Advanced Radio Amateur’s Examination at Lough Erne Amateur Radio Club
I was the first invigilator at an Advanced Examination in May 2012 in which two candidates participated.
This exam, like every other exam run by myself, was conducted in full conformity with Radio Communication Foundation (RCF) Regulations. These require candidates to be seated ‘at least 1.5 metres apart’ and in full compliance our candidates were seated at a long table at more than 1.5 metres apart. Both candidates completed the examination and their papers were sealed in an envelope and posted to the RCF for marking.
When these papers were being marked, Mr Alan Betts discovered that both papers had 37 questions correct, which is a pass together with a number of similar incorrect answers. Mr Betts subsequently contacted me and the two candidates, stating that there was apparent collusion between them.
We responded with a full explanation as to why the incorrect answers were similar because of the candidates studying exclusively together without an instructor. Mr Betts refused to consider this declaring that the examination was ‘unsafe’ and withheld the results although he was allowing the candidates to sit another exam with no restrictions.
In addition around the time we were replying to the RCF’s allegations we discovered that the second invigilator was being kept in the dark and was not contacted by the RCF as one would expect in the circumstances.
Adding to the disappointment, I and the club (Lough Erne Amateur Radio Club) were erroneously suspended from holding examinations for the period of six months. As a consequence we felt that we had no other choice but to appeal this decision; appeals were then submitted by me and the two candidates at £40.00 each.
The appeals were conducted by Mr Jeff Smith, the Quality Manager of RCF. Again I would like to highlight another significant mistake by the RCF as the examination papers completed by both candidates contained 62 questions and in the quality managers report he referred to a question paper with 60 questions. Furthermore, the appeal fees from the two candidates were returned which by inference means that they did not even consider their appeal at all.
I have been extremely disappointed in the way the appeal was conducted and can only describe it as a complete shambles. As the appeal had failed I contacted the standards committee and the RSGB, to which we are an affiliated club, to sort this matter out. The standards Committee’s response was the offer of a free examination to the two candidates which is not acceptable to them as they have passed the exam and have the right to the issue of a Full Radio Licence.
The RSGB’s response was that “the RCF was an independent body and they could not get involved” even though the cheque for the exam application was made payable to the RSGB. I have now contacted OFCOM to seek their assistance in this matter as we have had no assistance from the RSGB, an organisation that is supposed to provide assistance to their members who pay a hefty membership fee every year.
With all this considered I would like to WARN ALL INVIGILATORS, if you conduct an exam with more than one candidate you liable to treated in a similar way with little or no redress.
Lough Erne Amateur Radio Club