Procedures Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
FCC Test Administration Information FCC tests are taken to obtain various commercial Licenses/Permits for radio applications. The licenses/permits are broken down into testing Elements. The applicant is required to bring two current and valid forms of identification. Employment eligibility verification is required for non-U.S. Citizens (the applicant must be a legal resident or eligible for employment in the U.S.). Please note that there may be more than one element to a license. Different combinations of the elements are required for each commercial license. For more information regarding Licenses/Permits, please see the following: LICENSE CLASS REQUIRED TEST ELEMENTS Radiotelegraph Operator License Element 1 & 6, Telegraphy Elements 1 & 2 (not offered) MP – Marine Radio Operator’s Permit Element 1 PG – General Radio Telephone Operator Elements 1 & 3 DO – GMDSS Radio Operator Elements 1 & 7 DM – GMDSS Radio Maintainer Elements 1, 3, & 9 DB – GMDSS Radio Operator/Maintainer Elements 1,3,7, & 9 Ship Radar Endorsement * Element 8 * Ship Radar Endorsement can be attached to PG, DM, and DB Note: Test centers only administer written examinations – Telegraphy Elements are not offered * Diagrams are provided for these exams and are available on SilverCATS.net or Comira Test Matrix Please see page 3 for detailed descriptions of Element exams. TEST CODE TEST NAME NUMBER OF QUESTIONS ALLOTTED TIME PASSING SCORE EL1 Element 1 Basic Radio Law & Operating Practice 24 1.5 hrs 18/24 EL3 Element 3 Electronic Fundamentals & Techniques* 100 1.5 hrs 75/100 EL6 Element 6 Advanced Radiotelegraph 100 1.5 hrs 75/100 EL7 Element 7 Global Marine Distress Safety System (GMDSS) Radio Operating Practices 100 2 hrs 75/100 E7R Element 7R Element 7 Restricted Global Marine Distress Safety (GMDSS) Radio Operating Practices 100 2 hrs 75/100 EL8 Element 8 Ship Radar Techniques* 50 1.5 hrs 38/50 EL9 Element 9 Global Marine Distress Safety Systems (GMDSS) Radio Maintenance & Procedures 50 1.5 hrs 38/50
Administering FCC Examination
Test Center proctors must verify the applicant’s two current and valid forms of ID –primary ID must be a valid government issued photo ID with signature; the secondary ID must have a name and signature. If the applicant is taking Element 3 and/or Element 8 please print the diagrams available in the Comira Test Matrix or on silverCATS.net. Additional scratch paper and pencils may be provided and must be collected at the end of the exam. After the exam(s) is complete, print 2 copies of the score report; both copies must be signed by the proctor and the applicant and both copies go to the applicant. The test center is not required to make copies of identification or retain documentation.
FCC Test and Application Fee:
A stand-alone Element exam cost $60. However, a discount may be applied if the applicant takes multiple Element exams in the same day. If the applicant takes more than one element, the fee is $60 for the first Element and $30 for each additional Element taken in the same day. All Element exams must be registered together (in one transaction) in order to receive the discount. Since there is no retesting waiting period, candidates may retest immediately; however, this is highly discouraged. We currently do not have an application fee; the application is printable on catstest.com. The FCC application must be filled out properly and signed by applicant or authorized party. Once completed, the applicant is responsible for mailing the application along with copy of ID and passing score reports to CATS/Comira Test. Instructions for FCC Application It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the application form is filled out neatly and correctly. For electronic filing, please advise applicants to mail all original documents (i.e., completed application and score reports), including a copy of ID to the following address: ATTENTION: CATS/Comira COLE Manager 1140 W. Fremont Street, Stockton, CA 95203.
