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eHam Forums => Licensing => Topic started by: WV1N on January 21, 2013, 11:14:29 AM



Title: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WV1N on January 21, 2013, 11:14:29 AM
When I sat for my extra exam they asked questions about digital, SSTV and other modes.  I intent was to show competence in all aspects of amateur radio.  The one mode that is not currently tested is the CW mode.  Those who want full privileges in the lower cw segments should show competency in cw just like the test requires knowledge of TV and digital modes.  This is the essence of the Amateur Extra Class.  The Advanced Class should be available to any ham who wants full phone privileges without the need to learn cw.
Bill, wv1n











Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WN2C on January 21, 2013, 06:54:15 PM
I disagree.  What they should do once all is give full privileges to all Advanced holders an leave the privilege segments where they are now so that upgrading from General to Extra really gives some incentive to upgrade.

Rick  wn2c


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K8GU on January 22, 2013, 04:56:49 AM
How long has it been that the Morse testing requirement was dropped and we're still complaining about it?  By the way, I agree with the sentiment that the Extra should have retained the Morse test for the very reason you articulate, but I don't think we're going back to Morse testing or more license classes.

I held every one of the post-incentive licensing classes except Novice (T, T+, G, A, E) on my way and that was a gratuitous amount of paperwork for everyone involved.  The T, G, E, framework is much more sensible.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N3DF on January 22, 2013, 08:07:29 AM
That battle fought and lost.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 22, 2013, 09:16:56 AM
How long has it been that the Morse testing requirement was dropped and we're still complaining about it?

Six years next month. But only a few are still complaining.

By the way, I agree with the sentiment that the Extra should have retained the Morse test for the very reason you articulate, but I don't think we're going back to Morse testing or more license classes.

The problem is that if they kept it (as many hams wanted), they'd have to keep medical waivers too. Not gonna happen!

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 22, 2013, 09:19:31 AM
Those who want full privileges in the lower cw segments should show competency in cw just like the test requires knowledge of TV and digital modes.  This is the essence of the Amateur Extra Class. 

Not really.

Yes, the Extra gives another 25 kc. of CW/data space (not just cw space!) on 4 HF bands. But it also gives a lot more 'phone space, too! And access to more vanity call blocks. And more VE privileges.

FCC did what they did. Not gonna change any time soon.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: AA4PB on January 22, 2013, 09:51:10 AM
To my knowledge, Morse was the only "proficiency" test the FCC ever had. It's akin to requiring a typing test to operate RTTY or PSK31 or voice training to operate phone modes.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 22, 2013, 10:40:04 AM
To my knowledge, Morse was the only "proficiency" test the FCC ever had.

It's the only skill test, yes. I'd hardly consider the 5 or even 20 wpm tests to be real "proficiency" tests.

It's akin to requiring a typing test to operate RTTY or PSK31 or voice training to operate phone modes.

Not really. Most folks who become hams can talk and understand at least one spoken language. And most folks who try to operate RTTY or PSK31 can read text and know how to hunt-and-peck type on a keyboard.

What made Morse Code different is that most folks didn't know it from other sources (yes, a few did). Which is what all the fuss was really about - folks not wanting to learn something.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WB2WIK on January 22, 2013, 03:34:32 PM
It ain't coming back.

I "wish" the Novice class license would come back for various reasons, but I'm sure it won't, either.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: AA4PB on January 22, 2013, 04:08:05 PM
"And most folks who try to operate RTTY or PSK31 can read text and know how to hunt-and-peck type on a keyboard."

Most folks can look up dots and dashes on a chart too - at 1 or 2 WPM  ;D  Sometimes I wish there was a typing test for RTTY and PSK31 in order to speed things up a little. Maybe there wouldn't be so many "brag files" sent.



Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WN2C on January 22, 2013, 06:21:59 PM
According to the ARRL, the stated goal of code testing as published in QST or some other ARRL publication (a long time ago) was to filter out some people from becoming hams.  Now some of you are going to blast me for this I know, but I did read this in an early ARRL publication. The code / no code debate for licensing is over and done...time to move on...time for those that want to learn it, learn it and for those that don't...then don't.

Rick  wn2c


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 23, 2013, 05:39:26 AM
According to the ARRL, the stated goal of code testing as published in QST or some other ARRL publication (a long time ago) was to filter out some people from becoming hams.  Now some of you are going to blast me for this I know, but I did read this in an early ARRL publication.

Where and when, exactly?

And if it was actually printed...Was it one person's opinion or was it the reason the FCC did it?

There's a BIG difference between the two!

Couple of facts:

1) Until 2003, the ITU-R treaty required code tests for amateur licenses below a certain frequency.

2) Whenever the issue came up, the majority of those bothering to comment favored at least some code testing.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N3DF on January 23, 2013, 07:49:42 AM
According to the ARRL, the stated goal of code testing as published in QST or some other ARRL publication (a long time ago) was to filter out some people from becoming hams.  Now some of you are going to blast me for this I know, but I did read this in an early ARRL publication. The code / no code debate for licensing is over and done...time to move on...time for those that want to learn it, learn it and for those that don't...then don't.

Rick  wn2c

Doubt it.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 23, 2013, 08:46:59 AM
Doubt it.

I think there once was such an article in QST. But it was an op-ed piece, not an official policy of ARRL or FCC.

What it came down to was this: The article writer's opinion was that most new hams come to ham radio without any code skills, and that having to "invest" some time and effort into learning the code was A Good Thing. Not to keep anyone out, but to insure that those who "got in" had a certain personal investment. The writer's opinion was also that the written tests weren't adequate to do this because lots of folks have adequate electronic know-how, word-association and guessing skills to pass them after relatively little study.

IIRC, this opinion appeared in the late 1960s or the 1970s, after the written exams were all-multiple-choice, repeaters were The New Thing and the cb boom was peaking.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 23, 2013, 09:46:07 AM
Those who want full privileges in the lower cw segments should show competency in cw just like the test requires knowledge of TV and digital modes.  This is the essence of the Amateur Extra Class.

Not really.

Yes, the Extra gives another 25 kc. of CW/data space (not just cw space!) on 4 HF bands. But it also gives a lot more 'phone space, too! And access to more vanity call blocks. And more VE privileges.

FCC did what they did. Not gonna change any time soon.

73 de Jim, N2EY


The Extra did have phone privileges beyond that of Advanced,  but the Extra CW segments on 15, 20, 40 and 80m were places where there was a consistently clear difference in operator proficiency vs. the non-Extra CW segments.  When it comes to CW, by not requiring 20 wpm perfect copy, the level of required operator proficiency went from near professional to complete novice.   


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 23, 2013, 03:45:03 PM
The Extra did have phone privileges beyond that of Advanced,  but the Extra CW segments on 15, 20, 40 and 80m were places where there was a consistently clear difference in operator proficiency vs. the non-Extra CW segments.  When it comes to CW, by not requiring 20 wpm perfect copy, the level of required operator proficiency went from near professional to complete novice.

That started more than 20 years ago, with the introduction of medical waivers. From 1990 onward, you could get any class of US amateur license with just 5 wpm and a doctor's note.

btw, FCC never required perfect copy for a code test. The most they required back-in-the-day was 1 minute solid out of 5. And that ended more than 30 years ago.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 23, 2013, 04:14:13 PM
yes. i was talking about when you had to have perfect copy for one solid minute of 20wpm code.  that they did something stupid and allowed medical waivers is beside the point.  can a blind person get a medical waiver to waive the driving test in order to obtain for a motor vehicle license?  if they allowed a medical exception for code, it should have entailed no code privileges until such a time as proficiency was proven.

publishing the answers to the exam questions was also a stupid decision. what that and the elimination of the code requirement did was degrade the operating proficiency of hams in general. it moved ham radio closer to being CB.  and the results are observable on the bands today.  now granted, society in general has become less polite, and less formal ... but still.

i realize you have accepted these changes and are probably better versed than i in when and why these things took place, and i generally learn something from each of your posts.  i do wonder though if you put the fact that what is done is done aside, don't you feel like the removal of the code requirement -- in consequence and effect -- has made amateur radio more like CB?

the one thing i note the code requirement did to me as a youngster was that it made phone privileges seem comparatively better than CW.  it is ironic that today i feel the opposite.

73, Rob K9AIM ..


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K1CJS on January 25, 2013, 04:13:27 AM
Why is this old argument being revived?  It's over and done with, CW is an even more popular mode now, and the amateur licensing count is heading upward. 

GET OVER IT!!!


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 25, 2013, 06:51:19 AM
Why is this old argument being revived?  It's over and done with, CW is an even more popular mode now, and the amateur licensing count is heading upward.  
GET OVER IT!!!

I did get over it -- I upgraded from Advanced to Extra last year.  Why are you upset it is still being discussed?  If you don't want to discuss it, don't click on this thread.  When major changes are made to the licensing requirements, there is a good chance people will compare the effects of the changes (even through the decades).  The amateur count is going up.  CW is still popular.  Publishing the answers to the exams and lowering (and then completely removing) the code requirement has certainly opened up amateur radio to a lot of people who might not have otherwise gone through the required preparation.  Removing the 20wpm code requirement certainly opened up the Extra class to a lot of op.s who might not have had the requisite patience to get there...  But at some point, was there not the law of diminished return? In other words, if you go from requiring a high level of proficiency to a much lower one -- what does that do to the quality of the field in general?  

With people now trying to do CW prior to even learning how to read code manually or send with a straight key, CW certainly has changed! I am still trying to figure out how it is i hear op.s who have dahs that are only about 1.5 times as long as their dits?  perhaps those few are what is setting me off (especially when it is in the so-called 'Extra' CW segments) ;D

Maybe i am just getting old because i almost want to lament as well about how people can get DXCC using internet spotting or CW awards using keyboards... and don't get me started about remote controls for TVs  ;D


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N3DF on January 25, 2013, 07:19:04 AM
publishing the answers to the exam questions was also a stupid decision. what that and the elimination of the code requirement did was degrade the operating proficiency of hams in general. it moved ham radio closer to being CB.  and the results are observable on the bands today.  now granted, society in general has become less polite, and less formal ... but still.


the one thing i note the code requirement did to me as a youngster was that it made phone privileges seem comparatively better than CW.  it is ironic that today i feel the opposite.

73, Rob K9AIM ..


Seems to me if the FAA can publish the answers to air transport pilot test questions, the FCC can publish the answers to ham radio test questions.  In the A-B-C license days, phone priviliges were the golden fleece that required the highest level examination.





Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 25, 2013, 07:49:56 AM
Why is this old argument being revived? 

Not an argument, just an historical discussion. It is important to remember the history accurately.

It's over and done with, CW is an even more popular mode now, and the amateur licensing count is heading upward.  GET OVER IT!!!

I am quite aware of the quantity. But there's also the question of quality.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KG6AF on January 25, 2013, 09:59:35 AM
Seems to me if the FAA can publish the answers to air transport pilot test questions, the FCC can publish the answers to ham radio test questions.  In the A-B-C license days, phone priviliges were the golden fleece that required the highest level examination.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the FAA recently revert to closed question pools?  I know nothing about the air transport pilot test, but I believe that the private pilot pool, once open, is now closed, with the FAA releasing only a few representative questions.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but I will point out that maintaining a closed question pool takes a lot of work.  To keep the pool effective, it'd have to be updated continuously, to thwart any Dick Bash, Jrs.  And keeping a pool secret when there are 36,000 VEs out there seems unrealistic.

One thing that's often overlooked in these matters is that the FCC has essentially zero money to spend on overseeing the amateur service.  Any proposal for change that costs the FCC anything, either in staffing or expense, is going to have a tough time getting approved.

If there is genuine interest in keeping applicants from rote-memorizing their way to a license, there's a simple way to do it that involves no change to current regulations: increase the size of the question pools.  However, I suspect that the number of hams who have serious objections to the way things are done now is relatively small, and the number of those willing to put in the work to increase the size of the question pools is even smaller. 


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 25, 2013, 02:05:58 PM
what i would really like to see happen, is to go back to requiring 20wpm code proficiency in order to have privileges to the Extra CW segments.  VE's could administer the test (and obviously it would have to be VE's proficient in code). Call it Extra OS (old school).  ;D 

yeah -- that'll happen  ::)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 25, 2013, 02:34:57 PM
what i would really like to see happen, is to go back to requiring 20wpm code proficiency in order to have privileges to the Extra CW segments.  VE's could administer the test (and obviously it would have to be VE's proficient in code). Call it Extra OS (old school).  ;D  yeah -- that'll happen  ::)

I think there's a better way.

What could be done is for somebody to put together an "Old Tyme Licensing" traveling road show that would go to hamfests, conventions, etc.

They'd give license exams "The Old Way", complete with code tests, "secret" writtens, etc. You'd pick your era (1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, etc.) pay a fee, and have ONE CHANCE to pass each element. If you passed, they'd send you a nice letter-sized award document attesting to your achievement. If you failed, you had to wait 30 days to try again - no do-overs, no refunds.

The documents would not be licenses and would have no value other than bragging rights. But imagine the fun! Imagine a newcomer having awards for all the decades and license classes, and not having to take any guff from old-timers!



73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 25, 2013, 03:14:47 PM
what i would really like to see happen, is to go back to requiring 20wpm code proficiency in order to have privileges to the Extra CW segments.  VE's could administer the test (and obviously it would have to be VE's proficient in code). Call it Extra OS (old school).  ;D  yeah -- that'll happen  ::)

I think there's a better way.

What could be done is for somebody to put together an "Old Tyme Licensing" traveling road show that would go to hamfests, conventions, etc.

They'd give license exams "The Old Way", complete with code tests, "secret" writtens, etc. You'd pick your era (1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, etc.) pay a fee, and have ONE CHANCE to pass each element. If you passed, they'd send you a nice letter-sized award document attesting to your achievement. If you failed, you had to wait 30 days to try again - no do-overs, no refunds.

The documents would not be licenses and would have no value other than bragging rights. But imagine the fun! Imagine a newcomer having awards for all the decades and license classes, and not having to take any guff from old-timers!

73 de Jim, N2EY

now you're talking!  ;D ;D ;D    do the actual exams from those eras still exist? 

the code proficiency test would be one I am ready for.   It is a little bittersweet to me to be a no-code Extra -- I am disappointed that the day I passed my Advanced in 1977, I failed the 20 wpm Extra code copy exam.  I really hadn't planned on taking the Extra that day, but the FCC exam proctor encouraged me to.  Today I hold an Extra but never got another crack at the 20 wpm code exam. (I was mostly QRT for three decades, but did not really lose a beat in terms of CW).  Bring it on!!!  :)

what i was looking for though was resonant with the point in the post that started this thread.  The Extra CW segments used to involve a skill set that today is generally absent, and it seems comparatively dissonant to now allow no-code Extras to go there and yet ban Advanced and General operators who passed 13wpm tests.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K1CJS on January 26, 2013, 08:17:52 AM
I did get over it -- I upgraded from Advanced to Extra last year.  Why are you upset it is still being discussed?  If you don't want to discuss it, don't click on this thread....  

It's not that a discussion is a bad thing, but some people on this thread seem all too willing to continue the battle.

Quote
Maybe i am just getting old because i almost want to lament as well about how people can get DXCC using internet spotting or CW awards using keyboards... and don't get me started about remote controls for TVs  ;D

In other words, you seem to want to keep things as they were, nearly forever.  Nice for nostalgia, but not so nice for progress.  It's not that I'm condoning the lack of quality either, because if you want to use CW, you should practice it until you're proficient. 

But there is no reason that testing for one mode should be brought back just because of nostalgia.  Let's just go with the band plans in place, and if you don't use CW, stay off the band segments dedicated for CW.  Should be simple enough--for anybody.  73!


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 26, 2013, 09:13:23 AM

In other words, you seem to want to keep things as they were, nearly forever.  

no, did you miss that i said 'almost'?  do you think i don't use a remote to control my television?  i was acknowledging that some may interpret my wish to bring back 20wpm code proficiency testing for those who wish access to the Extra CW segments as being against change per se.  

Nice for nostalgia, but not so nice for progress.  It's not that I'm condoning the lack of quality either, because if you want to use CW, you should practice it until you're proficient.  

But there is no reason that testing for one mode should be brought back just because of nostalgia.  Let's just go with the band plans in place, and if you don't use CW, stay off the band segments dedicated for CW.  Should be simple enough--for anybody.  73!

shall i now accuse you of being wedded to the status quo?  ;D



Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N0YXB on January 26, 2013, 10:20:13 AM
I wish drivers would use their signal lights, stop at stop signs, and drive courteously.  But that's not going to happen either.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: AE7UT on January 26, 2013, 12:21:32 PM
I'd like the Novice license back also.
I'm a 2 year Extra no code ham.
I'm learning CW and it would be nice to have a bunch
of slow people like me out there practicing.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 26, 2013, 03:10:31 PM
I'd like the Novice license back also.
I'm a 2 year Extra no code ham.
I'm learning CW and it would be nice to have a bunch
of slow people like me out there practicing.

if you are learning with a straight key, SKCC has a lot of fine op.s who are happy to QRS
http://www.skccgroup.com/ (http://www.skccgroup.com/)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K1CJS on January 26, 2013, 07:29:48 PM
shall i now accuse you of being wedded to the status quo?  ;D

If you want to.  After all, we did agree that this was a discussion, didn't we?  Looking back, however, and with these new posts, it does look like we're arguing the same side of the coin, just from different edges.   8)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 27, 2013, 05:40:41 AM
I think there's a very important fact being missed here....

The FCC decided about 30 years ago that they weren't going to micro-manage ham radio by license test and class any more.

They decided that the license tests would cover the basics of radio, and the regulations, and that the rest of it was up to us.

If we want various achievement awards, we could get them elsewhere.
If we value operating proficiency (in ANY mode), technical know-how, etc., it's up to us to promote and preserve those things.

