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Author Topic: Code/No Code CW-Do we need it?  (Read 85827 times)
KB1SF
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« Reply #195 on: June 17, 2011, 05:25:07 AM »

I have been a ham for at least 25 years and I have never encountered an institutionalized “caste-like” system of “mine is better than yours.” I’m not sure where you are coming up with this stuff but I have known many hams of many license levels and they were all a great bunch of guys. Never once have I ever heard any of them say or do anything that made me feel as though there was a “caste-like” system or that theirs was better than mine.

Perhaps that's because you have been one among them.

In fact, I’m now convinced that arguing such points with the Morse-testing-and-incentive-licensing-forever crowd is a lot like wrestling a pig in mud—after a while you begin to think they actually like it!

However, despite all their lofty sounding rhetoric about preserving the “traditions” of Amateur Radio and that tests for Morse and ever-more-irrelevant radio theory should still be required as an “essential” part of our hobby, it is now clear to me, beyond any shadow of doubt, that the principal, underlying goal of such persons is to indefinitely perpetuate the multi-tiered “caste system” that has existed within our Service in the United States for at least the last half century.  

Or, to put it more bluntly, what far too many of these folks now call “tradition” or “keeping the standards up” is simply their poorly disguised cover for a far different collective agenda: Indefinitely perpetuating systemic discrimination within the Amateur Service.

And the continued, quixotic attempts by this shrinking (but still highly vocal) minority to cling to these highly discriminatory “rights of passage” only confirms that such discrimination still, in fact, exists within our ranks.  

Sadly, the Amateur Radio Service in the United States is now reaping the rewards of the ARRL’s and FCC’s decades-long underwriting of such "caste-like" garbage via their continued, highly discriminatory regulatory approaches to licensing in our Amateur Radio Service.

For, in their desperate attempts to keep the “riff raff” out of the hobby, the Morse-testing-and-incentive-licensing-forever crowd has successfully lobbied their willing partners in the ARRL and the FCC over the years to continue using Part 97’s blatantly discriminatory “incentive licensing” foolishness to turn off (and then turn away) thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of newcomers…the very lifeblood of our service.  

These are the newcomers who may have tried jumping through some (or all) the FCC’s stupid “incentive” hoops, but who, for many years, only managed to succeed in getting a codeless license….if that.  

And what did these new folks find when (or if) they finally got on the air?  

Far too many were greeted with arrogant, condescending rants from big-mouthed OFs who’ve made it their life’s work to make absolutely sure such “lazy low life” fully understand they could NEVER be “real Hams” unless and until they also passed a stupid Morse test and then “upgraded” their licenses to something that was at least comparable in class (a.k.a.“caste”) to their own.  

Quite naturally, many of these new folks responded by simply "voting with their feet", never to be heard from again.  

And then there were the tens (hundreds?) of thousands more who listened to (or read) some of the vitriol spewing forth from the mouths and keyboards of this crowd and simply elected not to even try getting a license in a so-called "public" radio service whose arcane advancement requirements have, for going on fifty years now, clearly enabled such blatant bigotry.  

Unfortunately, we’ll never know just how many otherwise well-qualified people our resident regulatory fundamentalists have managed to run off as a direct result of their arrogant, condescending rants.  However, all we need do is look at the advancing age of the licensees now left in our Service to see the overall (sad) results of their handiwork.  

As I've noted previously, several years ago (prior to such information being withheld from the public) the average licensed ham in the USA was approaching 60 years old.  It is most likely well north of that number by now. And, according to the ARRL, the average age of our newcomers these days is still up around 50.

What’s more, while the number of licensees in the FCC's database has been growing modestly as of late, my hunch is that the actual number of active Hams has been steadily shrinking.  With the possible exception of 75 Meters (or during a few contest weekends) our bands are now virtually empty from end to end.  

As a result of all this, it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Amateur Radio in the United States is now dying a slow death from lack of activity and youthful growth.  

And, I firmly believe that a leading cause of that lack of activity is the decades long regulatory efforts of the FCC and the ARRL to keep Amateur Radio a closed, country-club-like radio service where ordinary (spelled “non-technical”) people of average intelligence and ability need not apply.

Indeed, in the extremely small minds of our resident regulatory fundamentalists various “hazing rituals” (like Morse tests and "incentive licensing" schemes) needed to be perpetuated in our Service to make absolutely certain that only gifted people like themselves…that is…persons who possess far-above-average intelligence and who can also regurgitate increasingly irrelevant knowledge of complex radio theory (most of which now goes well beyond what’s minimally required for safe and courteous operation in our Service)…got to be “real hams”.  

