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Author Topic: Zero to Extra Class in 3 Weeks. Confession of a Dick Bash Ham  (Read 17850 times)
WA4D
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« Reply #45 on: March 21, 2013, 06:34:09 PM »

I'm liking K8AXW more every day:

Best metaphor of the thread so far:

Quote
I couldn't have flown a cardboard box down a mine shaft!

What a fun image!
« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 06:36:34 PM by WA4D » Logged
W9KEY
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« Reply #46 on: March 21, 2013, 07:12:57 PM »

I'm liking K8AXW more every day:

Best metaphor of the thread so far:

Quote
I couldn't have flown a cardboard box down a mine shaft!

What a fun image!

i thought this one was pretty good too:

Quote from: K8AXW
AIM: If you could find a way to dry, sack and sell that load, you wouldn't have to work next year. 


however for me the image isn't so fun (except the part about my not having to work next year)  Grin
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W9KEY
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« Reply #47 on: March 21, 2013, 07:51:45 PM »

This is an interesting thread.  When I was going for my extra the Dick Bash book had just hit the shelves.  I was using the ARRL license manuals for all my tests.  I never bothered  with the Bash Book as it was called because of the stigma attached to it.   How many remember Harry Finkelman?  Am I dating myself?

Maybe I am experiencing a 'senior moment' but i cannot easily find anything on Harry Finkelman with the help of Google.  Can you say more about who his relevance?

- - - -

Except for its unnecessary bashing of dump truck drivers, i found this year 2000 then and now code of hams pretty funny:

http://www.fortenberry.cc/rr/amateurscode.htm

I also found the below post from a former thread relevant to the original thrust of this topic and well said:

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.
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AE5QB
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« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2013, 03:23:09 AM »

QB:  It seems to me that with your incredible intellectual background you have a problem with simple logic!

Take your soloing in 25 hours for example.  Who would you prefer to fly with?  A guy who is able to solo in 25 hours or a guy who simply read a book full of answers and passed the tests? 

I did basically this very thing a long time ago but when it came to hands on flying, I couldn't have flown a cardboard box down a mine shaft!

This same question can be applied to each of your accomplishments. 


Say what?  I am talking about learning.  A totally different issue than "Who would you rather have..."  But along those lines, a very very high percentage of everything done in this world is performed by those who are not the tops in their fields. 

Some people say it takes about 10,000 hours of focused practice to become an expert in anything.  I don't know if this number is true or not, but I think we can all agree that it does take a long long time to become an expert at anything.  Some would reserve the ham ranks to only those who already have 1,000's of hours of practice.  Many others (I am one of them) will say, get the new folks in as easily as possible and help them get through that 1,000's of hours more quickly.

Get real, OK?  Having brain surgery or flying across the Atlantic and landing in 0/0 conditions is not quite the same as watching a biker go by and calling in a position report.  To my knowledge, nobody has died as a result of an unknowing ham interfering with a QSO about the latest gastric issues or from the result of a no-code ham hooking up a battery backwards on his code practice oscillator.

I often wonder what the real issue is behind this whole argument.  All I can come up with is a number of bitter ole men who are close to dying and trying to hold onto their youth through something they did decades ago.  I guess by denying the accomplishments of others that somehow makes their own life more relevant. I see this in many places. I find it quite sad that life has been relegated to trying to prove I am better than you.  The day that ham radio is reserved to the elite few is the day it will cease to exist.  The fact that anyone had to do more work 50 years ago to get a ticket is OK.  I acknowledge that.  Great job folks!  You should be proud of yourselves.  But putting down or diminishing the accomplishments of no code hams is not going to make the hobby better nor increase your accomplishment any further.

Have fun, encourage new folks to get into the hobby any way they can and enjoy life.  I think many of us are taking all of this way to seriously.  When it comes to ham radio, the only time I need the best of the best beside me is when the Apocalypse comes and I need to make sure that last birthday greeting absolutely/positively gets through to my great great niece on time.  It is a hobby, it is fun, there is plenty of room for people of all skill levels.  Enjoy!
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W9KEY
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« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2013, 06:55:29 AM »

How many remember Harry Finkelman?

