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Author Topic: Amateur Extra-Elite License class needed.  (Read 8989 times)
W5ESE
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« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2008, 06:28:49 AM »

> Truthfully, I really regret putting forth the
> effort to go from no-license to 20 WPM Extra
> in four months. It was a waste of time.

Why?

I passed the Extra with the 20 wpm code, too.

Nothing that has happened subsequent to that
has taken, or ever will take, anything away
from that.

and besides that, I love to operate using CW.

Scott

 
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W5ROY
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« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2008, 12:32:48 PM »

To start with, the reason for the radioroy is that I can not get the folks here to reset my password for my call (W5ROY). I have encountered some of the sour grapes people on the HF bands, and I generally just say thanks for your time and move on. There are a lot of awfully nice hams out there to talk to, and no trouble finding them if you want. I personally associate with a group on 40 meters, and I am the only one there without a college degree of some sort, and treated very well by all. I will continue to build my circle of friends on HF, and will delete those with bad attitudes. Get on and call CQ, and make a new friend today.  

   73  and look for you on HF.  Roy
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I8RADIO
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« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2008, 12:17:25 PM »

N2NXZ:  

I’m begging you; go to college and learn how to read and write.  “Alot” is not a word!  It’s two words genius:  A Lot.  Your grammar is atrocious, and your sentence structure is fragmented.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  And you want to know why people don’t take you seriously or answer your CQ calls…Do us all a favor and don’t ever upgrade.  Thank you.
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NR8TV
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« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2008, 06:00:12 PM »

I'm a five word a minute extra.It's not as great a title as 20 word extra.But my friend and I were dubbed ultra class when we climbed my tower at 2:00 in the morning via  spot lights.This was after a couple twelve packs.Take care,Dave NR8TV
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N2NXZ
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2008, 04:28:29 PM »

N2NXZ:

I’m begging you; go to college and learn how to read and write. “Alot” is not a word! It’s two words genius: A Lot. Your grammar is atrocious, and your sentence structure is fragmented. You should be ashamed of yourself. And you want to know why people don’t take you seriously or answer your CQ calls…Do us all a favor and don’t ever upgrade. Thank you.

Who the hell are you supposed to be???You probably cant change a tire on your car.Or repair the roof on your house.Or do anything that requires survival without a credit card.Your books and electronics are useless with water dripping on them.I know plenty of folks who went to college and they are overweight,high colesterol over stressed wimps that cant even setup or climb a tower.So I guess there are the smart and the strong.Unfortunately for you, YOU NEED ME ! Smiley))
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N2NXZ
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« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2008, 07:04:19 AM »

Well,
Congradulations to those of you who obviously look as to actually have the capability to pass the Amateur extra-elite imaginary license.:)This post was originally for humor only,but as many of us have witnessed,a very sad reality.I want to wish ANY new comers into the hobby lots of luck.Hopefully they will read this post and have a general idea of what to expect.Hang in there.And also,I hope that many of you regular amateur operators who posted here or have read this had LOL as my friends and I have.I will not post any further here but I am positive it will grow.Thats ok as the more Elites who post here proves my point further and will continue to teach many of us even more..73`s all Smiley))))
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DAVIDVD59
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« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2008, 11:07:14 AM »

There are a number of amateurs who qualify for the amateur elite extra class especially on 75 meters. I also agree most are grumpy old men ready to wear diapers again who over value their worth to the world and amateur radio. I hear ALL this bitching regarding the dumbing down testing  and of course with no knowledge of cw you can't demonstrate a proficient operation of the radio. However for the bulk of these big mouths shooting off their mouths,I find many are not extras themselves. Since it is alleged to be so easy, why aren't these idiots extras? Also since they bitch about proficiency in operating their radios, why don't they get off of phone and stay on cw where only TRUE amateurs can operate and demonstrate this proficient use of spectrum?

During the short term all your bitching really turns off new amateurs, and maybe that is their goal. I say short term while we all wait for you children to die and clean up the air waves. I always equate this whining to the level of education that these people have....LOW! Have you idiots ever heard of mentoring, showing by example.

Unfortunately for these amateurs, life has moved on, and 1935 is long gone. New modes and radio is changing and will continue to change long after I am gone, and that is a good thing!

