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Author Topic: Why Have An Extra Class?  (Read 128334 times)
N2EY
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Posts: 3833




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« Reply #195 on: October 01, 2010, 04:34:57 AM »


One problem I see with our current system in the USA is that Part 97 does not allow data modes in the HF 'phone subbands. (160 is MF, btw). No RTTY, no PSK31, etc. This isn't just a gentleman's agreement thing, it's the law.

I don't see a problem with that.  Outside of a contest, there is plenty of room for phone, plenty of room for cw and plenty of room for data. The phone sub-bands don't need widening.

 Data and phone shouldn't mix, imo. We certainly don't need phone on 30m. Again, my opinion.


I agree that we don't need 'phone on 30 meters; the band is only 50 kHz wide, shared with other services, and is better left for narrow modes.

But why not mix data and phone? Data and CW mix, so why does 'phone need protection? 'Phone and image modes (SSTV) mix, so why not data modes too?

I also agree that the 'phone subbands don't need widening. But under current Part 97 rules, when the 'phone subbands are widened (as they were in 2006), the subbands where data is allowed shrink. That's not good, IMHO.
 


I know there's a long history behind all this, but I think it's time for a change. Here's why:

Suppose there were an HF 'phone emergency net, and emergency traffic in the form of a data file needed to be transferred. Under current Part 97 rules, the stations would have to QSY outside the 'phone subbands to do it legally, rather than just sending it on the net frequency. Why? Wouldn't it make more sense not to have to QSY?


So we should regulate by "what if"?

Yes! We should consider all reasonable scenarios and regulate accordingly.

Not too many years ago, the idea of a station in an emergency having data capability was remote. Today it's common. But our rules prevent best utilization.

If the "emergency traffic" in data file form is originating from the disaster area, the op has the capability to use the data sub-bands. Hold the net in the data sub-band, there is usually less congestion. Data usually takes less power to get through, and is a better weak signal mode than phone. If he can't transmit it, he can't receive it, so "what if", in this case, is a moot point.

If this "emergency traffic" in data form is originating outside the disaster area going to the disaster area, see above.

Problem is, that means dividing resources, because the data/CW subband may be hundreds of kHz away. Why not allow sending the data right on the 'phone frequency? What is it about 'phone that requires protection from data modes, but CW requires no such protection?


If this "emergency traffic" in data form is going to another location outside the disaster area, why use the ham bands at all for it? The internet is much faster and more prevalent in it's use than amateur radio.

Except for training purposes, I agree. The point of amateur emergency communications is bridging gaps.


But maybe - just maybe - there's a version of RBB that could be a good thing.


Maybe. As I said, I haven't seen one yet.


How about this for a first step:

Have a part of each HF band where "anything goes". All license classes have privileges in those subbands, and all modes under a certain bandwidth are allowed there. Maybe only do it on bands with lots of space, like 80/75, 15 and 10.

Then see how it goes. Don't change the whole system all at once; just set aside some subbands and see how it works.

For example, take 3600-3650 kHz and make it open to all licensees and all authorized modes. Including robots. Give it several years and see what happens.

Maybe even put a time limit into the rules - say, 10 years. After 9 years there would be an automatic proposal to renew it. Depending on comments received, the change could be renewed, expanded, or allowed to expire.

That way, if RBB doesn't work, we don't have the near-impossible task of dismantling it.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K6LHA
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Posts: 349




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« Reply #196 on: October 11, 2010, 11:24:31 AM »

Im still trying to figure out why we still have an extra class license.
So am I...and Amaeur Extra is the only class license I've ever had.   Grin

Quote
If they are going to do away with the silly 5000 level license system, then lets finish the job. I dont see the point of taking a harder exam just to get a bit more space to operate on. All ham radio needs is a beginners license and a full license. I always have thought that having so many levels was silly. All it did was cause class warfare and confusion on the bands.
Agreed...but the multiple-class license system was inspired/lobbied-for
back in ancient times so that amateurs could pretend to be professionals. Cheesy

I'm not quite kidding...I was a professional in radio starting in 1952.

Quote
When a beginner is ready to get the full license, he should be made to DEMONSTRATE that he understands the rules, equipment operation, basic antenna theory and safety. The testing that they are doing now is a total joke. If we are going to have a team of volunteer examiners, they should be examining skills, not useless tests...
The tests aren't useless but rather PRACTICAL considering the variety of different technological advances that have happened in just the last half-century.  AMATEUR radio isn't a tradecraft, or union, or anything else that requires "professional" capabilities.  Some (perhaps too many) want to consider themselves pros but they really aren't.

