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Author Topic: Why Have An Extra Class?  (Read 258868 times)
W5ESE
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« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2010, 06:27:46 AM »

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.

Base the question pool for the "Full" license on the syllabus of
topics for the European CEPT "Full" license.

It's about on a par with our Extra class license.

http://www.fediea.org/legisla/TR6102.pdf

73
Scott W5ESE



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AA4PB
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« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2010, 06:37:24 AM »

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.

That's not all it did. In some cases it spurred individuals to study, upgrade, and earn back their privlidges. That was the original intent and it wasn't a bad thing when it happend, in my opinion.
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Bob  AA4PB
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NI0C
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« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2010, 06:48:41 AM »

N2EY wrote:
"btw, I can think of dozens if not hundreds of ways of asking Ohm's Law questions. Just for DC:

- Basic questions where you are given two parameters and asked for the other two.

- Resistors in parallel, series, series parallel, wye and delta.

- More complex networks

- Multiple sources and switches

- Voltage dividers and bias networks, regulators and meters

- Practical problems involving wire runs, sources with internal resistance, etc.

- Thevenin and Norton equivalents.

A person who truly understands Ohm's Law would have no problem with any of them."



Jim, this is erroneous and misleading.
 
All of these circuits problems that you mention require more than a knowledge of Ohm's Law.  A thorough knowledge of Kirchhoff's current and voltage laws are also required to solve these types of problems.  All but the simplest problems involving multiple sources require a knowledge of the Superposition Theorem or other advanced analysis techniques.  Thevenin and Norton equivalents are much more than a mere application of Ohm's Law. 

I've taught DC and AC circuits courses for engineers and engineering technicians for nearly thirty years.  Ohm's Law is only one of many topics that need to be grasped.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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AB2T
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« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2010, 12:26:59 PM »

A law can't prevent bribery, but it can make it a lot less successful. Would *you* take the risk? I know I wouldn't.

There's also the question of personal honor and integrity. If one gets a license by cheating or "bending" the rules, what has really been gained? What has been lost?

You are entirely correct.  Dick Bash's bribery was an flagrant example of legal provocation.  We'll never know why he wasn't prosecuted. There are a myriad of reasons why the FCC and/or the ARRL declined to bring him to court.  He was a (insert favorite strong expletive here) and a dishonorable person for what he did.  Legal considerations aside, at the very least Bash broke the ethical code that surrounded the FCC examination process.  His ethical violations, and not his possible legal infractions, shaped the testing controversy.  

The question remains as to whether Bash's scheme forced the FCC's hand.  Ironically, the VE system was already being discussed around the time that Bash began soliciting information directly from test takers.  If anything, Bash's scheme highlighted the inadequacies of the FCC test pool (as N0NB has mentioned).  The QPC removed the test creation burden from the FCC and allowed for a much broader syllabus.  All of this directly or indirectly supports your contention that the FCC wanted out of the testing business for financial and human resource reasons.  Quite true.  

Besides, the tests aren't - and weren't - all that hard. Kids in grade school have passed all the tests, even back when there was code testing and 5 written exams!

And many many teenagers.  I passed all of the code and written elements by the time I was half way through high school. I knew at least five other high school aged hams in my club that had done the same.

Granted, I passed under the VE system and the open question pool.  I did memorize the equations and a good portion of the question information.  As I have mentioned, I did not learn the material sufficiently.  Would I have learned the material better if I didn't have Gordon West answer each and every question for me?  Yes, I think so.  Was it cheating?  No, it was not: by that time what the test prep publishers did was entirely legal.  

As you note, the ham exams do not test proficiency but only those topics pertinent to the operation of a station and basic electronic theory.  Those who have memorized their way through the question pool have demonstrated a minimum proficiency perhaps not equal to the ham that learned the concepts behind the theory cold before sitting for the test.  "Memorization to the exam" was Dick Bash's legacy to the hobby.  We and other hams could go on for years weighing the effects of memorization on the quality of operators.  Yet no degree of discussion will change the fact that the testing process has changed forever.    
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 10:08:59 AM by Jordan » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2010, 03:05:51 PM »

Jim, this is erroneous and misleading.
 
All of these circuits problems that you mention require more than a knowledge of Ohm's Law.  A thorough knowledge of Kirchhoff's current and voltage laws are also required to solve these types of problems.  All but the simplest problems involving multiple sources require a knowledge of the Superposition Theorem or other advanced analysis techniques.  Thevenin and Norton equivalents are much more than a mere application of Ohm's Law. 

