The ARRL is constantly pressuring the FCC to "relax" the licensing requirements, in the interest of "rebuilding" the ranks of ham radio, since so many more are going SK then there are coming into the service.
Why do you think that? Where's the evidence?
It's FCC that has wanted to reduce the requirements. Not ARRL.
This is patently false, there are more hams now, then there have ever been in the past.
In the USA, anyway.
True, percentage wise the general population vastly outnumbers the hams in the US today. A larger percentage of hams relative to the general population was true back in the 1950's.
No, it wasn't true at all.
The following numbers have been posted by W5ESE on QRZ.com and elsewhere:
Year Population #Hams Hams as % of US Population
1913 97,225,000 2,000 0.002%
1914 99,111,000 5,000 0.005%
1916 101,961,000 6,000 0.006%
1921 108,538,000 10,809 0.010%
1922 110,049,000 14,179 0.013%
1930 123,202,624 19,000 0.015%
1940 132,164,569 56,000 0.042%
1950 151,325,798 87,000 0.057%
1960 179,323,175 230,000 0.128%
1970 203,211,926 263,918 0.130%
1980 226,545,805 393,353 0.174%
1990 248,709,873 502,677 0.202%
1997 267,783,607 678,733 0.253%
2000 281,421,906 682,240 0.242%
2005 296,410,404 662,600 0.224%
2006 299,291,772 657,814 0.220%
2008 303,000,000 658,648 0.217%
2010 310,425,814 694,313 0.224%
2014 319,071,142 724,410 0.227%
The 2010 and 2014 figures are from the US population clockhttp://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html
However, the total number of hams now, out numbers those of the 1950's by more than double.
True. Close to triple, actually.
More important, the percentage of the US population with an amateur license today is much HIGHER than it was in the 1950s.
The motivation of the ARRL, is purely selfish, to swell its membership. So, they apply constant pressure to "get more people into ham radio" to "save the hobby" from oblivion. Doom and gloom, scare tactics. So, the FCC relaxes the requirments, and you get what you have today.
Nope. ARRL is not doing that.
The REAL reason for the changes in requirements are to reduce the load on FCC - and because some folks protested the code tests for so long and so loudly.
In so many words, "yes" it's easier than ever to get a ham ticket.
My wife, who knows nothing of radio or how it works took a practice test for a tech license, and nearly passed it, with no study at all. That should tell you how easy it is today.
But how hard was it in the past?
Back in 1968 I passed the Advanced license tests - all of them - as a 14 year old kid. It was in the summer, between 8th and 9th grade. That was back when the tests were supposedly so much harder than today.
Nobody in my family or neighborhood was a ham. I had no Elmer except books. Electricity wasn't taught in school, let alone radio. In fact I went to the FCC office to get a General, but the FCC Examiner suggested I try the Advanced anyway. So I did, and passed.
In those days, you needed two years' experience as a General, Advanced or Conditional before they'd even let you TRY the Extra. Two years after I got the Advanced I got the Extra on the first go.
None of that was a record or even unusual.
So how hard were the old tests, REALLY?
73 de Jim, N2EY