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Author Topic: Extra Test bewilderment  (Read 5744 times)
N7RCF
Member

Posts: 14




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« Reply #30 on: March 30, 2010, 12:42:40 PM »

Response to AA4HA,

You think there are divisions here? Just try things like fishing! You are a real dope if you use bait instead of a lure. Use a lure instead of a fly. Use a wet fly instead of dry one. Buy your flies instead of tying your own. Use this kind of pole, reel, line, etc. instead of that kind. And (gasp), what kind of clothes you wear on the river!

And your Harley doesn’t have PIPES?! DUDE what’s wrong with you!

Don’t even get me started on GOLF!

The list goes on and on. In any hobby you will find people who are “better” than you. Most often, that condition is solely in the minds of those so afflicted. I generally leave them to rant and continue on to enjoy myself.

73 de N7RCF/AE
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12985




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« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2010, 01:00:17 PM »

"Cars pretty much stopped using points and carburetors 30 years or so ago"

Dang - no wonder I couldn't find them in my car.
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K6LHA
Member

Posts: 349




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« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2010, 10:29:41 PM »

K0BG posted on March 11, 2010:
 
"Several recent posts suggest that the Extra test (nowadays) is difficult. I wonder how many could even get 5% of the answers correct if they were to take an Extra test dated 1975?"

This is a loaded question. :-)

I took and passed (in one sitting) a First 'Phone exam in early March 1956 in Chicago at an FCC field office.

I took and passed (in the same afternoon) all three written test elements for Amateur Extra on 25 Feb 07.

For some of the other questions, I taught myself FORTRAN via John McCracken's softcover large-format book back in 1972 and was on the RCA Corporate network the same year. I've never had to use any "punch cards" for any mainframe or microprocessor.

I couldn't have passed any morse code test in 1975 because I never cared for OOK CW. Also, I was into Motorola 6800 and (later) MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor coding in 1976 and had to build my own microcomputer for the simple reason there were NO kits available for it until around 1978 or late 1977.

Whether or not anyone can pass any written test for an amateur radio license at any age is irrelevant. One has to APPLY THEMSELVES...especially for the years one takes the tests. Regulations are a large part of testing and regulations CHANGE periodically. Since a bit over 3 years ago, no radio amateur applicant CAN take a code test. Those aren't given anymore nor do they apply to FCC regulations.

Since I STARTED in HF communications in early 1953, I've been rather familiar with nearly ALL active devices, tubes through transistors, plus magnetrons, klystrons, photon multipliers, photomultipliers, and some lasers (if a gas counts).

However, once a "top level" amateur radio test is passed, prompt renewal within the regulated time will void any worries about ever having to take another test in a lifetime. Why is anyone worried?

73, Len K6LHA
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W3JKS
Member

Posts: 201


WWW

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« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2010, 02:45:00 PM »

I wonder how many people that use a computer today could have used one back in 1975 - 35 years ago.

I was a mainframe systems programmer (Burroughs/Univac/IBM) in 1975.  And I'm still crazy, er, networking, after all these years, unlike the majority of the systems manufacturers back then.   Roll Eyes

73s,
john W3JKS/AAT3BF/AAM3EDE/AAA9SL
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K6LHA
Member

Posts: 349




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« Reply #34 on: April 02, 2010, 01:17:20 PM »

W3JKS posted on April 1, 2010:

[N2EY]: "I wonder how many people that use a computer today could have used one back in 1975 - 35 years ago."

"I was a mainframe systems programmer (Burroughs/Univac/IBM) in 1975.  And I'm still crazy, er, networking, after all these years, unlike the majority of the systems manufacturers back then.  Roll Eyes"

John, while at RCA EASD from 1968 onward (that Van Nuys, CA, division made keyboards and displays for the Spectra-70 mainframe), corporate policy frowned highly on employees doing "networking" (of then) on anything but a corporate network (if there was one). Even then the bean counters HAD to log in computer time that appeared on project budgets.