It is impossible to have any testing in a one-day test session to examine the various "skills" that are supposed to b part of amateur radio as so many demand should be done.  It couldn't be done in an FCC Field Office, let alone in front of a team of VEs.

But, I'm responding to the very first post in this topic and in the last month or so there have been a lot of Extra who seem to think they are gurus in everything and have ventured FAR from the topic.  They have theirs and aren't about to let go of the Rank, Status, Privilege they think they have "earned" through all their "hard work."   Grin

73, Len K6LHA
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WB6DGN
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Posts: 582




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« Reply #197 on: October 13, 2010, 10:47:52 PM »

"Why Have An Extra Class?"

And, while you're at it, why have Colonels and Generals in the Army?  Let's make everyone a private and stop the discrimination there too.

As to the practical exam; has anyone taken an FAA flight exam lately?  A WRITTEN exam AND a FLIGHT exam for every upgrade.  Maybe should tell the FAA that practical exams are impractical???  See how far that gets ya!  Yes, it costs a few bucks but anything worth having is worth paying for, right?  Does that define the value of a current ham license???  Not only CAN be done, but, IS being done in the REAL world.  Stop whining folks, your present license is worth about as much as a CB license used to be worth.  Stop whining, step up to the plate and EARN your privileges.  Not a "cake walk" but feels mighty good when it's accomplished.
Tom
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WB6DGN
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« Reply #198 on: October 13, 2010, 11:10:34 PM »

"It is impossible to have any testing in a one-day test session to examine the various "skills" that are supposed to b part of amateur radio as so many demand should be done."

The FAA will be very interested in your declaration on this topic.  Perhaps, if you are willing to come out of your retirement, they would hire you as a consultant?
Tom
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N2EY
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Posts: 3833




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« Reply #199 on: October 14, 2010, 03:26:01 AM »

"Why Have An Extra Class?"

And, while you're at it, why have Colonels and Generals in the Army?  Let's make everyone a private and stop the discrimination there too.

Apples and oranges there, Tom. There are Colonels and Generals in the Army because the Army needs a chain of command.

The reason for multiple classes of Amateur Radio is different. Simple, but different. Here it is:

1) There's a certain amount of knowledge/skill that the FCC considers necessary for a full-privileges license.

2) Testing is required to see if prospective licensees know the stuff required by 1)

3) Breaking up the testing into pieces/levels makes it easier for people who have no training in radio to become hams. At the same time, someone who wants to go for General or Extra as a first license is able to do so.

Of course folks disagree with the knowledge/skills required, how the privileges are divided up, how many licenses classes, how the tests are conducted, etc. But the basic concepts are unchanged.


As to the practical exam; has anyone taken an FAA flight exam lately?  A WRITTEN exam AND a FLIGHT exam for every upgrade.

Sure - but again that's apples and oranges.

FAA is all about safety, because with aviation there are many ways to mess up and cause a plane crash. Something as simple as miscalculating how much fuel you need for a given trip, or not being prepared for the conditions after you take off can and have been fatal - and not just to the pilot/licensee. (Look at how JFK Jr.'s life ended - he miscalculated and outflew his knowledge/skill set. )

Amateur radio does have safety considerations, but they're not on the same level as those of aviation.

Aviation is particularly different from most other activities because, when flying, you can't just stop and turn everything off until you figure out what your next move is.

  Yes, it costs a few bucks but anything worth having is worth paying for, right? 

How much does a pilot's license cost, anyway, when you figure in all the mandatory training and testing?

But dollar cost isn't the real issue.

What bothered some folks in the past, and still bothers some today about various testing requirements for an amateur license is that you *can't* just buy a license.

That was the real reason for the opposition some folks had to the Morse code tests.

The difference with Morse Code is that it requires skills most people don't have before they get a ham license. Yes, there are some ex-military or commercial ops who already know it when they get their ham licenses, but they're not very many today.

You can't get those skills by reading a book, watching a video or a little at a time., here and there. A person had to set down and do a little study to learn enough of it to pass the tests, even the old 5 wpm receive-only test. 

Thus the code test became a sort of Great Equalizer. The elementary school child and the Ph.D.EE would often start at the same level. And sometimes they would not end at the same level.

That's what bothered some folks so much.

The same sort of thing is still going on. Have *any* testing that isn't trivial and you'll find somebody who rails against it and wants it eliminated.

73 de Jim, N2EY




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W5ESE
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« Reply #200 on: October 14, 2010, 10:32:16 AM »


Thus the code test became a sort of Great Equalizer. The elementary school child and the Ph.D.EE would often start at the same level. And sometimes they would not end at the same level.

