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Author Topic: Why Have An Extra Class?  (Read 262290 times)
N0NB
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« Reply #75 on: September 02, 2010, 07:48:13 PM »

From a practical standpoint, I agree, particularly if you are administering exams for multiple classes of licensees at one sitting.  

However, the fact remains that Generals are authorized to give exams in our Service. So, the argument that you need an Extra Class license to give exams just doesn't wash.  And there wouldn't be a need for an Extra Class license to give exams to other Extra Class License applicants if there wasn't such a thing as an Extra Class license!

Even though General and Advanced licensees can, by rule, be a VE, there is no requirement that the head VE must accept any and everyone who comes along.  Given a sufficient number of Extra licensees in the two clubs where I established and conducted VE session, there were already enough Extras to do the job without needing the services of other classes.  Then there comes the issue of whether they must leave the room when an element is administered that they're unqualified to give.  If they wanted to be a VE on my team, I encouraged them to upgrade first.

All that aside, in any license structure that follows, given that we have a volunteer exam system in place, presumably the highest grade of license, no matter what it's called, will be given the privilege of being an examiner.  Even if there were only a single class of amateur radio operator license I would expect the duties to fall on those already licensed.  Perhaps additional restrictions would be considered such as time licensed or some such.  Of course, conducting exams is a whole separate activity from on-air operations and all that is really needed is an understanding of the rules and procedures involved.
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73, de Nate
Bremen, KS

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KB1SF
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« Reply #76 on: September 03, 2010, 06:30:39 AM »

Even though General and Advanced licensees can, by rule, be a VE, there is no requirement that the head VE must accept any and everyone who comes along.  Given a sufficient number of Extra licensees in the two clubs where I established and conducted VE session, there were already enough Extras to do the job without needing the services of other classes.  Then there comes the issue of whether they must leave the room when an element is administered that they're unqualified to give.

Again, all of this nonsense we VEs have to "jump through" to give US exams is yet more needless Part 97 overkill.  

I'm qualified as a VE to administer ham exams in both the US and Canada.  In Canada, VE's (they are called "Accredited Examiners") are allowed to give exams with only one VE present.  In fact, I've given Canadian ham exams in the back of restaurants and around people's kitchen tables...just like we used to do in the USA with our old Novice exams.  

Also, in Canada, there's no "VEC" middleman in the mix with reams and reams of forms, procedures, "VE Manuals" and other such trumped up eyewash.  We VEs deal directly with Industry Canada for all licensing matters.  And, best of all, there's no mandatory exam fee...unless you decide to take your exam from an Industry Canada official at an Industry Canada radio field office.  Most don't.

Now, there ARE provisions for VEs to be reimbursed for their services, but we are allowed to negotiate that reimbursement between the applicant and the VE.  I simply suggest that successful candidates make a small monetary donation (in whatever amount they feel comfortable with) to their local ham club.  That way, there's not even the appearance of a "payoff".

Also, when I fax a report of a successful test session to the Amateur Radio Service Center of Industry Canada in Ottawa on Monday morning, the new ham's call sign usually shows up in the Canadian call sign database on Tuesday...the very next day!   And even new hams can request what the last three letters of their call sign will be. That is, if a so-called "two by three" call is shown as being available in Canada's Available Call Sign Database, if the new ham specifically requests that call on their initial application form, it will usually be assigned....and, again, all at no charge.

Now, if this VE system all sounds "loose", that's probably because it is.  

However, maybe that's because Industry Canada well understands that we hams are primarily responsible for maintaining the integrity of our own radio service and they trust us implicitly to do so. For, just as with the rest of the regulations for amateur radio in Canada, Industry Canada has chosen to simply treat us all as responsible adults that are well capable of deciding amongst ourselves how our Service is to be run, rather than as a bunch of little children that have to be told, in eye-watering regulatory, Part 97 detail, what to do and how to do it in every situation.

Indeed, in the USA, our amateur radio rules are written in such a way that, unless something is specifically enabled by regulation, then it's prohibited.  In Canada, the reverse is true.  That is, unless something is specifically prohibited, then it's enabled.  This is probably why the rules and regulations for the Amateur Service in Canada constitute only a small fraction of the reams of needless "enabling" eyewash that's still contained in our Part 97.

Moreover, and as we have seen with our own US volunteer examiner system, if someone really wants to get around all these regulatory "safeguards" in our US VE system, there will always be ways for such persons to do so.  So why even have all that needless regulatory eyewash in the mix in the first place?  Again, I ask:  Who (or what) is benefiting from it all?

