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Author Topic: Countdown To The Last Tech Plus  (Read 42694 times)
N2EY
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« on: April 13, 2010, 09:01:56 AM »

From the Unofficial Department of US Amateur Licensing Trivia

On April 15, 2000, as part of the restructuring of that year, FCC officially stopped issuing new Technician Plus licenses. In addition, on that date they began reclassifying Technician Plus licenses submitted for renewal or vanity calls to Technician. FCC also stopped issuing new Novice and Advanced licenses, but those classes can still be renewed without license class change.

As a result, over the past 10 years the number of current, unexpired Technician Pluses has dropped from almost 130,000 to less than a dozen. Soon there will be none at all.

This is a kind of historic event, because since the restructuring of 1951 only one other license class has completely disappeared from US amateur radio: the Conditional, which was phased out in the 1970s by renewal as General.

The last Tech Plus may not be gone by April 15, 2010 because of processing delays at FCC. But it won't be long after.

Anybody want to guess the exact date?

From

http://www.arrl.org/fcc/stats.html

the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on April 12, 2010 was:

Novice:            16,670
Technician      337,997
Technician Plus       10
General          152,829
Advanced        60,364
Extra             120,644

Total             688,514

Some may question why the numbers posted on hamdata.com are not used for this. The hamdata numbers include grace-period licenses, and so are higher. But since any Tech Plus in the grace period will be reclassified as a Technician if renewed, a Tech Plus in the grace period is, in effect, already gone.

It will also be interesting to see how long FCC takes to delete the Tech Plus verbiage from Part 97. My guess is that it will be at least 2 years, after the last grace-period Tech Plus is gone from the database.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W3HF
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2010, 06:34:39 PM »

Jim -

That web page doesn't seem to exist any more on the new (improved?) ARRL web site. It looks like it moved to

http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

and that page says the number (as of 10 April 2010) is nine. But I did my own search of the ULS and come up with slightly different numbers. I searched on

http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchAmateur.jsp

asking for

- Tech Plus (only)
- Active (not expired, terminated, cancelled
- with an expiration date from 4/13/2010 to 12/31/2010

and I got 14 hits. Four of them expire today (4/13/10) and one expires tomorrow. One more is in April, six are in May, and two are in June. And Patricia Phillips N3IGI still has the last expiration date on 12 June.

Steve
W3HF
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N2EY
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 03:22:39 AM »

Thanks for the info, Steve! The new website must have just come online.

It still says 9 Tech Pluses, as of 4/10/10.

Will keep an eye on it. And will try a search as you mentioned.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N3DF
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2010, 09:35:16 AM »

This causes a problem for my master chart of Amateur license classes, 1912 to date.  I show the "old" Technician class becoming the "new" Technician Plus class, since the old Technicians had the code.  The "new" Technician class is started as a separate line between Novice and Technician Plus.  The Conditionals were moved into the General class as a group at a single point in time.

(1).  How do I depict the Technician Class and the Technician Plus class being merged over a substantial period of time?

(1).  Which is the true survivor class?  As Technicians now have all the privileges of Tech Plus, I could argue that it is Tech Plus with the class renamed Technician.
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Neil N3DF
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2010, 01:16:20 PM »

"The Conditionals were moved into the General class as a group at a single point in time."

I didn't think this was true. I thought they were moved as they were renewed, at least for a few years. My callbooks show a gradual decline in Conditionals during the late 1970s, going to zero by late 1979.

"(1). How do I depict the Technician Class and the Technician Plus class being merged over a substantial period of time?

(1). Which is the true survivor class? As Technicians now have all the privileges of Tech Plus, I could argue that it is Tech Plus with the class renamed Technician."

There were actually two events involved. The first was Restructuring in 2000, that started the process of renewing all Tech Pluses as Techs. But there were still two "virtual" license classes, as there were different privileges depending on whether the licensee was "with code." And this was gradual process, as the first Tech-Plus-to-Tech renaming occurred on 15 April 2000, and the last will occur very soon.

This changed when the code test was eliminated; then all the Techs (w/o code) received the Tech Plus privileges. This was a singular event.