Dave
AB9PM

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NM2K
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« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2008, 01:09:14 PM »

You know, a person can only take the exam that is offered when they apply. Treating recent licensees as second class citizens demonstrates a lack of intelligence, as far as I'm concerned.

Instead of beating up on the recent licensees, how about directing your (to whom it applies) venom toward the FCC and the ARRL, where it might do some good?
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W2DAB
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« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2008, 12:35:35 PM »

"I hear ALL this bitching regarding the dumbing down testing and of course with no knowledge of cw you can't demonstrate a proficient operation of the radio. However for the bulk of these big mouths shooting off their mouths,I find many are not extras themselves. Since it is alleged to be so easy, why aren't these idiots extras?"

Thank you, my point exactly (on another post). The hobby is so large and expansive that anyone frustrated that the FCC took away their challenge should A. Take the test and prove it and B. Publish an article that advanced the hobby or build something and then share it.

The way some people foam at the mouth you would think that the piece of paper and title of their class is the most important thing in their life.

Personally I think CW operators should have special recognition through a separate "Master CW operator" license or something to that effect.

The most rewarding part of the hobby should be contributing toward it's advancement and having fun.

Other arguments that the hobby is going to die are nonsense for the reasons stated. 1. New hams will, if anything have more disposable income than previous generations to spend on gear. 2. New hams don't have to be "dedicated", just interested and opening up the hobby will have the effect of exposing it's many facets that will keep and develop operators.

Please let's put aside all the cranky "it was so much harder in my day" stories... look around, if there aren't any kids in you life that want to take up the hobby maybe it's your example that's putting them off.
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KB1SF
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« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2008, 05:00:45 AM »

James (N2NXZ) wrote:  "I have been doing a lot of reading of amateur radio posts and listening to a lot of transmissions in the general coverage HF band and have come up with a solution to the frustrations that come with those who believe that the licenses are being dumbed down year after year. So I think there should be another class of amateur radio license. After all, they came up with the no-code and tech-plus, so why not just have a new license for smarter, better and knowledgable [sic] folks?
-------------------------------------

This proposal is simply more "sour grapes" from the "we're being dumbed down" crowd that has been killing what’s left of our great hobby.

We don't need yet another, higher class of license.  In fact, we need to do just the opposite.  That is, there are already FAR too many elitists in our ranks who steadfastly believe ours should forever be a closed, "professional" Service and who remain absolutely convinced they've been somehow "anointed" by the FCC to serve as the self-appointed gatekeepers to our Service simply because, they've passed a stupid Morse exam and other, equally irrelevant "hazing rituals".

This is in SPITE of the fact that, in the international rules for our service (and almost everywhere else outside of the United States), there is absolutely NO regulatory basis for such snobbery.  In fact, in most other countries of the world, the Amateur Service is regarded as being principally of, by and for (gasp!) …. True Amateurs.

Sitting astride the US/Canadian border as I do (as well as being an instructor and accredited as a volunteer examiner to give exams in our respective Amateur Services) has given me a unique perspective upon which to compare and contrast the glaring differences in the way each government regulates and licenses their Hams.  

The inescapable fact that precious few Canadian Hams show up in forums like these to protest what they perceive as the "dumbing down" of our Service speaks volumes.  Likewise, the endless "dumbing down" rants, name-calling and unadulterated vitriol that has been quire regularly spewing from the mouths and keyboards of some American Hams after the FCC saw fit to eliminate Morse testing over a year ago was refreshingly absent from Canadian Hams when Industry Canada did likewise for them a few years back.  That fact, too, speaks volumes.  

Now, granted, as a culture, I've found that Canadians tend to be far less confrontational than their American brethren.  But, I also can't help but believe that the noticeable absence of such "sky is falling" panic (and/or "I'm better than you" blather) from Canadian Hams in forums like these has FAR more to do with the fact that Industry Canada never bought into the FCC's 1960s era, "badge of honor" and "earned merit badge" approach to licensing for our Service in the first place.  

