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Author Topic: Thoughts on a new license structure  (Read 7732 times)
N0NB
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« on: September 02, 2010, 07:30:44 PM »

If nothing else we USA hams love to discuss the license structure that has been in place for most of the last half century.  There have been changes along the way, some slight and others monumental and all impacting in one way or another licensees at the time the changes were made and those yet to be licensed.  The current tiered license structures carries all of the scars of those changes.

So if ever there would come a day when at the stroke of midnight (EST, of course) where the current license structure were dumped and a new one put in its place, what might the new one look like?  What should it look like?  Wholesale changes have taken place in our service before so it might be wise to consider how best to position our license structure for the future.

Here goes my interpretation which is probably fraught with assumptions and omissions.  In my ideal structure as of this writing three amateur radio licensing tiers gives a good fit for what people want out of amateur radio.  Please keep this thread a brainstorming exercise.

As I see it, over the past decade there have been two major groups of people coming into amateur radio.  The largest would seem to be those people interested in emergency communications.  As such, they are probably most likely to be simply interested in operating and not interested in the technical aspect of the service.  The second group likely consists of people interested in radio and want to further their ability to communicate and experiment.

If we're stuck on names, let's call the license that may interest the first group Communicator.  Frequency privileges would consist of the FM portions of each band from 50 to 450 MHz plus phone and digital modes on 80, 60, and 40 meters.  For this class only commercially produced equipment would be allowed, i.e. no home constructed transmitters.  Power output would be limited to 250 Watts PEP (to account for various 200 Watt HF rigs on the market).  Holders of this license would not be permitted to be a licensee of a repeater or space station, for example.  This sort of license may fulfill much of what is desired by persons interested in emergency communications as it gives the opportunity to operate both locally and regionally for emcomm purposes.  Some exam topics would include regulations regarding the bands and modes authorized, basic station construction including basic electrical safety and antenna installation (safety and performance), basic operation through FM repeaters and on authorized HF modes, net operations, etc.

The second license could be called Hobbyist or even retain the General name.  This license would have access to all frequencies and modes with moderate power restrictions (250, 500 W, or something else?).  Holders would be allowed to construct their equipment as now and could be a licensee of a repeater.  Exam topics would focus on rules appropriate for the privileges obtained as well as more in depth electronic theory with an eye toward safety and rules compliance.  Duplication of topics on the Communicator exam would be held to a minimum.

The third license could be called Full or retain Extra.  Holders of this license could be VEs, would be allowed current maximum authorized power, could be a licensee of a space station, etc.  Exam topics would focus on rules appropriate for the privileges and electronic theory and safety of high power operation, RFI resolution, VE procedures, etc.  Again duplication of topics of the other two licenses would be held to a minimum.

Now, this likely still reeks of Incentive Licensing to some and perhaps I can't escape the paradigm.  One way to modify it would be to combine the Hobbyist and Full classes for a two tiered structure, although that may make for a large exam.  Ideally, I think  that 50 questions for the Communicator and 100 questions for each of the others would give adequate coverage of topic areas.

Again, this is just a brainstorming exercise.  Go ahead and think outside the box!
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73, de Nate
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2010, 10:59:32 AM »

I find the idea of restricting a class of amateurs from building, modifying or servicing radio equipment both repulsive and antithetical to the nature of the Amateur Radio Service.
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Neil N3DF
N0NB
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2010, 11:04:01 AM »

Take it easy, OM, this is just a light-hearted brainstorming exercise to generate some new ideas.  Toss out some food for thought.  Smiley
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73, de Nate
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2010, 12:37:01 PM »

It would seem to me that part of this process would require the FCC to change the basis and purpose of Amateur Radio. As it presently stands there is no mention of Amateurs who have no interest in radio or electronics and just want to "communicate".