For example, the ARRL Code Proficiency program has been around for many decades, and awards certificates and endorsements at 5 wpm intervals from 10 to 40 wpm. We hams in the USA are free to homebrew almost anything we want, as long as it sounds decent on the air. You can run a 1930s homebrew station with 1 tube transmitter and 2 tube receiver, or the latest store-bought multi-kilobuck SDR, or anything in between, and it's all legal.

I think we need to focus our resources more on doing than on expecting FCC to do for us. Want to hear the lower 25 kHz of 40 full of fast CW? Get on and do it!

IMHO

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 27, 2013, 09:05:03 AM
the original post of this thread pointed to the dissonance created in allowing CW novices into the 25 KHz Extra class CW segments that were formerly characterized by 20wpm minimum tested op.s

when you have bands generally segmented into different levels of operator code proficiency, and then remove the proficiency requirement, those who had cut their teeth on the old stratification may point out what was lost and even suggest going back to it.

Getting VE's to administer 20wpm code proficiency exams to all USA Extra-class applicants wishing access to the bottom 25 KHz of 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters would be great fun, would it not? If regulation costs are the issue -- it could be an access by honor system for all who hold Extras. 

[ducking for cover]
 


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KG6AF on January 27, 2013, 09:35:07 AM
Getting VE's to administer 20wpm code proficiency exams to all USA Extra-class applicants wishing access to the bottom 25 KHz of 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters would be great fun, would it not?

I'm speaking only for myself, but, no, it would not.  I became a VE after the code tests were dropped, but I've heard from some of the VE old-timers that administering the code tests was a pain in the neck.  Having taken the 20WPM test at an early VE session back in '85, I can see why.

Beating a dead horse isn't all that much fun, either.

N2EY is right: if someone wants to set up a club for CW novices, issue certificates and awards, arrange skeds, hold contests, administer recreations of old exams, etc., no one is stopping them.  Sounds like a great idea to me.  And, as has been pointed out, SKCC is already doing some of that.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W5LZ on January 27, 2013, 07:01:11 PM
I really doubt if the Advanced class shows back up.  So, why not make another higher class license than Amateur Extra?  No 'new' privileges, just more prestige.  Maybe just drop a letter from the Extra call signs?  A/K/N/W and a number!
 - 'Doc

I got dibs on the 'W5L' one!  ...or maybe 'W5Z'?


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KCJ9091 on January 27, 2013, 08:13:33 PM
K9AIM,

The flaw in your argument is the bottom 25 KHz are not CW only.  They are also RTTY and Data.  Since the Extra written test knowledge of those modes I'm covered.  BUT if you want an additional test for the privilege operating on an antiquated, slow, error prone mode of operation that most other services have allowed to pass into the annals of radio history you are welcome to.  Don't force your wave of nostalgia on everyone else particularly those who have welcomed and embraced the technological advancements of the modern era.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 28, 2013, 03:06:31 AM
the original post of this thread pointed to the dissonance created in allowing CW novices into the 25 KHz Extra class CW segments that were formerly characterized by 20wpm minimum tested op.s

What dissonance? Those segments aren't CW only. And before November 22, 1968 the were open to ALL US hams except Novices and Techs. After the 1990 creation of medical waivers, you could get an Extra with just 5 wpm and a waiver. So in the long history of US amateur licensing, those segments were limited to 20 wpm tested ops for less than 22 years.

when you have bands generally segmented into different levels of operator code proficiency, and then remove the proficiency requirement, those who had cut their teeth on the old stratification may point out what was lost and even suggest going back to it.

Maybe. But recall that there are also those who recall a time when there were no such segments at all.

Getting VE's to administer 20wpm code proficiency exams to all USA Extra-class applicants wishing access to the bottom 25 KHz of 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters would be great fun, would it not? If regulation costs are the issue -- it could be an access by honor system for all who hold Extras. 

[ducking for cover]

We have that now - it's called the ARRL Code Proficiency Program. And it goes up to speeds double the old Extra speed.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 28, 2013, 03:10:52 AM
K9AIM,

The flaw in your argument is the bottom 25 KHz are not CW only.  They are also RTTY and Data.  Since the Extra written test knowledge of those modes I'm covered. 

That's true. Hold that thought....

BUT if you want an additional test for the privilege operating on an antiquated, slow, error prone mode of operation that most other services have allowed to pass into the annals of radio history you are welcome to. 

Do you mean RTTY? Because I don't know of any radio service that still uses the old 5 level 60 wpm Baudot RTTY code except hams.

Don't force your wave of nostalgia on everyone else particularly those who have welcomed and embraced the technological advancements of the modern era.

How many other 2-way communication radio services still use AM, wide FM, HF, or SSB? How many are not channelized?

It's not about "nostalgia".

73 de jim N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 28, 2013, 02:28:38 PM
Quote from: KCJ9091
K9AIM,
The flaw in your argument is the bottom 25 KHz are not CW only.  They are also RTTY and Data.  Since the Extra written test knowledge of those modes I'm covered.  BUT if you want an additional test for the privilege operating on an antiquated, slow, error prone mode of operation that most other services have allowed to pass into the annals of radio history you are welcome to.  Don't force your wave of nostalgia on everyone else particularly those who have welcomed and embraced the technological advancements of the modern era.

error prone?  antiquated?  sounds like RADIO communication, right?  :o ;) ;D ::) 


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W1JKA on January 30, 2013, 03:18:25 PM
   Any truth to the rumor of the FCC considering a new Hi-Tech class license? I hear it will be restricted to the use of out of the box plug and play appliance radios,commercially built antennas,tuners, power supplies and amps along with a two part license test consisting of basic rules & regs, and a technical section to determine your ability to read english and comprehend the contents of an operators manual.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 31, 2013, 02:17:28 AM
   Any truth to the rumor of the FCC considering a new Hi-Tech class license? I hear it will be restricted to the use of out of the box plug and play appliance radios,commercially built antennas,tuners, power supplies and amps along with a two part license test consisting of basic rules & regs, and a technical section to determine your ability to read english and comprehend the contents of an operators manual.

No.

Something like that was proposed back in 2004 or so by NCVEC but it never went anywhere.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W4HIJ on January 31, 2013, 10:20:18 AM
I have yet to figure out how demonstrating CW proficiency would indicate any quality of the person other that just that, the ability to copy CW. Yet, to this day we still have the same old argument advanced by some people that knowing CW somehow makes one a "better ham" or that it somehow makes one more intelligent than someone else. These days you pass a ham exam which is composed of questions on radio theory, regulations and good operating practices.  Maybe the test should be harder, maybe not, that's another debate. But to think that the dropping of the CW requirement has somehow let in an " undesirable element" to the hobby is ridiculous. That "undesirable element" has always been around and will always be around as evidenced by some of the 20wpm Extra class ops who can be observed acting like children on a daily basis, both on the bands and on online sites like e-ham. CW is not my favorite mode but I do use it as an occasional change of pace and I enjoy it when I do so but in the end I find the myriad of digital modes available to be just as efficient if not more so for my general day to day operations. I have now donned my flame suit so fire away! :D
Michael, W4HIJ


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W1JKA on January 31, 2013, 12:01:49 PM
Re: W4HIJ
     
     You might as well take off your flame suite as your post did not really leave anything said to be fired at.The usual few who will attempt to pull the trigger are just target practicing with blank loads and generally miss at that.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on January 31, 2013, 12:15:41 PM
I have yet to figure out how demonstrating CW proficiency would indicate any quality of the person other that just that, the ability to copy CW.

Here's how:

Most folks, past and present, come to ham radio with no code skills at all. In the past, they had to make the investment of time and effort to learn it enough to get the license. And it's not something most folks can learn passively, or quickly. It requires a personal involvement.

By contrast, a considerable percentage of folks come to ham radio with some basic radio & regulations knowledge. What they don't know can often be learned by reading a book, watching a video, etc. The tests are multiple-choice and there's no rule against memorizing, word-association, or just plain guessing. And it only takes a 74 to pass.

Ancient history now. Code test is gone and not coming back.


73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W4HIJ on January 31, 2013, 01:12:03 PM
I have yet to figure out how demonstrating CW proficiency would indicate any quality of the person other that just that, the ability to copy CW.

Here's how:

Most folks, past and present, come to ham radio with no code skills at all. In the past, they had to make the investment of time and effort to learn it enough to get the license. And it's not something most folks can learn passively, or quickly. It requires a personal involvement.

By contrast, a considerable percentage of folks come to ham radio with some basic radio & regulations knowledge. What they don't know can often be learned by reading a book, watching a video, etc. The tests are multiple-choice and there's no rule against memorizing, word-association, or just plain guessing. And it only takes a 74 to pass.

Ancient history now. Code test is gone and not coming back.


73 de Jim, N2EY

I don't buy it. CW is definitely an acquired skill but it doesn't take any special '"talent" to master. It's simply a matter of practice. Anyone can learn it. It's not like someone becoming a musician or an artist where there has to be an innate ability to start with if one wants to become successful. And if you want to get right down to it, you could guess on the CW exam as well once it came down to the final version of it which involved copying one side of a QSO and answering questions about it. You didn't need anywhere near solid copy. CW ability has NEVER been an indication of character, intelligence or talent.  Take a listen to the bands sometimes and write down the calls of some of the foul mouthed and ignorant vermin we have in our midst and then do the research to find out what license class they are and when they were licensed. You will find 20 wpm Extras there for sure.  What license class you are or whether or not it is code or no code ticket has absolutely no bearing on the type of person you are or how good and courteous an op you are. I do agree with your last statement though, it's ancient history.  There are a lot of hams that still need to get over it.
Michael, W4HIJ


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 31, 2013, 04:50:29 PM
I don't buy it. CW is definitely an acquired skill but it doesn't take any special '"talent" to master. It's simply a matter of practice. Anyone can learn it.

practice and patience, yes.  it also take time which means one has to really want an amateur radio license to learn it (at least when the requirements involved 13 and 20wpm. 

Quote from: W4HIJ
It's not like someone becoming a musician or an artist where there has to be an innate ability to start with if one wants to become successful.


actually there are plenty of successful musicians without innate ability or special talent (Britney Spears for example).  now if by successful musician you meant a master or virtuoso -- your point here makes sense.

Quote from: W4HIJ
And if you want to get right down to it, you could guess on the CW exam as well once it came down to the final version of it which involved copying one side of a QSO and answering questions about it. You didn't need anywhere near solid copy. CW ability has NEVER been an indication of character, intelligence or talent.  

 ??? i don't think i have heard anyone hear claim that learning the language (morse code) or learning to skillfully wield a key meant one was more intelligent or of better character than those who have not.  the point has been that it required patience and time.   

Quote from: W4HIJ
Take a listen to the bands sometimes and write down the calls of some of the foul mouthed and ignorant vermin we have in our midst and then do the research to find out what license class they are and when they were licensed. You will find 20 wpm Extras there for sure.  What license class you are or whether or not it is code or no code ticket has absolutely no bearing on the type of person you are or how good and courteous an op you are.

agreed

Quote from: W4HIJ
I do agree with your last statement though, it's ancient history.  There are a lot of hams that still need to get over it.
Michael, W4HIJ

the thread started with someone noting the difference in CW proficiency present in the 25KHz USA Extra class CW segments these days verses back when there was a 20wpm requirement.  that involves 4 bands and a total of 100 KHz of spectrum.  and while it takes some creative license to say it is *ancient* history -- it is definitely history. 73, K9AIM



Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W4HIJ on January 31, 2013, 05:27:44 PM

 ??? i don't think i have heard anyone hear claim that learning the language (morse code) or learning to skillfully wield a key meant one was more intelligent or of better character than those who have not.  the point has been that it required patience and time.    




Oh yes indeed that has been claimed many a time during the code vs. no code debate in many different threads and many different forums over the years. To this day there are derisive aspersions cast on people simply based on whether or not they are code or no code hams or what speed code they had to have in order to upgrade. Look around this forum and many others and you will find this to be so. Many moons ago I upgraded from Novice to Technician by passing what was then the General class written exam.  Because of this, I was grandfathered into General class when the code requirement was dropped to 5 wpm overall.  I could easily pass a 13 wpm exam now but many times I have had my character and intelligence insulted when the circumstances of my upgrade to General class have arisen.
Michael, W4HIJ


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on January 31, 2013, 08:19:59 PM
With a few brief exceptions that were few and far between, I was mostly QRT from 1978 till 2008 and so missed most of the code/no-code talk and transition.  It is disappointing people would disparage hams based on their having received a license after the code requirement was dropped.  As you rightly point out, poor operating behavior and a code requirement are not mutually exclusive.

I will say this, having started with a Novice license and thus having had to begin communications with morse code did force me to learn a basic appreciation for protocol and brevity that carried over once I attained phone privileges. 

i know; i know -- ancient history.  now that i have hit 50, life seems to be spinning much faster  :D


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K2GWK on February 01, 2013, 09:40:53 AM
??? i don't think i have heard anyone hear claim that learning the language (morse code) or learning to skillfully wield a key meant one was more intelligent or of better character than those who have not.  the point has been that it required patience and time.   

Short memory huh????

publishing the answers to the exam questions was also a stupid decision. what that and the elimination of the code requirement did was degrade the operating proficiency of hams in general. it moved ham radio closer to being CB.  and the results are observable on the bands today. 

i realize you have accepted these changes and are probably better versed than i in when and why these things took place, and i generally learn something from each of your posts.  i do wonder though if you put the fact that what is done is done aside, don't you feel like the removal of the code requirement -- in consequence and effect -- has made amateur radio more like CB?

73, Rob K9AIM ..


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on February 01, 2013, 10:17:53 AM
??? i don't think i have heard anyone hear claim that learning the language (morse code) or learning to skillfully wield a key meant one was more intelligent or of better character than those who have not.  the point has been that it required patience and time.   
publishing the answers to the exam questions was also a stupid decision. what that and the elimination of the code requirement did was degrade the operating proficiency of hams in general. it moved ham radio closer to being CB.  and the results are observable on the bands today. 

i realize you have accepted these changes and are probably better versed than i in when and why these things took place, and i generally learn something from each of your posts.  i do wonder though if you put the fact that what is done is done aside, don't you feel like the removal of the code requirement -- in consequence and effect -- has made amateur radio more like CB?

73, Rob K9AIM ..

Short memory huh????

my statement was not a personal assessment of the individual operating proficiency of any given 'no-code' ham, but was rather my opinion that the removal of the code requirement degraded the average operating proficiency of amateurs in general. 

in other words, removing the 13 wpm and 20 wpm code requirements for amateurs wishing to obtain HF phone privileges drastically changed the operating experience of hams when they arrive on the bands.  it generally takes several months of CW operating to become proficient at copying one perfect minute of 13wpm code, and even more time to achieve 20wpm.  Over that time, CW instills in one some basic protocol and basic operating skills that have a tendency to influence future phone operation(s).   

And, even if one did somehow become proficient at sending and receiving 20wpm CW (granted no test was required for sending when I passed the 13 wpm requirement in 1977) without on the air communication, it still entails a time commitment to become proficient that is not as significant when the code requirement is absent.  I will grant that simply learning code (5wpm) does not require nearly as much of a time commitment. 
 
So I am suggesting that eliminating the code requirement:

1. reduced the amount of time it took an average HF operator to get on the air and this reduced what they learned about on the air protocol

2. reduced the time commitment necessary to obtain a license and thus made it easier for anyone to get a license

and that ^those^ two things worked to reduce the average operating proficiency of hams in general.   (obviously over time reducing the code requirement to 5wpm and then eliminating it altogether degraded operating proficiency of morse code in the CW segments and especially in the 25 kHz USA Extra-class only CW segments)

what i am *not* saying is that any no-code operator is less proficient than any code-tested operator.  clearly there are no-code hams who are the cream of the crop and code-tested hams who are, to but it bluntly, LIDS.

73, K9AIM



 


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on February 01, 2013, 01:09:34 PM
I don't buy it.
Why not?
CW is definitely an acquired skill but it doesn't take any special '"talent" to master. It's simply a matter of practice. Anyone can learn it. It's not like someone becoming a musician or an artist where there has to be an innate ability to start with if one wants to become successful.
If anyone can learn it, what was all the fuss about?
Almost anyone can learn code, or to be an musician or an artist; it doesn't take an innate ability. I am living proof of that!
What takes an innate ability is being really good at it. The code tests for a US amateur license never required that someone be really good at it.
And if you want to get right down to it, you could guess on the CW exam as well once it came down to the final version of it which involved copying one side of a QSO and answering questions about it. You didn't need anywhere near solid copy.
Actually, the final version required either 1 minute of 5 solid copy OR fill-in-the-blanks. Multiple choice was removed.
Back when I took the tests, we had only the 1 minute solid copy option. It had to be legible to the examiner, with no going back to fix it up. Had to send, too. No CSCEs, and the written had to be passed at the same time as the code.
Ancient history now. But it made a difference! Because it forced most of us to "overlearn" and be more prepared than we really had to be.
 