With the exception of a precious few (and very specific) operating and regulatory privileges reserved for holders of the Advanced Certification in the Amateur Service in Canada, their Basic Qualification grants nearly ALL the operating privileges currently allowed by the ITU for our Service right from the start.  These include FULL frequency privileges on ALL of our bands (from "DC to light") as well as allowing the maximum bandwidth for those emissions currently granted by the international guidelines.

What's more, and to their everlasting credit, Industry Canada has simply left it up to Canadian Hams to decide, "what goes where" in our bands for decades. That is, there are no sub-bands and sub-sub bands in our Service in Canada based on license class and operating mode.

And while, for the most part, Canadian Hams still follow both the US and the IARU voluntary band plans, there are NO hard and fast rules in Canada that require such strict compliance.  This absolutely refreshing lack of regulatory overkill, in turn, gives Canadian Hams FAR more flexibility than their American brethren to freely explore (and then easily adopt and incorporate) new wideband and other communications technologies for use in our Service as they come along.

Moreover, some of the 1950s-era FCC governing regulations for our Service have since become downright illegal in taxpayer-funded, government-administered institutions like the Amateur Service under a whole host of recently enacted federal laws.  This also speaks volumes as to just how out of touch our Part 97 licensing requirements have become in modern society.

Clearly, performing mindless "hazing rituals" in order to join "secret" societies so as to receive the equivalent of a "super-spaceman-blinking-ring" (an Extra Class license) is no longer a strong motivator to young people in our culture that it once was.  

Yet, the fundamental reward system the FCC built into the licensing and regulatory structure for our Service back in the 1950s and 1960s remains largely untouched and intact today.  Such systems have since become little more than discriminatory holdovers…"dinosaurs"…from the cultural fabric of a clearly bygone era.

Now, this reality, in and of itself, would ordinarily not be a problem…IF those regulatory underpinnings had not ALSO spawned (and sustained) a core group of crusty "professional amateurs" in our ranks who remain absolutely convinced they've going to "save Amateur Radio" by adding yet MORE elitism to it.

These "holier than thou" types (with their snotty, "I'm better than you" attitudes) have been encouraged to freely breed and multiply in our midst as a DIRECT result of the FCC's steadfast refusal to even address (let alone enact) long-needed regulatory reforms for our Service until very, very recently.  

Rather than extending the hand of help as "Elmers" to newcomers (and, firm in the knowledge that the FCC's discriminatory, 1950s-era regulations for our Service enable such snobbery) this cadre of elitist clowns remain steadfastly hard at work driving potential newcomers (the very lifeblood and future of our Service) away in droves with their blatant bigotry.

For a whole host of reasons, keeping Morse testing as a regulated, mandatory "right of passage" into the "inner sanctum" of our Service until well into the 21st Century was absolutely unconscionable.  

But, hanging on to the REST of the FCC's clearly antiquated (and now systemically discriminatory) licensing and regulatory gobbledygook for our Service LONG after it has served any useful purpose whatsoever (other than to stroke the already over-inflated egos of a dwindling (albeit still vocal) minority) is as much…if not more…of a crime.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF  
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KB1SF
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« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2008, 06:08:05 AM »

Steven (KE4MOB) wrote:  "Truthfully, I really regret putting forth the effort to go from no-license to 20 WPM Extra in four months. It was a waste of time."
------------------------------------------------

Actually, Steven, beyond a basic license, it's ALL a needless "waste of time".  

And nowadays, still requiring you to do so in order to have full access to a publicly owned, taxpayer supported, government administered service like Amateur Radio has become quite illegal under a whole host of federal anti-discrimination laws as well.

Unfortunately, since the late 1950's, the FCC (at the behest of the ARRL) has been perpetuating a licensing SYSTEM for our Service that has fundamentally relied on ego stroking (vice international regulatory or technical need) to push pseudo-learning up various orifices of our bodies one increasingly irrelevant test question (and, until recently, one stupid Morse character) at a time.  

Clearly this approach isn't working.  And, all you have to do is look at our retention numbers to see why.  Since 2003, we have been LOSING licensees in our Service to the tune of some 8-10,000 per year.  What's more, some 40 percent of US Hams have basically said "up yours" to the FCC and have remained at the Technician level.   Any way you cut it, a government-run education system, masquerading as "incentive licensing" that can't achieve anything better than a 60 percent advancement rate is in serious need of overhaul.

