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Author Topic: What ever happened to DICK BASH ?  (Read 20256 times)
KM3W
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« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2011, 11:30:17 AM »

Greetings all...

I have to admit that I am a product of Dr Smith (N3DR) of Ridley Twp PA, who used the Dick Bash Material, when myself and over 3000 other folks studied for the various licenses over a few years in the early 80's at Ridley Middle School. I passed all of the tests without too much of a problem. Now that being said, there are those who feel that since I was a product of Dick Bashes materials, I should NOT have my Extra Class License. Let me tell you all something. I studied for over 8 months straight. Nothing but the material...not music on the radio, nothing but code....My wife and kids hated it...but i wanted to pass the exam the first time. I got pretty good at code...over 30 WPM....Solid Copy. I also studied the various license classes stuff. I had studied the Novice and Technician material at Amateur and Advanced in Delaware. They used the ARRL books, NOT Dick Bashes. When it came to the General, Advanced, and Extra....we did use Bashes Stuff. But you know what? The same formulas that were in the ARRL books were there too. I studied both....and I defy anyone to prove I don't deserve my license. Why do I say this...? I had some guy just the other day make a Bash comment....I'm sick of it. For almost 30 years I've heard it...Bull!

I am not a professional Motorola engineer,  I drive a truck, but I have built 4 repeaters over the years...and they are still on the air....all of them. I admit I don't know as much as some "Professionals" who make their liking doing this stuff, but to me, this is just a hobby. It's almost as if they don't what us regular folks on the air...Just the "professionals". I say there is a place for everyone....

But what really urks me is the "educated" folks who look down on the rest of us regular mortals...because we don't have degrees....They somehow feel they are better than us because they were lucky enough to go to college. Luck doesn't make you better....If I had had the opportunity to go, I would have...I do however have an IQ of 134...so apparently I'm not dumb. Also, I'm sure all or most of you had "elmers" that offered help to you over the years. I never had any "Elmers"...but I managed to learn what I know by myself, having gotten NO help from any other Ham. So that being said....I think Bash helped the hobby....all of the guys I know who went to those classes..have at least Generals, and many have Advanced or Extra Licenses...and are very active in ham radio....

De KM3W
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N2EY
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« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2011, 12:12:37 PM »

To KM3W:

The reason for the upset about Bash is that many of us considered his books to be a form of cheating.

Prior to his books, all we had were the various study guides by ARRL, Ameco, etc. They had questions that were similar to the actual test questions, but they were NOT the actual tests. And we KNEW they were not the actual tests.

In addition, we only got 1 shot at the exams every 30 days. Fail a test - even by 1 question - and it was GAME OVER, thank you for playing, see you in 30 days or more.

For most of us, that meant we had to learn the material well enough to be able to answer any question the exam might throw at us.

What Bash did was to show EXACTLY what you would see on the exam, and EXACTLY what you wouldn't see. That's a BIG plus. He also revealed that the total FCC question pool was really not all that big.

All that is a moot point now. FCC put Bash out of business by making the Q&A public and free. The 30 day wait rule is long gone, allowing retests the same day. The VEC system makes the exams more accessible than ever.

Most of all, there's no way we'll go back to the old system. Too costly.

But for me the main issue isn't "what tests did you pass" or "do you deserve your license" or "who gave you the tests" or any of that.  For me, what matters is what knowledge and skills a ham has, and what s/he does with them. All the rest is detail.

And I say that as somebody who came up the old way - FCC exam sessions, secret tests, 2 year wait, sending and receiving 5, 13 and 20 wpm on a straight key, etc.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KB1SF
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« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2011, 07:51:27 AM »

But for me the main issue isn't "what tests did you pass" or "do you deserve your license" or "who gave you the tests" or any of that.  For me, what matters is what knowledge and skills a ham has, and what s/he does with them.

Jim, it should ALSO make absolutely no difference WHEN (or to what level) a person acquires those skills and knowledges.  As long as they posses enough knowledges and skills to operate their stations safely and courteously with the operating privileges granted, the rest, as you say should be in the "details"

It is important to remember that our Service is, by international definition, "A Radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."