For example, I would love dearly to know how much revenue our 9 VECs generate each year just from test fees they collect in the USA.  Last year, there were some 30,000 new hams licensed in the USA.  Where I come from, 30,000 times $15 adds up to a whole chunk of change...almost a half a million dollars' worth.  And that figure doesn't even include those already licensed persons who paid test fees to those 9 VECs to "upgrade"!  I also know for a fact that our VEC staffers aren't working as "volunteers"!  This means that you and I do all the grunt work in the field while the VECs get paid for your and my "volunteer" efforts. Now, is that fair?  And what "useful regulatory purpose" does all that added VEC bureaucracy serve?

Unfortunately, this all begs yet another prickly question:  Isn't all that added Part 97 VEC nonsense actually contributing to someone's "pecuniary interest" in yet another direct conflict with the international "NON pecuniary interest" rules for our Service?

The bottom line here is that, when it comes right down to it, the integrity of the volunteer examiner process for our Service...in both of our countries...still largely rests on the integrity of individual VEs not to "short sheet" the system.  It seems to me that all of those Part 97 "safeguards" put in place in the USA to prevent "cheating" simply constitutes yet another (but apparently fiscally lucrative) self-serving bureaucracy that's been needlessly built around our Service.  

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 07:00:38 AM by Keith Baker » Logged
AA4PB
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« Reply #77 on: September 03, 2010, 07:45:22 AM »

Sounds to me like the Canadian system is wide open to abuse. In the U.S. at least you'd have to courrupt several people, not just one.

For me, I prefer the U.S. VE system.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
W5ESE
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« Reply #78 on: September 03, 2010, 09:57:34 AM »


The only real difference is when it comes to being a VE where the lower classes are too limited and it's too much of a pain to keep track of who's doing what.  Otherwise, beyond frequency limits the local Generals can do everything on the bands that I can do except for narrower sub bands.


The other difference is if you travel in Europe.

The Advanced and Extra Class licenses confer operating privileges based on the "CEPT Full" harmonized license.

The General and Technician don't. The General license
used to, but doesn't any longer.

Holder of General and Technician licensed have to deal
with the licensing organizations in the EU on a country-by
-country basis. In some countries, you may enjoy operating
privileges, but not in others.

73
Scott W5ESE
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KB1SF
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« Reply #79 on: September 03, 2010, 12:39:50 PM »

Sounds to me like the Canadian system is wide open to abuse. In the U.S. at least you'd have to courrupt several people, not just one.

Maybe so.  

But what does your statement also say about the integrity of people who volunteer as VE's? Are all of us now to be thought of as "sly and cunning and bear watching at all times"?  

And, these are just amateur radio exams, for heaven's sake!  We aren't being asked to guard Fort Knox, protect military secrets or assure national security.  

What's more, isn't our Service supposed to be "self policing"?  Whatever happened to that idea?  And even with all these silly (not to mention expensive) "safeguards" in the current US system, there have still been instances of abuse.  So why do we keep insisting on squashing (largely non-existent) "gnats" with "hammers"?

You may also recall we had a similar, single examiner licensing system in the USA for Novice and Conditional Classes of licenses for DECADES.  All of those exams were accomplished by mail, and somehow, our "sky" didn't "fall" back then. So, what's so significantly different now that it absolutely requires layer upon layer of "security" against (as you say) "corruption"?

Quote
For me, I prefer the U.S. VE system.

Having administered exams under both systems for several years now, I firmly believe the Canadian system offers a far better balance between neccessary security and expediency....and all at a significantly lower cost to applicants.

73,

Keith
KB1SF /  VA3KSF
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 12:47:35 PM by Keith Baker » Logged
AA4PB
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« Reply #80 on: September 03, 2010, 12:59:19 PM »

When one person can administer and grade an exam in private without monitoring then the temptation is there. All it takes is someone who is hurting for some cash and somebody who has some and is willing to part with it.

Under the old novice/tech system the person administering the written exam didn't even need to be a ham. As I recall he had to be over 21 years old. The person taking the exam filled it out and then it was sealed and mailed back to the FCC for grading. If the person giving the exam knew electronics I guess he could have cheated by supplying the answers, but he didn't have an answer key.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
KB1SF
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« Reply #81 on: September 03, 2010, 01:14:07 PM »

When one person can administer and grade an exam in private without monitoring then the temptation is there. All it takes is someone who is hurting for some cash and somebody who has some and is willing to part with it.