That's what bothered some folks so much.


Well said, Jim.

Some people's egos can stand it when they may be considered a beginner at something.
73
Scott W5ESE
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K6LHA
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Posts: 349




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« Reply #201 on: October 14, 2010, 08:07:27 PM »

What bothered some folks in the past, and still bothers some today about various testing requirements for an amateur license is that you *can't* just buy a license.
The Topic in this Forum is WHY HAVE AN EXTRA CLASS?  It wasn't about "buying" any license...other than the examination fee.  Cheesy

Quote
That was the real reason for the opposition some folks had to the Morse code tests.
"The Morse code tests' elimination or retention" was already argued over 5 YEARS AGO.  Sorry for your side but ALL morse code testing was ELIMINATED 3 1/2 years ago.  Blabbering and blubbering about that decision by the FCC isn't doing anyone any good NOW.  For that matter that morse code TEST rate was capped at 5 WPM a DECADE AGO, for all classes that required a code test then.  See Memorandum Report and Order 99-412 released in December 1999. 

Quote
The difference with Morse Code is that it requires skills most people don't have before they get a ham license. Yes, there are some ex-military or commercial ops who already know it when they get their ham licenses, but they're not very many today.
The FCC doesn't issue "ham licenses."  Nowhere in Part 97, Title 47 C.F.R. is there any definition of a "ham" license.  You might try the Food and Drug Administration for a proper ham licnese.

Quote
You can't get those skills by reading a book, watching a video or a little at a time., here and there. A person had to set down and do a little study to learn enough of it to pass the tests, even the old 5 wpm receive-only test.
The OLD morse code tests administered before 23 February 2007 were ALL "receive-only" and had been such for years.  Morse code cognition is a psycho-motor skill and requires - for most people - considerable practice to achieve any audio-input understanding.

Quote
Thus the code test became a sort of Great Equalizer. The elementary school child and the Ph.D.EE would often start at the same level. And sometimes they would not end at the same level.
This remark is light-years away from the TOPIC originally posed, WHY HAVE AN EXTRA CLASS?
Firstly, if you want some kind of "great equalizer," that exists in the written tests.  Today.  The written tests are "almost" down to the level of elementary school students...at least for those few who are able to read and understand written English.

Secondly, WHY do YOU need this "great equalizer?"  For some kind of psychological transferrence in order to make you think that you are some kind of "equal" of a PhD?  That's rather ostentatious arrogance even for a male teen-ager.  Cheesy

WHY is there such a "need" for a "great equalizer?"  The FCC has gone on record (more than once, by the way) in saying that such OOK CW skills are not considered valid indicators for an applicant's ability to hold an amateur radio license grant.  The FCC is the only agency in the USA that grants 
amateur radio licenses under Title 47 Code of Federal Regulations.  It isn't the ARRL.

Quote
That's what bothered some folks so much.
I doubt that...considering you've had an Amateur Extra license for so long and have gone on record as saying that eliminating the code test was "the worst thing that could happen" to USA amateur radio. 

You are seemingly projecting a negative image of those who do not love, honor, and obey OOK CW.

I have an Amateur Extra class license.  In fact, I've never had any other class in any country.  I've also been IN HF communications since before you were born and have never been required to know morse code in the last 57 1/2 years.  That is over an EM spectrum that ranges from VLF on up to microwaves (as far as about 25 GHz).  The entire world of radio communications has advanced and progressed far, far beyond the old pre-WWII era when "code was king."  To retain a TEST for morse code skill into this new millennium was an ARTIFACT of bygone days, not some grandeloquent "great equalizer" of anything but primitive survivalist skills.

You have to understand that "some folks" (other than those you imagine exist) just couldn't understand the need to maintain a Living Museum of Ancient Radio Skills by federal fiat.  That includes the International Amateur Radio Union as well as hundreds of thousands of radio hobbyists around the world.  Those hobbyists in the USA made their opinions known to the FCC and the FCC listened. 

Quote
The same sort of thing is still going on. Have *any* testing that isn't trivial and you'll find somebody who rails against it and wants it eliminated.
The Topic in this Forum is WHY HAVE AN EXTRA CLASS?  It isn't about "testing" but rather why have so many classes of license such as the Amateur Extra class?  If you have anything on that subject, that would be fine, but you continue to misdirect and obfuscate into your own personal RANTS against those who do not worship you for your long-time skill and expertise in an ancient mode of communications.