CW ability has NEVER been an indication of character, intelligence or talent.  Take a listen to the bands sometimes and write down the calls of some of the foul mouthed and ignorant vermin we have in our midst and then do the research to find out what license class they are and when they were licensed. You will find 20 wpm Extras there for sure.
Maybe. How do you know they are "20 wpm Extras"? How do you know they are who they say they are? What percentage of hams - and "20 wpm Extras" do they represent?
Most of all, what mode are they using when they behave the way you say?
Here's the thing: No single test is going to be a perfect "filter" of anything. Some "bad apples" will always get through. Particularly when it is given once and never again. And some "good apples" may turn bad over time. But this does not mean testing serves no purpose!
Consider that all those foul-mouthed folks you hear - of any vintage or license - also passed WRITTEN exams that specifically asked questions about on-air behavior. Every one of them! Yet some behave the way they do - does that mean the written exams serve no purpose and should be eliminated too?
What license class you are or whether or not it is code or no code ticket has absolutely no bearing on the type of person you are or how good and courteous an op you are.
See above about the effects of testing. 
I do agree with your last statement though, it's ancient history.  There are a lot of hams that still need to get over it.
On both sides of the fence!
Still, it is a general rule of human nature that a person will value more highly something that requires a personal investment of themselves.
73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W4HIJ on February 01, 2013, 06:25:41 PM
I never said, testing serves no purpose.  I said that demonstrating an ability to copy morse code does not determine what kind of intelligence, character and maturity a person has. All I ever said and I stick by that viewpoint. There are many hams here and elsewhere who will argue that point though. Of course there are bad apples in ham radio. There are bad apples in several other hobbies I'm involved in and bad apples in society in general. If no one test is going to serve as a filter then why do so many hams still insist that the CW requirement kept the so called "bad element" out? K9AIM suggest that the CW requirement somehow makes better phone operators......Hunh??!!!! Learning proper operating techniques and etiquette has nothing to do with the ability to copy CW. I was taught proper operating practice and etiquette by my Father. This happened before I ever hit the airwaves with CW or phone. If someone doesn't have the advantage of having an "Elmer" around to teach them then a simple listen to a few properly conducted QSO's is enough to learn. Also reading "The Amateurs Code" is a great start as well. None of it is rocket science and the notion that CW ability or the lack thereof will determine what kind of an op someone will end up being is pretty ludicrous. I can't argue this anymore. Seems to me we are not giving very much credit to new hams if we think they can't learn to be good courteous ops by listening to and observing other hams who operate properly and politely. But hey, they don't know the code so they must be some type of dense moronic demented individuals that can't learn something that simply right? I mean c'mon..... ::) ::) ::)
73,
Michael, W4HIJ


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WD8DK on February 07, 2013, 01:50:20 AM
The Advanced Class is the only one that shows an operator had 13wpm. You cannot distinguish that today in any class but Advanced. I will not upgrade until the 20 wpm CW is put back in with the Extra.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K1CJS on February 07, 2013, 04:33:40 AM
....(someone) suggest that the CW requirement somehow makes better phone operators......Hunh??!!!! Learning proper operating techniques and etiquette has nothing to do with the ability to copy CW....

....Also reading "The Amateurs Code" is a great start as well. None of it is rocket science and the notion that CW ability or the lack thereof will determine what kind of an op someone will end up being is pretty ludicrous. I can't argue this anymore. Seems to me we are not giving very much credit to new hams if we think they can't learn to be good courteous ops by listening to and observing other hams who operate properly and politely. But hey, they don't know the code so they must be some type of dense moronic demented individuals that can't learn something that simply right? I mean c'mon..... ::) ::) ::)

I think that this sums it all up in a nutshell.  The ability to copy code indicates that one....has the ability to copy code.  And that's all.  Way before the removal of element 1 there were 'bad apples' that held General, Advanced and Extra tickets--and they were extremely evident on the airwaves--so much so that the argument that code acts as a 'filter' to keep bad apples off the airwaves is just so much hot air.  Or shall we call it...code snobishness!    :o


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W3HF on February 07, 2013, 05:01:27 AM
The Advanced Class is the only one that shows an operator had 13wpm. You cannot distinguish that today in any class but Advanced. I will not upgrade until the 20 wpm CW is put back in with the Extra.
Not true. You could have received a medical waiver for the 13 wpm code test. Your Advanced only proves definitively 5 wpm, just like the Novice.

To actually prove 13wpm from the license itself, you'd have to document having received it prior to medical waivers being available. But that's no different than a General (or in fact, an Extra).


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on February 07, 2013, 06:33:41 AM
The Advanced Class is the only one that shows an operator had 13wpm.

Not true. As W3HF points out, after 1990, one could get an Advanced with only 5 wpm and a medical waiver.

You cannot distinguish that today in any class but Advanced.
\

All an Advanced really proves is that the ham, at one time, passed 5 wpm - same as a Novice.

I will not upgrade until the 20 wpm CW is put back in with the Extra.

Why? Who loses out?

----

Why all the fuss over a one-time test, taken years or decades ago?

I got my Advanced in 1968, at the FCC office in Philly. Had to pass 13 wpm code, sending and receiving, plus the written. I was 14 years old and took the tests in the summer before I started high school.

I had to wait two years to even try the Extra (the rules required it back then). Got my Extra on the first try, summer of 1970. 20 wpm code, sending and receiving, plus the written. Doesn't seem like 43 years ago.

But if somebody wants to know what I can do, I don't point to those ancient tests. I just show 'em. 20 wpm is on the slow side for me; has been for decades.

IMHO it matters far more what someone does with the license than what tests they took to get it.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N3DF on February 08, 2013, 01:43:50 PM

IMHO it matters far more what someone does with the license than what tests they took to get it.

73 de Jim, N2EY

Jim, I agree with this.  Nevertheless, the day I passed my General code and written in the New York City FCC office was one of the great days of my young life.  I just don't think most new licensees get or understand that feeling anymore.

I planned for the exam at least three months in advance.  I was a high school junior.  I made at least 200 Novice CW QSOs and also listened to code records or WIAW code practice every evening.  I also spent two weeks virtually memorizing the essay answers in the ARRL license manual.  In my entire pre-college experience, my parents only let me ditch classes on the day I took the train into New York to take the exam.  On the way home, I honestly felt superior to everyone else on the train because the federal government had authorized me to own and operate a 1,000 watt short wave radio transmitter.  I was walking on clouds for a week.

I'm not any better than someone today who may pass all three exams based on a few days of  working the Q & A lists.  However, I doubt that they will attach the same value to the license that I did (and still do).

73 de Neil N3DF


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on February 10, 2013, 05:44:44 PM
To Neil, N3DF:

Your story is a bit like mine.....

I still recall the three times I went to the FCC office in Philadelphia for amateur radio exams....

The first time was in the early summer of 1968. Exams were only given on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings that weren;t Federal holidays. For a kid in school, that meant waiting for summer vacation or the rare MWF when school was closed but the FCC wasn't. There was no way the parental units would allow truancy to take an amateur radio exam - and besides, The Examiner would probably ask "why aren't you in school?".

I had been a Novice since the previous fall, and had made many a QSO and copied W1AW faithfully every night, as well as reading the Handbook, License Manual and every radio book I could get my paws on. But I failed the 13 wpm code receiving - not because I couldn't do it, but because the examiner couldn't read my "Palmer Method" longhand well enough to find the required 65 correct consecutive legible characters. He let me take the General/Tech written, so all I had to do was come back after the required 30 days and pass the code for the General.

I went home and proceeded to teach myself to block-print at 30 wpm. Copied W1AW at every opportunity until I could get an entire 18 wpm bulletin solid copy on paper. Went back to FCC office later that summer and passed the 13 wpm easily. General license at last!

As I was about to leave, The Examiner said "why don't you try the Advanced while you're here?"

I hadn't studied the theory at all, and as a CW op the Advanced would offer no additional privileges over General once the new "incentive licensing" rules went into effect in November. But there was no way a 14 year old ham in his right mind would say "No" to The Examiner, so I sat back down and took the Advanced written. Nothing to lose, right?

The truth was that it wasn't that hard. Some questions were easier than others, but I kinda thought I knew the answers to all of them. More important, I got enough of them right to pass!

I went home and began the wait for the little envelope from FCC. In those days, of course, you were not officially upgraded until you had the license itself in your possession. I began making plans for VFO operation, and moving out of the Novice bands.

And I began another project. First step was to make up a two-year calendar, and figure out when it would be legal for me to try the Extra. On that day in 1970 I was at the FCC office again, to try for the Big E. And although I was the youngest person there, I was the only one trying the Extra. Made it on the first go, too.

Doesn't seem like 43 years.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WB0UPD on February 11, 2013, 08:53:31 AM
Bought back memories. Got licensed in the mid-late 70's. It was nice being a Novice, everyone else was just as slow as I was.  Back in those days not everyone had the money to buy a fancy new factory built rig. We found used stuff or like I did, built Heathkit.

Ok so I still have my Advanced, does it give me anything more today than a General?  Been inactive for a few years...   WB0UPD  Bill


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KG6AF on February 11, 2013, 09:03:50 AM
Ok so I still have my Advanced, does it give me anything more today than a General?  Been inactive for a few years...   WB0UPD  Bill

You get some additional phone frequencies on 75, 20, and 15 meters:

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Hambands_color.pdf


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: AA4HA on February 12, 2013, 12:54:13 PM
I will not upgrade until the 20 wpm CW is put back in with the Extra.

Don't get in a big rush, we will not miss you.  :D


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on February 12, 2013, 03:46:19 PM
Ok so I still have my Advanced, does it give me anything more today than a General?  Been inactive for a few years...   WB0UPD  Bill

You get some additional phone frequencies on 75, 20, and 15 meters:

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Hambands_color.pdf

in addition to 80, 20, and 15 -- you get additional phone privileges on 40 too (7.125 - 7.175)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N7KFD on February 14, 2013, 07:39:17 PM

It's 2013, why are we having this discussion?


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on February 15, 2013, 06:54:12 AM

It's 2013, why are we having this discussion?


Because history is important.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: AB2YC on February 19, 2013, 07:07:05 AM
When I sat for my extra exam they asked questions about digital, SSTV and other modes.  I intent was to show competence in all aspects of amateur radio.  The one mode that is not currently tested is the CW mode.  Those who want full privileges in the lower cw segments should show competency in cw just like the test requires knowledge of TV and digital modes.  This is the essence of the Amateur Extra Class.  The Advanced Class should be available to any ham who wants full phone privileges without the need to learn cw.
Bill, wv1n


I'd be good if more hams actually knew the electronics.











Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WB5ITT on February 25, 2013, 11:21:11 PM
I'd like the Novice license back also.
I'm a 2 year Extra no code ham.
I'm learning CW and it would be nice to have a bunch
of slow people like me out there practicing.

There are still a number of Novices licensed (its not like they are gone totally)..Go operate CW in the Novice/Tech (remember, they have CW subbands on HF shared with Novices) subbands and you'll find folks there to help you improve your speed, etc.

Chris
WB5ITT
former WN5ITT
Licensed 40yrs as of 2/13/13


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K1CJS on February 26, 2013, 04:49:04 AM
When I sat for my extra exam they asked questions about digital, SSTV and other modes.  I intent was to show competence in all aspects of amateur radio.  The one mode that is not currently tested is the CW mode.  Those who want full privileges in the lower cw segments should show competency in cw just like the test requires knowledge of TV and digital modes.  This is the essence of the Amateur Extra Class.  The Advanced Class should be available to any ham who wants full phone privileges without the need to learn cw.
I'd be good if more hams actually knew the electronics.

You mean as opposed to just memorizing the answers?  Yes, I fully agree with that.  

To put CW on par with the other modes, however, all that is required is to include questions about how the mode is used--not to actually test the competency of sending/receiving the mode.  If we were to go back to that, it's should be fully expected to have to demonstrate competency in actual use of the other modes as well, not just answering a few questions about how to set up for and use those modes.  And that is one thing that was never, ever done.  

In that manner, it can be argued that CW was the only mode whose actual use was actually tested--which is one reason that it was removed from the requirements of the exams needed for any class of license.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K1AVE on March 01, 2013, 05:07:34 AM
The requirement is Morse Code - not "CW"
Gene


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W0DV on March 06, 2013, 07:05:58 PM
I'm glad I learned Morse Code and took the 5 wpm test just months before the requirement was dropped. My motive for learning it was because of the interesting history of Morse Code, and how different services have used it. I also wanted to be able to say that I tested for it, even though just 5 wpm. The VE's told me I was wasting my time and money, but it was something I wanted to do for myself.

I really don't see the need for a Morse Code requirement, but I think all new hams should be encouraged to learn it. The mode is definitely a corner stone of ham radio history, and I have a deep respect for those who had to learn the code at 20 wpm in order to upgrade their license.
I can't blame the current Advanced Class holders for not wanting to upgrade, but I think they should. I would keep that Advanced Class ticket, framed, and on the wall, right next to the Extra.

I am definitely a "slow code" op, and I don't use the mode all that often, but I do occasionally. I believe that a ham radio op should never be judged on his code speed/proficiency. In the past, that has been a problem, and only serves to discourage others from entering the hobby.

my 2 cents,

Dave


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K1CJS on March 07, 2013, 05:05:58 AM
The requirement is Morse Code - not "CW"

True, but the mode is CW.  Yes, I slipped by saying the requirement was removed, but most knew what was being said.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: W1JKA on March 07, 2013, 06:05:48 AM
   CW is alive and well regardless of the NO code requirement,kits are being sold ,hombrewing still being performed and push button appliance operators minted everyday in all license classes.Anyone who suggests that technical knowledge and operating ability are somehow related to any other class of license that needs only to be memorized to pass is only exposing his ignorance and egotistical frame of mind.   


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WA2OLZ on March 10, 2013, 04:21:43 PM
Bring back the Advanced Class? (That was the original thread)

Where did it go?

You mean my ticket is invalid?

How many of us dinosaurs are left???


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on March 11, 2013, 07:57:56 AM
Bring back the Advanced Class? (That was the original thread)

Where did it go?

You mean my ticket is invalid?

How many of us dinosaurs are left???


What was meant is that the license class should be reopened to new issues. Not gonna happen, though.

In April 2000 the FCC stopped issuing new Advanced licenses. Back then there were about 100,000 of them. Today there are about 55,000.

Wasn't the first time, either. At the end of 1952, FCC stopped issuing new Advanceds, but then reopened the class to new issues in 1967. In both cases, existing Advanceds could renew and modify their licenses just like any other.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N5OTH on March 24, 2013, 06:27:40 AM
> Quote from: WA2OLZ on March 10, 2013, 04:21:43 PM
< Bring back the Advanced Class? (That was the original thread)
>
> Where did it go?
>
> You mean my ticket is invalid?
>
> How many of us dinosaurs are left???

I took the General written AND 13 WPM code test, then the Advanced written test...still an Advanced Class.  So I guess I am one of the dinosaurs,  Just don't see the advantage of EXTRA except for prestige.  Yes, I have looked at the test material and find my feeble grey matter doesn't comprehend it too well.

Dennis, N5OTH

BTW, been inactive for a few years too, ss would need to re-learn some of the Code.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 07, 2013, 04:54:42 PM
I will not upgrade until the 20 wpm CW is put back in with the Extra.

I see the same "I'm-better-than-you-because-I-passed-a-Morse-test" curmudgeons are still beating their same old (now long since dead!) Morse code testing "horse".

Tell you what, David...if you're so absolutely adamant about showing completion of a stupid Morse test on your license, I suggest you start studying for the Canadian Basic exam (http://www.qsl.net/ve3sar/exams.htm (http://www.qsl.net/ve3sar/exams.htm)).

Then, when your're ready, come on up to my QTH (50 miles NE of Detroit) and I'll administer both exams (the written and the 5 WPM Morse test) to you around my kitchen table.  Your Canadian Certificate will show successful completion of both...and you'd also have a Canadian call sign to boot.

The bottom line here is that the Morse test is history in the USA. And it's not coming back.

Get over it.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WA2OLZ on July 07, 2013, 05:09:58 PM
I will not upgrade until the 20 wpm CW is put back in with the Extra.

I see the same "I'm-better-than-you-because-I-passed-a-Morse-test" curmudgeons are still beating their same old (now long since dead!) Morse code testing "horse".

Tell you what, David...if you're so absolutely adamant about showing completion of a stupid Morse test on your license, I suggest you start studying for the Canadian Basic exam (http://www.qsl.net/ve3sar/exams.htm (http://www.qsl.net/ve3sar/exams.htm)).

Then, when your're ready, come on up to my QTH (50 miles NE of Detroit) and I'll administer both exams (the written and the 5 WPM Morse test) to you around my kitchen table.  Your Canadian Certificate will show successful completion of both...and you'd also have a Canadian call sign to boot.

The bottom line here is that the Morse test is history in the USA. And it's not coming back.

Get over it.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB

Excuse me. I believe your attitude is showing  ::)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: APW19562 on July 07, 2013, 06:35:08 PM
I've heard so many people complaining about certain bands being "dead"... "no activity"... blah blah blah...  yet people still rag on about how much more difficult or scrutinizing the testing should be.

Are people seriously THIS STUPID ?

If you want more activity on the ham bands, and want more people involved and interested... then the licensing regulations need to be looser than they currently are.

I recently attended a local Field Day at a radio club that has been around since 1922.

MOST of those in attendance appeared to be the original founding members... with one foot already in the grave. The club membership numbers have been in steady decline for many years.

This is the direction ham radio will take if stubborn old hams insist on difficult licensing requirements and arrogant attitudes toward new blood in the hobby.

I'm 45 years old and would have gotten into this hobby 20 years ago if the CW testing had been done away with back then.
The CW requirement only caused me to completely shrug off ham radio and find other interests... as I had ZERO interest in morse code, which in my opinion is only a step better than carrier pigeon.  ;D


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KG6AF on July 07, 2013, 06:58:01 PM
If you want more activity on the ham bands, and want more people involved and interested... then the licensing regulations need to be looser than they currently are.

How much easier do you want to make it?  We had an eight-year-old pass the Tech test at one of our VE sessions a few weeks ago; it was pretty cool.  We've done VE sessions after one-day Tech classes, and at most of those sessions almost everyone passed.

I don't think a person needs to be an electrical engineer to get a ham license, but I don't think it's asking too much that they have the gumption of that eight-year-old, or the perseverance of those who listened to lectures for eight hours.  If people can't do that much, how involved will they be when they get their license? 



Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N0IU on July 08, 2013, 03:56:46 AM
I've heard so many people complaining about certain bands being "dead"... "no activity"... blah blah blah...  

Yes, propagation is not good. I agree with that.

But there is a very interesting phenomenon in radio that occurs when everyone is tuning across the bands look for activity... NOTHING happens!

The one piece of information that they do not teach on any test at any level is that TWO RECEIVERS CAN NOT COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER!