MY BAD!

Yes, you are correct, Chuck. I kinda got carried away there. Thanks for the pointer.

Let me try again:

I can think of dozens if not hundreds of ways of asking Ohm's Law related questions of the kind that any amateur should be able to solve. Just for DC:

- Basic questions where you are given two parameters and asked for the other two. (the four parameters are voltage, current, resistance and power)

- Resistors in parallel, series and series parallel.

- Voltage dividers and bias networks, regulators and meters

- Practical problems involving wire runs, sources with internal resistance, etc.

A person who truly understands Ohm's Law and some related concepts would have no problem with any of them.

For example:

An RF amplifier using a screen-grid type tube obtains screen voltage from the same source as the plate voltage. The screen requires 250 volts at 8 mA, and the plate supply voltage is 600 volts. What value of resistor will give the correct voltage? How much power will it dissipate in normal operation?

A Zener diode shunt regulator uses a 12 volt diode and a dropping resistor. The unregulated supply voltage can be as high as 18 volts and the diode can dissipate 4 watts safely. What value of resistor should be used so that the diode does not exceed its maximum rating under worst-case conditions? How much power will the resistor dissipate under those conditions, and how much total power will the unregulated supply be providing?

A meter has an internal resistance of 1000 ohms and a full-scale deflection of 500 microamperes. It is desired to use the meter as a DC voltmeter with full-scale deflection of 5 volts. What value of resistor is needed for this application, and how should meter and resistor be connected?

There are lots of other examples.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N2EY
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« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2010, 03:49:13 PM »

Dick Bash's bribery was an flagrant example of legal provocation.  We'll never know why he wasn't prosecuted.

IANAL, but I can think of a couple of reasons:

1) The higher-ups at FCC were planning to create the VE system anyway, so prosecuting Bash would be a waste of resources.

2) The law may not have been sufficiently clear on his specific actions, and the FCC lawyers may not have wanted to risk losing.

3) Bash didn't steal exams, copy them, etc. What he allegedly did was to ask people who had just taken the tests to tell him what was on them. It might be argued that it was the people who told him the info who broke the law, not Bash himself, or that their violation was more serious. (The story I heard was that he paid $1 for every question that a person could recall).

I do know that there were FCC officials who knew what he was doing and wanted to prosecute, but were not allowed to by higher-ups.

There are a myriad of reasons why the FCC and/or the ARRL declined to bring him to court. 

I don't see how ARRL could have done anything but complain to FCC. Which they did, IIRC. They also refused ads for his books. But what else could ARRL do, given that FCC was aware of what Bash was doing?

Legal considerations aside, at the very least Bash broke the ethical code that surrounded the FCC examination process.  His ethical violations, and not his possible legal infractions, shaped the testing controversy. 

IOW, it's about the spirit of the law as much if not more than the letter of the law.

But there's another side to it: His effort would have failed miserably if nobody bought his books. Yet he sold enough of them to make money at it. There were plenty of other study guides for the exams that cost less and covered the material better - without violating any ethical or legal principles. Nobody was forced to buy a Bash book. Aren't the people who knowingly bought the books also breaking the ethical code? Same for the folks who gave him information.

Weren't they just as guilty, if not more so?

The question remains as to whether Bash's scheme forced the FCC's hand.

There's no question in my mind at all that it was all about saving money and resources. Bash was just a side benefit, not the main issue at all - IMHO.

Remember that in the early 1980s the Reagan Administration was pushing the ideas of "small government" and "deregulation" really, really hard. The method was budget cuts, particularly for entities like FCC where the effects wouldn't be immediately obvious. Not only was testing "privatized" for both amateur and commercial licenses, but enforcement was "de-funded".

This was also when the license term was doubled, from 5 years to 10. The report I saw was that doing so would save about 1 person-year of administrative work. (Remember that this was years before online renewal, when the FCC was still using a 1960s era computer system. Every license action involved sending paper forms to FCC, and all the handling that entailed at their end).

Besides, the tests aren't - and weren't - all that hard. Kids in grade school have passed all the tests, even back when there was code testing and 5 written exams!

And many many teenagers.  I passed all of the code and written elements by the time I was half way through high school. I knew at least five other high school aged hams in my club that had done the same.

