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Author Topic: DUMP Pre Published Answers for the Extra  (Read 38101 times)
W1IT
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Posts: 143




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« on: December 18, 2009, 08:43:19 PM »

Its time we understand our hobby is dying as a technical person's avocation. The Extra is a sham with its pre published answers. All one need to is memorize the answers in each of the sections. With computerized flash programs this is a cinch. I scored 95 percent on the Extra without even opening a book.

Of course I hold from 1964 the Extra that contained 150 questions, required math computations and schematics.

The Extra LITE extra, now coming to you even with out a code test is a complete joke.

Merry Christmas
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2527




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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2009, 11:57:47 PM »

Sounds like jeapordy, prepublish the answers and then people taking the Extra test have to select the question.
Hi hi.

Your complaint is about two decades too late.
People can only take the tests offered.
When ops no longer had to use CW for their first ticket, we lost a bonding agent of the structure of QSO based upon CW operation.  New hams didn't choose this; neither did they choose to be dumped onto repeaters for their first operating experience.

When I sat for my Gen at an FCC ofice we couldn't use a computer to design and simulate circuits; couldn't use a home computer to model an antenna; couldn't order parts from Mouser at 1AM in the morning and have the order mailed the same day FedXpress; couldn't order military surplus capacitors from Russia; come to think of it, I had to manually go thru a paper log to confirm, QSL.

If someone is interested in how things work, they will use preparing for the test as a springboard for more knowledge.

Have you considered running CW or building your own AM rig and hanging out there.  Many of the ops I've encountered running AM have tons of FUN restoring old gear or just building their own rigs.  You won't encounter any of the Lite Extras you haven't met and don't like.

73
Bob
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N2EY
Member

Posts: 3879




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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2009, 03:08:02 AM »

As W7ETA says, you're a couple of decades late...

The published Q&A for all US amateur licenses goes back at least 25 years, to the beginning of the VE system. That system was put in place by FCC to save money. They got amateur volunteers to do the work once done by paid government employees.

Even before the VE system, there were the "Bash books" of the 1970s. They were assembled from the recollections of folks who had taken the tests. FCC knew all about them and how they were done, but decided not to prosecute.

If we could somehow make the Q&A secret again, there would be nothing to stop someone from doing the Bash thing all over again.

There was a time when all licenses except Novice required drawing diagrams, writing essays, and doing show-your-work calculations. That era ended in the 1960s, and we won't see it again because there would be subjective judgement in the grading.

I well remember the two-year experience requirement for Extra, which went away in the 1970s. I don't know why that had to go.

But W7ETA is right about there being groups of hams who are very knowledgeable and technically interested. The "boat anchor" and "glowbug" folks are like that; so are the QRPers. They and others go far beyond what was or is on the tests, fixing up old gear, designing and building new gear, operating, sharing info and parts, etc.

But you have to seek them out.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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WX7G
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Posts: 6039




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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2009, 07:46:55 AM »

Providing the questions and answers is an accepted teaching/learning method. If 300 Q/A are studied and 50 Q/A are on the test the student has learning well over 50 Q/A. The student has learned more than is on the test.

Contrast this to the method where assigned material is read and questions are asked. A common approach is to have extensive study material where only some of it is covered on the test. The idea is that the student will learn more than is on the test.

Now contarst this to the method where no material is assigned. The student finds and reads material he thinks might teach him what he needs to know to pass the test. He might learn quite a bit but not learn what he needs to pass the test. He has not learned what is intended by the test agency (FCC).

What is the goal of the FCC that is achieved by studying and passing amateur radio test? Is it to build a force of technical communicators? Is it to build a force of competent communicators where technical skill is secondary? In any case it must be to obtain a sufficient number of public service communicators.

Building and maintaining communications equipment was a desirable goal decades ago. Learning to communicate with CW was a desirable goal decades ago.

What is a desirable FCC goal in the year 2009? With virtually all amateur public service communications being performed with commerical gear and without CW, the skills of electronic design and CW are not needed. The FCC goal also must be to have a sufficient number of amateurs available for public service communications. So, I think the FCC tests emphasizes skills relevant to 2009 tempered with the goal of enough people being licensed.
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MAZAKGUY
Member

Posts: 10




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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2009, 09:28:52 AM »

I love my Extra lite just for the fact it raises the blood pressure of old timers to near the stroke level. Call 911 before you read the rest of this cuz you are gonna stroke out. I am just memorizeing the anwsers to the GROL with radar and the GMDSS op/maint. to to put the thumb deeper into the eyes of  you old crybabies. Now for the best part. You will love this. My Extra lite as you call it, gives me code credit for the radiotelegraph exam per W5YI. Loopholes are great. Soon thanks to time us youngsters won't have to listen to your crying any longer.
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N2EY
Member

Posts: 3879




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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2009, 10:31:18 AM »

WX7G: I think it's a lot simpler than being about goals and FCC's role.

