Walk-through: Applying for a new license

Where do we start?

A new user walks in.  They are probably handed a folder with a paper on the front for their name, etc, and the Volunteer Examiner checks to make sure they have valid ID and collects their money.

Once they are all ready, they are brought in to the room where the exam will take place and they sit down at a computer. (Which is running Firefox; Internet Explorer is not currently supported due to some bugs that prevent the printing at the end from working correctly)

This is what they see:

To start, the user clicks “OK”

Current License?

The first question ask is whether or not they already have a license.  In our hypothetical case, the user does not.

FRN number

If they do not have a license, the next question ask is if they have an FCC Registration Number.  The vast majority of people taking their first test will answer “No” to this question.  We will assume that this applicant does not yet have an FRN.

Contact Information

This should be pretty self explanitory; We need name and address.  Phone number, Fax, and E-mail address are optional.

Address Verification

In order to help reduce data entry errors, we verify all addresses with the US Postal Service.  In this case, the address in the postal service database was a little different from what we entered; we put in North and they use “N”.  Not a big deal, but the system will make sure that this is the correct address. Notice that it also found the Zip+4 for us.

FRN Request

In order to request a FRN number, there are a few more pieces of information we need; Social Security Number, Personal Security Question and Answer, and a password for your FRN account.

“Wait!” you may cry, “I thought you didn’t ask for a Social Security Number!”

To quote the dialog that pops up if you click “why?” next to “Social Security Number”:

The FCC requires a valid SSN for any individuals wishing to apply for an Amateur Radio license.

Your Social Security Number will not be stored on our servers; it will be sent from your computer via an encrypted connection directly to the FCC on the next step and you will be given a FRN number that we will collect from you.

Notice that at the bottom of the form there are indicators to tell you if your password is good enough.  Make sure that three of the four are green.

For the purpose of this demonstration, the system is in test mode; ordinarily you’ll want to make sure that the Social Security Number is valid, as this will post directly to the FCC to request a new FRN number.

FCC Registration Number Issued

After you click “Request FRN”, you will see the following dialog while the page loads:

This is just giving you some extra instructions to make sure you don’t get lost here.  When you click “Okay”, you’ll see the FCC’s response to your FRN request.  In our case, it’s a fake page, because we didn’t want to create an FRN number just for a demonstration; however, you get the idea of how it works.

It is always a good idea at this point to print out a copy.  At the very least, make sure you write down your FRN number before you continue!  Once you are ready, click “Record FRN”.

As you can see, the dialog where you will enter your FRN number will pop up over the FRN page so that you can still see it while you type in your FRN number.  Please be sure to copy the number correctly!  When you are done, click Save.

Notification Email

This is a simple question, but it still confuses people.  Often we have people answer “No” to this question, and then become upset later when their friends all get emails telling them what their new callsign is, and they don’t.  Go figure.

Since I didn’t put in an email address earlier, but I answered Yes, I will need to provide a valid email address now.

You are now signed in

Once the applicant reaches this dialog, they are in the system.  After clicking OK, they will have a chance to review their information, make changes as needed, and print their Form 605.

When they are sure that everything is good, the Print Form 605 button will cause a PDF file to load with the 605 filled out.

View and Print

You’ll want to do one last double-check that everything here is filled out, and if it is, print it out.  Notice that the names of the VEs are already filled out, along with their callsigns and the VE numbers (which you can see there at the bottom smudged out).  When the Contact VE creates the session he specifies which VEs will be signing for the session.

Start the test

They are all signed in!  The paperwork is created, the entry is in the computer, and the system knows to watch for a callsign to get issued to them.  Go ahead and start their exam using whatever the VEC provides!