Granted, I passed under the VE system and the open question pool.  I did memorize the equations and a good portion of the question information.  As I have mentioned, I did not learn the material sufficiently.  Would I have learned the material better if I didn't have Gordon West answer each and every question for me?  Yes, I think so.  Was it cheating?  No, it was not: by that time what the test prep publishers did was entirely legal.

You played the game according to the rules at the time. Nothing wrong with that.

But I maintain that even in the bad old days the tests weren't all that difficult *if* a person knew the material - and the material wasn't all that advanced, really. Not EE level by any means. I passed Advanced at 14 (1968) and Extra at 16 (1970), so those observations are from personal experience at an FCC office.

And I was no prodigy nor record-setter.

For me, the real proof is the case of W3OVV - who is now sadly SK.

Back in 1948, W3OVV passed the Class B exam on the first try. It was administered by the FCC examiner here in Philadelphia. (The Class B would become the General in 1951.)

Back then there was no Novice or Technician license, and the Class B required sending and receiving Morse Code at 13 wpm, and a written test of about 50 questions.

The Morse Code sending test was with a straight key, and consisted of sending until the FCC examiner was satisfied you knew how.

The Morse Code receiving test required at least one minute of solid correct legible copy out of 5, with no time allowed to go back and fix mistakes or blanks. "Legible" meant "the examiner could read it easily".

The written exam included essay questions, diagram drawing, show-your-work calculation questions, and a few multiple choice questions. A "blue book" type exam.

In those days there were no CSCEs. To earn the license, one had to pass all the required tests at the same session, and if you failed anything, it was a minimum 30 day wait before you could try again.

W3OVV was nine years old when she passed the Class B. That's third grade IIRC. 

73 de Jim, N2EY
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NI0C
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« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2010, 05:50:26 PM »

N2EY wrote:
"A person who truly understands Ohm's Law and some related concepts would have no problem with any of them."


Those "related concepts" would include Kirchhoff's Laws.  Ohm's Law, by itself is insufficient to solve the three specific problems you made up.   Too many people think that Ohm's Law is all anyone needs to know about electricity.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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N0NB
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« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2010, 07:47:33 PM »

Legal considerations aside, at the very least Bash broke the ethical code that surrounded the FCC examination process.  His ethical violations, and not his possible legal infractions, shaped the testing controversy. 

IOW, it's about the spirit of the law as much if not more than the letter of the law.

But there's another side to it: His effort would have failed miserably if nobody bought his books. Yet he sold enough of them to make money at it. There were plenty of other study guides for the exams that cost less and covered the material better - without violating any ethical or legal principles. Nobody was forced to buy a Bash book. Aren't the people who knowingly bought the books also breaking the ethical code? Same for the folks who gave him information.

Weren't they just as guilty, if not more so?

As a side bar I think it would be interesting to know how many of those who have cried loudest over the past decade since restructuring used a Bash book to get their license in the late '70s.  Hopefully not many but I'd wager there were a few.

I only learned about the whole Bash deal in hindsight as by the time I found amateur radio (early 1981) exam availability was shrinking and there was word in print about the coming VE system.  I had a dickens of a time learning the code on my own and also put things off until the VE system was getting underway. 

In fact the Novice was the first class to get revamped with published questions and answers in mid 1983 and I sought out W0GCJ (SK) to give me the Novice exam in October '83 all in one sitting.  Prior to that the examiner would give the code test, sign the 610 form (remember those?) and mail it to FCC who would then send a written exam back for the applicant to take after which the examiner would mail that back to FCC for grading.  If all went well the applicant would have a license after a month or so (I'm guessing).  In my case it took about three weeks.  As I recall Ernie got a pre-made exam from ARRL for me that included one question from each of 20 sections which had 10 possible questions each (200 question pool).

As I recall VE exams began to take place in late 1984 around Kansas and I took my Tech in Topeka on a darned cold Saturday morning in January!  One had to preregister about a month in advance and pay in advance.  No walk-ins as I recall that would be allowed later and eventually the 30 day retake period was shortened and then eliminated altogether.  But I digress down memory lane...
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73, de Nate
Bremen, KS

SKCC 6225
N2EY
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« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2010, 03:55:56 AM »

N2EY wrote:
"A person who truly understands Ohm's Law and some related concepts would have no problem with any of them."