I remember when FCC had "secret" tests, offices in major cities where exam sessions were held, traveling examiners, etc.

I even remember when you needed 2 years experience as a General or Advanced to even *try* the Extra test.

That stuff cost some serious money, and except for a few years in the 1960s and early 1970s there were no fees. Even when there were fees, it's doubtful that they paid the entire cost.

The VE and QPC systems, the doubling of the license term to 10 years, the simplification of the license system and most other changes were and are about one thing only: Saving money.

Despite what we pay in taxes, the FCC's budget is tight, and the part of it devoted to Amateur Radio is very small. The only money FCC gets from Amateur Radio is vanity-call fees, and all they do is cover the cost of administrating the vanity-call program. (VE fees reimburse the VEs, not the FCC, and fines go into the general fund, not the FCC budget).

The code tests went away because the FCC didn't want to deal with the complaints about them any more, and the 2003 treaty change made it possible to eliminate even the 5 wpm test. (There was an organization that had a couple thousand US members whose only stated purpose was to make the code tests go away).

The end result is that we hams are pretty much on our own. We can make the question pools bigger and higher quality, but there's no way FCC is going to go back to "secret" tests or giving the exams themselves.

---

Oh, and to the "Mazak" fellow: I think you'll find that FCC doesn't give code-test credit for the Commercial licenses anymore, unless someone can prove their Extra required 20 wpm code testing. Maybe. The actual FCC regs I read make no mention of credit, but it may be hidden someplace I didn't look.

W5YI is almost certainly mistaken.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W7ETA
Member

Posts: 2527




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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2009, 07:51:14 PM »

After I passed my Advanced a local ham encouraged me to get my Extra, cause the VE program had just started and they needed a third Extra to conduct sessions for all tickets.

After a few weeks with the ARRL practice tape, I was able to pass the CW test, and a few more weeks to pass the Extra test.  I was ready by the time the next testing session was set up.  After I became a VE, I used to set up testing in the Southern part of Western Mass.

73
Bob
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KB3LSR
Member

Posts: 297




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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2009, 04:20:53 AM »

I suggest you take your complaint to the FCC and demand they take the amateur radio tests out of the public domain.  Of course you should petition the FAA to do the same with their pilot's license exams.

While you are at it, you can also petition the FCC to reinstate the Morse Code requirement.  I know you'll be turned down, but if you are a man of principal, then why not try?

I think you are forgetting that amateur radio is a HOBBY.  Even the FAA publishes the answers to the pilot's exams.  I love how this HOBBY of likeminded individuals loves to exclude others, yet also complains about how not enough people are interested in it.  Personally, I'd rather see amateur radio survive another 100 years.  I'm glad you have an elitist attitude and apprciate the fact that your extra exam was more difficult than mine, but I'm also glad that my extra ticket this decade is just as good as yours Wink

73 de AB3HJ
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N2EY
Member

Posts: 3879




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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2009, 07:05:59 AM »

AB3HJ writes: "I suggest you take your complaint to the FCC"

I dunno who you're addressing, so I'll respond.

AB3HJ: "I think you are forgetting that amateur radio is a HOBBY."

I see phrases such as "it's a hobby", "it's just a hobby", "don't take it so seriously" applied to Amateur Radio much more often these days than in the past.
 
But nobody ever defines just what "a hobby" really is, or why it shouldn't be taken seriously. Usually, when I see the H-word applied to Amateur Radio, it's really an attempt to avoid having standards of some kind or another. IOW, it's a way of saying that no one should criticize anyone else's behavior on or off the air. And that's just not right.

Of course what a lot of folks mean by "it's a hobby" is that they're not being paid for it, and that nobody will really be harmed if they do something a bit unusual, such as building a complete 100 watt multiband HF CW transceiver that has absolutely no solidstate devices in it. (ahem).
 
But the H-word can also have a negative meaning, in that it's not something worthy of serious consideration. To a lot of people it means trivial, not to be given any priority.
 
Folks who do various sports - golf, distance running, bicycling, motorcycling, backpacking, skiing, etc. - will rarely or never use the word "hobby". Nor will folks who do arts and crafts like painting, sculpture, music, sewing, woodwork or similar. Or unpaid volunteers of all kinds.
 
And nowhere does the word hobby appear in Part 97. Not once.