To me, the "self-training" part of that definition strongly implies that such learning is meant to be a LIFELONG pursuit.  It should NOT consist of a series of artificially created "goals" (complete with Boy Scout-like "merit badges" used as ego-stroking "incentives" for "advancement") that serve no other regulatory purpose than to further the political and economic policy goals of a group of gormless government bureaucrats.

Rather, the licensing requirements for our Service should do nothing more than assure some minimum standard of technical and regulatory competence (consistent with safety and non-interference) that are directly applicable and relevant to the (added) privileges granted. Period.

This means that the REST of the "details" (as you call them) involving any further acquisition of knowledge and skills beyond these minimum standards should be left entirely up to we hams to decide how much (or how little) of it WE wish to then pursue.

This also means that the underlying goal of our licensing process should be to open up our ham bands (again, consistent with the minimum standards of safety and non-interference) so as to get newcomers actually on the air and acquiring those knowedges and skills in a "hands on" way rather than continuing to place "needless regulatory barriers" (as the FCC calls them) in front of people seeking full frequency access to our Service.

Clearly, beyond the General Class level, all that our current licensing system does right now is to force "achievement" down people's throats while at the same time creating the (long since discredited) illusion that by making our advanced tests "harder", that activity alone will somehow keep the "riff raff" out of the so-called "exclusive" parts of our Service.

Unfortunately, despite being proven over and over again by those in authority (today's FCC) to be nothing but paranoid bunkum, the lingering perception that our licensing system forms the last remaining "line of defense" that somehow keeps the "wrong people" out of the mainstream of our Service still stubbornly persists among far too many US hams.  

And it's the indefinite perpetuation of all such elitist snobbery that I firmly beleive is now largely responsible for killing what's left of our wonderful hobby.

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 05:24:19 PM by KB1SF » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3880




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« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2011, 05:12:20 AM »

it should ALSO make absolutely no difference WHEN (or to what level) a person acquires those skills and knowledges.
 

Why not?

It seems to me that experience, knowledge and achievement should be acknowledged and rewarded, not ignored.

It is important to remember that our Service is, by international definition, "A Radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."

To me, the "self-training" part of that definition strongly implies that such learning is meant to be a LIFELONG pursuit.

Of course. No disagreement there.

It should NOT consist of a series of artificially created "goals" (complete with Boy Scout-like "merit badges" used as ego-stroking "incentives" for "advancement") that serve no other regulatory purpose than to further the political and economic policy goals of a group of gormless government bureaucrats.

All goals are "artificially created".
There's nothing wrong with acknowledging achievement. Merit badges are a good thing.
Calling FCC officials "gormless government bureaucrats" isn't likely to get them to see things your way.

And speaking of "merit badges" - what you're proposing is an end to the vanity call program. In fact, what you're saying is that we should all have randomly-issued callsigns of the same format. Because anything else is a "merit badge" in the form of a distinctive callsign.

Rather, the licensing requirements for our Service should do nothing more than assure some minimum standard of technical and regulatory competence (consistent with safety and non-interference) that are directly applicable and relevant to the (added) privileges granted. Period.

No they shouldn't.

This means that the REST of the "details" (as you call them) involving any further acquisition of knowledge and skills beyond these minimum standards should be left entirely up to we hams to decide how much (or how little) of it WE wish to then pursue.

And that's how it is. Once a license is earned, it's up to the individual amateur to decide what to learn and when to learn it. As long as an amateur follows the rules and submits timely applications, FCC will renew that amateur's license without any additional testing.

This also means that the underlying goal of our licensing process should be to open up our ham bands (again, consistent with the minimum standards of safety and non-interference) so as to get newcomers actually on the air and acquiring those knowedges and skills in a "hands on" way rather than continuing to place "needless regulatory barriers" (as the FCC calls them) in front of people seeking full frequency access to our Service.

Let's see....

There are three classes of US amateur radio license open to new issues.

Technicians have all US amateur privileges above 30 MHz and some limited HF privileges. All it takes to get a Technician is to pass a 35 question multiple-choice test.