ok, today i did a little more googling and found out you probably mean Charles Finkleman, legendary FCC radio license examiner:

http://www.wb2lqf.com/_/rsrc/1352257178791/amateur-radio-and-me/the-legendary-mr-charles-finkleman/scan0008.jpg?height=1134&width=985

http://www.wb2lqf.com/_/rsrc/1352257178791/amateur-radio-and-me/the-legendary-mr-charles-finkleman/scan0010.jpg?height=1134&width=985

http://www.wb2lqf.com/amateur-radio-and-me/the-legendary-mr-charles-finkleman

My trip to the Chicago FCC office in as a young teen in 1977 also yielded some stern FCC examiners, but none quite as famous as Mr Finkleman.  Was it his demeanor and body language? because the photos may not do him justice ...
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 07:57:05 AM by K9AIM » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2013, 09:21:34 AM »

QB:  
Quote
The fact that anyone had to do more work 50 years ago to get a ticket is OK.  I acknowledge that.  Great job folks!  You should be proud of yourselves.  But putting down or diminishing the accomplishments of no code hams is not going to make the hobby better nor increase your accomplishment any further.


This is what I mean about "getting real!"  I never said anything about "no-coders."  Did anyone else?  I'm not about to go back through this whole thread and find out but I don't recall hearing that comment.

Quite often guys will get on a forum and just throw crap into the discussion to agitate or to instigate an argument with no intention of fostering understanding of a situation or solving a problem.  I'm not saying you are QB, but it would be easy to come to this conclusion reading your comments.

Let me make this point.  I used to play/use CB at one time in my ham career and I had a great deal of fun.  I used to sell and service CB radios for a short stint.  During this time I saw CB evolve.  It went from buying a radio, applying for a license from the FCC, with the requirements that the power limit would be 5w input power, 15mile communication range and that the issued call sign be used in communications.  

Then it went to no required license and no enforcement of the rules and regs.  The CB band opened to 40 channels and during this time the use of linear (?) amplifiers and power mics became the norm with multi-channel and out of band splattering because they didn't have a clue.  Their technical level was zero!

After this CB radio became total chaos and for the most part killed itself off.

Someone used the term "ole man" when the correct term is OLD man, which I am, to describe a bygone era and requirements of the days of old.  There is only one thing further from the truth.  And that is this:

  
Quote
But putting down or diminishing the accomplishments of no code hams is not going to make the hobby better nor increase your accomplishment any further.

Only more studying and work will do this. You can call me old but don't insult me.

Being an old man has given me insight to the fact that history is repeating itself.  I see the need for technical competence being diminished; the license tests and requirements being dumbed down and those justifying this becoming more vocal.  

Ham radio is the most incredible hobby in the world.  I have had great fun for the past 58 years with it furthering my work career, keeping me sane through some very terrible times and perhaps even saving my life.  

This is why I'm even responding to some of the stuff I'm reading here.  I realize that I might just as well yell up a dead man's ass for all the good it will do, but I must anyhow.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2013, 10:42:22 AM »

Lets also realize that the term "LID" is not new. There have been competent and incompetent HAMS back then as well.
Perhaps there is more of a trend toward "appliance operation" which is indeed unfortunate, but that may be due to the way technology has evolved to require more skills and specialized equipment to home brew equipment these days.
A 100W solder gun and some WWII surplus isn't going to cut it anymore...

None the less, I may have not had to go through the "novice phase", etc, but I pride myself in knowing what I'm doing and why I am doing it. If I don't, I make it my business to learn what I need to know.
Now, with a few Field days  under my belt, I have found that many of the "code club" old timers that like to scoff at us new Extras, can't even find their way around their own radios! Many can't even discern between a rig problem or antenna problem or perhaps operator error.
I end up being THEIR Elmer!!!  Shocked

Bottom line, it's not how you got the ticket, but WHAT YOU DO WITH IT.  Grin
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N5XM
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« Reply #52 on: March 28, 2013, 07:32:32 AM »

I've said this here several times, but you can't legislate excellence.  If you have real love for radio, you will be willing to put in the effort to learn.  The FAA commercial tests are the same way...they give you the question pool and the answers, and planes don't fall out of the sky unless they suffer a physical failure.  A newly graduated and board certifed surgeon has the paper on his wall, but if you had surgery, wouldn't you want someone with great experience doing your procedure? 

