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Author Topic: Do we have a "caste-like" system on the ham bands?  (Read 59689 times)
W5LZ
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Posts: 477




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« Reply #195 on: July 31, 2011, 05:14:00 PM »

This whole thread started with the implication that a 'caste' system is bad.  Is there a caste system in amateur radio?  Yes, just like there is in almost anything you can think of.  The good part about that caste system in this country is that you are not limited to one 'level' forever and ever amen.  Want to move up a 'level'?  Just take the test and pass it!  Don't want to put out the effort?  Then stay where you are and shut up about it until your can 'earn' it.  What's so hard to understand about that?  The test is too hard??  Give me a break!  None of the tests for any class of amateur radio license is all that difficult.
 - Paul
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N2EY
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« Reply #196 on: August 01, 2011, 03:45:36 AM »

The good part about that caste system in this country is that you are not limited to one 'level' forever and ever amen. 

Then it's not a caste system.

To most people I've encountered, "caste" means "a class you are born into and can never escape".

But as you say, amateur radio isn't like that. Any level is accessible to anyone who has a clean record and who passes the tests.

So it's a class system, not a caste system. And, as you say, moving up the levels isn't all that difficult.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AB2T
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« Reply #197 on: September 02, 2011, 06:47:13 PM »

Geez!  I haven't read this forum for a year or so, and we're still on this topic?

Here is the "Pecking order"
Top cast: Those that tested in an actual FCC Office in front of an FCC Employee (no matter what your licence class)
2nd cast: "Extra Before yr 2000" you had to do 20wpm
(my bold)

I was four years old when the VEC was created.  I'm sure some four year old has passed a ham exam.  More power to him or her.  Still, my handwriting was kind of iffy at that point.  Don't know if I could've made that one minute copy with the chunky pencil and the double lined paper.  2nd castedom, o tempora, o mores!

C'mon, let's talk about the fun we had at our exams!  I finished the Canadian exams last year.  Did fine on the written.  Brought a pair of paddles with me to do the sending test.  "No paddles for you!" said the examiner.  He took out a real nice Speed-X.  The key had some weight, but slid all over the place.  My sending was horrible.  Anyway, passed.  Found out I went faster than I needed to.  The code receive test was on an old cassette recorder used for dictation.  The tape was very worn, and the player would distort sound easily if the volume was turned even halfway up.  So I hunched over the speaker and copied with my writing hand.  I made some new friends that evening, and actually thought the test was a fun challenge.

Part of test taking is learning about a new club, making friends, and finding out about new events.  I wish people here wouldn't take it that seriously.  Why not look to the successes and failures as just part of the game, the enjoyment of it all.

73, Jordan
VA2AIT.  Wow! I can use 1000 DC input! (does any VE actually run 2250W PEP?) 
« Last Edit: September 02, 2011, 06:49:12 PM by AB2T » Logged
KD8MJR
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« Reply #198 on: September 05, 2011, 04:32:19 PM »

I wonder how many respondents have taken the time to voluntarily be retested for their existing class? 

When I was a Conditional, I retested at an FCC Office to get my General - does that count?  And, like Jim, I often jump in and retake the Extra on line.  Zero perspiration.

That may be true for some of the older Hams but I have listened to many of them that seemed confused in just casual conversation, of course we can chalk that up to age but for all those who really advocate strict licensing be careful what you wish for because if the FCC ever makes it like a drivers license it would mean that many of those older hams who can't hack it simply because of age would suddenly lose their licenses and there are thousands of US hams who I am pretty sure cannot handle an extra class exam even though they would have aced it 20 years ago.
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N2EY
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« Reply #199 on: September 05, 2011, 04:50:15 PM »

I wonder how many respondents have taken the time to voluntarily be retested for their existing class? 

When I was a Conditional, I retested at an FCC Office to get my General - does that count?  And, like Jim, I often jump in and retake the Extra on line.  Zero perspiration.

That may be true for some of the older Hams but I have listened to many of them that seemed confused in just casual conversation, of course we can chalk that up to age but for all those who really advocate strict licensing be careful what you wish for because if the FCC ever makes it like a drivers license it would mean that many of those older hams who can't hack it simply because of age would suddenly lose their licenses and there are thousands of US hams who I am pretty sure cannot handle an extra class exam even though they would have aced it 20 years ago.