So maybe you show them separately. You leave the Tech Plus line intact, and show a gradual (over the ten years from 2000 to 2010) change in name from "Tech Plus" to "Technician (with code)." Then you show the early-2007 change that moves all the (codeless) Techs to the Tech Plus line. From that time on, the Tech Pluses no longer become "Tech (with code)" but just "Techs."
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N2EY
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2010, 02:56:06 PM »

I agree with W3HF. But the situation is even more complicated.

First, as W3HF says, the Conditional was phased out by renewal of Conditionals as Generals, and took 5 years to accomplish. The phasing out of Tech Plus is similar.

The Technician was created in 1951, and eventually got Novice HF privileges. When the Technician lost its code test in 1991, the FCC did not immediately create the Tech Plus license class. Instead, for a couple of years, some Technicians had HF and some did not, depending on whether or not they'd passed the code test. The Tech Plus was created about 1994 to fix that situation, but not all Technicians with HF were immediately reclassified.

Now we've come full circle, with all Technicians having the same privileges - almost. Because if a Technician can show they held that license before March 21, 1987, s/he can get a no-test upgrade to General.

Maybe the lines need colors...

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K6LHA
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2010, 03:49:39 PM »

N3DF posted on April 14, 2010:

"This causes a problem for my master chart of Amateur license classes, 1912 to date. I show the "old" Technician class becoming the "new" Technician Plus class, since the old Technicians had the code. The "new" Technician class is started as a separate line between Novice and Technician Plus. The Conditionals were moved into the General class as a group at a single point in time."

Whoa! Prodigious task there! I wish you well in completing that job!

However, trying to ask Miccolis specific questions, please note that ONLY Miccolis has the "correct" format, titles, and absolute descriptions...as stated by his "official" source, the ARRL.
..................
N3DF: "(1). How do I depict the Technician Class and the Technician Plus class being merged over a substantial period of time?"

I would suggest a lot of footnotes, not only to explain this "merging" (which it is not quite) but also to explain the GENERATION of the no-code-test Technician (which was "new" only back in 1991, 19 years ago, 1 year older than legal age). There was a period of time when there were TWO 'Technicians' which I would say was an oversight on the FCC's part. But that was THEN and those don't apply NOW.

Once all the Technician PLUS class licensees have been ENTIRELY renewed in another class or have given up all this highly-competitive "I am better than you" adolescent nonsence and just QUIT amateur radio...they will be TECHNICIAN class. The FCC says so and neither the ARRL nor Miccolis can rule otherwise (even if they think they can). ONE class out of 3.
....................
N3DF: "(1). Which is the true survivor class? As Technicians now have all the privileges of Tech
Plus, I could argue that it is Tech Plus with the class renamed Technician."

"True survivor class?" My opinion is that "The TRUE survivors" are those still alive, licensed or not. For those granted FCC amateur radio licenses I'd say the "survivors" are those who continue renewing...even if they (legally) haven't taken a real, formal test since their last one, probably in the 1970s then just promptly renewed their licenses according to regulations.

FCC regulations from 1934 onwards are FULL of changes in ALL radio services. 'Radio' is a constantly-evolving technology, practice, and activity.

Footnotes (or equivalents) a problem? Yes, I'd expect that. But look at the HUGE table of ALL EM Spectrum allocations in Part 2, Title 47 C.F.R. that goes from 9 KHz on up to 300 GHz. Footnotes aplenty for several pages worth.

73, Len K6LHA
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W3HF
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 03:44:00 AM »

"Now we've come full circle, with all Technicians having the same privileges - almost. Because if a Technician can show they held that license before March 21, 1987, s/he can get a no-test upgrade to General."

I just noticed this line.

- Yes, there was a change in test requirements in 1987, but no change in privilege. I doubt if Neil is tracking all the other changes in testing, especially the written tests. So that really was not a change in license class. Maybe, if anything, this deserves an asterisk.

- The no-test upgrade that's been available since 2000 is still an upgrade, a change in license class. All Techs still have the same operating privileges. It's just that some can receive credit for a former (now-expired) license. But since they haven't done it, they don't have those privileges yet.