Just the same, I was able to get some minutes on the old ARPANET/USENET network...but only on the 100 WPM Model 28 KSR TTY. In 1975 a 300 WPM modem line was "high speed." :-) Since the corporate node was back in New Jersey, our three divisions on the west coast had to go through operators to get dedicated lines for "high speed" connections, otherwise too many errors crept in... :-)

From roughly 1977 (?) there was an approximate network of sorts using the CP/M operating system for the first of the small-scale "business computers" using Intel 8080 CPUs. Few dedicated lines available from telcos to make them glitchless. :-)

From roughly 1978 the BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems) were sprouting up and by 1980s were in full flower all over the USA and being networked privately, not just on Compuserve. Small and big companies were formed just to make software. The first of the quadrature amplitude-phase modulation modems appeared for 1200 baud, then 2400 baud, and finally for 56K BPS (when 'baud' was tossed in favor of BPS)...although few BBSs could afford multiple modems at those high speeds.

The Internet went public in 1991 and that set off the NETWORKING, public and private, plus a general social upheaval that has permeated our social fabric.

Through all of that short (to us older folk) time span there was an enormous CHANGE in CPU instruction sets, Operating System instruction sets, and mass memory controlling and a wealth of peripherals in the last decade. SOME standardization was NEEDED in order to make the Internet useful and the open architecture "IBM" PC provided that before 1991. In all honesty, having gone through the whole PC era from 1976 on and corporate use since 1972, the whole question isn't a simplistic one and doesn't have close to a simplistic answer. About the only thing common is the ASCII character set and communications by bytes, keyboards in the "QWERTY" arrangement (and the non-English alphabet arrangements for umlauts).

As to generic networking, I broke into HF comms courtesy of voluntary service in the US Army which already had a NETWORK worldwide, torn-tape TTY relay, and I was fortunate to be in the Far East Command Hq node RUAP (TTY ID, messages didn't use radio station callsigns, but the TTY identifier). The hub of the Army universe was at Fort Detrick, MD, (station WAR) with the TTY ID RUEP. USAEUR node center was Pirmasens, WEST Germany, TTY ID REFP. That was standardized about 1948 (according to verbal info from officers during my time of military service).

What is "standard" is usually mistaken for standard by those that broke into some service their first time and doesn't always STAY standard.

73, Len K6LHA (formerly AF6AY)
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K6LHA
Member

Posts: 349




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« Reply #35 on: April 02, 2010, 01:21:29 PM »

K6LHA posted a typo on 2 Apr 10:

Pirmasens Hq node was RUFP for all of USAEUR. Sorry.

K6LHA
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N2EY
Member

Posts: 3913




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« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2010, 02:27:39 PM »

"Cars pretty much stopped using points and carburetors 30 years or so ago"

Dang - no wonder I couldn't find them in my car.


For 17 years I drove a car that had no points, no carburetor, no computer and no catalytic converter. 

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K6LHA
Member

Posts: 349




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« Reply #37 on: April 03, 2010, 01:09:51 PM »

N2EY posted on April 2, 2010:

"For 17 years I drove a car that had no points, no carburetor, no computer and no catalytic converter."

...and then you got a driver's license...
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AE5JU
Member

Posts: 231




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« Reply #38 on: April 06, 2010, 05:11:52 PM »

I'm going out to the shack and play radio.

You guys carry on.  I'm going to go enjoy myself.   Grin

73
Paul
AE5JU
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AA4HA
Member

Posts: 1586




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« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2010, 07:47:18 PM »

 Smiley I have an idea. Let's petition the FCC to change the extra license requirement so all extras need to retest every 10 years, to the then current standards of technology.

If you fail your license is downgraded to advanced since that license class is going away gradually. Advanced would eventually be a class of hams who once were good enough to get an extra class license but somehow let their skills stagnate or deteriorate. (this is not a slam on Advanced ticket holders at all, maybe a new class of license called "u'sta be's)

No matter when you earned your ticket '60's, 70's, 80's, 90's 00's 10's, some folks study to pass the test and then rest on their laurels. Other folks continue to learn and expand their horizons. This is not an exclusive thing to extra class license holders, it applies to all license classes, across all sorts of career fields, levels of education and in our general outlooks on life.