We might be setting ourselves up for some Amateurs (the communicator class) to be required to use FCC Certified radios since they will presumably no longer have the technical ability to maintain them nor ensure that they are operating correctly. The next step might be "channelization" so that the FCC doesn't have to worry about them getting too close to the band edges. Remember, they no longer have any technical ability so how can we expect them to understand the bandwidth of various modes so they know how far away to stay from the band edges?

Bottom line - be careful what you ask for  Cool

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KB1SF
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2010, 01:26:11 PM »

If nothing else we USA hams love to discuss the license structure that has been in place for most of the last half century.  There have been changes along the way, some slight and others monumental and all impacting in one way or another licensees at the time the changes were made and those yet to be licensed.  The current tiered license structures carries all of the scars of those changes.

It most certainly does...IN SPADES!

And contrary to what some people posting here might believe, all I've ever advocated in these discussions is that the content and comprehensiveness of all our exams actually match the various (additional) operational privileges that they grant.

Clearly, in its present form, the exam for the Technician license is NOT comprehensive ENOUGH.  It routinely grants high power and "from scratch" transmitter construction privileges to people who have not (yet) demonstrated they have enough knowledge and/or experience to know how to do those things safely, courteously and without also causing harmful interference to other hams or other services.

On the other hand, our Extra Class exam goes WELL BEYOND what the ITU (and common sense) dictates is needed for someone to operate his or her amateur station in such a safe and courteous manner.  As a result, THAT license class (and indeed the Advanced Class as well) serves NO useful regulatory purpose.

That's because such higher-class licenses simply grant "exclusive" access to frequency spectrum (as well as high power construction and operating activities) that have supposedly ALREADY been examined on the General Class exam.

As far as our US "vanity" call sign system goes (where only those who posses higher-classed licenses are entitled to single or two letter prefixed or suffixed call signs) that nonsense, too, is just more of the ego stroking, artificially concocted "exclusivity" that still permeates our licensing system.  If someone is willing to wait for a so-called "exclusive" call sign to become available (and are also willing to pay the requisite fee), they should be able to get it, REGARDLESS of their license class.

So, as I see it, the glaringly apparent legal flaw in our current licensing system is that those operating privileges that have been specifically reserved for higher-class licenses (i.e. those privileges that have been artificially withheld from today's Technicians, Generals and Advanced Class licensees) bear absolutely NO relationship to their potential to cause serious harm to ourselves or others, or to cause harmful interference to other hams (or other services).  

By contrast, and as I have repeatedly noted in other threads, Canada's simple "two-tiered" system DOES withhold specific OPERATIONAL privileges from their lower-class licensees based on criteria that DO revolve around an operational NEED, as well as safety and non-interference considerations.

The current Canadian "Basic" exam (the exam for their Basic Certificate) is equivalent in content and comprehensiveness to our Technician and General Class exams PUT TOGETHER.  And although that fairly comprehensive exam consists of 100 questions, once applicants pass that whopper of an exam (with a score of 80 percent or better,) Canadian hams are then allowed to operate ANYWHERE on our bands with that one Basic license.

The kicker, however, is that these so-called "Basic with Honours" Certificate holders, are STILL restricted to running 250 watts of power or less.  They also can't hold the license of an in-band repeater or club station, construct transmitters "from scratch", or give exams.  Unlike our US exam structure which allows even wet-behind-the-ears Technicians to do all these inherently more dangerous or interference-prone things from day one, under the Canadian system, each of the latter privileges are SPECIFICALLY reserved for those who successfully pass yet another, FAR more technically comprehensive, 50 question,  "Advanced" exam.

But, even so, the Canadian Advanced exam is NOT a broad, education-based "achievement test" like our Extra Class license purports to be. It's also NOT a test of "knowledge for knowledge's sake, either…something that is better left to a college or university degree program.  Indeed, Industry Canada believes that such "education" is a private matter best left up to we hams to decide for ourselves how much (or how little) we want of it.  