I would remind you that the FCC itself wrote that, in the last 5 years, it had granted only 99 total Commercial Radiotelegraph Licenses.  That comes out to less than 20 per year on an average.  Over 7 years ago the World Radio Conference of 2003 decided, by adminstration vote, that special Radio Regulation S25 was rewritten to remove any imperative that adminstrations HAD to test for radio-telegraphy skills for any amateur radio license grant having below-30-MHz transmission priveleges.

I'm sorry but your "great equalizer" idea is just part of your own imagination in your continuing effort to attempt demeaning those of us who see no need of becoming part of any Living Museum of Ancient Radio Skills.

Len, K6LHA (always an Amateur Extra in USA amateur radio)
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N2EY
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Posts: 3833




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« Reply #202 on: October 15, 2010, 02:42:50 AM »

"you...have gone on record as saying that eliminating the code test was "the worst thing that could happen" to USA amateur radio."

That is simply untrue.

For the record:

I have never said or written what is claimed above. Nor do I believe it.

Any such claim is a misquote.  

If I really wrote such a thing in an online forum or in comments to FCC, a direct link to the exact quote could be provided.  But no such link will be provided, because no such quote exists, or ever existed.

73 de Jim, N2EY

Extra since 1970
« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 03:22:08 AM by James Miccolis » Logged
K9AIM
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Posts: 914




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« Reply #203 on: October 15, 2010, 08:39:16 PM »


"you...have gone on record as saying that eliminating the code test was "the worst thing that could happen" to USA amateur radio."

That is simply untrue.

For the record:

I have never said or written what is claimed above. Nor do I believe it.

Any such claim is a misquote.  

If I really wrote such a thing in an online forum or in comments to FCC, a direct link to the exact quote could be provided.  But no such link will be provided, because no such quote exists, or ever existed.

73 de Jim, N2EY

LHA = Lots of Hyperbole and Accusation

dit dit
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K6LHA
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Posts: 349




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« Reply #204 on: October 16, 2010, 11:37:10 AM »


LHA = Lots of Hyperbole and Accusation

The topic is WHY HAVE AN EXTRA CLASS?

It would be better for all to comment ON TOPIC rather than lapse into the usual personal enmity mode or the perceived personal "outrage" of never being anything less than "perfect."

On Topic:  I am for retention of the USA amateur radio Amateur Extra class but with NO extra frequency allocations.  I have said so in this Forum under this Topic.  Keith, KB1SF, and I disagree with that but I think it is an amicable disagreement.

With others there have been many forays into misdirection and obfuscation on THE TOPIC.  That is counterproductive, rather more like a dissing blog than any sort of serious discussion on federal regulations.

73, Len K6LHA
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WA4ZVG
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« Reply #205 on: October 16, 2010, 03:00:12 PM »

The licensing system they have now is a JOKE. I will call a NO-CODER exactly what they are to their face. A CB'er with $15 and 15 minutes to memorize a few questions and answers. An Extra Class means NOTHING anymore. At least if you have an ADVANCED Class, one can be reasonably sure that you at least passed 13 wpm of code and most likely did it in front of the FCC and took a real test that you were not GIVEN the exact questions and ANSWERS to before hand, by such CRIMMINAL organizations such as the ARRL. The ARRL sold out ham radio to the big 3, YASEU KENWOOD AND ICOM. Here is the way it went. The Manufacturers says hey ARRL. "The FCC pretty well goes along with what you say. We need to sell some radio's and you YANKEE BOYS up there in Newington need the advertising money to keep all 100 of you employed. Now here is what you do. You petition the FCC to do away with the code requirement and at the same time get them to let you publish the EXACT QUESTIONS and ANSWERS that will be on a test to get a license. We will sell radio's and make plenty of money and we will buy all the advertising in your publications that you can handle and that will keep your sorry selves employed. Now we realize this will usher in a new era in ham radio, and create a bunch of DIGITAL BOY appliance operators, that do good to turn a radio on. They will have no technical knowledge, and the gateway license, the technician class will be prized by WEATHER WACKO'S throughout the country. Just get the FCC to go along with it. At the same time tell these CB'ers that they can now get on HF if they have $15 and 15 minutes to memorize a few simple questions and answers. Now we want you to create an army of SO CALLED VOLUNTEER EXAMINEERS to help us promote this conspiracy. Be sure they show up at ham fest and offer the test at least 3 times a day on Saturday and 3 times a day on Sunday. Have someone go down to channel 19 and tell all the CB'ers to bring $90 minimum to the ham fest, $15 per test session, if they don't pass it the first time, they can come back later in the day and take it again, all they got to do is be sure they memorize these questions and answers. We do publish them you know. Tell them that the test will be offered at 8 am 11 am and 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. That $90 is in case they fail it all 6 times, but hey we want you to make the test so easy they can pass it the first time and only spend the $15.  These new hams can REQUEST A VANITY CALL and make it look like they have been a ham for a long time.  Forget the fact all you have to do is listen to them for 5 minutes with their terms such as, Whats that first personal, does it have any swing to it, it is DEAD KEYED, and my personal favorite, 10-4 good buddy."