And there will always be "crooks" in every segment of society. 

But, again, has cheating on amateur radio exams EVER been a big problem?  Does the cost and complexity of the "safeguards" in our current volunteer examination system outweigh the perceived risk?  If someone gets a license fraudulently in our Service, won't they stick out like a sore thumb when they get on the air?  It seems to me harmful interference and boorish behavior on our bands poses a FAR bigger problem for our Service than the "corruption" of our amateur radio examining system.

Quote
Under the old novice/tech system the person administering the written exam didn't even need to be a ham. As I recall he had to be over 21 years old. The person taking the exam filled it out and then it was sealed and mailed back to the FCC for grading. If the person giving the exam knew electronics I guess he could have cheated by supplying the answers, but he didn't have an answer key.

Maybe so. 

But once again, has "corruption" in our examination system ever been a big problem either then or now?  What has significantly changed in the interim that it absolutely requires all of these "safeguards"?

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
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AB2T
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« Reply #82 on: September 03, 2010, 01:29:58 PM »

You may also recall we had a similar, single examiner licensing system in the USA for Novice and Conditional Classes of licenses for DECADES.  All of those exams were accomplished by mail, and somehow, our "sky" didn't "fall" back then. So, what's so significantly different now that it absolutely requires layer upon layer of "security" against (as you say) "corruption"?

There was corruption in the American conditional testing system.  Faked credentials being one of them.  This is why the FCC required Conditionals to sit the General written and 13 wpm before sitting the Advanced.  Also, a FCC field office could call a Conditional licensee in at any time and for any reason to sit the General and the 13 wpm again.

I am uncomfortable with the Canadian testing system.  I've decided to sit the Advanced in a group examination (I'm not taking the class but will appear for the final.)  That way, I will not be alone with an examiner.  I decided to wait to take the Advanced rather than have to take it alone "Novice-style".

I also need to take the Morse.  Again, I've been putting this off because I'd rather take it in a group.  I might have to compromise and do the Morse alone because I have not been able to find a group Morse exam.

The VEC requirement that testing take place in an open, public place is safe and less intimidating for some people.  Also, three VE's at the minimum are necessary.  The VEC regulations are a lot more secure and safe than the AE policy.  I understand, however, that there are 1/10 the hams in Canada.  Also, Canada is a very large and often sparsely populated country.  Still, I think Industry Canada would do well to adopt some of the American safeguards.  The "Novice-style" testing should be an exception, not a rule. 
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KB1SF
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« Reply #83 on: September 03, 2010, 02:06:29 PM »

I am uncomfortable with the Canadian testing system.  I've decided to sit the Advanced in a group examination (I'm not taking the class but will appear for the final.)  That way, I will not be alone with an examiner.  I decided to wait to take the Advanced rather than have to take it alone "Novice-style".

I understand and very much appreciate your concerns.  

For many years, I've run classes and administered numerous amateur exams on both sides of the US/Canadian border.  I've also administered Canadian exams to groups as well as singly.  And over the years, I've found that it's been helpful for me to be able to offer examinees a choice as to when, where, and how they take their exams.  

I've also found that, in the course of their study for these exams, people "peak" at different times.  It's very nice for candidates to be able to pick up the phone, call me, and have them come over to my house (or for me meet them at theirs) and administer an exam to them when they feel they are ready to take it...and not be forced to wait for a scheduled exam session in their town or city that may only be held once a month or so.

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I also need to take the Morse.  Again, I've been putting this off because I'd rather take it in a group.  I might have to compromise and do the Morse alone because I have not been able to find a group Morse exam.

And you probably won't.  

However, if you are ever anywhere near Sarnia, Ontario, I'd be happy to administer such an exam to you. I'm sure we could round up a couple of other local candidates to make you feel more comfortable!

Quote
The VEC requirement that testing take place in an open, public place is safe and less intimidating for some people.  Also, three VE's at the minimum are necessary.

Unfortunately, where I live, rounding up three Extra Class VEs for a US test session to administer General or Extra exams can sometimes be a real challenge.  While we have never had to turn people away for lack of Extra Class examiners, we've come very close to having to do so on a couple of occasions.  

Quote
The VEC regulations are a lot more secure and safe than the AE policy.  I understand, however, that there are 1/10 the hams in Canada.  Also, Canada is a very large and often sparsely populated country.  Still, I think Industry Canada would do well to adopt some of the American safeguards.  The "Novice-style" testing should be an exception, not a rule.  