In that sense, Industry Canada well recognizes that an amateur radio license is simply a lifetime "license to learn" after candidates have successfully demonstrated the requisite MINIMUM skills and knowledges required to keep themselves and their neighbors safe and their emissions from causing harmful interference with the privileges granted.  It's NOT a series of Boy Scout "Merit Badges" obtained only after completing an irrelevant series of ever more difficult "hazing rituals".

As a result, the Canadian Advanced test covers ONLY that technical and other material that is SPECIFICALLY RELATED to that small handful of added (primarily OPERATIONAL) privileges granted exclusively to Advanced Certificate holders. This makes BOTH the Canadian Basic AND Advanced exams FAR more legally supportable as valid examination and licensing tools under Canada's equal access statutes because they are DIRECTLY tied to specific operational NEEDS.

This also means that, for Canadian hams, a so-called "Basic with Honours" Certificate (granted by a mark of 80 percent or more on the Basic exam) offers all the mainstream privileges most people will ever need or want in our Service...including unlimited access to HF.   So, it should also come as no surprise that most Canadian hams today hold just a Basic Certificate in one form or another…and are happy as clams with it.

Usually, the only people who feel the urge to take the test for an Advanced Certificate in Canada are those who want to do that very small handful of VERY SPECIFIC and far more potentially hazardous, interference-prone, or legally contentious things in our Service.

Oh…and there's one other thing.  While Canada also has a so-called "vanity" call sign system, the most coveted call signs in Canada are based on availability and the mailing address of your license rather than on license class.  In fact, call signs in Canada are NOT tied…in any way…to license class.  This means that, unlike in the United States, ANYONE with a valid Basic or Advanced certificate may apply for a so-called "vanity" call (if it is available in your province) by paying a one-time fee.  Currently, that fee is $60, and you also get to keep your old call sign.  Like your license, all are "good for life"

The only restrictions to this program occur in the more populated Canadian provinces (like Ontario and Quebec) where the most coveted calls (the 2 X 2s) have already been assigned and the only ones that are now coming available are from Silent Keys.  So, in those provinces, Industry Canada has imposed a 5-year waiting period from the time you first obtain ANY class of Canadian Amateur Radio Certificate (including Basic) before you can apply for one.    

However, other than these (quite logical) restrictions, if ANY call sign is (or becomes) available in the Canadian call sign database for the province where you live and you want to pay the fee to get it, it's usually yours for the asking.  This may also explain why most the "badge of honor" and "my Extra Class license is better than your Extra Class license" snobbery that seems to run rampant in our Service in the USA is (refreshingly) absent in Canada.

Now, clearly UNDOING all our "incentive licensing" nonsense in the USA and again underpinning our system with operational (vice simply ego-stroking "exclusivity") won't be easy.  

Indeed, when (not if) the FCC is finally forced into ditching the last vestiges of their 1950s-era incentive licensing farce (either by a federal class action lawsuit or by Congressional decree) I fully suspect one of the very first things we'll see is a switch to regulating us all by emission BANDWIDTH rather than by license class and emission mode.  This means ALL of that artificially walled-off sub band (and sub-sub band) nonsense based on such increasingly irrelevant (and legally unsupportable) criteria as one's license class and/or operating mode will be history.

Next, I suspect we'll probably see a MORE comprehensive exam for beginners (possibly a combined Tech and General written test) that withholds a handful of very specific, primarily operationally based privileges. Those withheld privileges might include such things as high power operation, holding the license of an in-band repeater, and building transmitters and/or amplifiers "from scratch". Access to those SPECIFIC privileges will require a more advanced license with an equally more comprehensive test to match. But those advanced exams will ONLY test candidates on skills and knowledges that are SPECIFICALLY RELATED to those added privileges…and nothing more.

Clearly, this approach will also require a lot of "grandfathering" of current licensees, very much like what is now being done for Advanced and Novice class license holders.  Canada did much the same thing by "drawing a date line in the sand" when they made their Morse exam optional. Essentially, Industry Canada said that anyone who held a "no-code Basic" Certificate prior to April, 2000 had ALREADY demonstrated (by their "time in grade") that they were capable of operating with "Basic with Honours" privileges and were therefore granted full access to HF.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 03:01:18 PM by Keith Baker » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2010, 03:03:17 PM »

Interesting topic...

