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Author Topic: Should basic literacy be a requirement for a license?  (Read 11474 times)
N2EY
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« Reply #45 on: May 07, 2010, 05:45:24 PM »

JThanks for your input, your opinions are really good and I agree with you. We have lost something without the novice level as the entry point into the hobby. I too think that putting a tech on VHF/UHF repeaters to chat away locally probably has set the temper of new hams.

Nowadays the general opinion is for more VHF/UHF bandspace and to do more things in those areas while HF is looked upon as the area where your crazy old uncle would hang out on.


You're welcome!

I don't think there is a "general opinion" about VHF/UHF vs. HF/MF. It all depends on the individual. VHF/UHF has been popular with hams since at least the 1930s for a wide variety of reasons. (Imagine homebrewing a crystal-controlled transmitter for 224 Mc. with 1930s technology...).

What has happened over the past couple of decades is that, for a variety of reasons, the Technician was transformed from a special-purpose license to the de-facto entry-level license for a most hams. The transition happened even before the Tech lost its code test in 1991, driven in large part by the repeater boom.

IMHO, the Tech could use a redesign. I think it should be replaced by a new entry-level license (call it "Basic") which has a better balance of HF/VHF/UHF privileges, and which focuses on the basics of Amateur Radio. The idea would be to offer a balanced sampling of bands and modes, without a long or complicated/lopsided test.

73 de Jim, N2EY




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K6LHA
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« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2010, 11:32:08 AM »


I don't think there is a "general opinion" about VHF/UHF vs. HF/MF. It all depends on the individual. VHF/UHF has been popular with hams since at least the 1930s for a wide variety of reasons. (Imagine homebrewing a crystal-controlled transmitter for 224 Mc. with 1930s technology...).

I say you are wrong about the "popularity" in the 1930s.  In the 1930s there was experimentation and trials in the commercial and military side of VHF/UHF.  Examples: Ed Armstrong and his beginning FM broadcasting network (44 MHz +), radar (USA beginning at around 110 MHz+), experiments such as RCA Corporation's 1939 World's Fair live, on-site telecasts, Link Corporation's experiments with public safety radio on VHF using FM (successful, I might add), first trials of civil aviation glideslope and localizer beams for bad-weather landing on VHF.

That there might have been some articles by one or two amateurs on VHF as selected by amateur radio periodical editors is NOT any sign of "popularity."

In the pre-1940 world of USA amateur radio the "technology" was quite simple: Stay on HF because that is where the DX is.  Use very simple, low-cost receivers and transmitters because the nation was coming out of the Great Depression that hit worst at the beginning of the 1930s.  OOK CW was IN and only those who had money left could buy the "iron" needed for old-time AM voice.

The electronics industry and academia were more fascinated by VHF and up because they could realize the wide-open spaces and possibility for expansion, huge in frequency, unlimited in future ideas.  The magnetron, essential for microwave radar, was invented in the USA but improved in the UK, the combination resulting in radar superiority of the Allies in WWII.  Waveguides needed for microwaves at the end of 1930s had been established and most components standardized.  Where would today's kitchen applicance, the microwave oven, be if it had not been for the magnetron?  The Varian brothers invented the klystron as a lower power adjunct to the magnetron in most radar sets (as the local oscillator of the Rx while the pulsed "maggie" was the Tx).  High-power klystrons from Varian were the major power amplifiers for TV broadcast on UHF channels after WWII.

Well before the first public demonstrations of 'radio' in 1896 were Heinrich Hertz' experiments - on VHF - to prove the existance of radio waves using Spark RF sources.  Those were the impetus to Marconi and Popov to develop their 'radio' systems.  By a fantastic elastomeric stretch of inferences, you could say that Hertz, Marconi, and Popov were "amateurs" since there was no "professionals" in "radio" before 1896.  Those famous men were just experimenters.  In the case of Marconi a very definite entrepreneur trying to control and monopolize as much of this new 'radio' as possible.

I would suggest you research the electronics industry and 'radio' of old times through plentiful OTHER history sources instead of huge stacks of old QSTs.

K6LHA
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K6LHA
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« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2010, 12:14:10 PM »


What has happened over the past couple of decades is that, for a variety of reasons, the Technician was transformed from a special-purpose license to the de-facto entry-level license for a most hams. The transition happened even before the Tech lost its code test in 1991, driven in large part by the repeater boom.

I disagree.  There was no "transformation" of the Technician class other than its creation long before privatization of testing...like back in the middle ages of "incentive licensing."  You have acknowledged part of that in the Licensing forum but did not complete it.

The Novice test was first conceived as a way to get very young persons into amateur radio of the 1950s (as it was known then) through all the traditional ways the old-timers got into it.  It was largely discriminatory in that it attracted children of already-licensed amateurs so that they could be federally licensed and thus have "certification."  The name itself was an emotional negative to anyone who was of adult age and especially to those with some actual professional radio experience.  The limitations of operating frequencies were severe and never really relaxed; the whole idea was a sort of BSA/GSA segment of the amateur bands (sort of like the "kiddies table" at a large dinner, where the kiddies would sit by themselves).