Well, as I've said, "Novice-style" testing has been the "rule" for many decades in Canada.  And, so far at least, their "sky" has yet to fall.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 02:50:50 PM by Keith Baker » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #84 on: September 03, 2010, 02:11:11 PM »

it's like owning a Harley.

Harley Davidson makes fine motorcycles, there's no doubt about that.

But my choice is a 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lCH5JgWCZY

73 de Jim, N2EY

"red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme"
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N2EY
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« Reply #85 on: September 03, 2010, 05:20:26 PM »

There was corruption in the American conditional testing system.  Faked credentials being one of them.
 

Back when the Conditional still existed, I heard stories of cheating of various kinds connected with it. Such things as sending a well-known text for the code test, giving "hints" about the written test, etc.

But I do not recall a single documented case where there was proof of wrongdoing. Third-hand stories aren't proof.

However, I lived in a place close to an FCC office, so we didn't have many Conditionals around. Others' experience may be very different.

This is why the FCC required Conditionals to sit the General written and 13 wpm before sitting the Advanced.  Also, a FCC field office could call a Conditional licensee in at any time and for any reason to sit the General and the 13 wpm again.

I don't know if that was the reason, but it certainly was the rule. There was also a time when, if a Conditional moved to within the prescribed distance from an FCC exam point, s/he had 90 days to show up at an FCC exam session and retest. That requirement went away in 1954.

One thing is pretty certain: FCC isn't going to take back the job of test administration any time in the foreseeable future. (I rarely say "never", because I've seen too many strange things happen). So the question is: how can the VEC/QPC system be made better?

The VEC requirement that testing take place in an open, public place is safe and less intimidating for some people.

That's a very important point! Under the old Novice system, a would-be Novice, Technician or Conditional had the task of finding someone to be the volunteer examiner - and such a person might be a complete and total stranger, met in private. As you say, some folks might be intimidated by such an arrangement today. There was also the task of arranging a test location and time that was mutually agreeable - not always easy in some situations.

With the modern system, it's all open-to-the-public, previously-announced and accessible, just like the FCC exam sessions were. Except the locations and times are probably more convenient.

  Also, three VE's at the minimum are necessary.  The VEC regulations are a lot more secure and safe than the AE policy.  I understand, however, that there are 1/10 the hams in Canada.  Also, Canada is a very large and often sparsely populated country.  Still, I think Industry Canada would do well to adopt some of the American safeguards.  The "Novice-style" testing should be an exception, not a rule.
 

Wikipedia gives Canada's population as about 34 million, while the US population is about 310 million. There are about 694,000 individuals holding current unexpired FCC-issued amateur licenses. I'm not sure how many Canadian amateurs there are now, but if the per-capita rate was the same, there would be about 76,000 Canadian radio amateurs. I don't think there are that many.

Canada is larger in land area than the USA, including Alaska, btw. Of course large parts of northern Canada are sparsely populated, but so are large parts of the USA such as Alaska, Wyoming (WY's population is now less than AK's), desert and mountain regions, etc.

More important are the cultural differences. For example, most Canadians are baffled by the resistance of some people in the USA to health-care reform.

73 de Jim, N2EY
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 05:38:00 PM by James Miccolis » Logged
K6LHA
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« Reply #86 on: September 05, 2010, 10:36:15 PM »

It is not the business of the US Government to stoke your (or anyone else's) ego.  Our FCC is also NOT (and never has been) chartered as a degree-granting institution of higher learning.  

You can disagree all you want but the rule (97.1) is there, like it or not. If you want the FCC to change the rule then submit a proposal. Stating your disagreement with the current rules on e-ham isn't going to accomplish anything.

To quote from Part 97, Title 47 C.F.R. 97.1 is not a "rule," it is a General Provision that defines some generalities.  It is more a "definition" and an extremely general provision at that.  There are only five such items under 91.1 Basis and Purpose.

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Until the FCC changes the rules, they do have the authority and the responsibility to encourage the advancement of your technical education.

That is failing to understand what "education" is under 97.1 (c) which is quoted here:

"Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communation and technical phases of the art."

That can be summed up as POLITICAL BOILERPLATE phrasing, words which were inserted long ago (well before the 1995 bound Title 47 that I have), vague generalities which are "feel good" phrases to describe amateur radio in general, based on what it had become when those phrases were put into amateur radio regulations.

