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Author Topic: Why Have An Extra Class?  (Read 145178 times)
N2EY
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« Reply #255 on: October 28, 2010, 03:41:14 AM »

N2EY said "Reason 1 is that it takes a knowledgeable person to grade them."  You nailed it on the reason why we will never have difficult examinations ever again.  BTW, the exam I took in 1964 was what you described, a little bit of everything.  Back then they had FCC examiners who actually had engineering degrees grading your test. 

I don't think it matters how difficult the tests are. What matters is what a person needs to know to pass them. Those two are not the same thing.

A big part of the reason for the change was to reduce cost. Think how much it would cost today to do license testing the way it was done in 1964 - the test fees would be very high.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K6LHA
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« Reply #256 on: October 30, 2010, 06:26:53 PM »

N2EY said "Reason 1 is that it takes a knowledgeable person to grade them."  You nailed it on the reason why we will never have difficult examinations ever again.  BTW, the exam I took in 1964 was what you described, a little bit of everything.  Back then they had FCC examiners who actually had engineering degrees grading your test. 

I don't think it matters how difficult the tests are. What matters is what a person needs to know to pass them. Those two are not the same thing.]
That is a NON-answer or so poorly written that it is confusing.

If one reads this "answer" as-is then any knowledgeable person could pass just about any test.  Cheesy

As to having "real engineers" doing testing, I will dispute that.  The majority of FCC duties and actions in 1964 or 1956 were LEGAL matters since the FCC's task in 1956 or 1964 were to regulate USA civil radio, the same as it is now.

For "real engineers" the FCC has those, concentrated in the Office of Engineering and Technology.  It is on their website, available from the home page. Note also that it is common for the FCC to invite public commentary on certain technical areas which are NOT taught in universities or colleges today.  "Real" (degreed) engineers would be taught anything not in a syllabus.

Quote
A big part of the reason for the change was to reduce cost. Think how much it would cost today to do license testing the way it was done in 1964 - the test fees would be very high.
Okay, How much did it cost for any radio operator license in 1964?

I don't remember what a test fee was in 1956 when I took and passed all the elements to get my First 'Phone.  The "expensive" part for me was a train ride into Chicago (90 miles, no personal auto yet), a hot dog from a street vendor after the test (plus another and a cup of coffee...was a cool day in early March), and - I think - a 50-cent ticket to see a matinee of the movie "Oklahoma" to wait for the train to depart back home.  Cheesy

At my amateur test iin 2007 the test fee was $14.  Astronomical cost to a kid of 7 but a pittance to an adult.  Cheesy
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W0DV
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #257 on: November 08, 2010, 12:07:21 PM »

Everyone take a very good look at this post I have quoted. Is this the sort of ham we want on the air? An angry disgruntled, disfunctional, insulting, whining little baby? This "ham has nothing positive to say or promote, only ugliness and discord. Not only shouldn't this individual be allowed on the air, he shouldn't be allowed to post his insulting remarks.

I was first licensed in 1994. Looked like a fun hobby so I took the written exam. Easy? sure, it was easy. I didn't know it was supposed to be hard or that at one time it was more difficult. I was ignorant of the "issues" that the minority of hams such as the one referenced to here, has raised. Then I started visiting the QRZ forums, and the Forums here on Eham, and wow, what rock did these malcontents crawl out from under? Then I think to myself, and am reasonably sure, that these few sad individuals have much greater problems in their life. The silliness and nonsense they spew here is only a symptom of the more important issues they have in their daily life with themselves, their family, and probably with most they have social interaction with.

Today, I am a 5 wpm Extra. I use my radio when I have time, and enjoy it very much. I don't care if you used the CB, are a no-code, or if you have no technical knowledge.
I suppose what helped me somewhat with the exams is the fact that I went to college and studied electronics back in the early 80's and I have experience as a technician in the field. But what is important as far as radio hobby is concerned is that we learn from one another and treat each other with respect, and above all, enjoy the hobby. If you can't, get out of the hobby because decent people don't want to hear or read the negativity.

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

E
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W0DV
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« Reply #258 on: November 08, 2010, 12:23:40 PM »

I asked myself the same question when I took the Extra exam in 1964.  No additional privileges over a General Class, and the questions were not easy as pie as they are today..code test was 20 wpm.  But, when they told me I could apply for a 1X2 call in 1976 I was happy to have the higher grade license.  But, you are right!  There are thousands of knuckleheads out there with Extra licenses; the only reason they passed the test is because they have good memories.  The FCC needs to come out with a higher grade license that requires more studying/learning and less memorizing....write out the solutions as I did in 1964.

