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ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 23, No 12 on March 20, 2004
Website: http://www.arrl.org/
View comments about this article!

ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:

Thanks to the League's new on-line Technician Class Course for Ham Radio Licensing (EC-010) http://www.arrl.org/cce/Tech.html, prospective hams can study for their ticket wherever they can connect to the Internet and on their own schedule. The course is offered through the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) program. Two new classes will open each month, and students may sign up anytime via the ARRL Web site http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html#ec010 or by calling the New Ham Hotline, 800-326-3942. Class sessions begin April 6 and April 20. ARRL On-line Course Development Coordinator Howard Robins, W1HSR, says the new on-line Technician course will include everything needed to successfully pass the examination plus help with getting a foothold in ham radio.

"The on-line approach to learning provides students a way to prepare for the exam at their own pace over an eight-week period with 24/7 access to the material," Robins said. The assignment of a very experienced "Elmer" or mentor to all students is one benefit of the on-line learning method. Another is a post-graduation on-line support group that's only available to course graduates. "This group will provide Elmering as the new ham gets started, as well as help with equipment and antenna questions or anything pertaining to Amateur Radio," Robins explained.

Steve Ford, WB8IMY, Chuck Hutchinson, K8CH, and Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, developed the class material. The Technician course takes 20 to 25 hours to complete, and those finishing the class will take their tests at a volunteer examiner test session http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/examsearch.phtml.

Believed to be the first on-line Technician licensing class of its kind in the US, the course will closely follow the popular ARRL license manual Now You're Talking! The course fee--$99 for ARRL members and $139 non-members--includes a copy of the book. (Regular ARRL membership http://www.arrl.org/join.html is $39 per year, which includes QST, the official journal of ARRL--the national association for Amateur Radio.)

Students taking the class will be introduced to everything from casual operating to emergency and public service communication and to radio technology. Students also will learn about the role of radio clubs and of the ARRL Field Organization. A course syllabus http://www.arrl.org/cce/syllabus.html#ec010 and a list of student activities http://www.arrl.org/cce/student-activities.html#ec010 are on the C-CE Web site.

The Technician Class Course for Ham Radio Licensing and the virtual ham radio campus are available through ARRL's partnership with the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium, a nonprofit organization that specializes in developing on-line courses for Connecticut colleges and universities. For additional details, e-mail cce@arrl.org.

Source:

The ARRL Letter Vol. 23, No. 12 March 19, 2004

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by WD0BCX on March 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
SEE! THE ARRL IS ALL ABOUT MONEY AS LOTS OF FOLKS HAVE SUSPECTED FOR YEARS !!!!!!

How is this going to work with the whopping 5 wpm code for EXTRA? My dog can copy 5 wpm.

Why doesn't the ARRL just propose that the manufactures put postcards in the packaging for their products and if you don't have a license, just activate a number from that postcard and you will receive a call next week. That is what will be available in a few years any way.

 
RE: ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by NE1Z on March 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
$139 is pretty steep, no matter how you slice it.

So much for attracting any youth: "Dude, all I get is a license to talk to old people?"

Bill

 
RE: ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by W1RFI on March 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> SEE! THE ARRL IS ALL ABOUT MONEY AS LOTS OF FOLKS
> HAVE SUSPECTED FOR YEARS !!!!!!

> How is this going to work with the whopping 5 wpm
> code for EXTRA? My dog can copy 5 wpm.

> Why doesn't the ARRL just propose that the
> manufactures put postcards in the packaging for
> their products and if you don't have a license, just
> activate a number from that postcard and you will
> receive a call next week. That is what will be
> available in a few years any way.

All three of your ideas are ludicrous, although IMHO, the one about your dog being able to copy CW is the most far-fetched.

Care to put up a small wager as to whether your dog can really copy 5 wpm? I will give you 1000:1 that he can't pass the 5 wpm exam in front of enough witnesses to prove he really did it...

Or did you somehow think that being ridiculous on a public form somehow promotes the value of Morse code?

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by X-WB1AUW on March 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Oh my god!

Those EVIL people at The League are at it again, helping to educate those who want to learn about Ham Radio.

73
Bob
 
ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by WR8D on March 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I don't think 99 bucks for the course is to bad..but if you're a non arrl member would paying that extra 39 bucks make you a member? I would hope so! I think its a good idea. There are so many classes being given and many just do not teach the new folks plain ole common sense.

John WR8D
 
RE: ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by W1RFI on March 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> I don't think 99 bucks for the course is to bad..but
> if you're a non arrl member would paying that extra
> 39 bucks make you a member?