Those "related concepts" would include Kirchhoff's Laws.  Ohm's Law, by itself is insufficient to solve the three specific problems you made up.   Too many people think that Ohm's Law is all anyone needs to know about electricity.


I certainly agree with that!

But the point I was trying to make wasn't that Ohm's Law is all that a ham needs to know. Rather it was that there are lots of ways to test if someone knows it, and some related (and important) concepts. And that all hams should be able to solve simple problems like the ones I wrote up.

btw, I could solve all of the three problems I stated before I got to high school. But I never heard of KVL or KCL until I got to college. I knew the concepts, but didn't know they had formal names. 

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W5ESE
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« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2010, 06:13:32 AM »

As a side bar I think it would be interesting to know how many of those who have cried loudest over the past decade since restructuring used a Bash book to get their license in the late '70s.  Hopefully not many but I'd wager there were a few.

Actually, zero hams used Dick Bash's book to get licensed in the 1970's. Dick's 'The Final Exam' appeared in 1980, according to 'The Wayback Machine':

http://www.qsl.net/ecara/wayback/page34.html

This appears to be confirmed by searching for copies of 'The Final Exam' for sale on Amazon.com.

On the whole; the Bash book era was pretty short. On Amazon, the earliest copies of
'The Final Exam' listed are from 1980, and the last are 1982.

73
Scott W5ESE







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KB1SF
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« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2010, 09:16:25 AM »

I'm still trying to figure out why we still have an extra class license. If they are going to do away with the silly 5000 level license system, then lets finish the job. I don't 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.

Richard, I couldn't agree more.  

But, the "easiness" or "hardness" of our current exams isn't really the issue.  

Rather, it's the fact that the relevance of our license examinations (particularly that for the Extra Class license) to the specific (additional) privileges they grant are now clearly out of whack with both the ITU intent for our Service as well as current equal access laws in the United States.  

First of all, there is also absolutely NO doubt that our current licensing system was designed for a time when many (if not most) people built their own equipment and when the US was faced with a huge "technology gap" with the Russians.

Could it be that when the US Government made it national policy to throw millions of dollars in tax money at any "technical education" institution that they could lay their hands on in an effort to "catch up" with our enemy back then, Amateur Radio became a perfect vehicle to carry out that national policy? Hence their addition and/or perpetuation of words like "expansion of a pool of trained technicians and electronics experts" into our Part 97.1 as a basis and purpose for our Service in the United States.

However, by their doing so, I remain convinced that our Government very clearly violated both the spirit and intent of the ITU's "no pecuniary interest" clause as spelled out in the basis and purpose of our Service in the ITU rules

Like you, and in similar treads in this and other forums, I've continually asked those who would maintain our licensing system in its present form indefinitely to explain what the fundamental OPERATIONAL differences are between the privileges granted to a General Class licensee and those of an Extra Class licensee in our Service in the United States of America.  

So far, those requests have all been met with obfuscation, changed subjects, indignant (and largely off-topic) reply questions, and failing that, stony silence.  

Could it be that (gasp!) there ARE no fundamental operational differences between the two?  Could it be that our Extra Class license IS no longer legally justified under the ITU rules as well as today's ever-more stringent, US federal equal access statues?

That is (and as you have so eloquently noted) by what reasonable standard can it now be deemed a regulatory neccessity that applicants for a full featured (i.e. "Extra Class") license in our Service absolutely NEED to know the contents of a 600 page license manual in order to successfully pass yet ANOTHER (this time 50-question) exam just to operate in the last few KHz of our HF bands and/or qualify for a so-called "exclusive" call sign?

I can't help but compare and contrast such needless regulatory overkill with the international (ITU) definition of our Service.  That definition simply states that ours is to be: "A radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."

Clearly, the drafters of that ITU definition (as reflected in the ITU rules and guidelines they later wrote to support it) NEVER intended (nor, in my opinion, do they even allow for!) our Service's licensing systems to be used as a forced education tool for a government to ram higher learning down people's throats (or up other orifices of their bodies) so as to fulfill some arcane social or economic policy goal.  

Indeed, in one of those policy goals outlined in the "Basis and Purpose" for our Service in the United States (FCC Part 97.1 (d)) STILL very clearly states that a basis and purpose of our Service is for the "Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts."  

Would someone please explain where the "interested in radio technique solely with a PERSONAL aim" is in any of THAT regulatory nonsense?  