If a band appears to be dead, try sending CQ using the mode of your choice and see what happens. You might be surprised! In order for there to be activity, someone has to do the talking!


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 08, 2013, 04:17:45 AM

I'm 45 years old and would have gotten into this hobby 20 years ago if the CW testing had been done away with back then.  The CW requirement only caused me to completely shrug off ham radio and find other interests... as I had ZERO interest in morse code, which in my opinion is only a step better than carrier pigeon.  ;D

You are not alone. 

The truth is that requiring a Morse test for a full featured Ham license was a lot like having to know how to shoe a horse in order to get a driver's license to drive a modern day automobile.

And God only knows how many thousands....if not hundreds of thousands...of people in the USA just like you were turned off (or turned away) from the hobby because they could never be "real hams" in the eyes of their "crusty curmudgeon" compatriots...principally because they couldn't (or didn't) pass a stupid Morse test.  Unfortunately, there still FAR too much of that condescending arrogance still alive and well in our hobby.

And the testing problem is not the "easiness" or "hardness" of the testing structure...it's the relevance of the test questions to the (added) privileges they grant.

Clearly, the Technician class exam is not nearly comprehensive ENOUGH.  It grants high-power operating and "from scratch" transmitter construction privileges right off the bat after candidates pass a horribly UN-comprehensive, 35 question, multiple choice exam. 

And, on the other end of the testing scale, all one has to do is look at the latest question pool for today's Extra Class license to see just how completely redundant it is. It's absolutely, chockablock full of questions relating, for example, to satellite, EME and meteor scatter operation, slow and fast scan television operation, formats for submitting DX contest logs, APRS, digital HF Packet operation, and a whole lot of other (redundant) questions relating to privileges that have already been granted to lower class licensees.  That is, even lowly Technicians, can (and do) operate on our satellites, bounce their signals off the moon and meteorite trails, use APRS and…(gasp!)…even participate in contests!

So, I have to ask: Why are all of these questions reserved for the Extra Class exam?  Shouldn't they be on the exam for the Technician license if all those privileges are granted to Technicians?

And if all you "crusty curmudgeons" think I'm "blowing smoke" on this issue, I suggest you all download your own copy of the latest Extra Class question pool (http://www.ncvec.org/page.php?id=356 bottom of the page) and see for yourself the kind of absolutely redundant, primarily Technician class hogwash it contains.

Clearly, such nonsense is yet more evidence (as if we needed any) that our stupid "incentive" licensing system, puts the "cart before the horse"…and always has.  And, today, it really doesn't measure much of anything, except perhaps how to take multiple choice examinations.

By any measure, the current licensing system for our Service in the USA examines the wrong things at the wrong points in the licensing cycle.  As a result, it does an absolutely miserable job of making sure 'wet behind the ears" newcomers aren't going to maim (or kill) themselves or their neighbors, and/or cause harmful interference to other hams (or other services) while operating. 

Clearly, the entire licensing system for our Service in the USA is running "open loop"….and…as I've repeatedly discussed in these and other forums, it has also now become systemically discriminatory (spelled "illegal" under US equal access law) to boot.

Or, to borrow a phrase from a certain political campaign from not too long ago:  "It's the system, stupid!"

That's because our US licensing system delays a fully comprehensive examination of what many people would call "essential" operating skills until one self-selects to take an exam for the Extra Class license…. a license that, as of late, only 17-18 percent of all US hams now hold.  And, as I've shown, there's absolutely NO direct relationship to the questions on the Extra Class exam and the added privileges it grants.

Zip. Nada. None.

Any way you cut it, my friends…that's nuts!

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB

You can read more of my thoughts on this issue (and others facing our hobby) on my Ham Radio blog at:  http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca/


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WN2C on July 09, 2013, 09:04:38 AM
seven month old thread !!  Talk about beating a REALLY DEAD HORSE.
I think the horse died several years ago!!  Get over it already!! It ain't I tell ya, it ain't coming back!!

Rick  WN2C



Now some one needs to bring up incentive licensing...oh boy!


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 09, 2013, 09:53:16 AM
Now some one needs to bring up incentive licensing...oh boy!

They shroud...because it, too, is now "systemically discriminatory" under a whole plethora of US equal access laws enacted in the 1990s.

The explanation why is contained in my blog at: kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WA2OLZ on July 09, 2013, 02:23:29 PM
What's wrong with discrimination based on skill? The inverse is like giving a trophy to every Little League participant regardless of their ability and contribution.

Survival of the fittest - not take from the rich to give to the poor. Enough of creeping socialism and political correctness!


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 09, 2013, 03:54:55 PM
What's wrong with discrimination based on skill?

Clearly, there is absolutely nothing "wrong" if people wish to achieve something as a result of their experiences in ham radio.  But, as I've also said in these and other forums, a taxpayer supported, federally administered LICENSING system that grants access to our amateur radio frequencies is not the way to do it.

Moreover, what the FCC has been doing all these years by forcing “achievement” down EVERYONE’S throat with their stupid “Incentive Licencing” nonsense has since become systemically discriminatory under current US law, and is therefore quite illegal.

Indeed, the ARRL and other similar organizations have a boatload of awards one can strive for and “achieve” for those persons who need some external incentive to do so. Likewise, numerous “achievement” awards are also available for those who want yet another piece of paper to hang on their shack walls to show others how great they are.  

But, again, those so-called “incentives” have absolutely no place in a federally funded licensing system.  That's because an FCC license that simply grants access to operation in our Service is NOT a “diploma”. And the federal government has absolutely NO business continually peddling it as such, particularly in this supposedly “enlightened” age of equal access for all.

Rather, our licenses should be thought of as nothing more than a “permission slip”…a “license to learn” if you will…that simply shows that the holder has proven to the appropriate government agency that they have demonstrated the necessary set of knowledges and skills that will keep themselves and others safe without also causing harmful interference to other hams (or other services) with the (added) privileges granted. Period.

The bottom line here is that if people want (or need) yet another piece of paper to show they have “achieved” some level of technical skill or other knowledge in our Service, that can (and should) be a pursuit that is undertaken OUTSIDE of the licensing system and NOT as an integral part of it.

Or, to put it another way, if such persons continually crave that kind of "ego stroking" to make themselves feel that they are somehow better than everyone else in our Service, that's certainly their business.

However, I highly resent having to pay for their ego stroking with my tax dollars!

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF /  VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WA2OLZ on July 09, 2013, 04:12:52 PM
We must agree to disagree. I am also a certificated private pilot with instrument privileges. I sure would not want to be in the clouds with others who were granted the same rights because the government shouldn't regulate their activities if they were unqualified.

Sorry - the dumbing down of America is deteriorating the values of the country and its citizens. I, for one, will vigorously oppose lowering standards for the sake of convenience, political correctness or 'equality' based on global standards.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 09, 2013, 05:14:50 PM
We must agree to disagree.

Agreed.

Quote
I am also a certificated private pilot with instrument privileges. I sure would not want to be in the clouds with others who were granted the same rights because the government shouldn't regulate their activities if they were unqualified.

I, too, am a certificated pilot.

However, I think you'll agree that we pose a FAR more lethal danger to ourselves and others if we don't know what we are doing while at the controls of an aircraft than when we're operating an amateur radio station.  Your attempt to equate the two is an "apples and oranges" argument.

Quote
Sorry - the dumbing down of America is deteriorating the values of the country and its citizens. I, for one, will vigorously oppose lowering standards for the sake of convenience, political correctness or 'equality' based on global standards.

Unfortunately, what you and others who share similar views seem to have (conveniently?) forgotten is that the "standards" for our Service in the USA were needlessly "dumbed up" in the 1950s and 60s for absolutely no real regulatory reason.  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.  

You may be old enough to remember the "missile gap" of the 1960s when our government bureaucrats were throwing anything and everything at the wall to stimulate a countrywide effort to crank out hordes of mechanical, electrical and RF engineers. Obviously, "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 also 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 firmly 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.

But the ARRL wasn't the only one pushing this nonsense at the time.  The "good old boys" at the FCC were clearly involved in it too.  

And all the while many US hams continue to worship the FCC as some kind of "demi-God" from whom all blessings flow,  unfortunately, many of those same US hams seem to have collectively lost sight of the fact that the FCC is nothing more than another US Government regulatory agency

Or, to put it another way, the FCC has never been granted the statutory authority to set themselves up to "educate" anyone.   What's more, as we taxpayers pay their salaries, these bubbleheaded FCC bureaucrats 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 internationally 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.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: APW19562 on July 09, 2013, 07:52:16 PM
To go a step further... I find it incredibly bizzare that I had to go through so much effort to get a license to use a simple radio... yet when I opened my gun shop a few years ago, there was no test at all. Simply fill out the application and submit it with fingerprint cards and fee. 90 days later I can sell and manufacture title 1 guns. To go a step further, I paid a $500 SOT tax and was then able to mfg full auto machineguns, silencers, short barreled rifles and shotguns, etc...

Never once was there any test or skill assessment done before I was building machineguns...  but damn if I could use a $135 Kenwood TM281 radio if I didn't study and take a test for a Tech license.  ::)

Strange but true.  ;D


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 11, 2013, 05:46:53 AM
Never once was there any test or skill assessment done before I was building machineguns...  but damn if I could use a $135 Kenwood TM281 radio if I didn't study and take a test for a Tech license.  ::)

Indeed.

Like I said, requiring proficiency in the Morse Code in order to obtain a Ham Radio license was much like having to demonstrate how to shoe a horse in order to get a driver’s license.  And keeping that license requirement alive well into the 21st Century was nothing more than a government-sponsored hazing ritual.

And, speaking of driver’s licenses, why is it that I STILL don’t need to know how the fuel injectors, transmission and brake lights all work on my car in order to obtain one?  

Maybe that’s because my personal driver’s license, along with many other government-issued, private licenses that I've carried in my pocket over the years all have licensing structures that are set up to simply measure basic competencies.  

That is, they simply require me to demonstrate to a competent government authority that I won’t be a hazard (or a nuisance) to either myself or others while exercising the privileges of my license.  The real learning comes much later, usually with years and years of actual on the road or (in the case of Ham Radio) “hands on” experience.

I've always found it interesting that most of these other government license structures also don’t require that I go back and take yet another "achievement test" in order to drive my vehicle farther away from home, for example.  Granted, state and provincial driver license structures all require another series of tests if I want to drive a larger vehicle (or one for commercial purposes).  But, even here, the requirement for another test is for safety reasons…not just for increased knowledge for knowledge’s sake.

Think about it!  

Who has ever heard of an "Extra Class" Driver’s License to drive a passenger car?

Sounds ludicrous, doesn't it?  

In fact, it’s about as ludicrous as requiring that I have an "Extra Class" Amateur Radio License in order to have full privileges and operate anywhere I want to on the Ham Bands!

I think Rich Moseson, W2VU, in his “Zero Bias” editorial in the January, 2006 CQ Magazine illustrated this point quite clearly.  He talked about the “University of Ham Radio” as a college of sorts where learning is going on every single day.

However, in this “university” there are no grades, no tests, no papers, and no deadlines.  If a “course” doesn't suit you, you can “drop” it at anytime without penalty.  If you want to declare a “major” you can do so, simply by delving into a particular aspect of Ham Radio with gusto, sometimes becoming a leading expert in the field.   Others (like me) choose to learn a little bit about a lot of things.  This, my friends, is where the real “learning” takes place in Amateur Radio.  It certainly doesn't come from cramming for yet another stupid FCC test!

The truth is that those of us who REALLY want to learn more about electronics and RF theory are going to do so, regardless of the “easiness” or “hardness” of the test(s) we have to take to get our initial Amateur Radio licenses.  

Which, in my view, makes the whole concept of “incentive licensing” something of an oxymoron.

I've often wondered how many of us who are, for example, overjoyed that drawing schematics has once again been made a requirement in the testing structure for amateur radio licenses in the USA are also the same ones who couldn't now draw one from scratch to save their soul.  And how many more of us will admit that, even in the time of “incentive licensing”, we simply learned enough about electronics and RF theory to pass the test(s) and then promptly forgot it all?

While it is certainly true that Ham Radio has launched careers, I believe that those with a passionate interest in electronics and RF theory will always find a way to advance those interests regardless of what they are forced to learn to pass an FCC test.  That’s because, as Rich has so eloquently noted in his editorial, a passionate desire to learn and master such things ultimately has to come from within.

That is, while an interest in Amateur Radio may have provided the initial spark for some of us to get up off our finals and get our noses in the books, the continued, passionate desire to learn all we can about such things doesn't come simply by passing a series of ever more difficult achievement tests for the FCC.

Sadly, all incentive licensing has done for Amateur Radio been to create a “caste system” within the hobby, a system that, even to this day, is still chock full of meaningless government-sponsored hazing rituals and achievement tests that have absolutely nothing to do measuring our real learning.  

That is, beyond the basic exams, all these “incentive” tests have ever measured is one’s innate ability to decipher a series of dots and dashes by ear, and/or how well someone can memorize ever more complicated formulas and information for an exam.  

Period.

Put another way, over the years, all that incentive licensing has really succeeded in doing has been to separate us from ourselves.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on July 12, 2013, 07:33:30 AM
Like I said, requiring proficiency in the Morse Code in order to obtain a Ham Radio license was much like having to demonstrate how to shoe a horse in order to get a driver’s license.

You can say it, but that doesn't make it true.

Try this analogy: It was like having to demonstrate the ability to drive a stick-shift car in order to get a driver's license. The demonstration only required going 5 mph in first gear, but it was required.

That ended more than six years ago and it's not coming back. Issuing new Advanced licenses ended more than 13 years ago and it's not coming back either.

 And keeping that license requirement alive well into the 21st Century was nothing more than a government-sponsored hazing ritual.

It was only kept because the treaty required it. It only lasted after the treaty changed in 2004 because the folks who wanted the test removed couldn't get their act together.

 
And, speaking of driver’s licenses, why is it that I STILL don’t need to know how the fuel injectors, transmission and brake lights all work on my car in order to obtain one?  

Maybe that’s because my personal driver’s license, along with many other government-issued, private licenses that I've carried in my pocket over the years all have licensing structures that are set up to simply measure basic competencies.  

That is, they simply require me to demonstrate to a competent government authority that I won’t be a hazard (or a nuisance) to either myself or others while exercising the privileges of my license.  The real learning comes much later, usually with years and years of actual on the road or (in the case of Ham Radio) “hands on” experience.

The real reason you don't have to know that stuff is because your car has to be manufactured by, and inspected by, mechanics and engineers who ARE licensed to know how the stuff works. You can't just build a car and put it on the road; it has to be inspected, licensed, and certified to meet various safety and environmental regulations. But any ham can build and use a rig without any such inspection or certification.

That's the difference.

I've always found it interesting that most of these other government license structures also don’t require that I go back and take yet another "achievement test" in order to drive my vehicle farther away from home, for example.  Granted, state and provincial driver license structures all require another series of tests if I want to drive a larger vehicle (or one for commercial purposes).  But, even here, the requirement for another test is for safety reasons…not just for increased knowledge for knowledge’s sake.

Actually there are a lot of license classes and endorsements for driver's licenses.

More important, it is part of the Basis and Purpose of Amateur Radio that hams know about radio. Right up front in Part 97.

Most of all, the level of knowledge and skill needed to earn any class of amateur radio license in the USA is pretty low. Always has been.

I've often wondered how many of us who are, for example, overjoyed that drawing schematics has once again been made a requirement in the testing structure for amateur radio licenses in the USA are also the same ones who couldn't now draw one from scratch to save their soul.  And how many more of us will admit that, even in the time of “incentive licensing”, we simply learned enough about electronics and RF theory to pass the test(s) and then promptly forgot it all?

Are you talking about yourself? Because you sure aren't talking about me.

There is no requirement to draw schematics in the US license tests. None whatsoever. That went away before you ever became a ham. It was gone by the mid-1960s.

If you're going to do a rant against incentive licensing, at least get your facts straight. Incentive licensing is what killed off the last remnants of schematic-drawing.

But hey, Keith, history has never been your strong suit.....

While it is certainly true that Ham Radio has launched careers, I believe that those with a passionate interest in electronics and RF theory will always find a way to advance those interests regardless of what they are forced to learn to pass an FCC test.  That’s because, as Rich has so eloquently noted in his editorial, a passionate desire to learn and master such things ultimately has to come from within.

That is, while an interest in Amateur Radio may have provided the initial spark for some of us to get up off our finals and get our noses in the books, the continued, passionate desire to learn all we can about such things doesn't come simply by passing a series of ever more difficult achievement tests for the FCC.

Sadly, all incentive licensing has done for Amateur Radio been to create a “caste system” within the hobby, a system that, even to this day, is still chock full of meaningless government-sponsored hazing rituals and achievement tests that have absolutely nothing to do measuring our real learning.  

That is, beyond the basic exams, all these “incentive” tests have ever measured is one’s innate ability to decipher a series of dots and dashes by ear, and/or how well someone can memorize ever more complicated formulas and information for an exam.  

Period.

There was a lot more to it. But that was before your time....

btw, there have always been different license levels in the USA, since the beginning. Now we're down to three. We have Extras who passed all the exams while still in elementary school. So all the ranting and griping about the tests sounds pretty hollow.



Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: WB2WIK on July 12, 2013, 02:06:14 PM
What's wrong with discrimination based on skill?

Well, with the amateur radio system today there isn't any requirement for skill.  The only skill test the amateur exams ever had (code) is gone, and I agree it isn't coming back.  But there is no longer any sort of test for any skill, at all.

The comment above about making it easier to get licensed in order to create more "activity" is something I disagree with, a lot.  It's already incredibly easy.  Making it easier isn't likely to change anything.  The real problem is, "interest" in amateur radio has diminished over time, understandably so.  One needs a real curiosity about the magic of wireless communications, and what was mysterious and wonderful 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago, isn't so much, today.