The "Novice" class Failed to attract all the beginners even though it offered the certification of a real, live federal permission and nice certificate.  Novice class license numbers have been dropping consistently before the creation of the no-code-test Technician class was created in 1991.  That class of license offered more for younger folk who were not beholden by so-called tradition to keep the 1930s standards and practices as their forerunners insisted.  That it threw out the code test was a blessing to a market of amateur electronics in addition to removing an old, outdated test requirement.

That beginning amateur radio licensees actually liked line-of-sight radio paths and were content with that seems to be totally lost by many of the older amateurs indoctrinated in the 1950s and 1960s.  But, those older amateurs are now set in their ways and cannot be persuaded to accept evolution.


IMHO, the Tech could use a redesign. I think it should be replaced by a new entry-level license (call it "Basic") which has a better balance of HF/VHF/UHF privileges, and which focuses on the basics of Amateur Radio. The idea would be to offer a balanced sampling of bands and modes, without a long or complicated/lopsided test.


You are free to submit a petition or proposal to the FCC to reorganize and redesign whatever class you wish to change.  If you really, Really want to, that is, but I think you are just looking for something to argue on.

Some alternative class names to choose from:

Change 'Technician' to Simple or even Stupid amateur class to fit the attitudes of the old-timers.

Change "Amateur Extra" licensed before 23 Feb 07 as Superior to fit their attitudes as old-timers who can do morse code better than anyone else.

Cheers,
Len K6LHA







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AB2T
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« Reply #48 on: July 29, 2010, 04:36:22 PM »

Okay, this thread is stale and this is OT, but this needs to be said.

Literacy is important for ham radio testing.  However, the language of testing isn't important.

Here in Canada (an officially bilingual country) anyone has the option of writing any ham test in English or French.  I haven't seen any inherent technical knowledge or operating ability gap between Quebecois hams and Anglo-Canadian hams.

Why shouldn't the US test in English and Spanish?  I don't think we'd see any substantial difference in abilities.

73 Jordan
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K6LHA
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« Reply #49 on: July 29, 2010, 08:50:26 PM »

Okay, this thread is stale and this is OT, but this needs to be said.

Literacy is important for ham radio testing.  However, the language of testing isn't important.

Please think again.  The regulations are in English and that is what we all test to.

Quote
Here in Canada (an officially bilingual country) anyone has the option of writing any ham test in English or French.  I haven't seen any inherent technical knowledge or operating ability gap between Quebecois hams and Anglo-Canadian hams.
Here in California, which has a population roughly equal to all of Canada, very little is bilingual despite the "immigrant labor."  Neither the USA nor the state of California is officially bilingual.

Yes, on elections we can get ballots and other help on voting in other languages, MANY other languages.  But it is stretching points to breaking to equate amateur radio test materials to the "level" of electing officials and voting on propositions that affect all in the state.

Quote
Why shouldn't the US test in English and Spanish?  I don't think we'd see any substantial difference in abilities.
It isn't a question on "abilities" but whether or not it is necssary.  Someone has to pay for multi-lingual test materials and that would seem to be the NCVEC.  Test fees could easily quadruple or even quintuple just to have multi-lingual test material.  If you are already at the top of the class distinction layering then it won't cost you anything.  Nor me.  But think of the future.

Is there any advantage to having multi-lingual test material?  Name some.
We don't have multi-lingual amateur radio regulations, just the ones in English which is the language of the entire Code of Federal Regulations, all Parts thereof.

Do electrons, fields, and waves speak a language?  No.  The technical parts of tests for radio amateurs concern them and their physical laws.  NOTHING is gained by having test materials written in a language that is not native to this country's amateur radio regulations.

73, Len K6LHA
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KF6QEX
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Posts: 599




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« Reply #50 on: July 30, 2010, 01:30:44 AM »

Quote
Why shouldn't the US test in English and Spanish?  I don't think we'd see any substantial difference in abilities.

Μαλλον για τον ιδιο λογο που γραφουμε στα Αγγλικα σε αυτο εδω το φορουμ.
Γιατι μονο Αγγλικα και Ισπανικα; Γιατι οχι Κινεζικα και Ιαπονικα;
Οταν στην Ρωμη....

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N2EY
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« Reply #51 on: July 30, 2010, 02:29:47 AM »


Why shouldn't the US test in English and Spanish?

Several reasons:

1) Cost of additional test materials

2) Need for Spanish-speaking VEs

3) Need to certify that the translations of all the questions are accurate. This would probably have to be done by FCC, who approve all the question pools. 

4) Claims of discrimination by speakers of other languages who don't get test materials in their own language. Also the problem of VE sessions where somebody wants the Spanish version but no Spanish-speaking VEs are present. (Because licensing is national, there can't be different standards for different areas).