This may seem like a minor semantics thing, but if I were trying to get a building permit for a tower from the local government, or convince a skeptical HOA to change their rules so I could put up an effective outdoor antenna, I sure wouldn't use the word "hobby". Would you?

We do need to have *some* standards. When a ham doesn't know the difference between a good signal and a bad one, or what's good operating practice and what isn't, then we've gone too far in letting the standards be lowered.

There's also the problem that when a person can earn a license but doesn't know basic radio stuff, they're liable to be frustrated in their efforts to get on the air, and just give up. Some years back, an ARRL survey indicated that 22% of newly licensed hams had never actually been on the air! That says something's wrong someplace.

There are ways to fix those problems. Demanding changes to the license requirements that simply won't happen isn't one of them.

AB3HJ: "Even the FAA publishes the answers to the pilot's exams."

Mebbeso, but how big are the FAA question pools? Can a person simply walk into an FAA test session, pay a fee, pass a couple of multiple choice written exams, and walk out a fully licensed pilot, authorized to solo anything up to a certain size? Or are there other license requirements, more testing, and ongoing retesting requirements?

Do private pilots describe their flying as a HOBBY?

AB3HJ: "I love how this HOBBY of likeminded individuals loves to exclude others, yet also complains about how not enough people are interested in it."

I don't think it's about exclusion as much as about standards. We need *some* standards. But what they should be is a completely different matter.

For example, exactly how much theory should a ham have to know just to get started?  

Saying the newcomers don't know enough isn't a standard, it's a complaint.

As for our numbers and survival, note that the reductions in both written and code testing in the past 10 years haven't resulted in lots of growth in our numbers. Could it be that our growth isn't limited by the license requirements but by other factors?

What a lot of folks forget is that the license is the starting point, not the end. It's a license to learn, not a graduation certificate.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W1IT
Member

Posts: 143




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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2009, 10:03:03 AM »

You're making all good points. Just to show you how in denial these extra lites are, someone said, " I wish you old timers would all drop dead. That was then, this is now. I will hope you spin when I say, I hold an extra lite and now will get code credit toward a second class Radio Telegraph license. Its a loop hole.

You can see the level of decline the standards are in. Its a society that makes demands for nothing. I read some college students feel if they come to class and pay tuition, that is enough for a grade of A.

You can see something is wrong here and linear thinking has taken a curve for the worse.
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KB3LSR
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Posts: 297




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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2009, 07:21:23 PM »

I usually go by the Webster's definition of "hobby" which is "an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation."  Further, Webster's defines "amateur" as "a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons."  It seems that these definitions both include "pleasure" and no financial benefit.  It seems to me, from reading these definitions, that an amateur engages in hobbies.  A gardener grows food, but he is an amateur no matter how good he is at gardening, unlike a farmer who grows food for profit.

Therefore, amateur radio, golf, skiing, hunting, private pilots, recreational boating, recreational fishing, sewing, and the like are all "hobbies" undertaken by "amateurs."

I don't know why many hams get all hostile when someone states that amateur radio is a hobby.

I appreciate your constructive feedback, however.  I would love to hear your input as to the definitions I have mentioned above.

73 de AB3HJ
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W7ETA
Member

Posts: 2527




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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2009, 08:24:42 PM »

Just to show you how in denial these extra lites are, someone said, " I wish you old timers would all drop dead.

Ahhhhhem.

The statement you site as proof of denial by extra lites, neither proves denial, nor seems to be related to the new testing requirements for Extra.  One could speculate that it shows hows the old testing methodology didn't cover logic.

It does follow that "You can see something is wrong here and linear thinking has taken a curve for the worse."

73
Bob
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N7ZM
Member

Posts: 131




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« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2009, 02:53:22 PM »

Your a few decades late on this. I remember seeing the Dick Bash Books with questions and answers in the late 70's to mid 80's.
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NO6L
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2009, 11:48:26 PM »

First, I'd like to wish everyone merry/happy whatever holiday/s apply, merry Christmas in this case.

I feel like offering my opinions and observations on this thread.

First, the "hobby" thing. Stamp collecting is a hobby, rock and semi-precious stone polishing is a hobby, as are sports cards, coin collecting, metal detecting, amateur astronomy, tube/valve collecting and, maybe jump-roping. But, Amateur Radio, and yes, even CB Radio are primarily not. What's the difference? Because, last time I checked, the hobbies mentioned above will never, ever have a chance of saving a life or property. Even the CB Radio Service, and I use that term somewhat loosely, has the possibility to offer assistance. Though not in as a professional manner as Amateur Radio, it still can and does. Yes, we for the majority of the time use them as "hobby" type diversions, they are still services that have the potential to offer humanitarian aid. A final thought; If all the people combined on Amateur Radio, Class D CB and VHF MURS only resulted in saving one life, though it's much higher, then all the squabbling, infighting, he said she said, rumors and whining is worth it.