Rather than adding to the requirements overkill that is ALREADY in the licensing system for our Service, the FCC needs to now get OUT of the forced education business and get back to simply certifying that newcomers to our Service know enough to keep themselves and their neighbors safe, that they won't interfere with other Services, and otherwise, won't become a nuisance to their fellow Hams.  Period.

Requiring ordinary people to have the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering in order to have full frequency privileges in the PUBLIC Amateur Radio Service is not only needless overkill, but it runs completely counter to the basis, purpose and intent of our Service internationally.

Historically, such forced education and over-regulation in our Service in the United States wasn't always the case.  Indeed, in the early years of our Service, Amateurs were free to roam the airwaves at will without ANY regulation or license.  And, even after our Service began to be regulated in the early 1900s, then Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover (a conservative Republican, no less!) defined an "Amateur" in our Service as simply a person "who operates a radio station, transmitting or receiving, or both, without pay or commercial gain, merely for personal interest or in connection with an organization of like interest."

Please note that NOWHERE in that definition did it say anything about "creating a trained pool of communications experts and technicians" as is currently spelled out in excruciating detail in Part 97.  And, indeed, in its early years, our Service was regarded not so much for the technical prowess of our membership (which was impressive, even WITHOUT a formalized licensing system), but for our ability to quickly and successfully relay third-party messages from one point to another.

Thankfully, today's FCC is now (finally) undoing what the ARRL and their own bureaucratic predecessors set in motion in the late 1950s and early 1960s when they turned what was then a simple, basic competency test for a Ham Radio license internationally into an unneeded series of ever more irrelevant achievement tests.    

Which is precisely why I STRONGLY believe that any "achievement testing" beyond the basic skills and knowledges for our Service now needs to come to a screeching grinding halt.  Such needless overkill can easily be turned over to any number of private institutions of higher learning (such as the League or any one of hundreds of private colleges and universities) that certainly can do a MUCH better job than a 60 percent advancement rate.  This approach should also satisfy those individuals who still obsessively need to stroke their already over-inflated egos with a piece of paper for the shack wall.

Returning our licensing system to just one or two simple certifications, and then turning the "achievement testing" over to the private sector for those who still wish to pursue such education should also help open the doors to our Service to desperately needed newcomers.  

At the same time, this approach will also allow the REST of us who DON'T require such ego-stroking to pick up these concepts in our own way and on our own schedule…WITHOUT the stupid government forcing it up everyone's finals one test question at a time.

And, the more I read their senseless blather, the more I've come to believe that what's got many of the "Morse testing and incentive licensing forever" crowd in such a tizzy over these changes is that the systemically discriminatory Government "filters" that far too many of them have been relying on for so many years to institutionalize their snobbery are now, one by one, going by the wayside.

That's because the US Government has now…officially… debunked ALL of their completely bogus "lid filter" arguments.  In fact, the FCC appears to now be well along in their own plan to dismantle the remaining "hazing rituals" in the licensing system for our Service so as to bring it back in line with the (far less achievement-oriented) ITU guidelines.  

However, as nobody in any official capacity is listening to the ever more paranoid rants from the "we're being dumbed down" crowd, they and their ever-shrinking minority are now forced to rely more and more heavily on forums like these as their last best hope to stem the tide.  

But…fortunately…it would appear they aren't getting any traction here, either.  

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
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N3DF
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« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2008, 08:01:33 AM »

First, the current Amateur Extra license is hardly "elite."  It is well within the reach of motivated high school (and some younger) students.

Second, "incentive licensing" (meeting additional requirements to gain extra privileges) did not begin in the 1950's or 1960's.  It dates from the 1920's (Amateur Extra First Class license and "unlimited radiotelephone" license endorsement) and continued in the 1930's and 1940's with the phone bands restricted to Class A licensees.

Neil N3DF
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Neil N3DF
KB1SF
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2008, 07:12:39 PM »

Neil (N3DF) wrote:  First, the current Amateur Extra license is hardly "elite." It is well within the reach of motivated high school (and some younger) students.”
-----------------

Certainly, to someone who is ALREADY an RF engineer, the Extra Ham Exam IS “child's play”.  However, MOST people who are attracted to our hobby are not RF engineers.  And, during my some 25 years of being an Amateur Radio instructor and accredited examiner, I've personally watched FAR too many of them take one look at the ARRL license manual for the Extra exam, and then walk away shaking their heads.