Nowhere in the Communications Act of 1934 nor the Telecommunications Act that followed long after, LAWS established by the Congress of the United States, is the FCC required to be either an "educator" or an academic agency established for "educating" anyone.  The job of the FCC is that of a REGULATING AGENCY, regulating and mitigating interference between ALL radio services.

It is a common mistake to associate TESTS with academic subjects, but a mistake nonetheless.  Many agencies give tests to applicants seeking licenses and permissions on a great variety of activities, crafts, professions.  A TEST is just a document valid for a certain date that an applicant has demonstrated certain knowledge to an agency by answering a test conceived by that agency.

Those who take a state driver's test, both written and behind-the-wheel are just demonstrating their knowledge and experience acquired PRIOR to a driver's test.  The only thing they can possibly educate themselves with are - if strangers to that state - the infrastructure and interactions with bureaurocratic employees of that state agency...neither of which are actual facets of DRIVING.  The applicants all KNEW the material and subject BEFOREHAND.

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At present, amateur radio is more than just talking on a radio. If it ever becomes just talking on a radio then in all likelyhood we will have to use FCC Certified radios just like the other services and you won't be able to design/build your own.

That is incorrect.  ANYONE may design and build their own or another's radio or other electronic apparatus, licensed or not.  There is no prohibition on that.  It is done and has been done for years by unlicensed persons.  The PERMISSION TO USE a radio TRANSMITTER is regulated by Part 97, Title 47 C.F.R.  That includes intentional RF emission in amateur radio bands as well as unintentional emission of RF energy in frequencies outside of amateur radio bands.  Several Parts within Title 47 C.F.R. have prohibitions on unintentional RF energy emission outside of their particular radio service allocations.

73, Len K6LHA
 
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K6LHA
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« Reply #87 on: September 05, 2010, 10:43:57 PM »


As I've said before, the way Industry Canada regulates our Service is essentially how the REST of the world has been regulating THEIR Amateur Services FOR DECADES.  And the "sky" in our Service in those other parts of the world has yet to "fall".

Unfortunately, most US hams are completely oblivious to the fact that the ITU has already established a set of band plans for our Service based on maximum emission BANDWIDTH vice license class and emission mode.  It may also come as a complete surprise to most American hams that many countries in the rest of the world LONG AGO simply embraced those bandwidth-based ITU band plans for our Service and let it go at that.

The rest of the ham radio world wasn't ruled by the ARRL...   Cheesy
 
Quote
It's only here in the USA that our bands were further chopped up by 1950s-era, ARRL-inspired FCC bureaucrats into smaller and smaller chunks of so-called "exclusive", artificially segregated spectrum space based on license class and operating mode.  And, clearly, all of THAT nonsense still remains firmly in place because it forms the principle "incentive" with which to stroke people's egos into "upgrading", thereby forcing compliance with their so-called "incentive licensing" stupidity.

I never bought into that.  My very first amateur radio license was Amateur Extra class.  <shrug>

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Now, clearly, moving to a bandwidth-based (vice license class and mode based) regulatory system is going to be extremely difficult.  That's because the latter (now thoroughly entrenched) nonsense still forms the heart and soul of "incentive licensing" in the United States.  It also underwrites all the regulated snobbery that still permeates any discussion of licensing (or licensing reform) in our Service in the USA.  For, once the FCC finally takes away all that exclusive bandwidth nonsense, what's going to be left (besides bragging rights) to "incentivize" people to "upgrade" all the way to Extra Class?

The answer, of course, is (gasp!)  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
I whole heartedly agree with that.  But, there is still the "extra bigotry" that many long-time hams practice because it boosts their egos.  They WANT all the rank, status, and privilege they "feel they deserve."  All of those will not let go of their emotions and embrace any idea that they are not special (dare I say "extra special?") amateurs.

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That is, instead of proscribing all that frequency and mode-based sub-band (and sub-sub band) nonsense into eye-watering detail with enabling regulation, Industry Canada simply tells Canadian hams to adhere to the broad (very broad) frequency and emission bandwidth requirements specified by the ITU for our Service.  They then leave the rest of those "what goes where" decisions up to we hams to decide.

This approach has worked well for Canadian hams for decades, as, with very few exceptions, most Canadian hams are quite content to follow the voluntary IARU band plans for our Service. 

Why can't we?