Yes the ARRL SOLD us out. These new hams, are NOTHING but CB'ers with $15 and 15 minutes to memorize a few questions and answers.

Not only does an EXTRA CLASS mean nothing anymore, all of them mean nothing unless they actually passed a code test and a written test that they weren't given the EXACT Questions and ANSWERS to beforehand.

WA4ZVG
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N2EY
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Posts: 3833




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« Reply #206 on: October 16, 2010, 03:43:18 PM »

At least if you have an ADVANCED Class, one can be reasonably sure that you at least passed 13 wpm of code and most likely did it in front of the FCC and took a real test that you were not GIVEN the exact questions and ANSWERS to before hand, by such CRIMMINAL organizations such as the ARRL.

Not really. Simply having an Advanced doesn't prove any of that.

First off, in 1990 the FCC created medical waivers for the 13 and 20 wpm code tests. This was done because a king who was a ham asked the president at the time for a favor. The president passed the request to the FCC, who did the rest.

Second, the VEC/QPC system with published Q&A was created by FCC in the early 1980s - more than 25 years ago. It was done to save money due to budget constraints imposed by the Reagan administration. Making the Q&A public knowledge also put Dick Bash and his books out of business.

Both actions were *opposed* by ARRL - to no avail, because the FCC was convinced they had to make the changes.
 
So if someone has an Advanced license today, all it proves is that:

- the person has been a ham for over 10 years
- the person passed at least a 5 wpm Morse Code receiving test
- the person passed the required written tests - which may have been FCC administered, or VEC/QPC administered.

And nothing more.

Now of course someone with an Advanced can mention that they earned their license back before VEC testing, or that they didn't get a code waiver, etc. But that's true of any class of license.

73 de Jim, N2EY (Extra since 1970)
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WX7G
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« Reply #207 on: October 17, 2010, 04:24:26 AM »

How about the recently licensed ham who is, let's say, an electrical engineer and who has learned code and regularly works CW at 30 WPM. He knows more technically than most old-time hams and he's fast enough to have passed any old-time sending and receiving test. Is he a CBer?
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K9AIM
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« Reply #208 on: October 17, 2010, 04:37:27 AM »



LHA = Lots of Hyperbole and Accusation

The topic is WHY HAVE AN EXTRA CLASS?

It would be better for all to comment ON TOPIC rather than lapse into the usual personal enmity mode or the perceived personal "outrage" of never being anything less than "perfect."

On Topic:  I am for retention of the USA amateur radio Amateur Extra class but with NO extra frequency allocations.  I have said so in this Forum under this Topic.  Keith, KB1SF, and I disagree with that but I think it is an amicable disagreement.

With others there have been many forays into misdirection and obfuscation on THE TOPIC.  That is counterproductive, rather more like a dissing blog than any sort of serious discussion on federal regulations.


it is good to see that you now realize your mis-characterization of N2EY's position was a counterproductive move away from the 'THE TOPIC' and that your veering off topic into hyperbole and accusation is now a thing of the past.

Since you favor a retention of the Extra class licence with zero extra frequency allocations, what point would having the the Extra class license serve?  Why not just call it General class? 

Imo, if there is going to be an Extra class, CW proficiency should be tested and required. It is good for amateurs to know there hobby's past, as well as past practices in radio -- since that is what the present technology grew out of. Actually their should be CW *and* morse code literacy questions on the written exams for all license classes.

73 de K9AIM


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N2EY
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« Reply #209 on: October 17, 2010, 04:54:00 AM »

It is good for amateurs to know there hobby's past, as well as past practices in radio -- since that is what the present technology grew out of.

Of course.

But Morse Code isn't just part of ham radio's past. It's a big part of the present and future of Amateur Radio as well. Listen to the low ends of the HF bands, read the various contest results, look at the sales of CW rigs, keys, keyers, etc., and it's clear that Morse Code isn't just "the past".

Of course commercial and military use of Morse Code has dwindled to almost nothing, but that's irrelevant because Amateur Radio is neither of those things.

Actually their should be CW *and* morse code literacy questions on the written exams for all license classes.

The challenge is to convince FCC of that idea.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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