Around here the clubs and VE sessions churn out hundreds of new hams every month, and most of them never get on the air anywhere you'd ever hear them.  Some get involved for EMCOMM work, and most of that is via VHF-UHF FM using hand helds and local repeaters -- so, you'd never hear them.  Many are kids or XYLs of old-time hams who are active, but the now-licensed kids and XYLs aren't, and most never will be.

I don't think there's any advantage to "greater numbers."  Even if we tripled the U.S. ham population it would still be insignificant at 6/10ths of 1% of the population.  As powerful a lobby as lepers. :D


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on July 12, 2013, 08:21:50 PM

The truth is that requiring a Morse test for a full featured Ham license was a lot like having to know how to shoe a horse in order to get a driver's license to drive a modern day automobile.


really???  that comparison is so ludicrous it suggests you are biased against Morse code (or its advocates) to such an extent that you can't think or see straight. Requiring driver licensees to know the hand signals for left and right turn should their turn signals fail would be closer, but even it would fail to resemble a Morse fluency requirement.   The fact is that a large percentage of Extra class licensees know and utilize Morse code.  The same cannot be said about most driver's licensees and knowledge of how to shoe a horse.

the suggestion that Morse code requirement was discrimination due to ADA is equally mis-applied.  Afterall while it is discrimination to require a vision test for driver license applicants, it is legal and proper discrimination.

is it discrimination to require that French - English translators know both languages?  is it discrimination to not grant illiterate folks a ham license since they can't read the exam?  PLEASE, just stop with the Morse code was discrimination crap!!! 

Many who think Morse code requirement was a good thing feel that way not because they think they are somehow better than those who came after the Morse requirement and thus never learned.  Some of us dare to suggest that learning Morse code, in addition to installing a first hand appreciation of radio communication history, also facilitates the learning of efficient and respectful communication protocols, and thus makes for better operators.   You can make fun of CW because it uses an old language that many have not the patience to learn, but don't suggest a language requirement is discrimination.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 13, 2013, 04:20:00 PM
That comparison is so ludicrous it suggests you are biased against Morse code (or its advocates) to such an extent that you can't think or see straight.

To the contrary, Morse is actually my preferred mode while I'm on the air.  How that makes me "biased against Morse" is anyone's guess.

And you'll note that that I included the word "TEST" in my comparison.  Requiring a Morse TEST for a full featured license in our Service has LONG since outlived any plausible regulatory requirement for doing so.  

Indeed, I don't remember having to complete an "SSB Voice Test" or a test to copy RTTY tones, packet chirps or PSK-31 "hash" by ear for my General, Advanced or Extra Class license, did you?  In my mind, such skill tests would have been equally as discriminatory as the Morse test as none of those other tests would have been based on any regulatory need either.

Quote
The suggestion that Morse code requirement was discrimination due to ADA is equally mis-applied.  Afterall while it is discrimination to require a vision test for driver license applicants, it is legal and proper discrimination.

Being able to see what's around you (not to mention the road ahead!) is a basic SAFETY requirement for a driver's license.  

However, Morse is only ONE (of many) modes of communication in our Service and has absolutely nothing to do with keeping ourselves (or our neighbors) safe while operating our amateur stations.  So, again, requiring a Morse test as a non-negotiable "safety" requirement for a ham license in the 21st Century fulfilled absolutely no regulatory need.

Perhaps that's why the FCC finally ditched such testing once the ITU requirement was made optional.

Quote
Is it discrimination to require that French - English translators know both languages?  is it discrimination to not grant illiterate folks a ham license since they can't read the exam?  PLEASE, just stop with the Morse code was discrimination crap!!!  

As an accredited examiner, I've administered more than one examination by reading it (out loud) to a blind person. They couldn't read it either. And I'd do the same for an illiterate person. In fact, as examiners, we are encouraged to do this.  It's called administering an "accommodated" exam.

And, again, if the requirement for a Morse test for an HF license wasn't systemically discriminatory, then why does the FCC still encourage testing accommodations like those I've noted above but yet decided to ditch the Morse testing requirement just as soon as they could after the ITU made it optional?  

Can you think of any other reason why they did so?

Quote
Many who think Morse code requirement was a good thing feel that way not because they think they are somehow better than those who came after the Morse requirement and thus never learned.  Some of us dare to suggest that learning Morse code, in addition to installing a first hand appreciation of radio communication history, also facilitates the learning of efficient and respectful communication protocols, and thus makes for better operators.

Perhaps.

However, the FCC wholeheartedly disagreed with your notion when they noted (in their Rule Making that ditched the Morse test requirement) that, "The record is devoid of a demonstrated nexus between Morse code proficiency and on-the-air conduct. As a result, we concur with the observation that “maintaining the code requirement does not purge amateur radio of bad operators".

Quote
"You can make fun of CW because it uses an old language that many have not the patience to learn, but don't suggest a language requirement is discrimination.

Again, I was not making "fun" of CW.  I enjoy operating via CW very much.

I was merely stating that requiring a TEST for Morse in order to obtain a full-featured ham license was systemically discriminatory. That's because Morse is not the sole "language" that we use in Amateur Radio. And singling it out as a hard and fast examination requirement (without also doing the same for all the other "languages" we use over the air) was very clearly (and illegally) "discriminatory" under current US law.

Anyway, Morse testing in the USA is now history.  

And, from my perspective, Morse activity on our bands has actually INCREASED since that decision was made.  Perhaps now that it's not a hard and fast test requirement, people are no longer looking at learning it as drudgery and are actually getting on the air to give it a try.  And many are finding that they really enjoy it.  

Funny creatures, we humans.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on July 13, 2013, 09:19:02 PM

And, again, if the requirement for a Morse test for an HF license wasn't systemically discriminatory, then why does the FCC still encourage testing accommodations like those I've noted above but yet decided to ditch the Morse testing requirement just as soon as they could after the ITU made it optional?  

Can you think of any other reason why they did so?


Keith most of your replies have pretty much caused me to feel it necessary to go QRT on my arguments with you tonight.  Thanks, I think  :)

on your above question though I do have a further transmission: I was under the impression the FCC happily ditched Morse testing because it was too labor intensive and because some king complained to one of our Presidents (the first Bush I believe). 

maybe i can use a lifeline and defer to N2EY on this...  ???


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 14, 2013, 07:43:07 AM
Oon your above question though I do have a further transmission: I was under the impression the FCC happily ditched Morse testing because it was too labor intensive..."

Too labor intensive....for whom?

I'm more inclined to believe it was because there was no UNIFORM way to construct a test that was both valid and replicable to adequately measure one's Morse competency, particularly because such tests were administered by largely untrained volunteers and because they were also administered to persons who are handicapped in some way.

As an Accredited Examiner (in both the USA and Canada) as well as an Amateur Radio instructor who has helped introduce Ham Radio to hundreds of future Hams for more than 25 years, I learned long ago that, for some people, learning Morse is a "snap".

But, for others, it can be days, weeks, or even years of absolute frustration, resulting in failure after failure.  And the amount of “extra effort” expended by such folk seldom, if ever, makes any real difference in the outcome.  In fact, there are any number of widely recognized, certifiable medical conditions that can make learning Morse nigh on impossible for some otherwise “ordinary” people.

That's because proficiency in Morse is an inherent, complex, human psycho-motor skill.  

That means it involves a whole host of both psychological (mental) as well as physiological (motor) skills and abilities, some of which can be "learned", but most of which are NOT AT ALL "learnable".  That is, we are either born with these abilities to learn those skills or we aren't.  And that ability to learn those skills can also be impaired by accident or disease.

Now, certainly, listening for the dots and dashes (or the entire "sound") of a Morse character is a part of that activity.  But, then there's the mental interpretation part of what those sounds mean, as well as the brain's ability to send the proper neural messages to one's hands and fingers to write down the letters and words on a piece of paper or a typewriter.  The latter activity also involves one's ability to see as well as to hear…not to mention one's ability to properly form recognizable characters on a page and/or finding the correct key to depress on a typewriter.  At least ONE of those additional skills are required in order to pass such skill tests.

And, much like those things that can interfere with an RF signal traveling down a piece of coax (like broken shielding, water in the cable, bad connectors, or a mismatched antenna), there are any number of psycho-motor issues that can distort or even prevent the sound of the Morse character from being properly heard, interpreted and then correctly written down at the other end of that process.

So, as I said, because it IS such a complex, human activity, the ease of learning Morse varies widely throughout the population based on that long list of inherently human factors I've noted, many of which are completely beyond our control.  My guess is that these two facts (along with the fact that there is no longer an international requirement that they do so) were probably among the most compelling reasons why the FCC finally dropped Morse testing entirely.  

Call it genetics, the “way we are born" or what have you, but the simple truth is that we are NOT all put together exactly alike.  But, unfortunately, since learning Morse is a singular activity, it is horiffically easy to view another person's ability (or inability) to learn it using a sample size of one.

Or, to put it another way, those who arrogantly declare that, "I learned Morse and so can you" are simply basing their assertions on a sample size of one...their own experiences.

Now, clearly, there ARE many people in our hobby who are just too lazy to get up off their finals to learn Morse. And that is certainly their choice.

But, for the “Morse testing forever” crowd to now lay that same judgment on folks who absolutely CAN’T learn Morse no matter how much "extra effort" they put into doing so is disingenuous at best and downright discriminatory at worst.  

The bottom line here is that, as much as the left-brained, engineer-types in our hobby obsessively seem to believe otherwise, we humans AREN’T all put together like our Amateur Radio transceivers that come off the assembly line with the same parts list, the same knobs on our “front panels” or the exact same genetic programming (psycho-motor skills and abilities) uploaded into our “boot ROMs”.

To me, this is the principal reason why the Morse test was "systemically discriminatory" and why both the ITU and the FCC finally dropped it as a hard and fast requirement for HF privileges in our Service. The test unfairly discriminated against people based on uniquely variable (not to mention highly complex) human traits, characteristics and skills that (much like such things as one's skin color) are well beyond a person's innate ability to control or change.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on July 14, 2013, 08:52:45 AM

Too labor intensive....for whom?


for the FCC budget.

I'm more inclined to believe it was because there was no UNIFORM way to construct a test that was both valid and replicable to adequately measure one's Morse competency, particularly because such tests were administered by largely untrained volunteers and because they were also administered to persons who are handicapped in some way.


In 1977 when I passed the 13wpm test at the FCC Chicago office (and failed the 20wpm one) I had, nor heard, any concerns about whether the test adequately measured my Morse competency.  

I suppose to cut costs they could have inserted multiple choice questions to gauge Morse fluency instead of requiring perfect copy of Morse via audio tapes.  

translate the following Morse code transmission: dah dah dih dih dit ,  dih dih dih dah dah ,  dah dih dit ,   dit ,  dah di dah ,  dah dih dih dit, dih dah dah dah dah , dih dih dit, dih dih dah dit , dih dih dit , dah dih dah

A). WB2AM is giving KB1FH a signal report
B). KB2AM is calling CQ DX
C). KB1SF is sending best regards and signing off
D). W1AW is identifying station QTH

bottom line is More proficiency is a language requirement, and like any learning calls into play the strengths and weaknesses of the individual attempting to gain sufficient competency to pass a multiple choice exam on the subject.  In a way it made amatuer radio testing more balanced in that morse code may involve brain functions not as directly associated with math or science as the majority of the amateur test.  

i struggled significantly with learning Morse at age 13, but the interest in attaining a ham license and being able to communicate with my uncle eventually was incentive enough for me to break through the impasse.  Increasing my competency from merely knowing which symbols represented which letters to 13 wpm took months of usage of the language (Morse) in actual communication.  One had to actually learn by doing (unlike the theory portion which one could potentially pass merely through book study).  

Bottom line is that the Morse requirement was a language competency requirement, and that language still is widely used by amateurs today. It also was a requirement that fostered an appreciation of the importance of efficient and concise use of words to communicate, which it seems to me facilitates better operator practices for those who also communicate via voice.

73, K9AIM


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 14, 2013, 05:19:25 PM
Bottom line is that the Morse requirement was a language competency requirement, and that language still is widely used by amateurs today. It also was a requirement that fostered an appreciation of the importance of efficient and concise use of words to communicate, which it seems to me facilitates better operator practices for those who also communicate via voice.

I find it interesting that there are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of newly-minted (and even some "oldly-minted") General and Extra Class hams now in our midst who never (ever!) took a Morse exam.

Yet a goodly number of these people seem to be able to communicate quite "efficiently and concisely" with Morse over the air.  

So if what you say about a "language competency requirement" is true, then how did all those new people become qualified to send and receive Morse code by ear WITHOUT taking an FCC Morse exam?  And, as far as a "language competency requirement" goes, how come I didn't have to take a "voice exam" (in English or any other spoken "language") in order to qualify for a General, Advanced or Extra Class license?

All of which is yet MORE proof (as if we needed any) that the Morse testing requirement served no regulatory purpose whatsoever and was therefore an "unnecessary regulatory barrier" (to use the FCC's words) to full access to our bands.  The FCC even said as much in their Report and Order that finally ditched that requirement in the USA back in 2007.

And, since you also brought up the subject of "efficient and concise" use of words, I can think of no more "efficient and concise" use of words (not to mention bandwidth!) than an over-the-air exchange made via RTTY, Packet, PSK-31, or a whole host of other digital communications modes that nobody ever took a "language competency" skill test for either.  What's more, many of these "new" modes are far more parsimonious with bandwidth than even a CW signal is.

So, it seems to me your "efficient and concise" argument doesn't wash either.

My bottom line here is that the Morse testing requirement served absolutely no valid regulatory need in a 21st Century Amateur Radio Service.  And it's been over 6 years now since that testing requirement (finally!) went the way of the dinosaur in the USA...not to mention a good deal longer in an ever-increasing majority of other countries o the planet.

And despite all the frantic hand-wringing from the "Morse testing forever", "Good Old Boy's CW Club" portending the "end of Amateur Radio as we know it" (or an onslaught of "riff raff" from that "other" radio service (CB)) the sky has yet to fall.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: K7KBN on July 14, 2013, 06:28:32 PM
RTTY, packet and the "other digital communications modes" you mention require a computer and/or other equipment to send and receive successfully.  CW requires only a key.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: AF6WL on July 14, 2013, 07:50:46 PM
I thought morse was only there to ensure operators could yield to primary band users and in emergency situations.
These days priority traffic is more likely to come by voice , USB voice, hence my bigger concern is the persistence of LSB on 160/80/40m.
When morse was scrapped the legacy LSB mode should have been traded out.

I also wonder about the procedures for handling, not Mayday/SOS but, lower tiers of priority traffic:

I would like to see taught commercial radio practices; particularly the Marine and Aviation PAN and Securite broadcasts ( yes broadcast !) ;  and hear them used on local repeaters and HF bands where appropriate.

e.g.
Pan Pan Pan could apply when needing the channel cleared for calling in assistance after a non injury road accident or a power line across the road.
Securite Securite Securite would be appropriate when alerting there was a forest fire is in the area.

i.e not just Break Break.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on July 15, 2013, 12:07:49 AM

I find it interesting that there are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of newly-minted (and even some "oldly-minted") General and Extra Class hams now in our midst who never (ever!) took a Morse exam.

Yet a goodly number of these people seem to be able to communicate quite "efficiently and concisely" with Morse over the air. 

So if what you say about a "language competency requirement" is true, then how did all those new people become qualified to send and receive Morse code by ear WITHOUT taking an FCC Morse exam?  And, as far as a "language competency requirement" goes, how come I didn't have to take a "voice exam" (in English or any other spoken "language") in order to qualify for a General, Advanced or Extra Class license?

All of which is yet MORE proof (as if we needed any) that the Morse testing requirement served no regulatory purpose whatsoever and was therefore an "unnecessary regulatory barrier" (to use the FCC's words) to full access to our bands.  The FCC even said as much in their Report and Order that finally ditched that requirement in the USA back in 2007.

And, since you also brought up the subject of "efficient and concise" use of words, I can think of no more "efficient and concise" use of words (not to mention bandwidth!) than an over-the-air exchange made via RTTY, Packet, PSK-31, or a whole host of other digital communications modes that nobody ever took a "language competency" skill test for either.  What's more, many of these "new" modes are far more parsimonious with bandwidth than even a CW signal is.

So, it seems to me your "efficient and concise" argument doesn't wash either.

My bottom line here is that the Morse testing requirement served absolutely no valid regulatory need in a 21st Century Amateur Radio Service.  And it's been over 6 years now since that testing requirement (finally!) went the way of the dinosaur in the USA...not to mention a good deal longer in an ever-increasing majority of other countries o the planet.

And despite all the frantic hand-wringing from the "Morse testing forever", "Good Old Boy's CW Club" portending the "end of Amateur Radio as we know it" (or an onslaught of "riff raff" from that "other" radio service (CB)) the sky has yet to fall.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)

whoa there cowboy, that's a lot of hyperbole.  what i actually said was that learning to communicate via Morse fosters an appreciation of the importance of efficient and concise use of words to communicate (sort of the anti-thesis of a lot of what you hear on 75 meters these days).

it is a little silly to leap from there to saying one cannot learn to communicate well without learning Morse, or that one cannot learn Morse unless it is required to obtain a ham license, so please don't pretend that nonsense is coming from me.

My point was that if you spend a year communicating using Morse before you get voice privileges, you are far more likely to have learned good communication protocol which comes from the history of using a mode that requires efficient practices to save time and trouble. 

i do hear some things today I never heard back in the 70's -- such as some folks sending Morse with there dahs being only 1.5 times as long as there dits.  That is extremely frustrating to try to copy, but it is what it is.  at least folks are discovering how much fun Morse code is.


as for your suggestion that forcing folks to learn Morse was unfair and discriminatory -- let me play the hyperbole card:  i take it that you are for doing away with all math and formulas in ham  exams for the same reason?  heck i bet you think we should just hand licenses to everyone since testing for Morse or any other type of knowledge or fluency is asking too much of them?   ???

and were that to happen i am not suggesting the sky would fall.  only that it would be hard to differentiate 11 meters not just from from 75 meters -- but from a lot more of the ham bands if that were to occur.   the sky may not be falling, but do you like what you hear on 75 meters? 