The Amateur Radio written exams have always been easy. They were easy in 1964 and they are easier today. No one had to go to college to be an Amateur Radio Op. No one had to graduate from High School. ANYONE could be an Amateur Radio OP if they had the interest and ambition to do so, code or no-code.
The reason why some cry about no-codes and CB'rs is because they have life issues that reach beyond ham radio discussion. Attacking others is just an outlet. Very painfully obvious.
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AB2T
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« Reply #259 on: November 09, 2010, 10:11:12 PM »

My epitaph:

delictore exhibito attamen magister examen praestantissimum amateur radio concludit   

"A failed academic, but passed the Extra!"

Latin, for that extra snootiness and ego stroking.  Besides, isn't this thread about bragging about abilities and accomplishments that obscure inadequacies?

73, Jordan (who had mom drive him to the ham exams). 

« Last Edit: November 11, 2010, 09:26:19 AM by Jordan » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3877




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« Reply #260 on: November 10, 2010, 03:26:59 AM »

The Amateur Radio written exams have always been easy. They were easy in 1964 and they are easier today.

They were easy in 1964 if a person had a background in electronics and knew some things about amateur radio.

They weren't - and still aren't - easy if a person has to start from scratch without such a background.

But IMHO it doesn't matter how "easy" or "hard" the tests are, or were. What matters is what knowledge the tests require. 

No one had to go to college to be an Amateur Radio Op. No one had to graduate from High School. ANYONE could be an Amateur Radio OP if they had the interest and ambition to do so, code or no-code.

Not only that, but we've got Extras today who hadn't gotten through elementary school when they earned the license.

The reason why some cry about no-codes and CB'rs is because they have life issues that reach beyond ham radio discussion. Attacking others is just an outlet. Very painfully obvious.

The same can be said about those who cry about code tests and multiple license classes.

I looked back at the very first post in this thread, and what I saw is that the OP wants Generals and Advanceds to get full privileges without taking any more tests. Is that a good idea? I think not.

Is it wrong to be proud of one's accomplishments in amateur radio? Is it wrong to want to have some reasonable entry standards?

I think not.

If the 1964 tests were so easy, let's go back to that kind of testing. I could pass them all, right now, no practice or preparation needed. Or the 2010 tests.

How many others can make good on that claim?

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AB2T
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« Reply #261 on: November 10, 2010, 02:56:06 PM »

Everyone take a very good look at this post I have quoted. Is this the sort of ham we want on the air? An angry disgruntled, disfunctional, insulting, whining little baby? This "ham has nothing positive to say or promote, only ugliness and discord. Not only shouldn't this individual be allowed on the air, he shouldn't be allowed to post his insulting remarks.

Do we want to have "angry, disgruntled, disfunctional, insulting, whining little" people in society?  There's no choice.  We do.  Let the maladjusted attend to themselves.  That includes me.  I suppose, though, that my problems are more histrionic and intellectually arrogant in nature.

Just keep keying away.  Don't worry about it.

73, Jordan
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 02:58:36 PM by Jordan » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #262 on: November 11, 2010, 02:58:22 AM »

Everyone take a very good look at this post I have quoted. Is this the sort of ham we want on the air? An angry disgruntled, disfunctional, insulting, whining little baby? This "ham has nothing positive to say or promote, only ugliness and discord. Not only shouldn't this individual be allowed on the air, he shouldn't be allowed to post his insulting remarks.

Do we want to have "angry, disgruntled, disfunctional, insulting, whining little" people in society?  There's no choice.  We do. 

Yes, we have such people - on all sides of any issue.

But we don't have to encourage or accept their misbehavior.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KB3LSR
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« Reply #263 on: November 11, 2010, 06:00:27 AM »

Nearly three years after the FCC dropped Morse Code and it's still being debated?

Seems a lot like beating a dead horse with a stick.
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W0DV
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« Reply #264 on: November 11, 2010, 09:37:40 AM »


Quote from: N2EY
They were easy in 1964 if a person had a background in electronics and knew some things about amateur radio..

The written exams have never required a knowledge past that of basic electronics. As with any hobby one is interested in, some research is required. If one is truly interested in the hobby, and has done a little homework, they will find the written exams easy.  The code element on the other hand has always required much more effort.
 

Quote from: N2EY
Not only that, but we've got Extras today who hadn't gotten through elementary school when they earned the license.

Fantastic! When I hear young people on the air, I try to work them. It's always a pleasure. The future of Amateur Radio depends on them, and the rest of us, to mentor them.

Quote from: N2EY
I looked back at the very first post in this thread, and what I saw is that the OP wants Generals and Advanceds to get full privileges without taking any more tests. Is that a good idea? I think not.