The truth is that, internationally, ours was NEVER MEANT to be a "professional" Radio Service.  Yet, many of our techno-nerd predecessors (along with their willing partners in the ARRL and the FCC) hijacked it many years ago and turned it into just that.  And they (and many others like them) have been obsessively trying to sustain it as such ever since.  

Back then, the ARRL and FCC (et al) thought that they would take what had been up to that time a radio service that was specifically designed for ordinary, non-technically educated citizens.  They thought they would "improve the technical qualifications of Hams" by setting up a licensing system that rewarded such pseudo "improvement" with "exclusive" frequency allocations and the opportunity for an "exclusive" call sign, both of which did (and still do) absolutely NOTHING but stroke far too many people's already over-inflated egos.

The sad result of that collective foolishness is that we now have an ever-aging (some would say dying) radio service that is mostly populated by 50 and 60-something geezers desperately clinging to 1950s-era technology and using "quaint" methods of communication (like Morse) to communicate with one another.  And, as a direct result of the FCC's so-called "incentive licensing" system, it's since morphed into a closed "members only" society still replete with written (and unwritten) "hazing rituals" and "rites of passage"…all of which have since become a HUGE turn off to younger newcomers.

The truth is that the international regulations are completely silent on the issue of how much we are supposed to be "advancing the radio art" in our Service, except for the fact that we are to simply carry on "technical investigations".  What that means (or to what level those "technical investigations" are to be conducted) isn't specified ANYWHERE in to those regulations.  It’s only our own FCC who turned Amateur Radio into the “No Budding RF Engineer Left Behind” Radio Service to which ordinary people of modest means and intelligence need not apply.  

Clearly, the ITU regulators NEVER intended for EVERY "person interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim" to ALSO be highly conversant in the now hundreds of pages of advanced technical gobbledygook currently contained in the ARRL's Extra Class License Manual (and the stupid FCC test it is based on) in order for them to have full access to all that our Service has to offer.

Now, this is NOT to say that those persons who are so inclined shouldn't be delving into such "technical investigations" with gusto on their own.  And, contrary to many of the “we’re being dumbed down” crowd’s wails of protest being posted here and elsewhere, I firmly believe there IS still some of that going on in our Service.  

For example, when I was President of AMSAT-NA and was up to my keester in getting the Phase 3-D satellite out the gate, I saw enough "advancing of the radio art" happening in our Service to choke the proverbial horse.  

And, that tradition continues apace today in Amateur Radio-related organizations like AMSAT and TAPR.  There, experimenter Hams with names like Tom Clark, Bob McGwire, Dick Jannson and Lyle Johnson are now hard at work designing and building software-defined transponders along with CAN bus hardware and software for the upcoming Phase 3-E, Eagle and Phase IV "lite" satellites.  What they are now working on is absolute, cutting edge stuff with wide application to other Radio Services besides Amateur Radio.

But their recent work simply follows in the AMSAT tradition of greatly advancing the state of the art in communications technology, and particularly space communications technology.  They are an integral part of an organization that was responsible for inventing (literally!) an entire new communications industry (low-Earth orbiting store-and forward messaging and communication satellites) along with a whole new way to carry secondary satellites to orbit on a single rocket (the Ariane Structure for Auxiliary Payloads).  

If that isn't "technological advancement" I don't know what is!  But, sadly, it is an exception in our Service these days, not the rule.

If anything, what is FAR more amazing to me is that such technological advancement is STILL happening in our Service IN SPITE OF the FCC's best attempts over the last five decades to turn such highly educated people "off" and then drive them all away by trying to cram pseudo "learning" up various orifices of their (and our) bodies one ever-more irrelevant test question (and one stupid Morse character) at a time.

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
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SWL377
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« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2008, 12:52:39 AM »

I just got my Extra a couple of weeks ago. I went from SWL to Extra in one sitting. I prepared over three evenings for two hours a night, nothing more. It was just a matter of visual memory, recognizing the right answer when you see it. Do I have the same Extra that the old timers earned? NOPE. NO WAY. I call mine EXTRA LITE.