As an EE I deal with other engineers all the time who fall on both sides of that divide. Some folks who earned their degree back in the 60's are still up on the latest technology and it is fun to work with them. They have education and decades of experience... I think this is called wisdom. On the other hand I deal with some engineers who haven't cracked a book since the day they graduated from school. Some are just clueless and end up in sales or management. Others stick to their stubborn mindset and are generally unpleasant to deal with, this is just ignorance, apathy or laziness.

This is not age-ism, code vs. no code or anything like that. It is clearly about the efforts to continually learn and remain an active contributor. If you are not learning your thinking becomes ossified. I have seen this in 20-something year-olds right out of school and the old hands.

I am up for continual re-testing, would you be prepared for it?
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3913




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« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2010, 04:27:19 AM »

Let's petition the FCC to change the extra license requirement so all extras need to retest every 10 years, to the then current standards of technology.

GREAT IDEA! I'm ready right now. Bring on the tests!

However I see a couple of problems:

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE MODE = ON

1) The FCC decided back in 2000 that the Advanced should go away, and slowly but surely it is disappearing. Downgrading after a test failure would insure that Advanced never went away. (In ten years, the Advanced has shrunk from about 100,000 to about 60,000 current unexpired licenses).

2) More work for FCC and the VECs.

3) Why only Extras have to retest? Some hams might stay Generals or Advanceds just to avoid retesting! Others might claim discrimination, inability to get to a session, etc.

4) The hardest part: You'd have to convince FCC that there was some widespread problem caused by the lack of retesting. That's a tough go, particularly since they've been reducing the license requirements and simplifying the license structure for decades now. How can FCC be convinced to change that?

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE MODE = OFF

Maybe there's another way....

ARRL has offered Code Proficiency certificates and endorsements for many decades now. The program runs from 10 to 40 wpm in 5 wpm increments. 

Suppose there were a similar program for technical know-how? It would consist of comprehensive tests on various subjects, at a level beyond what the Extra now requires. New tests every 5 or 10 years to keep up with changes in technology. Certificates and endorsements just like the code program.

And just to make it more of a sporting course, have old tests too, so that a person could be certified on the technology of past decades, not just the current one.

Imagine someone giving a new ham a hard time about the current tests, or the reverse. And then the ham points out that s/he has a 30 wpm code certificate and technical certificates for every decade from 1940 to the present.....

73 de Jim, N2EY 
 

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AA4HA
Member

Posts: 1586




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« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2010, 05:34:58 AM »

Thanks Jim, you are in the spirit of the debate.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
K6LHA
Member

Posts: 349




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« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2010, 01:48:17 PM »

AA4HA posted on April 16, 2010:

"I have an idea. Let's petition the FCC to change the extra license requirement so all extras need to retest every 10 years, to the then current standards of technology."

No need. If the FCC hasn't thought "retesting" was necessary in its past 75 years of existance, why should that be done now? Please remember that USA amateur radio is a HOBBY activity, NOT a professional radio service. Licensing is necessary only because of the nature of propagation of electromagnetic waves...and the FCC is charged with regulating civilian radio in the USA.
.......................
AA4HA: "As an EE I deal with other engineers all the time who fall on both sides of that divide. Some folks who earned their degree back in the 60's are still up on the latest technology and it is fun to work with them. They have education and decades of experience... I think this is called wisdom."

No, not "wisdom," just knowledge.

As an EE myself and having worked in aerospace electronics for the last 54 years, I consider myself capable of judging other electronickers on their ability to do a JOB as good as any other. But amateur radio (by its very title) is NOT professional, it is NOT a JOB. Neither is it a guild, craft, or union. It is just any activity involving radio engaged in for personal pleasure, sans profit.
......................
AA4HA: "... Others stick to their stubborn mindset and are generally unpleasant to deal with, this is just ignorance, apathy or laziness."