Indeed, such clearly delineated eyewash in Part 97.1 now begs the obvious question as to precisely whom do the benefits of an "expansion of the existing reservoir of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts" as outlined in Part 97.1 (d) accrue?  

Do they accrue to us as individuals?  Or, do they accrue (as I believe) to the US Government by fulfilling their own social and economic policy goals?  Indeed, isn't the perpetuation of all that "reservoir building" in the US Government's "pecuniary interest"?  And, if so, doesn't that activity ALSO now run completely counter to the "non pecuniary interest" ITU definition of our Service?  

I contend that such needless eyewash (along with most everything else contained in Part 97.1) injected a whole series of blatantly self-serving, US GOVERNMENT economic and social policy goals into our Service.  

I also contend that activity was (and remains) patently illegal under ITU rules that govern our Service internationally.  That's because such regulatory malfeasance fundamentally alters the basic intent of our Service as promulgated by our international regulators.  The latter's clear intent was simply for governments to create and administer a radio service where we "amateurs" could practice and experiment with "radio technique solely with a personal aim"…that is, for precisely NO OTHER PURPOSE than for our own personal enlightenment and enjoyment…and NOT to fulfill some stupid political or economic policy goal.  

So, once again, as I see it, the underlying legal flaw in our current licensing system (which Jimmie and his like thinking buddies posting here seem to want to continually ignore) is that, back in the 1950s and 1960s, our ARRL (along with their willing stooges in the FCC at the time) fundamentally altered the international basis and purpose of the licensing system for our Service from a simple safety and operational VERIFICATION system into a vast pseudo-EDUCATIONAL system (their so-called "incentive licensing" nonsense) to not only preserve, protect and defend their own "Good Old Boy's Radio Club", but also to crank out hoards of people just like themselves…..budding PROFESSIONAL RF engineers.  

What's more, this wholesale hijacking of our "amateur" radio service (and the then FCC's (now clearly failed) attempts at the behest of the ARRL to turn us all into "professionals") was all accomplished in order to fulfill their own (and, by extension, the ARRL's) economic policy goals.  In the case of the ARRL, that meant creating a long-term potential to sell millions of dollars' worth of "upgrade" materials so as to help keep their tax-free, "non profit" coffers filled to the brim.  

Sadly, the ARRL (and their willing stooges in the FCC at the time) could do all that and get away with it because there were absolutely NO federal equal access statutes in the US Code at that point to stop them.

But, as I have clearly shown in other posts in other threads (and much to the eternal irritation of our 1950s and 60s-era "incentive licensing forever" zealots) those days have now LONG since gone the way of the dinosaur.

That's because, despite some people's frantic attempts to continue justifying the FCC's blatant regulatory overreach from that bygone age, the 1950s-era, ARRL/FCC brainchild they called "incentive licensing" in our Service is now falling further and further out of compliance a whole host of other, equally binding, 1990s-era US federal equal access laws.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm absolutely NOT advocating that newcomers to our Service should not strive to learn all they can or take advantage of the lifetime of wonderful technical and other training opportunities it affords.  

I'm simply saying that it has NEVER been the FCC's job (as a US Government REGULATORY agency) to force "education" down people's throats BEYOND verifying those knowledges and skills that are MINIMALLY required to assure safe and courteous operation on our bands.  

What's more, as our Service provides us all with a lifetime of opportunities FOR such learning, I find it patently absurd that our FCC continues putting the "final exams" at the beginning of that lifetime of "self-training" rather than at the end.  By continually doing so, their actions send a very clear message that "we don't want YOUR ("technically uneducated") kind here so all you CBers and uneducated "riff raff" need not apply".

Sadly, all the so-called "incentive" licensing system for our Service has ever really accomplished over the years has been to perpetuate a most hateful idea at its very core. That idea is exclusion: the "othering", if you like, of the vast unwashed masses who have yet to successfully complete a US Government-proscribed series of largely baseless (and therefore ever more systemically discriminatory) Extra Class "hazing rituals" in order to be deemed "real hams" with full privileges in our Service.

And, sadly, there are still FAR too many "crusty curmudgeons" remaining in our ranks who would love dearly to KEEP that systemically discriminatory "liturgy" of our licensing system EXACTLY the same for our Service as it was for them "way back when".  To such persons, Ham Radio has now become akin to a fundamentalist religion, complete with all of its ever-more fanatical (spelled "intolerant") sacred rituals and other such pious nonsense…including, I might add…deliberately refraining from "elmering" newcomers when they clearly could benefit from their collective learning.  