Concerning memorizing the questions and answers. From what I've seen so far, Tech is easy, General can be and Extra, well, good luck with that. I passed it because I've been in the electronics industry off and on for 30 years, it was still a bitch. I've got one friend who recently passed Tech and General. He almost aced Tech, and only barely passed general, and it was by memorizing only. For what it's worth, his behavior on the bands is impeccable, so have no concern for him being a lid. The point is, to try and memorize enough of the Extra question pool is such a daunting exorcise, almost anyone who succeeds will most likely so value their license they won't want to try and go through it again by loosing it, for the most part anyway.

MAZAKGUY, you know, people with your attitude don't help with any rift that may, or may not be between the pre and post 2/07 licensees. The rest of you folks, please, pay no attention to this tripe. He's trolling for a flamefest, and nothing else. I only wish he'd use his real call here so I can avoid him in the air.

W1IT, I hope you don't include me in this "Lite" category. I may have passed my Extra post 2/07, but I and many others like me have a policy. That is, if I can build a piece a of gear at a reasonably lower cost, or, assemble it from re-claimed parts rather than buy it new from a store, I attempt that. That includes the slow, but tedious acquisition of parts for a legal limit AM transmitter, not just the occasional QRP rig.

Finally, I see the defeatist attitudes all over the place, Amateur Radio is dying, why bother, it's just going to turn into a multibanded CB radio service, Blah, Blah, Blah. Yeah, if you let it. Sit there and complain and nothing happens. Is there someone jamming? I know, the FCC can't, possibly won't do anything. I have a proverb, "Throw a brick through a jammers window, because the FCC won't fit". More accurately, get some friends together to cover the cost of fuel and hunt them down like the animals they are. Take a video of youreself in front of their house and post it on YouTube and leave a link on a few Amateur Radio sites. The video is the brick, YouTube is the window.

If you think the technical knowledge of Amateur Radio is suffering, do something about it. You're asking, "I'm just one ham, what can I do"? Well, General Patton was just one soldier, and he brought Rommels forces to their knees with inferior equipment. So, what are you waiting for. If you hear someone wishing to give 160M a try, but can't see a way around the "large antenna" issues, offer help instead of just sitting there. Start an Elmer Net on HF or VHF. Present the idea of offering an Amateur Radio Licensing class if your club doesn't already. No club, get some friends nearby and do it anyway, or start a club. If you help just one person with one problem, you've done more than 75% of the rest, and, it's infectious! They will want to help someone, too.

I know it was long, but just my take.

73
/end of line
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AE5RC
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2009, 06:03:44 AM »

I guess over the years I have heard many takes on the licensing system for amateur radio. I really didn't give much thought to amateur radio until I was in my 30's. That means I came in under the VE system which was all I knew. I studied for each and every exam and passed them all through Extra. Same with the code tests, all 3 of them. That was the way to get started at the time. I was told when I passed my Novice that the Novice Enhancement program would kill ham radio. "Too many will only operate on ssb on 10 meters and there will be no hams to work cw". Well that was not true. I remember the No-Code Tech as being hailed straight from Satan because "there is no way a new op should be allowed on the uhf/vhf bands with full power capability without ever having worked cw on hf". What? That makes no sense at all to me. Things do change.

Now here is the same old same old...the system in place does not meet the requirements from days gone by. I am now in my 20th year as a ham and not many of the folks licensed since I passed the exams (1989-1994) had the same requirements as I went through. Does not bother me a bit. I am able to talk about stuff I have learned and help others with suggestions or ideas that do not come from exams (whether secret FCC hidden documents or published material from W5YI). Heck in my professional field I am having younger people ask me stuff about how to do this or that. So what is the big deal about complaining about the license structure? Anyone that is a ham could likely say the same thing about the younger people in their particular field...too easy to get in these days, don't know enough, etc. The way I see it is that it is called amateur radio (not professional radio), it is the only government sponsored hobby that I know of,it is not a high priority on the FCC's plate except for frequency allotment, and as a friend of mine says "buit your qitching" because we actually have it pretty good these days.

Instead of complaining about how someone got into amateur radio (that itself makes a good qso starter) try embracing the differences of 2009 (nearly 2010) from the day your ticket was received and help others learn what you already know about ham radio. Life is too short to worry about something that will likely not be changed back to the way it was anyway. Get on the air.

73
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