It would have been different if the FCC had somehow managed to automatically convert all the pre-87 Techs into Generals on 15 April 2000 when restructuring happened. But all the necessary records weren't computerized, and they weren't going to go through the paper (and microfiche) records manually. That's why they left it to the licensees and VEs/VECs (and the callbook collectors) to document and prove.
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N2EY
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2010, 04:38:02 AM »

W3HF writes:

http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

Yes, they changed the website just after I posted the old one!

"that page says the number (as of 10 April 2010) is nine."

Still does - hasn't updated since.

"But I did my own search of the ULS and come up with slightly different numbers. I searched on

http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchAmateur.jsp

Yes, it's a good tool. But it requires a bit of care to get exactly what you want.

"asking for

- Tech Plus (only)
- Active (not expired, terminated, cancelled
- with an expiration date from 4/13/2010 to 12/31/2010

and I got 14 hits. Four of them expire today (4/13/10) and one expires tomorrow. One more is in April, six are in May, and two are in June. And Patricia Phillips N3IGI still has the last expiration date on 12 June."

I just did a similar search and got 8 Technician Pluses that are current and unexpired. N3IGI is still the very last one. Of course that could change if she decides to renew or upgrade before then.

Because the renewal window is so narrow (90 days at the very end of a license term that can be as long as 3653 days), a considerable number of hams may be renewing in the grace period. OTOH, renewal is so simple that it's more a matter of remembering to do it.

IIRC, ARRL notifies all US hams (not just members) of impending license expirations, and explains how to do it free. That's a real and valuable service.

Some hams I know would be tempted to wait until 13 June just to be able to say they were the very last of their license class on the books....

btw, "expired" is the word FCC uses when a license is beyond its 10 year term.   

73 es TNX for the links de Jim, N2EY

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N2EY
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2010, 05:10:53 AM »

Updated numbers from:

http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on April 17, 2010 was:

Novice:            16,629
Technician      338,328
Technician Plus         7
General          152,911
Advanced         60,340
Extra              120,707

Total              688,922

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W3HF
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2010, 09:09:51 AM »

"Updated numbers ... Technician Plus 7"

Ah, consistency is good. Seven is what I get with a search of the ULS today, using the search criteria I mentioned above. Sorted by expiration date:

N7FZE   CAPRA, SHARI M        4/24/2010
N6YWA   DAY, FRANK I          5/8/2010
N6YXI   CARROUCHE, CARMEN L   5/22/2010
KA7GZH  PARKEN, JOHN D        5/29/2010
N7OWL   BUTLER, SYLVAN D      5/29/2010
N9JTE   BELL, MARTIN D        6/5/2010
N3IGI   PHILLIPS, PATRICIA G  6/12/2010

Note that this is two less than the "six in May" that I saw last week. So two Tech+ licensees either renewed or upgraded. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to construct a search to identify them.
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N2EY
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2010, 04:40:46 AM »

Updated numbers from:

http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on April 24, 2010 was:

Novice:            16,601
Technician      338,738
Technician Plus         5
General          153,093
Advanced         60,324
Extra              120,838

Total              689,599

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W3HF
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2010, 12:20:01 PM »

N6YWA   DAY, FRANK I          5/8/2010
N6YXI   CARROUCHE, CARMEN L   5/22/2010
KA7GZH  PARKEN, JOHN D        5/29/2010
N7OWL   BUTLER, SYLVAN D      5/29/2010
N3IGI   PHILLIPS, PATRICIA G  6/12/2010

Martin Bell renewed. Shari Capra expired.
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N2EY
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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2010, 03:08:00 AM »

Updated numbers from:

http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts

the number of current unexpired FCC issued amateur licenses held by individuals on May 1, 2010 was:

Novice:            16,550
Technician      339,037
Technician Plus         5
General          153,214
Advanced         60,286
Extra              120,930

Total               690,022

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K6LHA
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2010, 12:44:57 PM »

When the last Technician Plus class ends their 10-year term, what are you going to do then?  I don't understand all your concentration/focus on one class of license expiring.

That "last" Technician Plus will still be on the FCC records for two years.  How does all that look to OTHERS, you long-timers going on and on about an expiration?  Silly nattering by some who cannot
accept that others may NOT like the same things you do...

K6LHA
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