But, in my mind, what is absolutely inexcusable is the fact that the ARRL and the FCC have been advocating and then underwriting all this garbage for decades by continually falling back on their same, old, worn-out excuse that they (the ARRL and the FCC) are only advocating and then enabling ”what we Hams really want” when it comes to licensing and regulating our Service.

Unfortunately, what the FCC is hearing comes from the ARRL membership, which has traditionally been made up of only a fraction (today it's about 25%) of all licensed US hams. And (also unfortunately) it would now appear that both the ARRL and the FCC very conveniently forgot back in 1967 that the Amateur Radio Service isn't just some private "country club" funded by member donations!

Rather, the Amateur Service in the United States is administered by a US Government agency (the FCC) that’s publicly funded with tax dollars!  And the frequency spectrum they administer (and which we hams now freely use) belongs to all of us, whether we’re licensed to use it or not.  

That fact also makes the FCC’s rules and regulations for our Service now subject to a whole set of 1990s-era federal equal access laws…some of which (like the Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995 as amended and the Rehabilitation Act) now expressly prohibit federal agencies from perpetuating blatantly discriminatory access requirements to federally controlled resources…like the ham bands.  

Clearly, the ARRL and FCC got away with foisting all their “incentive licensing” foolishness on the Amateur Service back in the 1950s because laws granting far more open access to publicly funded services like ours to persons with multiple learning or other disabilities weren’t even on the radar screen at that point, let alone the law of the land as they are now.  

And the dirty little secret (which I'm sure the FCC's lawyers would rather we not discuss in public) is that the application of these laws has since become a mandatory federal requirement that must now be reflected in the rules that regulate all federal activities…including those rules that regulate our Amateur Radio Service.

By now, those same FCC lawyers are probably well aware that even a mediocre class-action law firm could make an open-and-shut case that the thoroughly entrenched way the FCC still regulates and grants access to frequencies in our Service (by license class and operating mode) has now become patently illegal under these new laws.

Specifically, those class action lawyers would (I believe successfully) argue that the entire 1950’s-era FCC "incentive licensing" system for the Amateur Service is now legally systemically discriminatory because it forces all applicants (disabled or otherwise) who desire even minimal access to the mainstream (HF) frequencies and modes of our ITU allotted spectrum to demonstrate skills and knowledge that are either long since outdated or that go well beyond the minimal required knowledge (as spelled out by the ITU) for safety or courteous operation in a Service whose licensees now almost exclusively use commercially built equipment of modern, 21st Century technical design.  

That is, continuing to test for complex electronic construction theory simply to “keep the standards up” (or the "riff-raff" out) has now become legally discriminatory under the US Code.  That’s because, under these new laws, there has to be an absolutely clear and demonstrable operational reason for every single test question placed on every single exam.  

And, because of this requirement, I also believe that leaving it all up to unpaid (and therefore “uncontrolled”) volunteers (i.e. the VECs) to collectively decide what gets put on which FCC Amateur Radio Service exam (and what doesn’t) isn’t going to fly any longer in the face of these new anti-discriminatory laws either.  

So, as I've said, unless and until these things quickly change, I believe those pesky class-action lawyers will also be able to (successfully) argue that the current way the FCC allows such discriminatory written theory examinations for full and equal access to all of our publicly-owned spectrum are anything BUT fair and equally applied across the board.  

Again, this is something these new US equal access laws also now clearly require.

Needless to say, I remain hopeful that when the most vocal of the "Morse-testing-and-incentive-licensing-forever" crowd finally die off, and/or the FCC does an immediate overhaul of their current incentive licensing structure, and/or someone with deep enough pockets finally successfully brings a long-overdue class-action lawsuit against the FCC’s arcane and clearly discriminatory licensing practices for the Amateur Service, perhaps things will change.  

But, regardless, I fear these long-overdue changes (if they do, in fact, come) will be far too little and way too late to amount to much because the mortal damage to the growth of our Service over the years at the hands of these self-serving regulatory fundamentalists has already been largely done.

Indeed, the FCC’s former Special Counsel for Enforcement, Riley Hollingsworth, speaking at a recent Dayton Hamvention put it most succinctly when he stated, “If there’s a downfall in Amateur Radio, it won’t be caused by the no-code Technicians or codeless anything else,” he said.  “It will be caused by the microphone---no doubt in my mind.”