I agree



Quote from: N2EY
Is it wrong to be proud of one's accomplishments in amateur radio? Is it wrong to want to have some reasonable entry standards?.

Of course not, lol

Quote from: N2EY
If the 1964 tests were so easy, let's go back to that kind of testing. I could pass them all, right now, no practice or preparation needed. Or the 2010 tests.
 

Again, the written exams have always been easy.  Some self education is required.
If my father-in-law passed the written General 40 years ago, anyone can Smiley He couldn't identify a resistor from a capacitor. He knows nothing of basic electronics, has never held a soldering iron, and has trouble with basic math. Where he excelled in was the code. He learned the code while he was in the airforce during the Korean War.  He was a radio op during the war. It isn't surprising that he can easily surpass 35 wpm.
He represents many older hams that run their mouth about how amateur Radio is being "dumbed down", or inundated with CB radio ops. He quit ham radio when the code was dropped, out of protest. Amateur Radio is a better place without him, or others like him, that hate those new fancy calculators and radio's. If ham radio were left to them, it would no longer exist for future generations to enjoy.
The Amateur Operators that I look up to are the ones that mentor, share their knowledge of the history of radio, their knowledge of electronic and antenna theory, and do so without a grudge, promoting the hobby in a positive way, and treating new recruits with respect if it is deserved.
Amateur Radio is a great hobby! I hope it is around for a long time for many to enjoy. The last thing it needs is a small group of braindead malcontents.
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N2EY
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« Reply #265 on: November 12, 2010, 04:07:58 AM »

The written exams have never required a knowledge past that of basic electronics. As with any hobby one is interested in, some research is required. If one is truly interested in the hobby, and has done a little homework, they will find the written exams easy.

It all depends on how you define "a little homework" and "some research". For a person with no background in the field, it may take some time to get up to speed. This was even more true back in the days when the exact Q&A used on the exams weren't available to the general public.

The only really scientific way to know would be to take the tests of the past in the way they were given at the time. But we don't have the exact tests of, say, 1964, only the study guides for them. And the testing environment is completely different.

The code element on the other hand has always required much more effort.

Not at all. But there are differences:

1) Most people have no background in Morse Code and have to learn it from scratch.

2) Morse Code requires skills rather than "book learning". Some people are very good at learning rote stuff out of books but not so good at learning skills.

3) Some people have a "diva problem" in that they view having to learn certain things as being beneath them or not worth their time and effort. Older people have this more than younger when it comes to things like Morse Code. I think one reason is that they may be outclassed by others who are younger and/or whom they consider "inferior".

Fantastic! When I hear young people on the air, I try to work them. It's always a pleasure. The future of Amateur Radio depends on them, and the rest of us, to mentor them.

I do the same things.

However, sometimes the younger folks can mentor the older! I once had a CW QSO with an Extra who was still in elementary school - but you wouldn't know it until the op told you. Really good operating skills and abilities. A lot of older hams could learn from that ham!

Which of course is what bothers some folks. There has even been at least one proposal to FCC to set a minimum age limit of 14 for any US amateur radio license.

Quote from: N2EY
If the 1964 tests were so easy, let's go back to that kind of testing. I could pass them all, right now, no practice or preparation needed. Or the 2010 tests.
 


Again, the written exams have always been easy.  Some self education is required.

"Always" is a very long time.


If my father-in-law passed the written General 40 years ago, anyone can Smiley He couldn't identify a resistor from a capacitor. He knows nothing of basic electronics, has never held a soldering iron, and has trouble with basic math. Where he excelled in was the code. He learned the code while he was in the airforce during the Korean War.  He was a radio op during the war. It isn't surprising that he can easily surpass 35 wpm.

40 years ago was 1970. Did you know him then? People change.

I suspect the Air Force taught him more than the code, and that he retained enough of it to pass the General written.

The reason he could do 35 wpm was probably that he *used* those skills.

He represents many older hams that run their mouth about how amateur Radio is being "dumbed down", or inundated with CB radio ops.

No, he represents only himself.

There is a false dichotomy sometimes expressed which states that a person is either good at code or good at technical stuff but not both. While there are some people that are good at only one of those things, the two are not mutually exclusive.

He quit ham radio when the code was dropped, out of protest. Amateur Radio is a better place without him, or others like him, that hate those new fancy calculators and radio's.

Nose, face, old saying.

But not all, or even most, "older hams" think the way he does.
I got my license in 1967 and I don't.

If ham radio were left to them, it would no longer exist for future generations to enjoy.

Maybe.