Generals have all US amateur privileges except for a few parts of the 80/75, 40, 20 and 15 meter bands. Generals have all of 160, 30, 17, 12 and 10 meters. All it takes to get a General is to pass two 35 question multiple-choice tests.

To get those last few bits of 80/40/20/15, the Extra requires passing a 50 question multiple choice test. Which has been done by hams in elementary-school.

There have been proposals before FCC to grant full privileges to non-Extras in recent years. In every case FCC has pointed out that the exams aren't that involved, and that if the hams really want full priviliges they can just pass the test.

Clearly, beyond the General Class level, all that our current licensing system does right now is to force "achievement" down people's throats while at the same time creating the (long since discredited) illusion that by making our advanced tests "harder", that activity alone will somehow keep the "riff raff" out of the so-called "exclusive" parts of our Service.

Unfortunately, despite being proven over and over again by those in authority (today's FCC) to be nothing but paranoid bunkum, the lingering perception that our licensing system forms the last remaining "line of defense" that somehow keeps the "wrong people" out of the mainstream of our Service still stubbornly persists among far too many US hams.

But why stop at General? Why not give full privileges to all US hams? That's what you're really arguing for. What's the fundamental difference between operating a transmitter on the low end of 20 meters and the low end of 2 meters? If we accept your line of thought, why shouldn't ALL US hams have full privileges?

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KB1SF
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« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2011, 01:21:07 PM »

It seems to me that experience, knowledge and achievement should be acknowledged and rewarded, not ignored.

A license to operate in a publicly-owned, taxpayer supported radio service is NOT a "reward" for "good deeds", Jim.  

It's simply the granting of privileges to operate after someone demonstrates a proscribed level of competency to do so. Period.

Quote
All goals are "artificially created". There's nothing wrong with acknowledging achievement. Merit badges are a good thing.

It all depends on who benefits from the "achievement".  

As I've said, all such "achievement" nonsense has NO place in a taxpayer-supported, government-administered institution whose regulator's sole authority is simply to regulate.  Clearly, the underlying goal of incentive licensing was to forcefully "educate" us with the aim of turning us all into budding RF Engineers. And THAT was done primarily so as to further a whole plethora of government social and economic goals of the day.  

Jim, YOU, of all people posting here, should well remember what else was going on in the rest of the USA when all this "incentive" nonsense in our Service came about.  

Remember the "missile gap" of the 1960s when our government bureaucrats were throwing anything and everything at the wall to stimulate a country-wide effort to crank out hordes of mechanical, electrical and RF engineers?   Obvoiusly, "incentive licensing" in our radio service was made all the more palatable because of its relationship to the backdrop of the "missile gap" paranoia of the day.  

But, it is important to remember that, besides the "missile gap" being later shown to be overwhelmingly in the US's favor, all that nonsense happened NEARLY 50 YEARS AGO!  What possible regulatory purpose is still being served...in the 21st Century...by indefinitely keeping all that "missile gap derived" nonsense fully in place today?  The Soviet Union has long since gone the way of the dinosaur, and most of our electronic components and equipment now originate from the Far East.

Clearly, the other underlying goal of all this "incentive" nonsense at the time was to line the pockets of the ARRL who, if memory serves correctly, were on the financial "ropes" at the time. Indeed, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the League has been cashing in on "incentive licensing" ever since by selling tens (if not hundreds and hundreds) of thousands of copies of their so-called "upgrade" materials along the way.

Quote
Calling FCC officials "gormless government bureaucrats" isn't likely to get them to see things your way.

Probably not.  

And all the while we hams continue to worship the FCC as some kind of "demi-God" from whom all blessings flow, you are correct, they certainly won't see things "my way", "our way" or ANY way other than what the FCC, in their isolated "Ivory Tower" decides to do...or not to do.  

As I've said, their whole "petition" process is little more than a bureaucratic farce.  Most "petitions" end up in "File 13" if they in any way go against already established FCC policy.

Unfortunately, ALL of us seem to have collectively lost sight of the fact that the FCC is nothing more than yet another US Government regulatory agency.  And they have never been granted the statutory authority to set themselves up to "educate" anyone.  What's more, since we taxpayers pay their salaries, these clowns all work for YOU AND ME and NOT the other way around.  