And, unfortunately, there are still far too many self-serving, arrogant, FCC-enabled, "exclusive clubbers" in our ranks who, via their microphones (and keyboards), have all too frequently managed to drive away thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of budding young hams with their arrogant and condescending vitriol.

That's because, such persons STILL firmly believe that people who…for any reason…were (or are) unable to pass a stupid Morse test or regurgitate reams of obscure (and therefore largely irrelevant) facts about complex radio theory are all “lazy low life” and certainly not worthy of full and complete access to their ostensibly “private” little slice of the public radio spectrum.  

Sadly, as a direct result of the all-too successful work of such persons (and their willing accomplices in the ARRL and the FCC over the years) it would now appear we are well on our way to “exclusive clubbing” ourselves right out of existence.  

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 07:10:50 AM by KB1SF » Logged
KB1SF
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« Reply #196 on: June 17, 2011, 06:11:37 AM »


The idea that "incentive licensing" killed growth and US manufacturers is simply false. It confuses cause and effect.

Jim,

Once again, your obsessive need to always have the last word in all of these licensing discussions is clearly on display.  

I, on the other hand, have now more than made my points and more than said my piece.

Obviously, I'm not about to dissuade our resident "true believers" from their steadfast worship of (and undying belief in) the one true, FCC and ARRL-espoused, systemically discriminatory "gospel" that was unnecessarily foisted on Amateur Radio over a half-decade ago.

Clearly, it's now time for me to move on to more productive pursuits.  

That's because I have far better things to do with my life's remaining precious moments than to endlessly argue with those who absolutely will not see truth when it is placed in front of their upturned noses.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 06:37:00 AM by KB1SF » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #197 on: June 17, 2011, 07:06:30 AM »


The idea that "incentive licensing" killed growth and US manufacturers is simply false. It confuses cause and effect.

Jim,

Once again, your obsessive need to always have the last word in all of these licensing discussions is clearly on display.  

It's not about me, Keith. Nor about having the last word.

It's about getting the facts and the history right. Anyone who looks at what actually happened will see that what I wrote is an accurate account of the history.

I was there. I saw the changes, and what actually happened. As an Advanced in 1968, I had full privileges for a few weeks, then lost them on November 22, 1968.

I, on the other hand, have now more than made my points and more than said my piece.

Nobody is telling you to shut up, Keith. Least of all me.

But if you post something in an online forum, others have the right to comment on it. Including proving it to be false.

Obviously, I'm not about to dissuade our resident "true believers" from their steadfast worship of (and undying belief in) the one true, FCC and ARRL-espoused, systemically discriminatory "gospel" that was unnecessarily foisted on Amateur Radio over a half-decade ago.

Clearly, it's now time for me to move on to more productive pursuits.  

Whether the changes of 1968-69 were "systemically discriminatory" or "unnecessarily foisted" is an opinion question. I think incentive licensing was a good idea but they went about it the wrong way.

What I said at the time, and what I have maintained all along, is that existing hams should never have lost privileges they already had. That's what really burned a lot of hams' bacon back then, not the idea of multiple license levels.   

I think what should have been done was to give Advanceds and Extras additional privileges. Vanity calls, power beyond 1000 watts, access to the DX 'phone subbands, use of new modes, etc. Nobody would lose anything they already had, and Generals/Conditionals would still have access to all frequencies at 1000 watts power.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KI4AX
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« Reply #198 on: June 17, 2011, 07:30:00 AM »

First, I don't know where you are getting all this stuff. The ham bands and amateur radio has always been for people with a more intense interest in radio as a hobby. As I said in my last post there is plenty of spectrum for those people that do not wish to learn theory and take tests. It is called CB, FRS, and GMRS. It is almost as if you think the ham bands are the only frequencies available and that the hams have exclusive use of them. That just simply not the case. The last time I was on GMRS the bands weren’t full there either… there is plenty of room. It is becoming apparent to me that you have a very active imagination. I would attribute a lot of the dead air on the HF bands to a couple of things, in addition to falling numbers, like the economy and umm maybe propagation. You know we are just now coming out of the low part of a solar cycle. I would, as an experienced ham operator, expect the HF bands to be dead as a result.