How good do you want to be?  That depends on your motivation and passion.  Putting labels on people can be like throwing out the diamonds with the chaff.  I try to never say "always" and never say "never".  It's a sure way to make mistakes in thinking, and that affects our attitudes.  We all know what a bad attitude smells like.  I'm reminded of a song by Tom Petty: "You used to be such a sweet young girl, why you wanna be somebody else...you say you want to change the world, why dontcha just change yourself?". 
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W1JKA
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« Reply #53 on: March 28, 2013, 09:45:45 AM »

   Thanks to these post and being a past member of Junior Birdmen of America I now think that I may also be qualified to not only solo but to memorize the answers to the extra class license as well.
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KD8TUT
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« Reply #54 on: March 28, 2013, 09:55:37 AM »

   Thanks to these post and being a past member of Junior Birdmen of America I now think that I may also be qualified to not only solo but to memorize the answers to the extra class license as well.

Oddly enough, even if you attempted to memorize the question pool you would learn a great deal.

I still say you have less a chance of passing through memorizing answers due to the nature of that test.
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KF7Z
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« Reply #55 on: March 28, 2013, 12:26:06 PM »

Since this interesting thread has somewhat evolved from an observation about the Dick Bash books to the more general topic of less difficult license requirements, I would like to comment.

It is understandable that many people derive satisfaction from being a member of some kind of an elite group. Some people derive a LOT of satisfaction and a significant portion of their sense of self from group status. Sadly, some people have so few opportunities to feel good about themselves that they attribute an unhealthy significance to their membership in one, or a few, “elite groups”.  For those very few hams that get the most irate about relaxed licensing requirements, this is most likely the dynamic that explains their agitation.

There have always been some amateur operators that have had only the most shallow understanding of radio or electronics theory, or technical skill.  When I started in amateur radio, I was fortunate to have the help of a very competent Technician Class teacher who, for decades, never bothered to get his General Class license. He just wasn’t very interested in actually getting on the air. He liked teaching, building, and repairing. But; his wife was a General Class license holder. She was an avid, class-act operator who contributed hours and hours of time running phone patches to GI’s in Vietnam. At the same time, she didn’t really know anything about electronics or radio theory. She “cooked booked” the written test, and barely scraped through the 13 wpm code test, never to copy code again in her 50-plus years as a ham. She had no interest in what made the electrons move around in a useful way.

About this agitation that some hams feel stemming from relaxed license requirements, the most self aware, happy and emotionally mature people do not need to rely on their membership in any elite group in order to have a high sense of self worth. Further, in my humble opinion, the most appropriate way to relate to others is to grant everyone the freedom to do whatever they want to do, as long as their actions do not cause any harm to others.

Applying those beliefs to myself, I must admit that I too felt a few moments of indignation when I first heard that it was to be possible to secure a no-code Extra Class license. “My God.  No-code Extra’s! That is sacrilegious!”  But since then, my desire to maintain a high level of self awareness has demanded that I consider whether or not I, or anyone else, is harmed by those changes.  I just recently got back on the air after an 18-year hiatus, so I have the benefit of a clear “before” and “after” perspective.  Let’s seriously consider what harm might have come.

1.  Have the relaxed technical requirements led to more poor-quality radio emissions that are interfering with my QSO’s, or with other services?  That seems to be clearly not the case. There are very few signals from home-built or home-modified rigs, much less sloppy home-built rigs. Ham radio emissions have probably never been of higher average quality.

2.  Have the relaxed test requirements resulted in more crowding of the bands, which could cause “harm” to me or others?  I only have my subjective opinion about this, but my clear subjective assessment is there is far less crowding of the bands than there was 18 years ago.  In fact, for CW ops, the often wide-open non-phone band segments of today are a delight.

3.  Have the relaxed test requirements, and the potential proliferation of “appliance” operators resulted in some diminishment of operator “ethics” or careful and considerate operating practices?  Here again, I have only my subjective opinion, but in this case my clear assessment is that there was more “trash talk”, profanity, and intentional interference two decades ago, and even four decades ago, than is found on the bands now.

4. Has there been a decline in ham radio esprit d’ corps, or professionalism, that has some way reduced perception of the amateur radio service by either the public or by regulators, and thus harmed the larger ham community? There is no change that I can perceive. As has always been the case, the general public could not care less, and the government seems about as supportive as always.

Have the relaxed test requirements harmed me, or anyone else, in any other way?  My evaluation is that one would have to really, really stretch logic to come up with any result that constitutes harm.  I would be very interested to hear from anyone that has come to any contrary conclusion.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 12:32:05 PM by KF7Z » Logged
KD8TUT
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« Reply #56 on: March 28, 2013, 02:13:29 PM »


Have the relaxed test requirements harmed me, or anyone else, in any other way?  My evaluation is that one would have to really, really stretch logic to come up with any result that constitutes harm.  I would be very interested to hear from anyone that has come to any contrary conclusion.