Still, its great to be a licensed ham with a two letter call suffix. Its nice to have all the band privileges. Don't hold it against us newbie Extras. We took the toughest exam available, even if it wasn't as tough as yours back in the day. Are we getting  licensed too easily? Yes, we are, but not much can be done about that. That battle was fought hard but it is over.

Welcome newbies to the hobby. I'll always respect your CW and home brew skills. Don't disrespect me just because I came into the hobby at a time when the FCC lowered the gate. That's not my fault.

73,
AF6IM
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KB1SF
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« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2008, 06:58:47 AM »

Mark (AF6IM) wrote:  Don't hold it against us newbie Extras. We took the toughest exam available, even if it wasn't as tough as yours back in the day. Are we getting licensed too easily? Yes, we are, but not much can be done about that. That battle was fought hard but it is over.
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Mark, you have absolutely NO need to apologize for the license you've been granted.  

In fact, as I've said in this and other forums, your felt need to apologize is most likely being generated by the same elitist snobbery from the same "we're being dumbed down" crowd who remain royally pissed that the US Government has now…officially… debunked ALL of their completely bogus "lid filter" arguments.  

In fact, such elitist blather is a sad by-product of a Government licensing system for our Service that has, for over 50 years now, maintained a so-called "incentive licensing" approach where the content and comprehensiveness of our exams have in NO WAY directly related to the specific operational privileges they grant.  Or, to put it another way, these "incentives" for advancement have largely been set up to do nothing more than stroke people's egos while separating "us" from "them" in our Service.

Yes, it IS true that ours has become a licensing system that now allows "wet-behind-the-ears" Technicians, after passing a horrifically simple, 35 question exam, the "privilege" of building and operating, for example, a full KW amplifier (from scratch, no less!) for 2.4 GHz and then aiming the antenna at themselves (or their neighbors) at full tilt, thereby causing irreparable eye damage to both.

But, ours is ALSO licensing system where the content and comprehensiveness of what's on the General Class examination (and ALL of what's on the Extra Class exam!) go WELL beyond what is minimally required by the international Radio Regulations to provide a reasonable assurance that such license holders will, in fact, operate their stations in a safe and courteous manner with the added privileges those licenses specifically grant.  

And, as if that weren't enough, these blatant disconnects in our current licensing system have now made our higher-class exams (particularly the one for the Extra Class license) systemically discriminatory (spelled “illegal”) under a whole plethora of current US federal equal access laws because the tests are so completely out of touch with the specific, largely ego-based privileges they grant.

In fact, I firmly believe the declining popularity of our Service to newcomers over the last half-century has been caused, at least in part, by the FCC's decision over 50 years ago to "dumb up" what used to just be a simple series of licensing tests for our Service.  

But, to add insult to injury, in an ongoing effort to make our Service "more attractive" to newcomers, they have ALSO been making the entry requirements for beginners "easier" ever since by giving them privileges they have not yet proven they are knowledgeable or experienced enough to safely (and courteously) handle.  

Sadly, as a result of such "ego-based" foolishness, today's newly licensed Technicians have now become a very real safety hazard to themselves and their neighbors while, at the same time, our higher class licenses have become less and less attractive to the younger set because the "need to have" vice the "nice to have" information ratio these exams require of applicants remains so horrifically out of balance.  

Most US Hams are also blissfully ignorant of the fact that (thankfully!) most governments in the rest of the world steadfastly refrained from buying into the FCC's ego-stroking, incentive licensing foolishness for their own Amateur Services.  In fact, throughout the rest of the world, Amateur licenses are usually regarded as “certificates of safety", much like the written test one takes to obtain a license to operate a private motor vehicle.

That is, their licensing systems are specifically designed to be just comprehensive enough to do NOTHING MORE than provide a reasonable assurance to government regulators that an applicant for a Ham license won't become a safety hazard or a nuisance to his or her self (or their neighbors) or become a nuisance to others on the bands, or to other services.  My guess is that you and your compatriots must pass similar examinations in order to be qualified to jump out of perfectly functioning airplanes!