A couple of points:

1) I don't know that the majority of newcomers are interested in emcomm. Some are, of course, but I think there are lots of reasons people become hams, and emcomm is only one of them.

2) I don't think it's a good idea to have a "no-theory" license class. The theory parts of the current exams, all the way up to Extra, are such that bright elementary-school kids have passed them - so how difficult can they really be? Even in the bad old days of FCC-run secret-test licenses, there were high-schoolers who were Extras.

3) If any ham needs to have a good understanding of basic theory and practice, it's those interested in emcomm. Otherwise, what will they do in an emergency if something doesn't work? An emergency can't wait for factory service. In fact, one of the most valuable things Amateur Radio can offer in an emergency is folks who can both operate and improvise with technology.

4) Any new system has to include a "migration plan" - a path from where we are now to where we want to go. It also has to take into account what FCC can and will do.  (This is why we had the code test for so long - FCC could not simply eliminate it without violating the treaty).

73 de Jim, N2EY



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AB2T
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 05:24:50 PM »

Great ideas N0NB.  Just some comments:

If we're stuck on names, let's call the license that may interest the first group Communicator.  Frequency privileges would consist of the FM portions of each band from 50 to 450 MHz plus phone and digital modes on 80, 60, and 40 meters.  For this class only commercially produced equipment would be allowed, i.e. no home constructed transmitters.  Power output would be limited to 250 Watts PEP (to account for various 200 Watt HF rigs on the market).  [...]

The second license could be called Hobbyist or even retain the General name.  This license would have access to all frequencies and modes with moderate power restrictions (250, 500 W, or something else?). [...]

Let's go Canadian on this.

One exam for the Communicator and Hobbyist.  100 questions total.

Part 1 (25 questions): Regulations.
Part 2 (75 questions): Basic Theory. The theory topics you have included for both exams, provided in one exam without overlap.  All that pertains to the operation of 250W commercially produced equipment.  Safety, basic electrical theory also.

70% -- 80% on the combined exam raw score: Communicator.
80%+ on the combined exam raw score: Hobbyist (HF all bands/all modes, 250W)

An applicant that earns a "Communicator" ticket may rewrite the combined exam.  If he/she scores above 80% on another try, he/she receives a Hobbyist license. 

Why do I advocate the Canadian system?  There is little difference in the technical knowledge required to run VHF/UHF 250W and HF at the same power.  When two classes are close together, it's not necessary to create two entirely new exams.  Rather, grant privileges according to the aptitude of the applicant.  Besides, a 10 question margin between two classes isn't a big deal.  Perhaps more people would advance directly to the mid-range class with just a few more hours of study.

The third license could be called Full or retain Extra.  Holders of this license could be VEs, would be allowed current maximum authorized power, could be a licensee of a space station, etc.  Exam topics would focus on rules appropriate for the privileges and electronic theory and safety of high power operation, RFI resolution, VE procedures, etc.  Again duplication of topics of the other two licenses would be held to a minimum.

I really like the inclusion of VE regulations.  I never became a VE (which is selfish since I never gave back to the ham radio "community".)  Maybe VE regulations right on the test would encourage more "Full" operators to become examiners.

Questions on the responsible and safe operation of amps is important.  Many will want a Full ticket to run an amp.  The test should make sure that they're not going to kill themselves on the plate voltage.

Nice plan. 

73, Jordan
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 05:27:05 PM by Jordan » Logged
NI0C
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2010, 05:24:46 AM »

Quote
If nothing else we USA hams love to discuss the license structure that has been in place for most of the last half century.

Using the number of eHam forum posts as a basis of comparison, there are roughly forty times as many posts under the "Elmers" category as licensing; three times as many under "Towertalk," twice as many under each of the categories "CW" and "DX."