Instead, and as evidenced by their often boorish comments about newcomers posted in these forums, some of our resident "techno-bigots" would apparently much prefer to keep heaping oceans of odium on our newcomers rather than get up off their finals to extend a helping hand of friendship.

Indeed, for the last 50 years, I believe it is PRECISELY such systemically discriminatory snobbery …enshrined in our licensing system as well as in the upturned noses that our so-called "incentive" licensing system perpetuates…that has kept thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of otherwise well qualified people out of our Service.  Today, amateur radio's very survival is becoming ever more questionable as we "old farts" continue to die off in ever-increasing numbers and potential youthful newcomers to our Service continue to look elsewhere to exercise their budding technical and communication talents.

In fact, I firmly believe it is an extreme cultural distaste for ALL such regulated bigotry and baseless "hazing rituals" that today's youth STILL see in the licensing and regulatory systems for our Service that are one of the principle reasons why amateur radio in the United States has remained so out of touch with today's youth.  That's probably also why, up until very recently at least, we've remained consistently unable to attract large numbers of them.

Clearly, the days of such caste-like snobbery being enabled, underwritten and then indefinitely perpetuated in the licensing and regulatory systems of federal agencies in the United States are now FINALLY drawing to a close.  This is happening DESPITE the ever more frantic attempts by our fundamentalist zealots to keep all that institutionalized bigotry alive and well in our Service.  Thankfully, it is also painfully apparent (by their recent actions to continue deregulating our Service in the USA) that today's FCC is no longer listening to such regulatory Neanderthals.

Indeed, and as I've noted in other threads, the plan for the eventual demise of "incentive licensing" is now already well underway.  The latest chapter in that plan was the FCC's complete elimination of our absolutely ARCANE Morse testing requirement back in 2007.

The good news is that, much to the obvious dismay of our resident regulatory Neanderthals, there is a whole boatload MORE deregulation of our Service yet to come.  And the even BETTER news is that (much to their everlasting annoyance) our ever-shrinking cadre of resident techno-bigots will continue to remain absolutely powerless to stop any of it.

The bad news, however, is that it may very well take another generation or two before such fundamentalist regulatory zealots completely disappear from the ranks of our Service…along with all the reams of licensing and regulatory overkill that STILL underwrites their ever-more out-of-touch, 1950s-era, elitist blather.  

Indeed, as Professor Doctor Max Planck, winner of the Nobel Prize for physics and one of the greatest physicists of the early 20th Century once said, “Innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents.  What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and the growing generation is familiarized with the innovative ideas from the beginning.”

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 09:19:15 AM by Keith Baker » Logged
W7KB
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« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2010, 08:21:07 PM »

There used to be 5 Amateur license classes with 5 different exams:Novice,Technician(orTech.Plus),General,Advanced,and Amateur Extra.There was also three CW exams:5/13/20 WPM.Be glad you did not have to qualify for all of them.I like the additional band/mode/frequency privileges upon the upgrades granted.I like my 1x2 call also.Those are my reasons for upgrading.One can choose to do this or not.One can also renew or allow their license to expire.My guess is that you will either upgrade or renew your license before you allow it to expire.No matter what license level you hold,have fun and enjoy the privilege and responsibility of holding it.73.Dennis W7KB.
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K6LHA
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« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2010, 09:03:58 PM »

I'm still trying to figure out why we still have an extra class license. If they are going to do away with the silly 5000 level license system, then lets finish the job. I don't 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.

Richard, I couldn't agree more.  

But, the "easiness" or "hardness" of our current exams isn't really the issue.

Oh, I believe it IS the issue, certainly so on this forum and every other venue for USA amateur radio "discussion."

The REAL issue, as witness the wording and tone of the rationalizers defending the current (of a half century ago) system, is the old "I AM BETTER THAN YOU" braggadoccio.

MOST of the respondents on this topic are already Extra class.  They want to KEEP all the rank, status, privilege they feel is "theirs" (because they "earned" it according to them).  They fear a loss of such rank, status, privilege is the present class-distinction system is removed. 