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on July 15, 2013, 06:45:08 AM
I was under the impression the FCC happily ditched Morse testing because it was too labor intensive and because some king complained to one of our Presidents (the first Bush I believe). 

maybe i can use a lifeline and defer to N2EY on this...  ???

The history of Morse Code testing in the USA is a long and detailed story. Here's a brief explanation of the past 35 years or so:

- In the late 1970s the FCC "waived" the sending test, on the idea that anybody who could pass the receiving test could probably pass the sending test too. This was done without a lot of fanfare, and what it did was to eliminate the need for a skilled examiner.

- In 1990 the FCC created "medical waivers" for the 13 and 20 wpm code tests. These came about because the king of Jordan was a ham, and one day, during a QSO on 10 meters, suggested to the US ham he was talking to that they QSY to 20 meters. The US ham told him a sob story that he couldn't go to 20 because he couldn't upgrade to General because he couldn't pass 13 wpm. The King thought about this and sometime later asked president Bush 1 if something couldn't be done about it. The White House "asked" FCC what could be done - and medical waivers were the result.

Those waivers required that a person get a letter from a doctor - any MD or DO - stating that the person would have "more than average difficulty" learning 13 or 20 wpm code. No specific problem need be diagnosed, nor did it have to be "impossible" for the person to learn it. The problem didn't even have to be permanent. The person seeking the waiver could write the letter, get a doc to sign it, and get any license with just 5 wpm and the written tests. 5 wpm could not be waived because of the treaty.

- From the 1970s onward there were occasional proposals to create "no code test" amateur licenses in the USA, and to reduce/eliminate the tests entirely. These came from a variety of sources, but the overall effect was a gradual reduction in the code test requirements and lack of support for the treaty requirement. When the treaty changed in 2003, the FCC's last reason for the remaining 5 wpm code test went away.

Why anyone still debates all this is a mystery. The code tests in the USA and some other countries are GONE and they're not coming back. For better or worse, the whole license structure and system is being minimalized and simplified because the FCC's resources are very limited.

So if you like Morse Code, and Amateur Radio, and want them both to survive and flourish in the future, the thing to do is to find ways to do that other than the license requirements. Because those requirements aren't going to change much. FCC isn't going to add license classes without a very good reason.

Some years back I came up with a list of Ten Ways to keep Morse Code alive and thriving in Amateur Radio. Shall I post them again?

It's been 13 years plus since the change to a 3-class system began. We're at the point that more than 9 out of 10 US hams have a Technician, General or Extra license, and those three license classes continue to grow.

Let's do what we can to continue that growth.

73 de Jim, N2EY



Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 15, 2013, 04:50:57 PM
My point was that if you spend a year communicating using Morse before you get voice privileges, you are far more likely to have learned good communication protocol which comes from the history of using a mode that requires efficient practices to save time and trouble.

"...to save time and trouble"...for WHOM?  

Or, more to the point, who appointed you as the official timekeeper of how much of what gets communicated on our ham bands...and how long that communication takes?

Amateur Radio is just that...for amateurs.  It's made up of persons who participate in it (by ITU definition) "solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

Or, to put it still another way, it's a hobby, not the military service.  

Quote
I do hear some things today I never heard back in the 70's -- such as some folks sending Morse with there dahs being only 1.5 times as long as there dits.  That is extremely frustrating to try to copy, but it is what it is.  at least folks are discovering how much fun Morse code is.

If you don't like someone's "fist", may I humbly suggest you simply turn that great big knob that's located on the front of your radio to another frequency?

Indeed, the last time I checked, it was my understanding that nobody was forcing us to have a QSO on our bands unless we both decided we wanted to have one.

Did I somehow miss a change in that notion?

Quote
as for your suggestion that forcing folks to learn Morse was unfair and discriminatory -- let me play the hyperbole card:  i take it that you are for doing away with all math and formulas in ham  exams for the same reason?  heck i bet you think we should just hand licenses to everyone since testing for Morse or any other type of knowledge or fluency is asking too much of them?

If you had bothered to read any of what I've posted in this and other forums (as well as what I've posted in my blog) you'd know that what you suggest is absolutely NOT what I'm advocating.

First of all, the ITU regulations make it quite clear that we are to be both tested and licensed. So, neither requirement is about to go away any time soon. But, short of a small "laundry list" of topics, those regulations are completely silent on how comprehensive those tests are supposed to be.

As I've also said, most other licensing systems for our Service in the rest of the world specifically withhold operating privileges from lower class licensees based primarily on safety and non-interference considerations rather than on rewarding "exclusive" slices of artificially walled-off sub-spectrum to higher class licensees.  

Indeed, what I've been advocating in these and other forums is that the USA needs to stop focusing their licensing system on creating budding RF Engineers and, instead, make the questions on the US exams actually match the operating privileges those licenses grant.  

Right now, that isn't happening.

And, contrary to your accusations, if this new approach leads to a more technically comprehensive (i.e. "harder") exam "up front", then SO BE IT!  

In fact, that's exactly what Canada does right now with their Basic exam...an exam that ALL Canadian hams must now pass in order to get ANY license for our Service in that country.... even for VHF and UHF operation.

I know from my own personal experience (from administering them) that the 100-question Canadian Basic exam is a whopper of a test that not everyone passes the first time...or the second...or the third…or even the fourth!  You actually have to "know your stuff" to pass it.

And, with 100 questions pulled out of a 900-item question bank, I've also found that it is extremely hard (if not impossible) for candidates to simply "memorize the test". That's probably because the Canadian Basic exam is roughly equivalent in content and comprehensiveness to our US Tech and General exams put together.

But, even so, there's still a difference.  

That is, rather than focusing on testing obscure parts of our hobby that few (if any of us) will ever need to know about (let alone use!) that Basic exam focuses specifically on examining only those skills and knowledges that hams will absolutely "need to know" in order to keep themselves (and their neighbors) safe and/or from causing harmful interference to other hams or other services.  

What's more, unlike our current US Tech license (based on successfully completing a horrifically un-comprehensive, 35-question exam) that grants high power operating and transmitter construction privileges from day one, holders of the Canadian Basic certificate are STILL limited to running only 250 watts of power.  

Canadian Basics also cannot build transmitters "from scratch" (kits are OK) and they can't hold the license of an in-band repeater or club station, or give exams. To do those things, they need to pass yet another, 50-question exam over much more technically oriented subject matter.

That is, unlike our General and Extra Class exams that simply ask more obscure questions about subject matter relating to operating privileges that have (in most cases) already been granted to lower-class licensees in the US system, the Canadian Advanced exam is anything but yet another "achievement test".  

To put it bluntly, it's a big-time toughie over a whole lot of new material!

However, even though it is a much more comprehensive and technically oriented exam, it still focuses on examining only those added technical knowledges and skills that Advanced certificate holders absolutely need to know to keep themselves and their neighbors safe (and themselves from causing harmful interference) while exercising those newly granted (high power and repeater-enabled) privileges.

The bottom line here is that candidates for licenses in our Service in Canada are examined NOT based on their "achievements" or with an aim to "educate" them into becoming budding RF engineers.  

Rather, Canadian licensed candidates are examined on what they absolutely need to know to do certain things in our Service based primarily on safety and non-interference concerns…and nothing more.    

And before some in our ranks once again accuse me of trying to breed "mediocrity" in our Service, please understand that I am NOT advocating that we "water down" our exam structure any further!  

To the contrary, what I AM advocating is that we need to "front end load" our examination requirements and then subsequently examine only those things that we all know (from our own experiences) are specifically required keep ourselves and others safe while also helping to prevent us all from becoming a nuisance to other hams or other services.  

Such an approach would, indeed, make an "Extra Class" license totally irrelevant, and therefore absolutely unnecessary.

Which, in my mind, it already is.

This approach would get the FCC out of the "education" business (where they absolutely don't belong and where their "incentive" system has proven to be a dismal failure in that regard) and back into simply examining us for basic (and advanced) technical and regulatory competencies that are specifically relevant to what we actually do…on the air…as modern hams in the 21st Century.  

Or, to put it another way, this approach gets our examination system back into the business of examining skills and knowleges based on "needs" rather than for some obscure modicum of educational "achievement".  

That's not advocating "mediocrity" in our Service (or creating a "no ham left behind" Radio Service)!  Rather, it's called examining for the right set of needed technical and regulatory skills at the right times in our ham radio  "careers".

Quote
and were that to happen i am not suggesting the sky would fall.  only that it would be hard to differentiate 11 meters not just from from 75 meters -- but from a lot more of the ham bands if that were to occur.   the sky may not be falling, but do you like what you hear on 75 meters?
 

Not at all.  

But, I also know (from even a casual reading of Mr. Hollingsworth's published "scofflaw list" from a while back)  that most of that nonsense on 75 Meters was coming from a small group of FCC-office examined, 20 WPM Extra Class operators who firmly believed that their longevity in our Service somehow gave them the right to pollute our bands with their boorish behavior.

So much for the widely held notion that the Morse test kept the "riff raff" out...

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on July 16, 2013, 08:29:28 AM

Or, more to the point, who appointed you as the official timekeeper of how much of what gets communicated on our ham bands...and how long that communication takes?

Amateur Radio is just that...for amateurs.  It's made up of persons who participate in it (by ITU definition) "solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

Or, to put it still another way, it's a hobby, not the military service.  


what i suggested was that learning to communicate via Morse code, and I am talking about the old school practice of actually hand sending Morse code via a key -- due to the amount of time it takes to tap out the letters and words -- facilitates an appreciation for concise efficient communication.  There is no rule against sending 'my location is" or "the weather here today is" but most of us are mortals and therefore have some limits on our time.  Communicating using abbreviations like QTH and wx save time and make for more efficient copy.  So much so that you won't hear many (if any) CW ops in the ham bands not using such abbreviations. When phone transmission emerged those abbreviations used in code carried over because they are a more efficient way to communicate -- as long as both parties know how to decode them.  How did you get from what I said that I was calling for military type rules here or that I appointed myself as the official Timekeeper  ???


If you don't like someone's "fist", may I humbly suggest you simply turn that great big knob that's located on the front of your radio to another frequency?

Indeed, the last time I checked, it was my understanding that nobody was forcing us to have a QSO on our bands unless we both decided we wanted to have one.

Did I somehow miss a change in that notion?


thanks for the tip, but I was actually already familiar with the option you suggest above.  My tendency in such circumstances however is to hang in there with the newbie, or person with some kind of disability, and try and finish the QSO (and provide a request that they make their dahs longer)


 most other licensing systems for our Service in the rest of the world specifically withhold operating privileges from lower class licensees based primarily on safety and non-interference considerations rather than on rewarding "exclusive" slices of artificially walled-off sub-spectrum to higher class licensees.  

Indeed, what I've been advocating in these and other forums is that the USA needs to stop focusing their licensing system on creating budding RF Engineers and, instead, make the questions on the US exams actually match the operating privileges those licenses grant.  

Right now, that isn't happening.

And, contrary to your accusations, if this new approach leads to a more technically comprehensive (i.e. "harder") exam "up front", then SO BE IT!  

In fact, that's exactly what Canada does right now with their Basic exam...an exam that ALL Canadian hams must now pass in order to get ANY license for our Service in that country.... even for VHF and UHF operation.

I know from my own personal experience (from administering them) that the 100-question Canadian Basic exam is a whopper of a test that not everyone passes the first time...or the second...or the third…or even the fourth!  You actually have to "know your stuff" to pass it.

And, with 100 questions pulled out of a 900-item question bank, I've also found that it is extremely hard (if not impossible) for candidates to simply "memorize the test". That's probably because the Canadian Basic exam is roughly equivalent in content and comprehensiveness to our US Tech and General exams put together.

But, even so, there's still a difference.  

That is, rather than focusing on testing obscure parts of our hobby that few (if any of us) will ever need to know about (let alone use!) that Basic exam focuses specifically on examining only those skills and knowledges that hams will absolutely "need to know" in order to keep themselves (and their neighbors) safe and/or from causing harmful interference to other hams or other services.  

What's more, unlike our current US Tech license (based on successfully completing a horrifically un-comprehensive, 35-question exam) that grants high power operating and transmitter construction privileges from day one, holders of the Canadian Basic certificate are STILL limited to running only 250 watts of power.  

Canadian Basics also cannot build transmitters "from scratch" (kits are OK) and they can't hold the license of an in-band repeater or club station, or give exams. To do those things, they need to pass yet another, 50-question exam over much more technically oriented subject matter.

That is, unlike our General and Extra Class exams that simply ask more obscure questions about subject matter relating to operating privileges that have (in most cases) already been granted to lower-class licensees in the US system, the Canadian Advanced exam is anything but yet another "achievement test".  

To put it bluntly, it's a big-time toughie over a whole lot of new material!

However, even though it is a much more comprehensive and technically oriented exam, it still focuses on examining only those added technical knowledges and skills that Advanced certificate holders absolutely need to know to keep themselves and their neighbors safe (and themselves from causing harmful interference) while exercising those newly granted (high power and repeater-enabled) privileges.

The bottom line here is that candidates for licenses in our Service in Canada are examined NOT based on their "achievements" or with an aim to "educate" them into becoming budding RF engineers.  

Rather, Canadian licensed candidates are examined on what they absolutely need to know to do certain things in our Service based primarily on safety and non-interference concerns…and nothing more.    

And before some in our ranks once again accuse me of trying to breed "mediocrity" in our Service, please understand that I am NOT advocating that we "water down" our exam structure any further!  

To the contrary, what I AM advocating is that we need to "front end load" our examination requirements and then subsequently examine only those things that we all know (from our own experiences) are specifically required keep ourselves and others safe while also helping to prevent us all from becoming a nuisance to other hams or other services.  

 

I have stated before that I would prefer FCC license class to restrict maximum power to the highest license class and to limit it for safety and RFI purposes for less advanced licensees.  In fact I think maximum power itself should be halved due to advances in radio and antenna technology.  It would be interesting as well to create an international QRP only band to foster further advances in technology.  Having the exam be more about safety and practical knowledge makes perfect sense to me.  I do think some emphasis should be put on operating practices to try and preempt the 75 meterization of the world.

 

But, I also know (from even a casual reading of Mr. Hollingsworth's published "scofflaw list" from a while back)  that most of that nonsense on 75 Meters was coming from a small group of FCC-office examined, 20 WPM Extra Class operators who firmly believed that their longevity in our Service somehow gave them the right to pollute our bands with their boorish behavior.

So much for the widely held notion that the Morse test kept the "riff raff" out...


can you be more specific on the date than 'a while back'?  the nonsense i hear on 75 meters is fairly widespread and to suggest it is due largely to a small group of FCC administered 20wpm Extras seems a bit self-serving on the part of those who want to argue the 20wpm requirement was completely without merit.  Being 20wpm code fluent does not completely prevent one from being a jackazz.  ;)



Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 16, 2013, 01:42:45 PM

what i suggested was that learning to communicate via Morse code, and I am talking about the old school practice of actually hand sending Morse code via a key -- due to the amount of time it takes to tap out the letters and words -- facilitates an appreciation for concise efficient communication.  

Perhaps.

But you obviously don't have a teen-aged son or daughter in the house who taps out all forms of "efficient communication" via their ever-handy "smart phones".  

The same holds true for many hams who also tap out all forms of "efficient communications" via RTTY and PSK-31...and (gasp!) even CW via a keyboard.  Why you single out a knowledge of hand-sent CW as the only way one can develop these "efficient communication" skills" (and even requiring a stupid test for it before one could obtain a full-featured license in our Service!) is quite beyond me.  

The truth is that such skills can be learned in a myriad of other ways besides sending and receiving Morse code by ear if one chooses to do so.  But, regardless, being able to send and receive communications "concisely and efficiently" was never made a regulatory requirement for a license in our Service.  Never.
  
Quote
How did you get from what I said that I was calling for military type rules here or that I appointed myself as the official Timekeeper  ???

Because your comment dripped with condescension for those people who are still (slowly) trying their hand at leaning "The Code".  

Quote
My tendency in such circumstances however is to hang in there with the newbie, or person with some kind of disability, and try and finish the QSO (and provide a request that they make their dahs longer)

I just slow down, try to match their speed, and make sure MY sending is as clean and well-timed as I can make it. In that sense, I try to teach by example.  Remember, our brains and hands don't all come off an assembly line, so we should all come to expect (and make allowances for) a wide variation in people's on-air skills and abilities.  

The bottom line here is that I absolutely refrain from passing judgement other people's "fists".  That's because ham radio is a hobby.  It isn't some college or university degree program where we're all being judged and graded on our performance.

Quote
can you be more specific on the date than 'a while back'?  the nonsense i hear on 75 meters is fairly widespread and to suggest it is due largely to a small group of FCC administered 20wpm Extras seems a bit self-serving on the part of those who want to argue the 20wpm requirement was completely without merit.

I suggest you look at some of the more recent "scofflaw" stats (unfortunately, the older ones have been deleted) and see for yourself.  http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/AmateurActions/Welcome.html (http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/AmateurActions/Welcome.html)

Quote
Being 20wpm code fluent does not completely prevent one from being a jackazz.  ;)

Which is precisely my point.  

So, again, because of its abject failure as an effective "lid filter" and your now (discredited) notion that a working knowledge of Morse is the only way to somehow insure "concise and effective communication" on our bands, what other REGULATORY purpose did keeping the Morse test alive well into the 21st Century serve?

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on July 16, 2013, 02:10:01 PM

But you obviously don't have a teen-aged son or daughter in the house who taps out all forms of "efficient communication" via their ever-handy "smart phones".  