Now, I don't know about you, but, from my own personal perspective, I highly RESENT being manipulated, controlled and, in effect, abused by a bunch of gormless government bureaucrats who remain seemingly hell-bent on using we hams (and prospective hams) as unwitting pawns to further their own social and economic policy goals as outlined in their Part 97.1….particularly all that "maintaining and expanding a reservoir of trained operators and technical experts" nonsense.  

In my book, ALL of that eyewash remains in DIRECT CONTRAVENTION of the "personal aim" and "amateur" spirit (not to mention the "non pecuniary interest" intent) of our International Telecommunications Union (ITU) regulators for our Service. And the FCC has been getting away with all of this internatinally illegal foolishness for decades largely because US hams collectively 'bought into" all that nonsense in the first place and have continued to worship it all as "the Gospel truth" ever since.

Indeed, it's often been said that we don't get the government we deserve, we get the government (in this case the FCC) we allow.

Quote
And speaking of "merit badges" - what you're proposing is an end to the vanity call program. In fact, what you're saying is that we should all have randomly-issued callsigns of the same format. Because anything else is a "merit badge" in the form of a distinctive callsign.

No, Jim, my proposal doesn’t mean the "end of the vanity call program".  

However, if you mean, the demise of the vanity call program tied to one's license class, then yes, all that snobbery would most certainly (and thankfully!) come to an end.  

On the other hand, if you mean being allowed to apply for another available call sign instead of (or addition to) the one you are currently issued, then that program could (and should) most certainly continue.

Indeed, many other countries (like Canada, which, by the way, never bought into all of our "incentive licensing" nonsense) now allow even "wet behind the ears" NEW hams to pick the suffixes of their call signs even on their very first license application!

Can WE now do that in the United States of America?  

What's more, many other counties will also assign any available call sign in their ham call database… for a fee. In fact, in Canada, you can have (and use) any number of call signs...some paid for with a fee and some granted as a consequence of moving from one call sign area to another.  And ALL of them remain valid and usable...for life.  

Can any of that be done in the USA nowadays?

So, again, what I'm proposing would still allow those so inclined to obtain another (or a "distinctive" call sign).  The nature and appearance of the call sign just wouldn’t be tied to one's license class.

Quote
And that's how it is. Once a license is earned, it's up to the individual amateur to decide what to learn and when to learn it. As long as an amateur follows the rules and submits timely applications, FCC will renew that amateur's license without any additional testing.

No argument…except that, as I've said, a license to operate in our Service isn't something to be "earned".  

Our licenses are granted after someone simply displays a specified level of competency. They were never in intended by the ITU to be "earned" as some kind of "reward" for a person's educational "achievement".  And there's distinct difference in how those two concepts are perceived by both our regulators and the licensee.

Quote
There have been proposals before FCC to grant full privileges to non-Extras in recent years. In every case FCC has pointed out that the exams aren't that involved, and that if the hams really want full privileges they can just pass the test.

All of which is simply an expression of yet MORE bureaucratic laziness on the part of the FCC for their apparent decision NOT to comply with other applicable federal laws as they relate to our Service.  There's simply no valid excuse for such blatant regulatory neglect that would pass muster in a GAO audit or stand up in any federal court of law today.

Quote
But why stop at General? Why not give full privileges to all US hams? That's what you're really arguing for. What's the fundamental difference between operating a transmitter on the low end of 20 meters and the low end of 2 meters? If we accept your line of thought, why shouldn't ALL US hams have full privileges?

Well, first of all, my suggestions don't have to pass muster with YOU.

Clearly, the lazy bureaucrats at the FCC aren't now doing the job we taxpayers have directed them to do...which is to fully comply with the ITU regulations and changes in the the US Federal Code.  They simply aren't doing doing so. And they continue to hide behind the worn out excuse that the status quo is "what we hams want".  What they interpret as "what most hams want" is what the ARRL TELLS them "most hams want", even though the League's (now slowly dwindling) membership constitutes only about 25% of all licensed US hams.  25% isn't "most".