NIH, Keith...Not Invented Here.  There would be something close to a revolution begun by the ARRL to oppose anything done better elsewhere.  The boys overseas in Newington want to keep on Running Things to suit them and their six-figure annual salaries (plus per diem, of course).  They cannot suddenly turn on some logic switch and do things differently than they did before...not with all those old ARRL publication copies lying around to prove they once thought otherwise.  Embracing a truly thoughtful future would make them out to be the Janus showing both faces to the world.  NOT a good image.

73, Len K6LHA

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AB2T
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« Reply #88 on: September 06, 2010, 03:42:59 AM »

There was corruption in the American conditional testing system.  Faked credentials being one of them.
 

Back when the Conditional still existed, I heard stories of cheating of various kinds connected with it. Such things as sending a well-known text for the code test, giving "hints" about the written test, etc.

But I do not recall a single documented case where there was proof of wrongdoing. Third-hand stories aren't proof.

However, I lived in a place close to an FCC office, so we didn't have many Conditionals around. Others' experience may be very different.

Someone who researches for a living should be a bit more diligent about citing his sources. Shocked 

"Volunteer Examiners: Photocopy of License Not Required" QST, April 1980. p76.

No link since the ARRL is quite explicit about its copyright.  But the entire QST archive til 2006 (moving wall) is available to members at http://www.arrl.org/arrl-periodicals-archive-search  Fascinating look into ham radio's past.

This is why the FCC required Conditionals to sit the General written and 13 wpm before sitting the Advanced.  Also, a FCC field office could call a Conditional licensee in at any time and for any reason to sit the General and the 13 wpm again.

I don't know if that was the reason, but it certainly was the rule.

Quite true.  I can't say for sure that the FCC's Conditional Class policy was a direct result of testing irregularity in the old Volunteer Examiner system.  However, I suspect that these safeguards were put into place as a corrective measure in the case of cheating or irregularity. 

Then again, there are no more hams with Conditional tickets, so we'll never know for sure.  And perhaps we shouldn't care, either  Smiley

73, Jordan   

« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 03:48:27 AM by Jordan » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #89 on: September 06, 2010, 05:06:15 AM »

There was corruption in the American conditional testing system.  Faked credentials being one of them.
 

Back when the Conditional still existed, I heard stories of cheating of various kinds connected with it. Such things as sending a well-known text for the code test, giving "hints" about the written test, etc.

But I do not recall a single documented case where there was proof of wrongdoing. Third-hand stories aren't proof.

However, I lived in a place close to an FCC office, so we didn't have many Conditionals around. Others' experience may be very different.

Someone who researches for a living should be a bit more diligent about citing his sources. Shocked 

I'm not sure who you mean. I don't do research for a living.

"Volunteer Examiners: Photocopy of License Not Required" QST, April 1980. p76.

No link since the ARRL is quite explicit about its copyright.  But the entire QST archive til 2006 (moving wall) is available to members at http://www.arrl.org/arrl-periodicals-archive-search  Fascinating look into ham radio's past.

Yes it is. I happen to have QST in its original form, so I pulled that issue off the shelf.

What that story tells is that the FCC turned *down* a 1975 proposal to require volunteer examiners to send a photocopy of their licenses to a FCC when requesting test materials for a by-mail license. FCC felt they'd effectively solved the problem by making the Novice the only by-mail license.

However the article doesn't name any specific instance of cheating, just that "the Commission was aware of "substantial" abuses of the testing procedure".

Seems to me they didn't want to give away details, because they didn't want more of it. But it's pretty clear how the cheating was done.

Thanks for the reference - I'd forgotten about how the FCC had made only the Novice by-mail back in the 1970s.

This is why the FCC required Conditionals to sit the General written and 13 wpm before sitting the Advanced.  Also, a FCC field office could call a Conditional licensee in at any time and for any reason to sit the General and the 13 wpm again.

I don't know if that was the reason, but it certainly was the rule.

Quite true.  I can't say for sure that the FCC's Conditional Class policy was a direct result of testing irregularity in the old Volunteer Examiner system.  However, I suspect that these safeguards were put into place as a corrective measure in the case of cheating or irregularity. 

Then again, there are no more hams with Conditional tickets, so we'll never know for sure.  And perhaps we shouldn't care, either  Smiley

There's probably nothing that can be done, anyway.

But there are still hams whose current licenses are descended from the Conditional. What I mean is that the Conditional was phased out starting in 1975 by simply changing the class to General when the license was renewed or modified, similar to what was done to the Tech Plus starting in April 2000. 

73 de Jim, N2EY

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