The same holds true for many hams who also tap out all forms of "efficient communications" via RTTY and PSK-31...and (gasp!) even CW via a keyboard.  Why you single out a knowledge of hand-sent CW as the only way one can develop these "efficient communication" skills" (and even requiring a stupid test for it before one could obtain a full-featured license in our Service!) is quite beyond me.  



initially radio (and telegraph) used Morse code to generally transmit important data due to cost, technology, and time constraints.  therefore a lot of protocols were developed to make Morse code communications more efficient.  hams adopted many and that inclination tended to carry over into voice communications.

obviously cell phone texting protocols have also come into existence, but to some extent they are also whatever is presently hip amongst young people.  they do make text messaging more efficient, but they have generally been more geared for communications of a more personal nature.
  
Because your comment dripped with condescension for those people who are still (slowly) trying their hand at leaning "The Code".  


your misreading of my statement is noted, however any condescension you found in my statement was inducted by you.  

I just slow down, try to match their speed, and make sure MY sending is as clean and well-timed as I can make it. In that sense, I try to teach by example.  Remember, our brains and hands don't all come off an assembly line, so we should all come to expect (and make allowances for) a wide variation in people's on-air skills and abilities.  


well of course, and i appreciate the approach you've articulated above. my point about the increased prevalence of timing issues seems to stem from op.s who begin their Morse code history via keyboard sending and decoder receiving and then at some point take up a hand key.  perhaps an inevitable bump in the road due to technologies and exam changes that were not around when I became licensed.


The bottom line here is that I absolutely refrain from passing judgement other people's "fists".  That's because ham radio is a hobby.  It isn't some college or university degree program where we're all being judged and graded on our performance.


fist and voice are both pretty individualized, which overall is a good thing.  But when someone is using either in a way that hampers communication, calling it out is not passing judgement. it is what it is; no shame no blame.  


So, again, because of its abject failure as an effective "lid filter" and your now (discredited) notion that a working knowledge of Morse is the only way to somehow insure "concise and effective communication" on our bands, what other REGULATORY purpose did keeping the Morse test alive well into the 21st Century serve?

if a licensed motorist driving a Ford runs a stop light, it does not prove any of the following 3 assertions:

1). Ford drivers are all bad
2). stoplights do not make intersections safer
3). requiring a driver's license to operate a motor vehicle weeds out all the bad apples

even if some licensed operators break laws it may still be true that licensing makes us safer and helps keep out some riff raff.
and the same was true of morse code testing; it helped filter out lids (though no filter is impregnable)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 16, 2013, 04:16:02 PM
Quote from: K9 AIMlink=topic=87671.msg687184#msg687184 date=1374009001
initially radio (and telegraph) used Morse code to generally transmit important data due to cost, technology, and time constraints.  therefore a lot of protocols were developed to make Morse code communications more efficient.  hams adopted many and that inclination tended to carry over into voice communications.

So what does this have to do with the Amateur Radio Service in the 21st Century?

Quote
obviously cell phone texting protocols have also come into existence, but to some extent they are also whatever is presently hip amongst young people.  they do make text messaging more efficient, but they have generally been more geared for communications of a more personal nature.

Isn't that what our Amateur Radio Service is all about....a radio service for "persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim?

Clearly, it's comments like yours that invite tech-savvy youngsters (our target audience if our Service is to have any hope of survival beyond the next few decades) to increasingly view our Service as the "Radio Amish".

Quote
fist and voice are both pretty individualized, which overall is a good thing.  But when someone is using either in a way that hampers communication, calling it out is not passing judgement. it is what it is; no shame no blame.

To the contrary, your approach heaps BOTH blame AND shame (not to mention needless embarrassment) on others.  

And then we wonder why youthful newcomers (and potential youthful newcomers) to our Service avoid it (and CW) like the plague.

Quote
even if some licensed operators break laws it may still be true that licensing makes us safer and helps keep out some riff raff. and the same was true of (sic) morse code testing; it helped filter out lids (though no filter is impregnable)

Ditto my comments above.

Sorry, Robert, but your precious Morse code "lid filter" has now gone the way of the dinosaur.  

And it ISN'T coming back.  

I suggest you and your like-thinking buddies need to now accept that fact...and move on.  

'Nuff said.

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on July 17, 2013, 09:26:27 AM

it's comments like yours that invite tech-savvy youngsters (our target audience if our Service is to have any hope of survival beyond the next few decades) to increasingly view our Service as the "Radio Amish".


in many ways that is what we are, isn't it? the internet has made radio communication almost akin to using a horse instead of a car for transportation.  those who do, generally have an appreciation of the 'old way.'  that said, there are options within amateur radio for tech-saavy youth to explore and enjoy. 

there are plenty of instances here in these forums where i have gone out of my way to say i am well aware that there 20 wpm code tested hams who are lids and non-code-tested hams who are top of the class, so you would be mistaken to lump me in with that absurd group of hams who feel no-code hams are not bonafide hams.

i agree that code-testing, like the designated hitter in American League baseball, is now extinct with little chance of resuscitation.
i still see merits in both of the older ways of doing things, even if they are not coming back.  there are advantages and disadvantages to any change; i am just more tuned in to what i take to be the the disadvantages than you are.  73


 


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 17, 2013, 12:23:16 PM
i still see merits in both of the older ways of doing things, even if they are not coming back.  there are advantages and disadvantages to any change; i am just more tuned in to what i take to be the the disadvantages than you are.

To the contrary, Robert, I'm well aware of the HUGE damage that keeping those "older ways of doing things" as hard and fast licensing requirements in place LONG after they served any useful regulatory purpose has done to the growth (if not the very survival) of our Service going forward.  

My only hope is that the sweeping regulatory changes that are now happening in our Service (such as the wholesale elimination of the Morse testing requirement) have not come way to late in our history to reverse the looming downward trend in our long-term growth due to the increasing average age of our ham population.

In that case, the mortal damage to our Service may have already been done.

That is, these long-needed changes may have now come WAY too late in the game to keep enough tech-savvy youngsters...the lifeblood of our Service going forward...interested enough to join our ranks to offset the number of ever-aging "oldsters" in our Service who are now dying in increasing numbers.

Unfortunately, only time will tell.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blosgspot.com (http://kb1sf.blosgspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on July 17, 2013, 03:05:39 PM
the number of hams has been growing for a long time and so I am not sure your concerns are warranted.  Morse code is also alive and well and transceiver manufacturers continue to include CW as a mainstream mode, so i am not sure about what you claim is the "HUGE damage" caused by keeping and even exercising the older ways of doing things. perhaps you will argue CW is still alive and well because morse code fluency is no longer required to obtain any license, but i think that is a reach at best.  

I am 51 and have been licensed since 1976, I wonder what the median age of US and world hams is?  There are no such public stats, are there?  if we die out and ham radio goes the way of the dodo bird so be it, but i don't see that happening anytime soon.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 17, 2013, 04:15:43 PM
the number of hams has been growing for a long time and so I am not sure your concerns are warranted.

I agree that our gross statistics do tend to indicate that our Service is "growing" in the USA at the moment.  

However, when you toss in the fact that, according to the ARRL, the average age of even our newly licensed hams in the US is now pushing 50, and the average age of the rest of us was already pushing 60 the last time the FCC publicly released such statistics, if these trends continue it's only a matter of time before our death rate outpaces our newcomer rate.  

Even a casual look at the expanding "Silent Key" page that appears in QST every month really makes me wonder just how credible all those purported "growth" statistics really are.

It's also important to remember that, in the USA, we are all on a 10 year license renewal cycle.  Again, this means that the glowing "growth" statistics that N2EY and others continually like to banter about were only FULLY valid 10 years ago!  God only knows how many hams who are still listed in that totals have already died, or have decided to walk away from amateur radio, never to return since they last renewed their licenses.  And, again, God only knows how many MORE of those aggregate totals may still decide to renew their licenses at the next 10 year point, but have long since decided to move on to other hobby pursuits.

Unfortunately, there are many more negative (but yet unseen) trends that are present today in the aggregate population statistics for our Service that weren't in play when you and I were first licensed back in the 1970s.  As a result, the aggregate totals being bandied about today don't even come close to giving us a complete picture of actual population trends in our Service.

Quote
Morse code is also alive and well and transceiver manufacturers continue to include CW as a mainstream mode, so i am not sure about what you claim is the "HUGE damage" caused by keeping and even exercising the older ways of doing things. perhaps you will argue CW is still alive and well because morse code fluency is no longer required to obtain any license, but i think that is a reach at best.  

I am 51 and have been licensed since 1976, I wonder what the median age of US and world hams is?  There are no such public stats, are there?  if we die out and ham radio goes the way of the dodo bird so be it, but i don't see that happening anytime soon.

Perhaps.  

But, as I said, only time will tell.

So how about you and I agree to meet here in 10 or 15 years time to see who got it right?

73,

Keith
KB1SF /VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N0IU on July 17, 2013, 05:12:49 PM
My only hope is that the sweeping regulatory changes that are now happening in our Service (such as the wholesale elimination of the Morse testing requirement) have not come way to late in our history to reverse the looming downward trend in our long-term growth due to the increasing average age of our ham population.

Now happening???

How long have you been sleeping under a rock?

Its not like the Morse code proficiency tests were eliminated recently. The 13 and 20 WPM Morse code proficiency tests were eliminated on April 15, 2000 and the 5 WPM Morse code proficiency test was eliminated on February 23, 2007.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 17, 2013, 05:19:54 PM
Now happening???

How long have you been sleeping under a rock?

Its not like the Morse code proficiency tests were eliminated recently. The 13 and 20 WPM Morse code proficiency tests were eliminated on April 15, 2000 and the 5 WPM Morse code proficiency test was eliminated on February 23, 2007.

As the old saying goes....you ain't seen nuttin yet.

My hunch is that regulation by bandwidth rather than by license class and operating mode is next up for serious FCC review.  They can't continue to perpetuate the systemically discriminatory (and therefore illegal) licensing system that's now in place in our Service indefinitely.

Stay tuned.

73,

Keith
KB1SF


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N0IU on July 17, 2013, 05:57:17 PM
As the old saying goes....you ain't seen nuttin yet.

My hunch is that regulation by bandwidth rather than by license class and operating mode is next up for serious FCC review.  They can't continue to perpetuate the systemically discriminatory (and therefore illegal) licensing system that's now in place in our Service indefinitely.

Stay tuned.

73,

Keith
KB1SF

That is very interesting Keith. I would love to follow the progression of this new totally fair licensing system you are proposing.

When exactly did you file your Petition for Rulemaking with the FCC? I know these usually have a 30 period in which the public can comment on whether the FCC should grant or deny the petition. Did I miss the date?

Since I could not locate a Petition for Rulemaking under your name, I thought that perhaps you decided to file a lawsuit against the FCC since incentive licensing is discriminatory and therefore illegal. I checked all of the sources that I know that tracks lawsuits against federal agencies, but I could not find anything involving the amateur radio incentive licensing system.

Or maybe you just expect the FCC to read these posts on eHam or read your blog and decide that it is time to take action. If that is your strategy, don't hold your breath. No, wait a minute... go ahead and hold your breath.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 17, 2013, 07:58:55 PM
Or maybe you just expect the FCC to read these posts on eHam or read your blog and decide that it is time to take action. If that is your strategy, don't hold your breath. No, wait a minute... go ahead and hold your breath.

I shall certainly consider your boorish suggestion.

However, my hunch is that the FCC, ARRL, (et al) are now simply waiting for enough "regulatory fundamentalists" within our (and their) ranks to die off so that this ever-shrinking (but yet still highly vocal) minority of firmly entrenched Luddites in our Service in the United States won't (once again) derail the ARRL's and FCC's attempts to enact such long-needed reforms.

And, perhaps you are correct.  Even though I'm an American citizen and still hold a US amateur radio license, I now live and do most of my operating from the Canadian side of the border. So I could (and probably should) care less about all the systemically discriminatory nonsense you hams south of the border STILL must endure in the horrifically arcane, license class and operating mode-based, US licensing system for our Service.

So, in closing, let me once again offer my services as an Accredited Examiner here on the Canadian side if any of you blokes still want to have a "Morse Code" endorsement put on a ham radio license.  I can (and do) still administer such exams under the Canadian rules.  Indeed, just a few weeks ago I administered both the Canadian Basic and the Canadian Morse Code exams to an American ham from from Cincinnati.  He passed both exams with flying colors, by the way.

Thankfully, back when the ITU made such testing optional internationally, Industry Canada ALSO made the Morse test an option...not a hard and fast regulatory requirement....for full-featured access to HF.  In that sense, it's simply one of many ways Canadian hams can now gain access to HF. 

Indeed, unlike the hand-wringing and wails of protest from the "regulatory fundamentalist" crowd in the States when mandatory Morse testing for an HF license went the way of the dinosaur, there was nary a peep from the "rank and file" up here when those changes were adopted.

Perhaps that's because Industry Canada left the Morse test in place....but as an option.


73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N0IU on July 17, 2013, 08:17:31 PM
So in other words, you are just going to sit on the sidelines and wait for other people to take care of the problem. If you, Keith C Baker KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB are not part of the solution, then YOU are part of the problem.

If this really matters to you... if you honestly and truly think that incentive licensing is illegal, then why don't you set the wheels in motion and file a Petition for Rulemaking?

If you are not going to do it, then all of your bitching and moaning and complaining and whining are just hollow words, nothing more.




Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 17, 2013, 08:51:10 PM
If this really matters to you... if you honestly and truly think that incentive licensing is illegal, then why don't you set the wheels in motion and file a Petition for Rulemaking?

Primarily because I know such a "petition" will go absolutely nowhere.  

And that's because I know (from my experiences as a former President and BOD member of AMSAT-NA) that the FCC's stupid "rulemaking" process is little more than a bureaucratic farce.  And all you have to do is look at how they rammed Access BPL down our throats (despite the wails of protest and repeated "petitions" from the ARRL) to see that farce in action.

And, besides, as I noted above, enough of our die-hard Luddite contingent who would vehemently oppose such sweeping change have yet to die off.  In that sense, the timing isn't (yet) right.

Quote
If you are not going to do it, then all of your bitching and moaning and complaining and whining are just hollow words, nothing more.

Perhaps.  

But it would seem I've certainly gotten under YOUR skin!

And in the process, I've set a whole host of other readers to thinking about these issues as well.  Indeed, I've received a ton of supporting e-mails from readers who don't care to wrestle with those who firmly believe that mandatory Morse testing and "incentive licensing" were the best things that ever happened to our hobby.

Simply getting people to think about these issues has always been my simple goal. And judging from the over 17,000 hits on this thread, it would now appear that my goal has once again been accomplished.....in spades.

Cheers!

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N0IU on July 18, 2013, 03:58:52 AM
The only thing that got under my skin was how ridiculous this whole notion of the discriminatory and illegal nature of incentive licensing is.

Just because 17,000+ people read this thread does not mean that anyone actually gave it that much thought other than not to waste time replying to it.

No, I haven't read all of the posts and perhaps someone already made this point, but amateur radio is a privilege, not a right. And no matter what the ARES/RACES crowd want you to believe, it is a hobby, nothing more. Especially with the Internet, Part 97 is readily available for anyone to read prior to deciding whether or not someone wants to become licensed. The rules for entry and earning additional privileges are completely transparent even to the point of publishing all of the questions and answers to the test questions. If you don't like the rules, then don't get a license. Pure and simple. No one is denying you your rights.

Yes, a certain level of literacy in the English language is required in order to take the tests, but children under 10 years old have licenses so this does not seem to be any sort of formidable barrier of any kind.

You might as well say that the cost for getting on the air is discriminatory because not everyone who wants to become an amateur radio operator can afford it. And just like Part 97, catalogs and forums such as this one are readily available so there should be no surprises when it comes to the cost of being an amateur radio operator.

I say once again, this hobby is a privilege, not a right.



Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on July 18, 2013, 06:10:37 AM
I agree that our gross statistics do tend to indicate that our Service is "growing" in the USA at the moment.

"At the moment"? The numbers have been growing since 2007. Fewer than 655,000 then, over 713,000 now. Even more illuminating, the percentage of Extras and Generals has increased dramatically while the percentage of Techs has slightly dropped.

However, when you toss in the fact that, according to the ARRL, the average age of even our newly licensed hams in the US is now pushing 50, and the average age of the rest of us was already pushing 60 the last time the FCC publicly released such statistics, if these trends continue it's only a matter of time before our death rate outpaces our newcomer rate.

Oh puh-leez.

This nonsense about "average age" is complete....organic fertilizer. FCC doesn't collect age data and hasn't for years. The definition of "average" is never given (mean? median?) nor is the distribution (bell curve? exponential? something else?)

If somebody REALLY wants to make noise about "average age", let them post REAL statistics for ALL US hams. And compare it to years and decades past. Until that is done, it's all hand-waving and spin.

Even a casual look at the expanding "Silent Key" page that appears in QST every month really makes me wonder just how credible all those purported "growth" statistics really are.

Look back 10, 20, 30 years and the page is just as big. Note too that the SK page ONLY includes verified deaths.

It's also important to remember that, in the USA, we are all on a 10 year license renewal cycle.  Again, this means that the glowing "growth" statistics that N2EY and others continually like to banter about were only FULLY valid 10 years ago!

NO IT DOESN'T.

We've been on a 10 year license term since 1983 - 30 years ago. The license database has ALWAYS included hams who were SKs or who had lost interest. The database was just as inaccurate 10 years ago as today.

 God only knows how many hams who are still listed in that totals have already died, or have decided to walk away from amateur radio, never to return since they last renewed their licenses.  And, again, God only knows how many MORE of those aggregate totals may still decide to renew their licenses at the next 10 year point, but have long since decided to move on to other hobby pursuits.

Which is the same as it has been for 30 years.

This is obvious stuff to anyone who really understands the rules, Keith. I suspect that you don't.

Unfortunately, there are many more negative (but yet unseen) trends that are present today in the aggregate population statistics for our Service that weren't in play when you and I were first licensed back in the 1970s.  As a result, the aggregate totals being bandied about today don't even come close to giving us a complete picture of actual population trends in our Service.