But, even so, if I had perpetuated such "half-baked" excuses as the sole reason for non-compliance with the rest of the Federal Code at any time during my 20 years as a US Government comptroller professional, I would have been fired on the spot.  In my estimation, such bureaucratic laziness now goes well beyond simple regulatory malfeasance to the point of being blatant, benign neglect of a duly authorized radio service.

Any way you cut it, that's criminal.

This becomes particularly true when the FCC could very quickly (and, I believe, very easily) get rid of a HUGE part of the blatant systemic discrimination in our licensing system and all without changing anyone's license class or reissuing anyone's license.

In fact, if they really wanted to, they could do it all with just a simple stoke of a pen.

All the FCC would need to need do is to simply REMOVE all the artificially regulated sub-bands (and sub-sub bands) on HF and then grant anyone holding a General, Advanced or Extra Class license identical operating privileges.  At the same time, ANYONE could apply for ANY available call sign under their so-called "vanity" call sign system.  

This would allow all of our bands to revert back to their underlying ITU maximum emission bandwidth criteria, which is, as I've said, the way many other countries (like Canada) already do it.  

Under this scenario, NOBODY would "lose" their current operating privileges.  In fact, this approach would (finally) recognize the fact that there IS virtually no OPERATIONAL difference between the operating privileges now granted to a General Class licensee and those of Advanced and Extra Class licensee in our Service today.

And, of course, this would also mean that it would once again be left up to we hams to decide "what goes where" on our HF bands, just like we now do on our VHF and above bands…something we have, by the way, ALREADY been doing…. for decades.  And THAT sky has yet to fall.

The only thing the remaining Advanced and Extra class license holders would now have under this new system would be "bragging rights", which, from a legal and regulatory standpoint, are largely irrelevant anyway...except, of course, in the narrow minds of those who have been using their Advanced and Extra Class licenses as US Government permission to look down their upturned noses at everyone else in our hobby.  Under this new plan, all of THAT snobbery would now lose its US Government sanctioned underpinnings.

But, operationally, all three licenses would now become virtually identical…which, in reality, is what they already are.

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 04:19:43 AM by KB1SF » Logged
AA4HA
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« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2011, 02:14:42 PM »

Certainly many of the amateur ops who used the Bash books to pass the test have gone on to be real contributors to the hobby. This is just as true as there are many professional engineers who could just walk in and take the test and to this day are nothing better than LID's on 75 meters.

No one here has had the same experiences that have brought us to where we are right now. I have heard some incredibly stupid things come out of the mouths of other amateurs. A few times I have had my "doors blown off" by how absolutely insightful a few non-classically educated amateurs have grasped concepts that even long time engineers still do not understand.

As an engineer the real learning for me started when I was dealing with non-engineers. There are tricks that I use to this day that I picked up from someone who may of graduated from an electronics class taught up at Great Lakes in the 50's or the machinist who taught me how to re-babbitt a pump bearing. Everyone has their own ways of contributing to this hobby, their own talents, their own passions.

If this bug does not bite you then your license lapses after the ten years are up. Other folks jump right into the deep end of the pool.

This happens with pre-during-post Bash amateurs. Code or no-code, novice, tech, general, advanced or extra. The moment you stop learning, when you lose that passion, that is the time to unplug the antenna and go off to another recreational pursuit like taxidermy or collecting stamps.

As far as Dick Bash, I hope that he is still enjoying the hobby and getting on the air with some regularity. He had an impact upon amateur radio and for better or worse, it brought folks into the hobby who may not be with us today.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
N2EY
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« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2011, 03:18:37 PM »

Certainly many of the amateur ops who used the Bash books to pass the test have gone on to be real contributors to the hobby. This is just as true as there are many professional engineers who could just walk in and take the test and to this day are nothing better than LID's on 75 meters.

That's true, but it's not the way to bet. IMHO.

The real point about Dick Bash is that he changed the game in a way that many hams felt was cheating. There's just no other word for it.