Not automatically, but I certainly would expect that those that are interested in amateur radio would do the math and figure out that if they become members, they can do so at no extra cost to themselves. That is intentional, because getting information about amateur radio into their hands from the getgo will be a major factor in their actually doing something within ham radio if they become licensed.

The course is sponsored through a distance learning program associated with a university. This represents a significant portion of the course costs. This does a much better job of teaching than anything the ARRL staff could put together entirely on their own. Considering the staff costs of pulling together the course material, getting through the distance-learning editing process, working with the mentors, advertising the course, anwering questions and the like this is far from a major profit center. I don't know enough about the finances to know whether costs are slightly larger or smaller than revenues, but in either direction, it is intended to pay for itself and a bit of overhead.

The objective of ARRL undertaking the on-line courses is educational. I am pleased to see it, and my intial reaction leaned toward "It's about time!" :-)

Of course, we have come a long way where it now takes a course to teach the amount of material it takes to be a beginner in ham radio. When I studied my Novice in 1963, the study guide material for the Novice was 3.5 pages long. :-)

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by NE1Z on March 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"Considering the staff costs of pulling together the course material, getting through the distance-learning editing process, working with the mentors, advertising the course, anwering questions and the like..."

Jeez, sounds like a real drag having to be "a cost" while making them add up. Sorry work bothers you guys while the dream meter was running. On the plus side, Charge Cards & PayPal keep you from having to make those deposits don't they?

Until the ARRL.org Weborama SuperDuperStore took off in the 90's, license classes were free & license manuals were ~$8.50. Class materials were gladly provided to volunteer clubs AT COST. $25/year 'membership'.

Now every material costs premium market value right down to Volunteer Examiner badges, license manuals cost $19.95, 'membership' is $39.00 & "Defense Fund" solicitations abound including a "Maintain W1AW's antiques" bullsplat. Clearly the mi$$ion has changed to all but those who simply will not see or the few who draw a nice, nominal salary as 'professional amateurs'.

Now the ARRL will teach you your "free" license manual's contents for a mere $119 more than it costs without the "Hooked on Profits" course.

Sadly, the "Freeloaders" will continue to undercut these holy mi$$ions by teaching classes for free!

Bill
 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by KE4MOM on March 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The other NCVEC members (W5YI in particular) had better watch out!! The ARRL is, in my estimation, about three years away from making VEC testing teams if not more streamlined....then obsolete.

Yep....I can see clearly that online testing is now on the horizon. It would be easy. Instead of just hundreds of questions in the pool, we could have thousands of different variations. Have the same questions, but mix the answers around on each applicant...so that for a given question, the letter choice changes. Or even better, mix both the questions and the letter choices around.

The possibilities are endless...I could even see the day as soon as the applicant hits the "Submit" button, the test is graded and a callsign issued on the spot.
 
ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by K3WACKY on March 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
How nice.......!

The ARRL trys making becoming an Amateur easier by making the test available online and some people have to complain about that too.

Some of you don't get it, and never will. This is a wonderful move by the ARRL to make it easier and less imtimidating to take the test. Not only by young people but older people and females afraid of failing in front of people. The ARRL is moving with the times instead of falling behind the times as some of our "esteemed" long time members.

This announcement is not about making the test easier, but easier to learn and take! Don't some of you realize that not everyone lives within 5 minutes of a testing place? Colleges have distance learning and work at your own pace online programs, so why not us?

It benefits Amateur radio as a whole to be progressive and reach out and be more approachable to take tests. And they have to charge money for it to at least break even in developing and grading the tests. If they put the General and advanced tests on the web that would be great too!

I think some of the way out posts from some would still have us using tube radios or smoke signals and then only in Morse code!

Sheesh!
 
RE: ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by KG6JEV on March 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Amazing to see all the negative ARRL comments. Certainly no different than the management of this site announcing it's a 'for-profit' entity and begging for donations. Of course, if you don't want to spend $99 or $139 to learn the material, you can always download the free question pool and study on your own - that is free, with the exception of your ISP monthly fee. Repeat after me, there is no such thing as a free lunch...there is no such thing as a free....

Or maybe there is. How about if everyone who complains about the League and their latest idea, utilizes their own time to develop courseware and place it on the web for others to use - AT NO CHARGE! We'll see how far you get, or how long you last financially.

73,

Steven - KG6JEV
 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by NE1Z on March 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"This is a wonderful move by the ARRL to make it easier and less imtimidating to take the test. Not only by young people but older people and females afraid of failing in front of people."

Wonderful excuse for an unrealisticly high fee!

Failure is part of life & a true character builder. Maybe those who 'fear' tests so have no potential for either, not at ANY price!