Nor did they back then.

The REAL problems we face have nothing to do with the license tests, structure, or Morse Code. The REAL problems we face are:

- Lack of publicity
- Lack of "ham friendly" houses and cars (HOAs, CC&Rs, warranties, RFI/EMI)
- Perceived high cost of equipment

Fix those and you'll see even more growth.




Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 18, 2013, 06:24:50 AM
The only thing that got under my skin was how ridiculous this whole notion of the discriminatory and illegal nature of incentive licensing is.

Perhaps that's because you've never been involved (in a legal sense) with federal systemic discrimination case law in the United States.  I have.  And if you had done so, I believe you'd change your tune.  

Or, as the popular author and PBS lecturer Wayne Dyer puts it, "The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don't know anything about."

Quote
Just because 17,000+ people read this thread does not mean that anyone actually gave it that much thought other than not to waste time replying to it.

Ditto the above.

Quote
The rules for entry and earning additional privileges are completely transparent even to the point of publishing all of the questions and answers to the test questions. If you don't like the rules, then don't get a license. Pure and simple. No one is denying you your rights.

To the contrary, under current US equal access law, if the entire testing structure is systemically discriminatory, it doesn't matter how widely the questions and answers are published.  

It's also important to remember that, with equal access law, a person does not have to prove they've been unfairly discriminated against in a court of law.  All that's legally required is proof that a SYSTEM of discrimination exists in the way people are treated within that system.  Hence the term "systemic discrimination".  Or, more specifically, if a federal "test" serves no REGULATORY purpose or fill a regulatory NEED...then it's illegal under these 1990-era laws.

But, rather than give you some examples of where I'm coming from, may I suggest you and the rest of our readers simply download the Extra Class question pool (or take an online Extra Class exam or two) and see for yourselves what I'm talking about.  

That is, I suggest you go through the questions in that question pool one by one while asking yourself: "Does this question pertain to knowedges and skills that directly relate to safely and courteously exercising operational privileges that have already been granted to Technician and/or General Class licensees?"  

And, if your truthful answer to that question is "yes", then the next question you should be asking yourself is:  "Why is this question even in the Extra Class examination pool in the first place?"

What's more, for those questions that DO somehow relate to the specific operational activities that require an Extra Class license, you might then ask yourself what, if anything, that question has to do with safely and courteously operating in the last few KHz of our HF bands.  

That is, what overriding regulatory NEED is fulfilled by an applicant having such "extra" knowledge that yet another, 50-question exam is required in order for them to be granted access to those last few, so-called "exclusive" slices of HF radio spectrum?  

Or (as is frequently the case) is the requirement for all that "extra" knowledge simply part and parcel of some arbitrary decision made long ago by some gormless, 1950s-era, FCC bureaucrat (under pressure from his ARRL lobbyists) to artificially wall off portions of our internationally allocated amateur radio frequencies in an attempt to motivate people to learn more about RF theory and practice by stroking their egos?  

What's more, while you all are going through this exercise, it is important to once again remember that the FCC has always been nothing more than a US Government-funded, taxpayer supported REGULATORY agency.  They are NOT (and never have been) chartered as a college or university and have never been granted any legal authority (or professional certification) either by Congress or the Executive Branch of the US Government to set themselves up as one.  

So, once again I ask: Where in the International rules for our "self training" Service does it say that such "achievement-based", so-called "incentive" nonsense is required…or even allowed… under international law…as part and parcel of a licensing system for our Service?

Indeed, as many of the people who are still trying (in vain) to defend the "old order", the truth is that, if the content and comprehensiveness of our Extra Class exam were confined to strictly examining only those additional operational privileges granted solely to Extra Class licensees (as a myriad of 1990s-era US equal access law dictates that it must) about the only thing left that could be legally examined is where the new Extra Class sub-band limits are and how one goes about requesting an Extra Class call sign.  

But, even the procedure for requesting a different, so-called "exclusive" Extra Class call sign is accomplished when an applicant fills out his or her application form for an examination to upgrade!  

And that activity happens even before they sit down to take the exam!

What's more, when it comes to administering exams to others, keep in mind that General Class licensees can also now serve as Volunteer Examiners in the United States.  So, a requirement that one possess an Extra Class license in order to be able to give exams doesn't wash either.  Indeed, the only reason an Extra Class license is required to administer exams to other Extra Class applicants is because the "Extra" license class still exists in our Service!

So, as I've said, my hunch is that if the FCC and the NCVEC question pool committee were following both the spirit and the letter of US equal access law, they would be very hard pressed to come up with even 10 or 15 questions for the Extra exam pool if the subject matter of those questions was limited solely to the added operational privileges an Extra Class license grants in our Service.  

All of which once again begs the obvious question that I've been asking of people in these forums for the better part of the last three years:  What overriding regulatory NEED is served by even having a so-called "Extra Class" license in our Service in the first place?

The bottom line here is that, under US equal access law, if a federally sanctioned examination for a federal license doesn't fill a regulatory NEED, then it's unfairly discriminatory....and therefore, illegal.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 18, 2013, 06:46:26 AM
Oh puh-leez.  This nonsense about "average age" is complete....organic fertilizer. FCC doesn't collect age data and hasn't for years.

To the contrary, I have it on good authority (from a retired FCC staffer) that the FCC keeps a meticulous record of such information. They've been harvesting and maintaining such age data for years.  And they are STILL harvesting it by cross referencing the age information contained in the USA's  Social Security database (we STILL must put down our Social Security numbers on our license applications, remember?) with their own FCC ham radio database.  

So, while it's true that the FCC may no longer PUBLISH that information, it's all still there in their database.

Now, they'll tell you the main reason they ask for our Social Security numbers on a license application is to make sure we are not a tax cheat before they grant us an FCC license (another US federal law by the way).  But ANOTHER reason is so that they can also keep track of our individual ages.

Quote
If somebody REALLY wants to make noise about "average age", let them post REAL statistics for ALL US hams. And compare it to years and decades past. Until that is done, it's all hand-waving and spin.

This sounds like an excellent project for you, Jim!

Indeed, the only "spin" being perpetrated here is your continual publishing of aggregate totals and calling it "growth" without also publishing (or even discussing!) the underlying age and other demographic statistics for our Service...which by even anecdotal evidence...is significantly older (and becoming even more so) than at any time in our history.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF /  VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N9KX on July 18, 2013, 07:47:56 PM
As an accredited examiner, I've administered more than one examination by reading it (out loud) to a blind person. They couldn't read it either. And I'd do the same for an illiterate person. In fact, as examiners, we are encouraged to do this.  It's called administering an "accommodated" exam.

I am surprised they don't have exams available in braille... accommodating a blind person by reading the exam questions to them still tests them for the knowledge required to obtain a license.  and, if Morse code were a still a requirement, a deaf person could be accommodated by using a flashlight or simply a printed out series of dits and dahs.  In 1976 when I took and passed an FCC administered 13wpm code test, there was no sending requirement, so noone unable to send without accommodation would have even been impacted.  so explain to me again what rationale you have concocted to justify the idea that Morse testing is discriminatory.


And, again, if the requirement for a Morse test for an HF license wasn't systemically discriminatory, then why does the FCC still encourage testing accommodations like those I've noted above but yet decided to ditch the Morse testing requirement just as soon as they could after the ITU made it optional? 

Can you think of any other reason why they did so?

The FCC was implementing serious cost cutting measures, so any expense they could dismiss for amateur radio oversight was greeted with open arms.  And, some King had already whined about the code requirement to President Bush and that already helped push thru the weasel waiver option for code testing, so doing away with code entirely was simply another step in a direction already being pushed into place from political pressure.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N0IU on July 19, 2013, 06:41:28 AM
Well OK Keith, you got me thinking about it. Damn you!

So why not just do away with multiple license classes and testing altogether? By your logic (convoluted as it is), all tests are discriminatory (and therefore illegal) since the entire amateur radio serves no purpose whatsoever, not just the Amateur Extra class. Amateur radio is a nothing more than a recreational past time, period. Despite what the ARES/RACES crowd would like you to believe, the amateur radio service does not serve any need, at the federal level or otherwise.

Sure, we use spectrum space that is managed (and I use the term loosely) by the FCC, but the precedent has already been set since there are other non-commercial "citizens" and "family" radio services that do not require testing or a license.

Of course the hard part would be getting the IARU on board with this, but maybe not. They are the ones who determined that Morse code proficiency tests served no longer served any useful purpose and all the FCC did was incorporate their resolution into Part 97.

I guess we could become just like the Citizens Radio Service and eliminate licensing altogether, but let's take one step at a time.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 19, 2013, 09:43:39 AM
Well OK Keith, you got me thinking about it. Damn you!

So why not just do away with multiple license classes and testing altogether? By your logic (convoluted as it is), all tests are discriminatory (and therefore illegal) since the entire amateur radio serves no purpose whatsoever, not just the Amateur Extra class.

If you had bothered to read any of what I've already posted in this thread (as well as what I've posted in my blog) you'd know that what you suggest is absolutely NOT what I'm advocating.

First of all, the ITU regulations make it quite clear that we are to be both tested and licensed. So, neither requirement is about to go away any time soon. But, short of a small "laundry list" of topics, those regulations are completely silent on how comprehensive those tests are supposed to be.

As I've also said, most other licensing systems for our Service in the rest of the world specifically withhold operating privileges from lower class licensees based primarily on safety and non-interference considerations rather than on rewarding "exclusive" slices of artificially walled-off sub-spectrum to higher class licensees.  

Indeed, what I've been advocating in these and other forums is that the USA needs to stop focusing their licensing system on creating budding RF Engineers and, instead, make the questions on the US exams actually match the operating privileges those licenses grant.  

Right now, that isn't happening.

And, contrary to your accusations, if this new approach leads to a more technically comprehensive (i.e. "harder") exam "up front", then SO BE IT!  

In fact, that's exactly what Canada does right now with their Basic exam...an exam that ALL Canadian hams must now pass in order to get ANY license for our Service in that country.... even for VHF and UHF operation.

I know from my own personal experience (from administering them) that the 100-question Canadian Basic exam is a whopper of a test that not everyone passes the first time...or the second...or the third…or even the fourth!  You actually have to "know your stuff" to pass it.

And, with 100 questions pulled out of a 900-item question bank, I've also found that it is extremely hard (if not impossible) for candidates to simply "memorize the test". That's probably because the Canadian Basic exam is roughly equivalent in content and comprehensiveness to our US Tech and General exams put together.

But, even so, there's still a difference.  

That is, rather than focusing on testing obscure parts of our hobby that few (if any of us) will ever need to know about (let alone use!) that Basic exam focuses specifically on examining only those skills and knowledges that hams will absolutely "need to know" in order to keep themselves (and their neighbors) safe and/or from causing harmful interference to other hams or other services.  

What's more, unlike our current US Tech license (based on successfully completing a horrifically un-comprehensive, 35-question exam) that grants high power operating and transmitter construction privileges right from day one, holders of the Canadian Basic certificate are STILL limited to running only 250 watts of power.  

Canadian Basics also cannot build transmitters "from scratch" (kits are OK) and they can't hold the license of an in-band repeater or club station, or give exams. To do those things, they need to pass yet another, 50-question exam over much more technically oriented subject matter.

That is, unlike our General and Extra Class exams that simply ask more obscure questions about subject matter relating to operating privileges that have (in most cases) already been granted to lower-class licensees in the US system, the Canadian Advanced exam is anything but yet another "achievement test".  

To put it bluntly, it's a big-time toughie over a whole lot of new material!

However, even though it is a much more comprehensive and technically oriented exam, it still focuses on examining only those added technical knowledges and skills that Advanced certificate holders absolutely need to know in order to keep themselves and their neighbors safe (and themselves from causing harmful interference) while exercising those newly granted (high power and repeater-enabled) privileges.

The bottom line here is that candidates for licenses in our Service in Canada are examined NOT based on their "achievements" or with an aim to "educate" them into becoming budding RF engineers.  Rather, Canadian licensed candidates are examined on what they absolutely need to know to do certain things in our Service based primarily on safety and non-interference concerns…and nothing more.    

And before some in our ranks once again accuse me of trying to breed "mediocrity" in our Service, please understand that I am NOT advocating that we "water down" our exam structure any further!  

To the contrary, what I AM advocating is that we need to "front end load" our examination requirements and then subsequently examine only those things that we all know (from our own experiences) are specifically required keep ourselves and others safe while also helping to prevent us all from becoming a nuisance to other hams or other services.  

Such an approach would, indeed, make an "Extra Class" license totally irrelevant, and therefore absolutely unnecessary. Which, as I've said, it already is.

This approach would get the FCC out of the "education" business (where they absolutely don't belong and where their "incentive" system has proven to be a dismal failure in that regard) and back into simply examining us for basic (and advanced) technical and regulatory competencies that are specifically relevant to what we actually do…on the air…as modern hams in the 21st Century.  

Or, to put it another way, this approach gets our examination system back into the business of examining skills and knowleges based on "needs" rather than for some obscure modicum of educational "achievement".  

That's not advocating "mediocrity" in our Service.  To the contrary, it's examining applicants for a license in our Service for the right set of needed technical and regulatory skills at the right times in our ham radio "careers".

Quote
Amateur radio is a nothing more than a recreational past time, period. Despite what the ARES/RACES crowd would like you to believe, the amateur radio service does not serve any need, at the federal level or otherwise.

Perhaps not.

But, under the ITU rules, ours is still a separate and (now) long-established radio service...the Amateur Radio Service....and is therefore subject to regulation.  

And the "regulatory need" I'm talking about here is NOT whether (or not) the Service "needs" to exist. Rather, it's about whether the system of rules, regulations and licensing for our Service (all of which the ITU says we must have) are fairy and impartially applied as well as based on safety and non-interference considerations that are directly relevant to the (added) privileges those licensing systems grant.  

What's more, for the FCC, this means that their implementing regulatory systems (particularly their system for examining license applicants for our Service under Part 97) must also remain in conformance with the REST of the US Federal Code.  

As I've shown, right now, Part 97 (as it's currently written and implemented) fails these tests...on all counts.

Quote
Sure, we use spectrum space that is managed (and I use the term loosely) by the FCC, but the precedent has already been set since there are other non-commercial "citizens" and "family" radio services that do not require testing or a license.

But, as I said, according to the ITU (not just the FCC) the Amateur Radio Service isn't one of them.

Quote
Of course the hard part would be getting the IARU on board with this, but maybe not. They are the ones who determined that Morse code proficiency tests served no longer served any useful purpose and all the FCC did was incorporate their resolution into Part 97.

While the IARU certainly had a hand in RECOMMENDING that Morse testing be made optional, it was the ITU that ultimately did so. That's because the IARU is  simply an international lobby group that (supposedly) looks out for our interests at the international level.  

But it's the ITU that ultimately writes the intertnational rules.  

[qupte] I guess we could become just like the Citizens Radio Service and eliminate licensing altogether, but let's take one step at a time.[/quote]

As I said, unless there is a WORLDWIDE groundswell on the part of a majority of the world's amateur radio lobby organizations (not to mention individual national governments) doing away with all testing and licensing in our Service simply isn't going to happen....at least not in your or my lifetimes.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF /  VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com (http://kb1sf.blogspot.com)


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: N2EY on July 26, 2013, 01:28:37 PM
Well, we just passed 714,000 current US amateur licenses held by individuals. More than 6 years of growth since the last big rules change in 2007.

Advanceds are now down to just 7.8% of US hams. In fact, more than 90% of US hams are now either Techs, Generals or Extras.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: KF4DCY on July 28, 2013, 02:37:43 AM
i wish that advance was still a class to advance to. i was a t, t+ and now general. now i have to learn all the stuff that once busted up between the two classes of advance and extra. but as far as the code test went. 5 words per minute should suffice for that portion. and it should still be a part of the t+ segment and higher. as there should be a t+ class and novice. busting up of the old class format was and is a disservice to any and all armatures to be and those to advance to. but that's just my opinion. and we all have one of those.


Title: RE: Bring back the Advanced Class
Post by: AK7V on July 28, 2013, 03:52:10 PM
The bottom 25 kHz of the bands are worse than they used to be.  In fact, so are the old Advanced and General CW portions.  I remember CW being a lot easier to work -- less QRM and more courteous operators.  You could tell the people you were QSOing with were really "engaged."  Nowadays, sometimes I think they're sitting at a computer that's doing all the work, looking at the code on a waterfall and with the speaker turned all the way down.  I hear what I presume is fumbling with settings, computer errors, etc.

I still have good, visceral, human-to-human CW contacts, and I appreciate them, but they aren't as common as before, and they aren't exclusive on the lower 25, like they (almost) used to be.  And I've only been a ham since the early 90s.

DX - I remember being able to catch some good DX with my pipsqueak station because I was one of the relative few who could operate down in the lower 25kHz - and those that did generally knew what they were doing.  Nowadays some Extras are chasing that DX and stomping all over the place with their slow calls, bad ears, and/or otherwise lousy operations.  It's a lot more difficult to get through.

Another thing that's making it worse is RFI from consumer electronics and power lines, but that's another discussion.

Finally, I was never an Advanced class ham.  I had a General for one month, then went in to take the test for Advanced.  I thought I'd try the 20 wpm code test to get some practice with it, since I was there, and I ended up passing it.  The guys at the VE session suggested I also try the Extra theory test (I passed the Advanced theory that day, so "I got what I came for").  I ended up passing that, too.  So I went from a General to an Extra in one day.  No-code tech to 20 wpm extra in just over a month.  That was a pretty big deal at the time. Reading and understanding the ARRL Handbook was, I believe, what made it possible to pass all the written exams.  Operating every day for a month as a General made it possible to pass the 20 wpm test.  I got from 0 to 13 wpm using ARRL tapes and SuperMorse software for several months.  Didn't bother with Tech+ or Novice.