Before the Bash books, the actual Q&A used on the test were not available to hams at all. Once his books hit the street, anybody with $20 (a lot of money 30 years ago) could have them. And back then, the question pool was a lot smaller, which was one of the reasons for the 30-day-wait-to-retest rule.

Of course FCC turned the tables and made the question pools public, which put him out of business. The size was increased too. But that's beside the point for a lot of us; what matters is the cheating. And Bash didn't do it alone.

The old secret pre-Bash written tests weren't all that hard. They certainly weren't at the EE level; all you really needed to pass them was some basic radio knowledge and a working understanding of the rules & regs. Hundreds of thousands of hams passed them honestly.

One of the cornerstones of the Amateur Radio culture has always been the idea that hams play by the rules. Not just the letter of the rules, but the spirit of the rules too. A ham's word was his/her honor. It wasn't about what you could get away with; it was about playing the game fair and square. Sure, some hams would bend the rules or look the other way, but they were the exception, and reviled by the rest. For example, a ham who made DXCC running superpower got no respect from other DXers.

And for most hams, it's still that way. What Bash did was to flaunt that ideal. That the FCC didn't go after him made no difference.

For comparison, consider the case of Don Miller....

73 de Jim, N2EY

 





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W6CZ
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« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2012, 11:25:17 AM »

He opened a gun shop in Castro Valley,CA - Survival Arms or something like that. Store is still there under different name.... I should check. That was the last I saw him.  


A search brings up public records on the street the shop is on.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 11:29:13 AM by W6CZ » Logged
N8FZ
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« Reply #38 on: July 05, 2012, 11:01:56 AM »

What Mr. Bash did was stir the pot of a stale dish. For those who"cheated" by using his books, most likely got bored with ham radio and have long since left the hobby. For those who used his books as another study aid advanced their license and have added a lifetime of of good will in the hobby. Mr Bash and his company saw a need and produced a product(capitalism)and led the FCC to adopt a better and more fiscally sound method of administering exams-VEC.
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K9AIM
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« Reply #39 on: July 05, 2012, 05:29:56 PM »

What Mr. Bash did was stir the pot of a stale dish. For those who"cheated" by using his books, most likely got bored with ham radio and have long since left the hobby. For those who used his books as another study aid advanced their license and have added a lifetime of of good will in the hobby. Mr Bash and his company saw a need and produced a product(capitalism)and led the FCC to adopt a better and more fiscally sound method of administering exams-VEC.

that's one way of looking at it, but it gives Mr. Bash an awful lot of 'license'... (bad pun intended)
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K7KBN
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« Reply #40 on: July 05, 2012, 06:22:43 PM »

Capitalism!  That's the "ticket".  (equally bad pun intended)...
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
WB6DGN
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« Reply #41 on: July 05, 2012, 11:25:58 PM »

Quote
What ever happened to DICK BASH ?

Hopefully a lynching party...  Oh!  Forget it. In today's world almost everyone wants something for nothing and INSTANTLY!  I'm sadly outnumbered!  Maybe I'll take up skydiving; you can't cheat there!
Tom
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N2EY
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« Reply #42 on: July 06, 2012, 11:56:09 AM »

What Mr. Bash did was stir the pot of a stale dish. For those who"cheated" by using his books, most likely got bored with ham radio and have long since left the hobby. For those who used his books as another study aid advanced their license and have added a lifetime of of good will in the hobby. Mr Bash and his company saw a need and produced a product(capitalism)and led the FCC to adopt a better and more fiscally sound method of administering exams-VEC.

I disagree strongly!

Capitalism doesn't always mean cheating, nor helping people beat the system. Which is what Bash did, IMHO.

The "product" they "produced" was information that wasn't supposed to be public.

As for the VEC system being "better" - it's not. It's just cheaper.

IMHO the best system we ever had was the one in the late 1970s. FCC did all the testing and test preparation.
They had regularly scheduled test sessions in FCC offices around the country, AND would send an examiner team to any gathering that could guarantee a certain number of hams taking the test. As a result, most major hamfests and conventions had test sessions. Some clubs and other groups had them as well - all it took was a formal request.

The VEC system was the result of budget cuts.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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