Bill
 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by AD7DB on March 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I don't think the fee for such a spoonfeeding as this is too steep. If you go to an all inclusive weekend cram session such as those put on by Gordon West, it'll cost you $200 or more. But, you get to go to the BBQ afterward. I've talked to folks who went to such sessions. They teach you only what you need to know to pass the exam. You don't really LEARN anything but you come away with your ham ticket.
 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by NE1Z on March 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"This wonderful move... make it easier and less imtimidating to take the test... afraid of failing in front of people."

For just $75, you get an actual GMRS license for 5 years, with no test to fail at all!

Who will hold your hand filling out the form, afterall, even some forms get rejected.

Bill
 
ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by N3NL on March 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
This is a great idea for busy people who want to
learn ham radio. However, I also think that the
ARRL should consider posting the book, "Now You're
Talking", online in pdf files with free access.
This would help young applicants to get started
in ham radio.
73, Nickolaus E. Leggett, N3NL
 
RE: ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by K5UJ on March 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
<<<<The other NCVEC members (W5YI in particular) had better watch out!! The ARRL is, in my estimation, about three years away from making VEC testing teams if not more streamlined....then obsolete.

Yep....I can see clearly that online testing is now on the horizon. It would be easy. Instead of just hundreds of questions in the pool, we could have thousands of different variations. Have the same questions, but mix the answers around on each applicant...so that for a given question, the letter choice changes. Or even better, mix both the questions and the letter choices around.

The possibilities are endless...I could even see the day as soon as the applicant hits the "Submit" button, the test is graded and a callsign issued on the spot.>>>>

Actually, given that in any year, there are a number of VEC sessions that are investigated by the FCC for alleged improprieties, an online test might not be a bad idea. A computer can't be bought off with a bribe, it has no friends; no buddies to help out so we can all talk to each other on 2 m. FM, it won't look the other way...next to eliminating the whole VEC program which I have advocated since it was conceived, and restoring the impartiality of FCC examiners (what other gov't regulated services allow the regulated to give the license tests?), removing the human element with automated computer grading might be the next best thing.

The ARRL is a money hog: Hams have to be the tightest bunch on the face of the earth. Do you all have any idea how much it costs to get a pilot's license? How much it costs to learn to scuba dive? Take golf lessons? And so on.
 
RE: ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by W1RFI on March 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Have the same questions, but mix the answers around
> on each applicant...so that for a given question,
> the letter choice changes. Or even better, mix both
> the questions and the letter choices around.

The software used to generate tests already does that. That is why none of the answers/distractors say "All of the above." It has to say "All of these answers are correct" because the answers appear in random order when the test is generated.

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by W1RFI on March 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> This is a great idea for busy people who want to
> learn ham radio. However, I also think that the
> ARRL should consider posting the book, "Now You're
> Talking", online in pdf files with free access.
> This would help young applicants to get started
> in ham radio.

What major ARRL programs do you think should be given up to do this, or how do you think that ARRL should generate the revenue needed to keep them going if it were to do as you suggest?

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by W1RFI on March 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Wonderful excuse for an unrealisticly high fee!

Can you provide us with an analysis of the costs involved in creating, sponsoring and managing the course so we can understand what criteria you used to determine that the course is unrealistically high?

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by W1RFI on March 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Some of you don't get it, and never will. This is a
> wonderful move by the ARRL to make it easier and
> less imtimidating to take the test. Not only by
> young people but older people and females afraid of
> failing in front of people.

The course does not eliminate the need for in-person examinations. The FCC rules do not permit on-line examinations for licensing purposes. It does let students learn the material and take practice tests online, but that applicant still must appear at a VE session with ID to take the test.

I think that on-line testing would be a very bad idea that would be subject to abuse.

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by NE1Z on March 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"what criteria you used to determine that the course is unrealistically high?"

When you can justify hiring a "Revenue Development Specialist" but can't plow money back into education of new hams instead. Especially after the over $750,000 in grants!!! $139 is cyber-crap for a 'free' $20 book & website access!

Add to that short list the class web forums for participants that expire in 12 months yet there are not even any "members only" forums on ARRL.org. The only "discussion" must have an expiration date?

Your having to squat on others' websites to defend yourselves at ARRL.org either says you have a problem dealing with criticism or don't really want any (member) discussion or input except for private email to gate keepers. What's the secret?

Perhaps the "mentor lists" are squatting somewhere other than ARRL.org?

Talk is cheap but not Now You're Talking!

Bill






 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by W1RFI on March 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>> "what criteria you used to determine that the course
>> is unrealistically high?"

> When you can justify hiring a "Revenue Development
> Specialist" but can't plow money back into education
> of new hams instead. Especially after the over
> $750,000 in grants!!! $139 is cyber-crap for
> a 'free' $20 book & website access!