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First of all, there is also absolutely NO doubt that our current licensing system was designed for a time when many (if not most) people built their own equipment and when the US was faced with a huge "technology gap" with the Russians.
I don't agree with that assessment.  Having lived through that "technology gap" as a working adult, as well as through the whole MAD era of the Cold War, I see it more as a Press-fueled hysteria with plenty of flag-waving "patriotism" bannered by all sorts of special-interest groups to any journalist who would listen/photograph/video-record.  Politicians who NEEDED the press exposure would espouse the same jingoistic phrases and sponsor bills in Congress to prove their "feelings."

There was never any "technology gap" per se, only the odd sort of sports-contest feeling reported on "who was first?" during the Cold War.  The USA turned the tide against the USSR during the Berlin Blockade of 1948.  The USA and allies kept North Korea from taking over South Korea in 1950 to 1953 despite millions in manpower aid from China helping North Korea.  The USA invented the first transistor in the late 1940s and Claude Elwood Shannon developed his worldwide-accepted defining laws of communications relating data rate, bandwidth, and random noise in that same year.  In the USA.  The electronics industry was already undwerway on research into man-made crystal growth that would produce huge ingots of quartz for inexpensive quartz crystal units...and the same process would enable growth of pure germanium and silicon for the solid-state era.  The systems to enable civil aviation to communicate and navigate were already in test at the end of the 1940s and would be adopted internationally by 1955.  At White Sands, NM, the fledgling NASA was already carefully testing rocketry, largely from captured V2 rockets "liberated" from Germany in WWII.  Moonbounce communications was already proven by the U.S.Army in 1946.  A young boffin from the UK named Clarke had proved that communications satellite relay could eliminate dependency on the ionosphere for worldwide real-time communications, all in a large article in "Wireless World" magazine well before any country had put any rocket into an orbit.  The USA electronics industry was burgeoning with microwave system design for radar and communications, leading the way internationally in components, including Traveling Wave Tubes essential for comm-sat transponder transmittes.  Kept under wraps, the "sound barrier" was successfully broken in 1947 at Edwards AFB.  The USA designed and built U-2 overflew the USSR for years, forcing the russkies to develop new ground-to-air missles to reach them. Jack Kilby, a new hire at Texas Instruments, made the first integrated circuit during a company-wide vacation closing period (new hires weren't eligible).  The technology and production of transistors had already begun at TI and elsewhere when Kilby did his thing.

Now, against all of THAT, AMATEURS were "supposed to innovate and advance any state of the radio art?!?  By "upgrading" to Extra class largely through high-rate morse code testing at a time when morse code was already being downsized as a communications medium?  I'm sorry, but all of that is political jingoism, sloganeering, and sham patriotism on the part of certain special-interest groups and a few in the USA still stuck in glories of WWII victory.

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Could it be that when the US Government made it national policy to throw millions of dollars in tax money at any "technical education" institution that they could lay their hands on in an effort to "catch up" with our enemy back then, Amateur Radio became a perfect vehicle to carry out that national policy? Hence their addition and/or perpetuation of words like "expansion of a pool of trained technicians and electronics experts" into our Part 97.1 as a basis and purpose for our Service in the United States.
More political jingoism and poli-speak, Keith.  As a professional communicator in the US Army from 1952 onwards, activly doing that on HF (and VHF and UHF and microwaves), I saw absolutely NO "need" for such a "pool" at the time.  The US military could turn them out in high numbers and the messages would get through.  They did.

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Like you, and in similar treads in this and other forums, I've continually asked those who would maintain our licensing system in its present form indefinitely to explain what the fundamental OPERATIONAL differences are between the privileges granted to a General Class licensee and those of an Extra Class licensee in our Service in the United States of America.
Keith, that's asking royalty to abdicate in favor of a democratic-principled republic.  They will LOSE all of their rank, status, and privilege acquired under the old system as a NOBLE.  Cheesy

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What's more, this wholesale hijacking of our "amateur" radio service (and the then FCC's (now clearly failed) attempts at the behest of the ARRL to turn us all into "professionals") was all accomplished in order to fulfill their own (and, by extension, the ARRL's) economic policy goals.  In the case of the ARRL, that meant creating a long-term potential to sell millions of dollars' worth of "upgrade" materials so as to help keep their tax-free, "non profit" coffers filled to the brim.
It was a pure business decision, Keith.  If the majority of income is from publications and resale of goods, then that takes precedence in decision-making. 