I happen to agree with what you are saying. But my perspective is from being very very new.

First off, I had prepped for the Technician test in the 70's as a kid. I even passed a few practice exams. Honestly, the General exam today seems on par with the difficulty of the General exam of the 70's. But that assessment is from memory and not including CW requirements. I'd like to see a measurable standard for the difficulty of the current tests against the old tests- other than a bunch of old hams playing lip service to their "superiority". Or alternatively pining away about code.

From my perspective: the biggest issue I've seen is the haranguing of younger hams who have entered the hobby under the so-called "relaxed conditions".

If you want to talk about harm- that's harmful. I've literally sat with a group of hams and listened to a speech given to a new tech about "how worthless his license is". Think about that. It's not a rare occurrence. It's harmful.

And it's not just harmful to the new licensee. It's harmful to the hobby. And it's harmful to clubs, of which many specialize in creating "new hams".

So the current state of licensing "standards" has little to do with "harm". It's more the attitudes of some longer term hams that do the damage.

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KF7Z
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« Reply #57 on: March 28, 2013, 03:41:25 PM »


From my perspective: the biggest issue I've seen is the haranguing of younger hams who have entered the hobby under the so-called "relaxed conditions".
If you want to talk about harm- that's harmful. I've literally sat with a group of hams and listened to a speech given to a new tech about "how worthless his license is". Think about that. It's not a rare occurrence. It's harmful.


Thanks for the very interesting anecdote. Such comments are indeed harmful if they belittle the accomplishment of another person. I sure hope you know by now that those kinds of remarks from such self-nominated "superior" hams do not come from any kind of legitimate authority. People whose sense of self worth is dependent upon feeling like one of the elite will sometimes lash out when they feel that their elite status is marginalized.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 03:45:32 PM by KF7Z » Logged
W9KEY
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« Reply #58 on: March 28, 2013, 04:36:52 PM »

3.  Have the relaxed test requirements, and the potential proliferation of “appliance” operators resulted in some diminishment of operator “ethics” or careful and considerate operating practices?  Here again, I have only my subjective opinion, but in this case my clear assessment is that there was more “trash talk”, profanity, and intentional interference two decades ago, and even four decades ago, than is found on the bands now.

I agree it is important to differentiate between those who oppose relaxed license requirements because they feel some psychological need to belong to a 'special' group and those who have practical concerns.  Your question number 3 addresses my concerns as I think part of the drop in technological status of amateur radio with scientists and with the public in general stems from the great advancements that have been made in communications technology as well in mass production and miniaturization. 

For me the big concern is not letting ham radio degenerate into CB.  There may be some fine CB'ers, but there is a lot of garbage.  75 meters has become way too much like 11 meters as far as I am concerned.  I was first licensed in 1976... I think the more difficult the license requirements are, the less likely ham radio is to become like CB (and vice versa). 

A related question might be: If we lower the requirements to become a surgeon, what would it do to the overall quality of surgery in general?

That said, let me clear that i find it absurd to suggest all no-code hams are poor operators or that all code-tested hams are good op.s. 
There are probably people out there who would be exemplary hams with no testing, but we'd have to take the bad with the good, and we'd get quite a heap  Wink
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KD8TUT
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« Reply #59 on: March 28, 2013, 09:59:12 PM »


From my perspective: the biggest issue I've seen is the haranguing of younger hams who have entered the hobby under the so-called "relaxed conditions".
If you want to talk about harm- that's harmful. I've literally sat with a group of hams and listened to a speech given to a new tech about "how worthless his license is". Think about that. It's not a rare occurrence. It's harmful.


Thanks for the very interesting anecdote. Such comments are indeed harmful if they belittle the accomplishment of another person. I sure hope you know by now that those kinds of remarks from such self-nominated "superior" hams do not come from any kind of legitimate authority. People whose sense of self worth is dependent upon feeling like one of the elite will sometimes lash out when they feel that their elite status is marginalized.

I completely understand that. When I was a kid, I experienced quite a bit of "ham culture". And really it hasn't changed that much. There were people carping about license classes back then- though the specific complaints are lost to my memory.

Thanks for the supportive comment.
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