Your analyis is that $139 is cybercrap and that ARRL spent the grant money on exactly what it got the grant to do instead (EMCOMM training) of funding courses for new hams? I wonder, if your boss asked you for an analysis of a project, would you do better than "cyber-crap" or is that your very best?

> Add to that short list the class web forums for
> participants that expire in 12 months yet there are
> not even any "members only" forums on ARRL.org.

The $139 is too high becauae ARRL has a class web forum? As to member-only forums on ARRL.org, it is my opinion that there is no need to reinvent a wheel that exists quite well on numerous other sites.

How about an analysis of the costs of designing the course; editing the course; administering the course; supporting the mentors; paying the educational company that incorporates it into into its distance learning program; the web-site costs and the like. If you are going to stand on your soapbox here and proclaim, how about some real support for your position instead of the meaningless phrase "cyber-crap." Surely you didn't just think about this for a few minutes and engage your keyboard fingers before giving it deep thought and careful analysis...

I have seen equivalent "commercial" on-line courses go for about $1000.00 plus, Bill.

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI

 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by NE1Z on March 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It is easy to see how hard it is for you, an ARRL employee, to accept any criticism from anything other than company man perspective. Your emotional responses show the pain of your inability to control negative criticism from being seen in public!

For me, your fluff on "course development charges" doesn't fully square with the same people who claim to be the sole 'not-for-profit' advocates of amateur radio are now in fact so awash in cash, they can afford to outsource engineering studies & web course preparation while maintaining a full suite of salaried personel.

The "Revenue Development Specialist" issue is overwhelming proof the profit/business influence shown in recent years. I wonder how many people remember that job description advertised just a few short years ago in QST. This is in direct conflict with the founding principles of the ARRL's ham service advocacy.

Ed, the fact you attack me & my opinion shows just how close to home my criticism is.

Suck it up!

Bill

 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by W1RFI on March 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Your emotional responses show the pain of your
> inability to control negative criticism from being
> seen in public!

The best you come up with is the use of the term "cyber-crap" and then you get all upset that I am "emotional? " Sometimes laughing too hard causes pain, too. Thanks for the good one, Bill. I have had a bad day and I needed it. :-)

Oh, and without paging back and getting the quotage, in many instances, it is more cost effective to outsource certain functions. In the case of the BPL testing, having an independent company make measurements was a pretty important step. In the case of on-line courses, the real value is in the interactive software that is part of the course presentation, and it would have been far more expensive to create that from scratch than to outsource.

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by NE1Z on March 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Did you have to outsource accepting online payments or did that get an in-house job number?

Bill

 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by W1RFI on March 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Did you have to outsource accepting online payments
> or did that get an in-house job number?

I don't know, Bill. In what way do you think it matters? If ARRL thought it were more cost effective to outsource on-line payments, it would do so.

We outsource the night cleaning crew, too, just to give you something new to chew on. :-)

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by WA2JJH on March 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
NO COMMENT ON THE ARRL PROGRAM.
I AM MORE INTERESTED IN THE DOG THAT CAN COPY CW!
 
ARRL Launches On-Line Technician Class:  
by WA2JJH on March 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I do not think the ARRL is filed as a non profit org.
So they are entitled to make money any way they can.

I am not a big fan of the ARRL in general.
It does not seem like a bad idea.

I hope it does not lead to a GMRS situation. You pay the $75, and your GMRS ticket and call are printed on your computer in minutes!

I hope it does not lead to on line testing!
Then the TECH ticket is printed like the GMRS ticket.
That would be a slap in the face.

There are plenty of folks getting thier BSEE's by computer. They do have to take examinations at selected testing centers. They have to go to local schools for the liberal arts. IMO they are not full B.S.E.E.'s.

All said and done. I am a freelance TV producer. If you have a dog that can send or receive CW, I could get him booked.

I will say that a dog that can copy or bark CW is of much greater interest to me! That is no insult to ED or the ARRL.
73 MIKE (:-)/((:(
 
RE: ARRL Launches Pay=Per-View Cla$$:  
by NE1Z on April 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
-=* ARRL 'Chief (revenue) Development Officer' Mary Hobart, K1MMH said "The financial goal is to create an endowment of at least $2 million that can be invested and generate enough income to cover annual operation at W1AW and take care of needs as they arise. This then frees up the money from the general fund for other programs, member services and vital initiatives such as spectrum defense." *=-

"Spectrum Defense" has been another fund so if these funds are used in general operations, this is all doubletalk by this salaried revenue officer. Reminds me of the pocketed "220 Defense Funds" that were never used for advertised intention.

Does the begging ever end? $2,000,000 to 'invest'???

Pay professional amateurs to play radio?

I don't think so...

Bill





 
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