It appears to me that most folks here prefer to discuss amateur radio operations and have moved past the licensing stage.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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KB1SF
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2010, 06:03:12 AM »

Let's go Canadian on this.

I wholeheartedly agree.  At least, let's look at the current Canadian system as a good model to follow.

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.  

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.

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!

So, clearly, REMOVING all that license-class and mode based, so-called "exclusive" frequency hogwash and simply regulating us all by emission bandwidth will, by default, be a major element in reforming our Service going forward.  

Indeed, it will have to be.   

That's because the FCC has now gone just about as far as they can go with neccessary regulatory reform in our Service without doing so.  They simply can't completely dismantle the REST of their 1950s-era,  so-called "incentive licensing" nonsense without ALSO removing those blatantly systemically discriminatory license class and mode based, "exclusive frequency" incentives.

As those of us familiar with the Canadian system have been discussing, like most other countries in the rest of the world, Canada long ago embraced those ITU bandwidth-based band plans lock, stock and barrel and codified them into its regulatory structure for our Service.  

For those interested in learning more about Canada's Ham Radio licensing and regulatory system, here is a link to Canada's "Part 97"...the Radio Information Circulars (RICs) and Regulation by References (RBRs)...the regulatory documents that govern Amateur Radio in Canada.  Those documents can all be found at:

http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf05478.html

Even a cursory review of these documents (in a side-by-side comparison with their gobbledygook-laden, Part 97 American counterpart) should give the reader a far better understanding as to how wonderfully simple (with the possible exception of that 100 question Basic exam!) our Canadian friends have made it to be a ham radio operator in Canada.  

Also, once again, notice how Part 97 is written in such a way that, unless something we do is specifically enabled, then it's prohibited.  Conversely, the Canadian RICs and RBRs for our Service are written in such a way that, unless something is specifically prohibited, then it's enabled.  The latter approach requires FAR less bureaucratic gobbledygook to administer than the seemingly endless "thou shalt not", and "Mother may I?" enabling eyewash that now permeates Part 97.  

What's more, note the complete ABSENCE of regulated license-class and mode-based, sub-band frequency nonsense contained in Schedule I of RBR-4.  As I have said, Canadian hams (like most others in the world) are ALREADY being "regulated by maximum bandwidth" as they have been for decades. That's because Industry Canada long ago assumed that persons who are smart enough to pass a test for a ham license are probably also WELL capable of figuring out for themselves "what goes where" on our ham bands.  

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?

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 08:04:27 AM by Keith Baker » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2010, 06:52:21 AM »

Questions on the responsible and safe operation of amps is important.  Many will want a Full ticket to run an amp.  The test should make sure that they're not going to kill themselves on the plate voltage.

I disagree somewhat.

The purpose of safety questions on an amateur exam isn't to protect the licensee from hurting or killing himself/herself.

The purpose of safety questions on an amateur exam is to protect *others* from the licensee's ignorance.

Plain old house current can easily be fatal, and there's no exam for using it. Many rigs now in daily use have lethal voltages present inside, even though they don't run anywhere near the legal limit. By contrast, there are solid-state amps that don't need high voltages at all. 

The same goes for RF safety. RF exposure of oneself is one thing, exposing others is a very different thing.

It would be a great thing if all US hams knew at least the basics of electrical safety - such as the difference between the ground and the neutral in house wiring. Sadly, most that I have encountered don't.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AA4PB
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2010, 11:00:39 AM »

"Even in the bad old days of FCC-run secret-test licenses, there were high-schoolers who were Extras"

Heck, I had a first class commercial license (test at an FCC office) before I was out of high scool. I don't think age has much to do with it. In fact, the learning may be easier for the younger person than it is for us old guys. What it takes is the interest and drive to study the books plus some hands on experience.



"...what will they do in an emergency if something doesn't work?"