Heh heh heh...that can be equally applied to every opponent of NPRMs settled by Memorandum Reports and Orders taking effect in 1991, 2000, and 2007.  :-)
......................
AA4HA: "This is not age-ism, code vs. no code or anything like that. It is clearly about the efforts to continually learn and remain an active contributor."

I disagree with that...even if I disagree with "morals lectures." USA amateur radio regulations do NOT require that all licensees be fully aware of the latest technologies in ALL disciplines involving 'radio.' Regulations do very strongly imply that all licensees must be aware and informed of changes in federal regulations which ARE current.

There is NO federal regulation that requires I turn on my HF transceiver every single day for any reason. There is NO "job requirement" that I do so. Neither is there any regulations saying I "MUST" do certain things that a publisher says I MUST do. I have my OPTIONs on everything I do with my amateur radio license. How shall one be an "active contributor" otherwise? There aren't many publishers left who focus on amateur radio subjects. Shall we all join clubs and have oh, so stimulating intellectual discourse about "new developments" in radio technology? (duhhhhhh)
.......................
AA4HA: "I am up for continual re-testing, would you be prepared for it?"

Yes. In fact, I'm probably MORE aware of such testing than most olde-tymers here considering I took my very first amateur radio test on 25 Feb 07, passing all 120 questions with only 6 observed failures. I was 74 on that day. If there were a "retest" I feel confident on passing that when my 10-year license term is up in 2020. I will just proceed as I did for the last two radio operator licenses tests I took in 1956 and 2007. <shrug>

That's not braggadoccio, it is just a fact of what I did. I know the proceedure that works and how to accomplish the test. I object to the imposition of disturbing my retirement to RE-TEST on a NON-JOB HOBBY activity just to get some "certificate" saying that I am still some kind of "extra class" just for bragging rights in a HOBBY activity to show "how good one is" to other hobbyists. Pfaugh...

The Amateur Extra test is only 50 questions. This is NOT an extraordinary intellectual feat to pass just enough to make it. It is something done ONCE in a lifetime and normally isn't taken ever again.

I consider "re-testing" a needless waste of time just to settle some middle school adolescent competitiveness about who is "better" in amongst a bunch of messages and brag tapes. But, if the LAW says I must, then no problem. Can do.

73, Len K6LHA
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N2EY
Member

Posts: 3913




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« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2010, 02:28:08 PM »

Thanks Jim, you are in the spirit of the debate.

You're welcome.

I think the idea of retesting would be a nonstarter with FCC simply because it would cost them resources. OTOH, certifications by an amateur organization (wouldn't have to be ARRL, but who else would take on the task?) would appeal to some, the same way WAS, DXCC and other achievement recognition certificates do. 

The certifications could be at various levels. And like the code proficiency ones, they could go far beyond anything ever required for a license - commercial or amateur.

Of course they wouldn't be at EE level, because even a bachelor's degree in EE requires a much broader scope - let alone a master's. They would be amateur-radio-specific, not general-purpose.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
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AE5JU
Member

Posts: 231




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« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2010, 04:42:42 PM »

I admit, I'm a "no code" ham.  And I have no interest in code.  I do have a lot of other interests, particularly PSK31 and some of the other digital modes.  I'm continually amazed at how little power is needed for PSK31.  Nice thing about ham radio, there's something for everybody here.

But I have difficulty understanding why code should be a requirement when I have had so many older hams tell me, "In my heyday I could do 35 wpm (or substitute any other speed you want), but now I doubt I could do 5 wpm.  I haven't done CW in years."

So if it is not important to these guys, why should it be important to me?

On the other hand, I know a number of hams that CW is their favorite mode of operation... and that's cool, too.  I just don't see making it a requirement again.  Nor do I think dropping the code requirement has hurt ham radio.

Let us not forget, as a few others have pointed out, this is amateur radio.  It's supposed to be fun, guys!  I know I enjoy it!

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