Second, I would really like to hear from other hams about whether they think or feel that there is a “caste-like” system of “mine is better than yours” and if they think that the system is “chock full of meaningless government-sponsored hazing rituals” with “largely bogus achievement tests that have absolutely nothing to do with the operating privileges they grant.” Like I said, I don’t know where you are getting this stuff. This sounds a lot like the sensational liberalized crap that is commonly seen on the 6:00 news and your comment about the FCC being funded with tax dollars and “the frequency spectrum they administer (and which we hams now freely use) belongs to all of us, whether we’re licensed to use it or not” is proof. Yes, the frequencies belong to all of us but does this mean there should be anarchy? Anyone and everyone can, and does, use the ham bands. All you need is the license and your there! What you seem to really have the difficulty with is the fact that there are some rules to follow and the fact that these rules come from the government. Instead of being concerned with LID and or unlicensed operators, who intentionally or unintentionally cause interference, that earn licensed well intended hobbyist a bad name and reputation, you are concerned with what YOU perceive as overbearing government intervention. Rules, and enforcement, are what keeps it from becoming anarchy.

Third, I can not say that I have never heard “vitrol spewing fourth from mouths and key boards’ as you put it. But I can say that it is most definitely not a common thing. Yes, it happens. But, please consider where most of it comes from. If you will just go down to channel 19 on the CB band you will hear lots of it. Every day, every night, every morning there is vial crap spewing. Some guy, at 7:00 AM, telling another guy how he going to come over there and F him in the A and so on; where the F word is common usage. And now it is your intention to open the ham bands up with no regard for rule and licensing so that we can have some of that too. If that is what you like then I suggest you sell you ham gear and buy CB gear. Personally I do not care for that style of radio and that is why I studied theory and code and took my FCC test to get away from that. And if that is what ham radio is going to come to then I’m going to get out. Perhaps if the FCC would tighten up on enforcement the rest of us would not have to put up with the crap. I suggest you buy a CB radio, put up an antenna, and spend some time on the CB band. Perhaps YOU will like it. I wonder how all those hams that contributed to putting up satellites, for use in the AMSAT service, would feel about opening those satellites up to everyone with or without license? I wonder how they would feel about one of the people in charge of managing that service advocating those satellites being opened up to CBers?

Like I said, I would like to hear from other hams on whether they feel as though there is a “caste-like system”.

Dan KI4AX
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AE6ZW
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« Reply #199 on: June 17, 2011, 11:17:46 AM »

I think it is good that they have dropped Morse Code requirement.  I personally like to have people use Morse Code , and make it requirement.  but, for general public benefit and goods.  I think Morse Code should not be required.
however,  I like to make higher class such as Extra class 's theory much more difficult , at least to level taught in 4 year university as electrical engineering level.   and perhaps to re-test extra class every so often to keep their theory up to date.  and make licensing differential based on power level like it is UK, but not based on Frequencies.  because higher the power , it is more likely to interfere and cause TVI, RFI , etc, so require higher license class and more electronics knowledge. 
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KB1SF
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« Reply #200 on: June 18, 2011, 05:27:50 AM »

It's not about me, Keith. Nor about having the last word.

Then, what's this?  Sure looks like a "last word" to me.

Quote
It's about getting the facts and the history right. Anyone who looks at what actually happened will see that what I wrote is an accurate account of the history.

Please pardon me for once again forgetting that you remain the sole source of all amateur radio historical knowledge.

But, unfortunately, what you have once again expressed is your OPINION.  Numerous other historical accounts from a number of highly informed "anyones" very much agree with MY assessment of what actually happened during that period.

Quote
I was there. I saw the changes, and what actually happened. As an Advanced in 1968, I had full privileges for a few weeks, then lost them on November 22, 1968.

There were a whole lot of others who were also "there" during that time, Jim.  

And they tell a very different story of those events....particularly as it relates to the utter decimation of the American ham radio manufacturing industry that was a direct result of the ARRL's and FCC's "incentive licensing" chicanery.

Quote
But if you post something in an online forum, others have the right to comment on it. Including proving it to be false.

As usual, your "proof" is nothing but yet more of your (highly pontificated) beliefs and wishes.  For, as Julius Caesar once wrote: “Men in general are quick to believe that which they wish to be true.”  

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: June 18, 2011, 10:14:08 AM by KB1SF » Logged
AE4RV
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« Reply #201 on: June 18, 2011, 07:11:02 AM »

It's not about me, Keith. Nor about having the last word.

Then, what's this?  Sure looks like the "last word" to me.


Not anymore.
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N3QE
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« Reply #202 on: June 19, 2011, 04:21:27 AM »

It would now seem that almost HALF of those in our current ranks have told the FCC to "take a hike" with their stupid "incentive" nonsense. Indeed, for whatever reason, today's Technicians have very clearly shown...by their overwhelming numbers...that they simply aren't interested in "upgrading" AT ALL!