Exactly the issue I've seen with *some* government people. They know how to set up and operate the equipment - learned through on the job training. When something doesn't work they have a problem because they don't have the technical education/experience to troubleshoot the problem.
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N2EY
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2010, 11:48:23 AM »

Heck, I had a first class commercial license (test at an FCC office) before I was out of high scool.

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I bet you had *no* formal training in radio or electricity before getting the First, either. IOW, you were self-taught.

I don't think age has much to do with it. In fact, the learning may be easier for the younger person than it is for us old guys. What it takes is the interest and drive to study the books plus some hands on experience.

Yes, plus one more thing: A lot of young-uns simply don't fall for the idea that the tests are "too hard". So they learn the material and pass the tests.


N2EY: "...what will they do in an emergency if something doesn't work?"

Exactly the issue I've seen with *some* government people. They know how to set up and operate the equipment - learned through on the job training. When something doesn't work they have a problem because they don't have the technical education/experience to troubleshoot the problem.

Which is precisely where we hams can be an invaluable resource. Maybe all that's needed is a cable, adapter, power supply, antenna, whatever. The radio amateur with innovation/troubleshooting/adaptation skills and knowledge will be invaluable in such a situation.

Which is why a no-theory amateur test, or an amateur license that requires approved, manufactured gear, is not a good thing at all.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AA4PB
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2010, 12:11:51 PM »

I agree, Jim.

I didn't have any formal training, but I did spend a lot of time (since about 9 years old) around a friend's Radio/TV repair shop - back when we actually replaced components and fixed things. I guess you could say I had a fair amount of "practical experience" with electronics which probably made the book learning easier. Sort of like learning about parallel resonant cirucits and realizing - oh, so that's why I have to adjust the tune control for minimum plate current  Grin

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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2010, 12:42:44 PM »

Quote
If nothing else we USA hams love to discuss the license structure that has been in place for most of the last half century.

Using the number of eHam forum posts as a basis of comparison, there are roughly forty times as many posts under the "Elmers" category as licensing; three times as many under "Towertalk," twice as many under each of the categories "CW" and "DX."

It appears to me that most folks here prefer to discuss amateur radio operations and have moved past the licensing stage.

73,
Chuck  NI0C

But for overlong, repetitious rants about how unfair the present is, "Licensing" wins hands down.
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73
Pat K7KBN
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2010, 07:09:15 AM »

Oh, how ham radio has changed!  Once upon a time it was a semi-technical hobby for those whose primary interest was in radio.  Today it is a PTT hobby, and virtually no technical knowledge is needed.  Plug and Play. 

I think, and I am serious here, we should go to the single class of ham license, called simply "Amateur Radio License".  It should require answering a few questions on antenna safety (don't string your dipole across the power lines) and knowing how to stay in the ham bands (and the importance of doing so.)  That's it.

It is way too late to try to make amateur radio a quasi-technical hobby again.  Them thar days is gone.  So let's let the licensing reflect the reality.  There are far too many people who have never even seen a resistor who are Extra Class hams.  No kidding.  And they never will.  Their singular purpose of obtaining an Extra is to "shoot skip" (ok, work DX)  on some extra frequencies.  They aren't the slightest bit interested in the 'achievement' aspect of learning more about radio. 

I say give everyone all frequencies and forget about classes of license.  Just as in the days of the General, before Incentive Licensing came down the pike.  It worked before and it would work again.  All that incentive crap is a waste of everything.   We could reinstate the Novice as a beginner's ticket, but even that isn't necessary.   

If you recall the early days of CB licensing, with each radio there came a form that did two things.  It made one certify they had read and would comply with the FCC regulations, and it showed them graphically how to avoid power lines when installing antennas. 

That's all we need.  Even the FCC amateur radio regulations could be shortened to a couple of paragraphs and included with new radios, as they did with CB back in the 1960s.  All the regulations need say is "stay in the ham bands, don't deliberately interfere with others, don't run over 2 kilowatts output power."   End of rules. 

Make it simple.  To match reality.

Ed

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