Any questions can be directed to CATS/Comira – COLE Manager, please contact Yong Yang at or by phone at 800-947-4228 ext. 323
FCC License Upgrade and Test Equivalencies
I f an applicant is upgrading their license, they do not need to retest on the elements of the license they already possess as long as their current license is active or renewable (grace period of 5 years after date of expiration). The valid license they hold is equivalent to the test elements listed in the license class. Example: If an applicant already holds a MP (which required the applicant to take Element 1), and the applicant would like to obtain a PG (which requires Elements 1 and 3), what Element test(s) will the applicant need to take? Answer: Only Element 3 since the applicant has already taken Element 1 to obtain their MP. Written Examination To obtain an FCC commercial operator license or permit, the applicant must submit an original Proof of Passing Certificate issued by a Commercial Operator License Examination Manager (COLEM), or have the application filed electronically by the COLEM, demonstrating that the applicant has passed the required written and/or telegraphy Elements, as illustrated in the table below. Element 1: Basic radio law and operating practice with which every maritime radio operator should be familiar with. To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 18 out of 24 questions.
Element 3: General Radiotelephone
Electronic fundamentals and techniques required to adjust, repair and maintain radio transmitters and receivers. To pass, an examinee must correctly answer 75 out of 100 questions from the following categories: A)Operating procedures, B) Radio wave propagation ,C) Radio practice D)Electrical principles ,E)Circuit components ,F)Practical circuits,G) Signals and emissions, H) Antennas and feed lines.
Element 6: Advanced Radiotelegraph
Technical, legal, and other matters applicable to the operation of all classes of radiotelegraph stations. To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 75 out of 100 questions.
Element 7: GMDSS Radio Operating Practices
GMDSS Radio Operating procedures and practices sufficient to show detailed practical knowledge of the operation of all GMDSS sub-systems and equipment. The exam consists of questions from the following categories: A)General information, B) Narrow-band direct-printing,
C) INMARSAT, D) NAVTEX, E) Digital selective calling ,
F) Survival craft .
To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 75 out of 100 questions.
Element 7R: Restricted GMDSS RadioOperating
Fifty questions concerning those GMDSS Radio Operating procedures and practices that are applicable to ship stations on vessels that sail exclusively in sea area A1, as defined in sections 80.1069 and 80.1081 of the Commission’s Rules. To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 38 out of 50 questions.
Element 8: Ship Radar techniques
Specialized theory and practice applicable to the proper installation, servicing, and maintenance of ship radar equipment in general use for marine navigation purposes. To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 38 out of 50 questions.
Element 9: GMDSS Radio Maintenance Practices and Procedures.
Requirements set forth in IMO Assembly on Training for Radio Personnel (GMDSS), Annex 5 and IMO Assembly on Radio Maintenance Guidelines for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System related to sea area A3 and A4. The exam consists of questions from the following categories: A)Radio system theory, B)Amplifiers ,C)Power sources, D) Troubleshooting, E)Digital theory, F) GMDSS equipment and regulations
To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 38 out of 50 questions.
I am scheduled for a test, what do I need to bring? You must bring 2 current valid IDs, one must be government issued and the other must have your name and signature.
When will I receive my license?
The COLE Manager does not have that information. The FCC is no longer sending paper licenses in the mail. The FCC will send an email to the email address provided in the application that contains a link to a PDF download with the current license.
I have an objection about the test, what do I do?
Please document your comments in detail, sign the statement and send it via mail or email to the COLE Manager.
How do I contact the COLE Manager?
Please contact Yong Yang, Phone#: (800) 947-4228 ext. 323 Email:
Will my license be issued as a lifetime license?
Yes, all licenses (excluding the radiotelegraph officer’s license) are issued as lifetime.
Do I need to be a U.S. citizen?
You must be a legal resident of the United States (or otherwise eligible for employment), must obtain a United States Social Security Number.
I need preparation material or a study course, where do I go?
At this time CATS/Comira does not offer a study course or prep material. Below is general information in regards to the exams.
Examination question pools are available for download at the following site: http://wireless.fcc.gov/commoperators/index.htm?job=question_pools