However, right now, I firmly believe NONE of OUR written examinations provide such "reasonable assurance"...at least not at the appropriate level.

What's more, elsewhere in the world, the Amateur Service is largely regulated by bandwidth, NOT by license class and operating mode.  That approach provides those other administrations with a great deal more flexibility than we in the United States now have to change band allocations and permitted emission types as the technology (and the popularity of that technology) changes.  

On the other hand, (and largely because of the FCC's "incentive licensing" foolishness) OUR frequency and regulated sub-band allocations still largely reflect Amateur Radio technology as it existed in the late 1950s.  

And, as I have said, in most other countries, the safety issue of power output (vice frequency and operating mode) as well as being allowed to build and operate transmitters "from scratch" are often the central factors that differentiate one license class from another.  And, the REST of the world's Amateur Radio licenses DO NOT grant "from scratch" transmitter construction and/or high-power operational privileges to inexperienced beginners.

Would someone please explain to me what specific additional technical or operational skills (beyond those required to obtain a General Class license) are absolutely required to safely and courteously operate in the so-called “Extra Class” portions of OUR bands?  

And, how does mastering all 600-plus pages of the ARRL's Extra Class License manual (a "hazing ritual" required by all but the most learned BSEEs in our ranks) to successfully PASS that examination DIRECTLY relate in ANY way to the skills required to fill out an application for a so-called “exclusive” call sign?

Yet, right now, being able to operate in the "exclusive" sub-bands reserved specifically for Extras and obtaining an "exclusive" call sign are the ONLY TWO operational privileges specifically reserved for Extra Class Licensees in our Service in the United States.

That is, NEITHER of those additional operating privileges are directly tied to improving safety or preventing non-interference.  Rather, they are simply designed to stroke someone's ego.  Or, to put it another way, the so-called "incentives" built into our current licensing system are ALL designed to simply make people feel "exclusive", NOT to help assure non-interference and/or the safety of themselves or others.

Clearly, as a result of keeping such regulatory foolishness firmly intact for going on half a century, ours has now become a slowly dying Radio Service in the United States and our ever-aging demographics prove it.  

It is an irrefutable fact that our average age is now approaching 60 and the number of Amateur Radio licensees hasn't grown in the United States since 2003 (or 1998 if you take into account that the license data we're looking at will always be 10 years out of date).  And, sadly, BOTH of these downward trends show absolutely NO sign of reversing themselves anytime soon.

However, based on their regulatory actions in our Service over the last 20 years (including their latest decision to drop all forms of Morse testing), it's absolutely clear the FCC has (finally!) recognized the horrific, constrictive mess their predecessors made of our licensing and regulatory system when they first hatched their stupid "license-class-and-operating-mode-based" foolishness back in the 1950s.  

And, as a direct result of that realization, I also firmly believe the FCC (with the ARRL's behind-the-scenes tacit approval) has now embarked on a plan that will largely de-regulate our Service, allowing it to revert back to the time when our licensing system was aimed primarily at insuring non-interference and the safety of its operators (and their neighbors)…and nothing more.

That is, after assuring applicants were well versed in the critical aspects of what we do, I predict our licensing system in the United States will eventually revert to a simple series of forward-looking "licenses to learn" based solely on safety and non-interference considerations, rather than on a meaningless series of ego-stroking "rewards" tied to an ever-more irrelevant set of backward looking "achievement tests" that have accomplished absolutely NOTHING but perpetuate an entrenched (and now blatantly illegal) institutionalized snobbery in our Service.

In fact, the FCC appears to now be well along in their plan to completely dismantle the remaining "hazing rituals" in the licensing system for our Service so as to bring it back in line with the (far less achievement-oriented) ITU guidelines.  Dropping the Morse test for all classes of licenses was simply the latest chapter in that plan.

However, as nobody in any official capacity is listening to the ever more paranoid rants from the crowd who desperately want to keep all that 1950's-era ego-stroking snob appeal in place, they and their ever-shrinking minority are now forced to rely more and more heavily on forums like these one as their last best hope to stem the tide.  

But…fortunately…it would appear they aren't getting any traction here, either.  

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
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