.

Our next no charge In-Person exam is April 3, 2021. Please register at Fivecountyhre.org .

  • For the nearest free exam near you see Laurel VEC
  • For the Amateur Radio License exam in your area try ARRL
  • For online testing sessions and in-person exams try HamStudy.org.


Mark Gibson– N4MQU
Laurel VEC Team Leader

N4MQU At the FCC

Banks Road Testing Club Celebrates 1 Year

Amateur Radio, BRTC, Testing

By Mark Gibson (N4MQU)

Raleigh, NC The Five County VE team celebrates 1 year operating from their new home location.  When the fire departments and the other community facilities closed down for community activities they sought out other facilities to hold their no charge amateur radio testing. Thanks to the owners of Supreme. T-shirts & Apparel Paulette (K4PKD) and Stan (WA2KQY) Disbrow that allows us to use their office in the capital city of Raleigh for amateur radio testing. While some the other established clubs in the area are cutting out the in-person exams in favor of the on-line exams or not doing it all the informal Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts (FCHRE) clubs VE team FCVET decided to continue to offer regular scheduled amateur radio exams. The group added rules to restrict the number of their applicants to 4 per hour and started scheduling their testing for each applicant to enforce social distancing rules.  They also ask the applicants to take the Coronavirus Self-Checker.  In addition to regularly scheduled exams the group has the ability to offer exams at any times mutually agreed to by the team and the applicant.  They have had several exams during the week when the new amateur radio operator received their call sign before they got home. It has been reported to the group that some applicants aren’t able to meet the requirements of the on-line testing requirements. 

The FCVET has tested118 applicants, issued 68 Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE)  for technician 33 for general, 11 for extra from the Banks Road campus. We conducted our first exam and the Banks Road campus on March 7, 2020.

The VE team members comes from many of the area clubs including, Raleigh Amateur Radio Society, South Wake Amateur Radio Club, Johnston Amateur Radio Society and Franklin County Amateur Radio Club and may be others.

The FCVET will still support the Five County (Central NC) area  of the community as the communities open up to the group to allow the testing. All the Volunteer Examiners are being cross trained to be able to take over each of the area of responsibilities of the VE Team. The team has deputy directors that can do a testing session when the team leader schedules time off.  The team will be able to expand when the eastern communities open up again and keep their home campus. In case you are wondering we take our name from the five county area of Wake,  Franklin, Harnett, Nash, Johnston  and Wilson County in North Carolina.

Thanks to the Laurel VEC for allowing no charge testing. Thanks to the ARRL for promoting amateur radio and allowing all VEC’s to promote their testing opportunities on their website. 

To schedule an exam go to FCVET Registration Page.  If the scheduled exam is not convenient click other and make a comment as to what day of the week you would like to test. The FCVET will respond usually with 24 hours. 

Our History in Photos.

First FCVET function. Tech in a day class. Five out of 9 students passed their technician exam.

Thanksgiving Fire Department

Archer Lodge Fire Department

Contentnea Vol Fire Dept

FCVET Testing at 2020 JARS Field Day. VE KM4TC with one the new amateur radio operator that passed his exam.

20210306 Test Session Report

Amateur Radio, BRTC, Testing

The FCC surprised us by updating their files after telling us there may be delays.
Congratulation to all.

Upgrade to Extra
Samuel Robinson (KN4RWI) of Raleigh
Dennis Oeistreich (KO4IBL) of Raleigh See his story here.

Upgrades to General
Brian Boender (KO4LHQ) of Raleigh
Tyler Mcgee (KO4BZA) of Raleigh
Kenneth Bigley (KO4DHJ) of Durham

New Amateur Radio Operators
Thomas Stacy (KO4NSE) of Raleigh
Kevin Codd (KO4NSF) of Garner
Luke Wilkening (KO4NSG) of Raleigh
Joseph Pirozzi (KO4NSH) of Raleigh
Bryan Daniels (KO4NRU) of Cary

Please be sure to answer their call as they get on the radio. One of our new amateur radio operators will be starting college at UNC Greensboro. (I actually forgot who it was) I suggested they find out if there is a amateur radio club there. Does anyone know any amateurs there or know if there is a club there? I did a google search but didn’t find any.

Our next exam is April 3. Please register https://fivecountyhre.org/registration/

Last nights net
Thanks all for checking in. I don’t know why I wasn’t transmitting when I was closing the net but Thanks to Stan for closing it out for me.

FCVET Statistics for 2021

Amateur Radio, Testing

At $15 an applicant this represents a savings of $840 for our applicants. Not including re-takes.