5) Canada is officially bi-lingual because of Quebec. IIRC, that bi-lingual status was the result of years of struggle and debate, and a separatist movement that wanted Quebec to secede from Canada. The USA doesn't have the same situation - yet.

73 de Jim, N2EY



 
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KM3K
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Posts: 295




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« Reply #52 on: July 30, 2010, 04:22:59 AM »

Quote
Why shouldn't the US test in English and Spanish?  I don't think we'd see any substantial difference in abilities.
Μαλλον για τον ιδιο λογο που γραφουμε στα Αγγλικα σε αυτο εδω το φορουμ.
Γιατι μονο Αγγλικα και Ισπανικα; Γιατι οχι Κινεζικα και Ιαπονικα;
Οταν στην Ρωμη....

Συμφωνώ απολύτως.

73  Ιερώνυμος  KM3K
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KA5N
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« Reply #53 on: July 30, 2010, 06:41:32 AM »

This thread is Greek to me.

Allen
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KM3K
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Posts: 295




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« Reply #54 on: July 30, 2010, 07:40:56 AM »

Why shouldn't the US test in English and Spanish?  I don't think we'd see any substantial difference in abilities.
73 Jordan

"....any substantial difference in abilities."
By advocating additional allowance for Spanish, it seems to me that you are inferring, of ALL the immigrant groups who have come into the US, it is only the Spanish speaking ones who are incapable of learning English.
From work experiences, I know they are highly intelligent and that they can learn English.

73 Jerry KM3K
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AA4PB
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« Reply #55 on: July 30, 2010, 08:15:26 AM »

Why shouldn't the US test in English and Spanish?  I don't think we'd see any substantial difference in abilities.
73 Jordan

Are VEs and VECs and the FCC employees going to be required to learn Spanish so they can administer and grade the exams? Its not a matter of abilities, its a practical matter of the expense of requiring administrators to speak both languages.
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AB2T
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« Reply #56 on: July 30, 2010, 03:15:03 PM »

"....any substantial difference in abilities."
By advocating additional allowance for Spanish, it seems to me that you are inferring, of ALL the immigrant groups who have come into the US, it is only the Spanish speaking ones who are incapable of learning English.
From work experiences, I know they are highly intelligent and that they can learn English.

73 Jerry KM3K

Hi Jerry,

Certainly many Spanish speaking Americans are just as hard working and fluent in English as as English speaking Americans.  Intelligence, language, and professionalism are independent variables.  Yet Spanish speaking people have lived in the now United States as long, if not longer, than English speakers.  Some parts of the country are de facto bilingual. The Spanish language is a part of American culture even if the majority of Americans claim English as the native and/or sole language. 

A Canadian example: all my Quebecois friends are either excellent second-language or native language speakers of English. Certainly the same is true of many Hispanic Americans. French is the “minority” language of Canada; Spanish is the “minority” language of Canada (the phrase “minority language” is troublesome, but for lack of a better term it stands.) Many of my Quebecois friends would be content to sit for either the English or French ham exam.  Yet they should have the option of sitting for the French exam even if their English is excellent (and since the late 1960s, they have the legal right to do so). Perhaps the same could be said for many Hispanic Americans.  A bilingual speaker's reason for sitting an exam in either language is individual in nature.

Are VEs and VECs and the FCC employees going to be required to learn Spanish so they can administer and grade the exams? Its not a matter of abilities, its a practical matter of the expense of requiring administrators to speak both languages.

Hi Bob,

Yes, this is a major issue.  There would have to be a way for an all English-speaking VE team to administer a Spanish language exam.  Perhaps the FCC and the two major VECs could study Industry Canada's practices and find a way to accommodate the situation.  Many parts of Canada (i.e. the Prairies) are de facto anglophone. Still, the VEs in these regions must provide French tests on request even if all the VEs speak English only.  French test requests might be rare, but their availability is mandated by law.

While I do not see bilingual testing on the immediate horizon, the question is important and shouldn't be dismissed.

73 Jordan AB2T/VA3AIT
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AB2T
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« Reply #57 on: July 30, 2010, 03:16:55 PM »

Oops, "Spanish is the 'minority language' of the United States"

Too bad eham doesn't have an edit function.

73, Jordan
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N2EY
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« Reply #58 on: July 30, 2010, 04:04:10 PM »

Too bad eham doesn't have an edit function.

But it does!

Just click on the "modify" icon and you can fix typos.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KM3K
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« Reply #59 on: July 30, 2010, 04:38:53 PM »

While I do not see bilingual testing on the immediate horizon, the question is important and shouldn't be dismissed.
73 Jordan AB2T/VA3AIT

Hello Jordan AB2T/VA3AIT,

I thought that any kind of "separate but equal" stuff was done away with by the Civil-Rights-Act.
I am not in favor of going backwards.
I am not in favor of insulting any group by providing them with a non-English test.

73 Jerry KM3K
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