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Sadly, all the so-called "incentive" licensing system for our Service has ever really accomplished over the years has been to perpetuate a most hateful idea at its very core. That idea is exclusion: the "othering", if you like, of the vast unwashed masses who have yet to successfully complete a US Government-proscribed series of largely baseless (and therefore ever more systemically discriminatory) Extra Class "hazing rituals" in order to be deemed "real hams" with full privileges in our Service.
Some of us will never be "real hams" since we did not take any code test...and "everyone knows" (ho ho) that one MUST know code to operate on HF.  Cheesy   Cheesy   Cheesy

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Instead, and as evidenced by their often boorish comments about newcomers posted in these forums, some of our resident "techno-bigots" would apparently much prefer to keep heaping oceans of odium on our newcomers rather than get up off their finals to extend a helping hand of friendship.
Keith, it is sort of a "nobless oblige" act of theirs.  THEY establish the terms and us "newcomers" must meet them.  Cheesy

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Indeed, for the last 50 years, I believe it is PRECISELY such systemically discriminatory snobbery …enshrined in our licensing system as well as in the upturned noses that our so-called "incentive" licensing system perpetuates…that has kept thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of otherwise well qualified people out of our Service.  Today, amateur radio's very survival is becoming ever more questionable as we "old farts" continue to die off in ever-increasing numbers and potential youthful newcomers to our Service continue to look elsewhere to exercise their budding technical and communication talents.
Those who have reached the "elite" level are loath to give up anything, including being kind to newcomers.  The "elite" RULE and that is that.

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In fact, I firmly believe it is an extreme cultural distaste for ALL such regulated bigotry and baseless "hazing rituals" that today's youth STILL see in the licensing and regulatory systems for our Service that are one of the principle reasons why amateur radio in the United States has remained so out of touch with today's youth.  That's probably also why, up until very recently at least, we've remained consistently unable to attract large numbers of them.
Ya know, I've been trying to point out that same thing throughout the tremendous growth of the Technician class license since it began only 19 years ago.  The "elite" just don't want to hear of that.  Neither does the League.  League bosses are very comfortable as they are, thankyouverymuch, and they can pocket their 6-figure annual pay without remorse.  The bosses are also way too comfortable with the way things WERE.  That shows on the pages of QST.

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Indeed, and as I've noted in other threads, the plan for the eventual demise of "incentive licensing" is now already well underway.  The latest chapter in that plan was the FCC's complete elimination of our absolutely ARCANE Morse testing requirement back in 2007.
It's only just begun, the first seed planted in 2000 with "restructuring."  First blooming was in 2007 with 06-178 released in December 2006.  I too expect the growth of a new species to continue but it will be slow.  The FCC has plenty of OTHER regulatory issues to deal with and HOBBY radio doesn't rank as do-it-immediately priority.  The "elitists" are highly vocal and will be outraged!

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The bad news, however, is that it may very well take another generation or two before such fundamentalist regulatory zealots completely disappear from the ranks of our Service…along with all the reams of licensing and regulatory overkill that STILL underwrites their ever-more out-of-touch, 1950s-era, elitist blather.
Not good news to me but expected.  Cheesy   What is good news, although kept rather silent among the cacophony of the "elitests" shouting out the insistence on NO-change is that there a few of us with the spirit to fight the good fights.  WE got 06-178 into regulations.  Cheesy

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Indeed, as Professor Doctor Max Planck, winner of the Nobel Prize for physics and one of the greatest physicists of the early 20th Century once said, “Innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents.  What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and the growing generation is familiarized with the innovative ideas from the beginning.”
Along about the middle of the last century I was perusing some textbooks in a library.  One "new" addition to the shelves was on basic electricity and espoused "Franklin current flow" which was just the opposite of electron flow.  Too confusing to me so I put it back on the shelves.  The idea that electrons lept from plate to cathode or (in TV) from ultor to cathode apparently was foreign to the writer in the 1950s.  I would judge that he later "walked the Planck" and went into the water of ignorance, still saying He was Right...

73, Len K6LHA
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K7KBN
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« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2010, 10:07:05 PM »

Ah, the mutual admiration society strikes again. Roll Eyes
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Pat K7KBN
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« Reply #44 on: August 28, 2010, 05:19:42 AM »

Shouldn't've brought Dick Bash up.  Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.   Roll Eyes  Embarrassed
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