You might want to go back and look at QST's from the 50's and 60's and see how hams have been griping for HALF A CENTURY about incentive licensing.

Yet it's still around (although some precepts have certainly changed over the years.)
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N2EY
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« Reply #203 on: June 19, 2011, 05:50:51 AM »

You might want to go back and look at QST's from the 50's and 60's and see how hams have been griping for HALF A CENTURY about incentive licensing.

Yet it's still around (although some precepts have certainly changed over the years.)

IMHO, the big issue with IL was that a lot of hams lost privileges. Not because of technical reasons (such as requiring cleaner signals) nor because of regulatory reasons (band was reallocated to another service) but for other reasons. That just didn't sit well.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K7NNG
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« Reply #204 on: July 24, 2011, 10:27:09 AM »

YES.
It's the challenge of it all...
A personal PRIDE thingy, something not around nowadays
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N0YXB
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« Reply #205 on: July 24, 2011, 04:57:49 PM »

This thread reminds me of a solution looking for a problem.  It's interesting when when someone labels others posts as "opinion" and then goes on yet another overly verbose rant comprised of their "opinion".

I do not believe there is a caste system in amateur radio.  When I decide to become an Extra I'll buy a study guide, study, take the exam, pass, and become an Extra.  Doesn't sound so bad to me.  Meanwhile I am a General and I'm okay with that too.

To also quote Shakespeare, this thread is, "Much ado about nothing".

 
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KB1SF
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« Reply #206 on: July 26, 2011, 05:11:01 AM »

To also quote Shakespeare, this thread is, "Much ado about nothing".

Perhaps.

However, it would appear that even the ARRL is now starting to agree with me on these issues.  In a recent mailing they noted, "Next to the protection of our Amateur Radio frequencies, there is no more important concern than the future source of new radio amateurs."

Indeed, someday, when some well-heeled commercial interest takes access to YOUR favorite frequencies away from you because lobby organizations like the ARRL were no longer able to justify ham radio's continued access to our spectrum (as a direct result of our "Radio Amish" ways and lack of necessary growth) perhaps you'll think differently.

But, then again, I suppose you can always take solace in the fact that, when that happens, you and your like thinking buddies will still be able to use your radio equipment to talk to yourselves on your dummy loads.

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 12:31:31 PM by KB1SF » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #207 on: July 26, 2011, 03:28:23 PM »

However, it would appear that even the ARRL is now starting to agree with me on these issues.  In a recent mailing they noted, "Next to the protection of our Amateur Radio frequencies, there is no more important concern than the future source of new radio amateurs."

How does that express agreement with you?

I don't see anything in that statement about eliminating license classes or subbands-by-mode.

Indeed, someday, when some well-heeled commercial interest takes access to YOUR favorite frequencies away from you because lobby organizations like the ARRL were no longer able to justify ham radio's continued access to our spectrum (as a direct result of our "Radio Amish" ways and lack of necessary growth) perhaps you'll think differently.

The frequencies most likely to be reallocated are VHF/UHF. HF/MF is of almost no commercial interest any more; the antennas are too big and the bandwidth too small.

What, precisely, does "Radio Amish" mean? The Amish are good, hardworking people with excellent moral values. They do quality work. They value quality over quantity, community and cooperation over competition and accumulation.

What would you have the Amish change?

What would you have radio amateurs change?

Should we stop using certain modes just because they're old? Should we stop using certain technologies because they're old? Should we discard certain values (such as following the rules) just because they're old?

73 de Jim, N2EY

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AE6ZW
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« Reply #208 on: September 11, 2011, 04:50:58 AM »

if we ham want to keep the ham band, we need to have more hams using ham bands.  which means, we need to increase number of hams.  we probably should have entry level license class, where person can take exam on online with open book, allow up to 100 wts or so , 50 MHz and up.
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N2EY
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« Reply #209 on: September 11, 2011, 09:24:06 AM »

if we ham want to keep the ham band, we need to have more hams using ham bands.  which means, we need to increase number of hams. 

No.

It means we must increase the number of *active* hams.

we probably should have entry level license class, where person can take exam on online with open book, allow up to 100 wts or so , 50 MHz and up.

No.

If there is a problem with the number of active hams, it's not due to the difficulty of the entry-level license requirements.

The real issues are:

1) Lack of Publicity for amateur radio

2) Lack of how-to knowledge about setting up a station and getting on the air (just look at some of the questions on eham)

3) Antenna restrictions and other constraints.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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