But consider that over the decades there have been many changes in amateur radio that the doomsayers said would destroy it. And yet here we are today.

One I remember is the changes called "incentive licensing", which came into effect in 1968-69. They upped the ante for full privileges, and some folks said they would be the end of ham radio. Some still say it!

Yet the exact opposite happened. In the 1960s there was almost no growth in our numbers, while in the 1970s and 1980s the number of US hams more than doubled. The fastest growth happened when the exam requirements were the highest! And a lot of that growth was young people.

The Amateur Operators that I look up to are the ones that mentor, share their knowledge of the history of radio, their knowledge of electronic and antenna theory, and do so without a grudge, promoting the hobby in a positive way, and treating new recruits with respect if it is deserved.

Me too. But respect is a two-way street. And sometimes mentoring/elmering requires making someone learn how to fish. Learned helplessness must be avoided.

Amateur Radio is a great hobby! I hope it is around for a long time for many to enjoy. The last thing it needs is a small group of braindead malcontents.

Yes, it's great - and it's more than a hobby. But its survival depends most on people actually doing it.

As for "braindead malcontents", they have always existed, and on all sides of an issue.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AB2T
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« Reply #266 on: November 12, 2010, 08:28:46 AM »

3) Some people have a "diva problem" in that they view having to learn certain things as being beneath them or not worth their time and effort. Older people have this more than younger when it comes to things like Morse Code. I think one reason is that they may be outclassed by others who are younger and/or whom they consider "inferior".

When you say "diva", I think of Marie Antoinette or beehive hairdos, not prideful adults.  Perhaps "inadequate people" instead?   

I've never met anyone who thought that learning the code was beneath them.  I've met long time Technician hams (i.e. charter no-code licensees) who were very active in ham radio before 2007 but did not upgrade because "they just couldn't learn that code".  That's a different issue than pride or veiled inadequacy.  That's an honest admission of fear or phobia, not "diva".

Which of course is what bothers some folks. There has even been at least one proposal to FCC to set a minimum age limit of 14 for any US amateur radio license.

Some countries had a minimum age requirement. Sweden did for many years. One had to be 14 to earn the introductory license.  This was repealed.  There's no gain in limiting hams by age.  I wasn't a very skilled ham at 13.  Still, I made up for it with good intentions.

73, Jordan
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W3HF
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« Reply #267 on: November 12, 2010, 09:21:00 AM »

Some countries had a minimum age requirement.

Some still do. IIRC, in China it's 18. When we visited there last summer (2009) and met with some local hams, they were surprised that my son (KB3JJV) was even licensed at all; he was still only 15. They were even more amazed that he had been first licensed when he was 9.
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K7VV
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« Reply #268 on: November 13, 2010, 10:18:01 PM »

Ah, let's go back to the pre-war Class A and Class B type tickets.
Class B:  All CW, plus phone on 160 and 80 ONLY.
Class A:  All CW, plus all phone bands.
(i.e., no Tech License.  Ya gotta be Class A to get 2 meters on PHONE, but CW's ok.  Ya gotta have a Class A to get phone on any band other than 160 and 80.  Basically a beginners license and a 'full' license. 
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N2EY
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« Reply #269 on: November 14, 2010, 04:56:36 AM »

Ah, let's go back to the pre-war Class A and Class B type tickets.
Class B:  All CW, plus phone on 160 and 80 ONLY.
Class A:  All CW, plus all phone bands.

Except that's not how it was back then.

Before WW2 the US ham bands were 160, 80, 40, 20, 10, 5, 2-1/2 and 1-1/4 meters. And that was all. The 'phone subbands were narrower than today and 40 was all CW - no phone subband at all.

Before the restructuring of 1951, Class B hams had all CW plus phone on 160, 10, 5, 2-1/2 and 1-1/4. The only things Class B could not do was operate 'phone on 75 or 20 meters.

Class A had all privileges.

There was also Class C, which was the same as Class B (not Class A!) but the exam was by-mail.

And although Class C gave the same privileges and had the same tests as Class B, it came with special requirements. You could only get a Class C if you lived more than a certain distance from an FCC exam point, or were disabled to the point that you couldn't get to an FCC exam session.

But if you moved within the required distance of an FCC exam point, or recovered from the health problem, you had 90 days to appear at an FCC exam session or lose your license.

In addition, the Class C carried no credit towards Class A. If a Class C wanted a Class A license, s/he had to travel to an FCC exam session *and* retake and pass the Class B tests. (Special arrangements were made for disabled hams).

Thanks to N3DF for the correction.

73 de Jim, N2EY  
« Last Edit: November 19, 2010, 03:54:06 PM by James Miccolis » Logged
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