You have listened to them on 'phone, right?

---

Some things to remember:

1) The ability to pass a one-time test is very different from the ability to explain and do practical stuff in a real-world situation.

2) The FCC stopped giving routine exams themselves and went to the VE system almost 30 years ago. They went to all-multiple choice more than 40 years ago.

3) A ham's age does not necessarily correspond to experience. Some hams you meet got their licenses (including Extra) very young, and so may be a lot more experienced than someone older who got their license later in life. There is also a big difference between the person who has had X years experience, and the person who has had 1 year of experience X times.

4) Yes, there are probably many hams (new and old) who couldn't pass the current tests for their license class if they had to. But there are also many who could sit down right now with no warning or preparation and pass all of them in a few minutes without even thinking hard. Including Morse Code, even though it's not required anymore. It all depends on the person.

5) There have always been experienced hams who said that the newcomers were a poor lot. There have always been newcomers who said the Ancient Ones weren't worth listening to. Both are wrong. Read some of T.O.M.'s "Rotten Radio" stories; with a few small detail changes they sound like they were written last week.

What matters is what YOU do with the license.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AB2T
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« Reply #200 on: September 05, 2011, 09:51:35 PM »

Pardon my previous attempt at levity.

Some things to remember:

1) The ability to pass a one-time test is very different from the ability to explain and do practical stuff in a real-world situation.

Yes, but some exams carry more occupational or professional import than others.  As a doctoral student, I must write a series of exams on a number of subjects and prepare for an oral defense.  This is to ensure basic competency in the discipline.  Without passes on these exams, I cannot write.  I'd say that most any professor would acknowledge that most professional development is through writing and teaching.  Nevertheless, if I were asked a question on a text that should be common knowledge in my discipline, and cannot discuss that text, my subsequent research could be criticized even if it is ethically above reproach. 

A ham test does not correlate with the bar, or comp exams, or state professional licensing exams.  A ham has no professional face to lose if he/she is a pileup lid, ignores the OO postcards about their drifty rig, or shouts profanity on select infamous repeaters. The ham exam is a minimal, and not comprehensive, certification which permits a person to construct and operate according to the provisions of Part 97. Legality of operation is the only condition of the license.     
 
3) A ham's age does not necessarily correspond to experience. Some hams you meet got their licenses (including Extra) very young, and so may be a lot more experienced than someone older who got their license later in life.

I was a young Extra (caste 2, however), and I don't consider myself at all experienced even 15 years after completing the exams.  I wouldn't know what to do with a new HT, FM mobile, or one of the menu-driven solid-state HF rigs (this is why I still use a hybrid rig).  I'm great at soldering up homebrew antennas, but have never been a great component solderer.  I've found that some new hams have professional experience in the electronics or telecom fields.  In that case, their knowledge greatly surpasses mine.  I've still got a long ways to go. 

Aside: I've found that some people entering ham radio now because of the abolition of the code requirements often bring with them a great deal of occupational or professional knowledge.  Someone that has had to wait to enter ham radio, for whatever reason, shouldn't be criticized.  Listen to what they have to say.   

73, Jordan   
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AK7V
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« Reply #201 on: September 06, 2011, 11:25:41 AM »

I know I'd have no problem re-passing a 20wpm code test since I operate CW at 30+wpm all the time.  The written Extra exam, however, would be marginal.  I looked at it online and probably would have to study.  And I've been a ham for 17 years.
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KA2UUP
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« Reply #202 on: September 08, 2011, 01:15:59 PM »

Gee, the original quote about caste-like systems in the ham bands sounds like something that you would hear on 14.275 MHz!!!!!!!!! Wink
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N2EY
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« Reply #203 on: September 08, 2011, 04:21:41 PM »

some exams carry more occupational or professional import than others.  As a doctoral student, I must write a series of exams on a number of subjects and prepare for an oral defense.

Exactly my point.

To get a doctorate requires fulfilling many and varied requirements over a period of time, to the satisfaction of the folks granting the degree. Only when *they* are fully satisfied do you get the sheepskin. And the requirements are individualized to each candidate because all doctorates I know of require original work and defense of it. 

This is universes away from having to pass one, two or three multiple-choice exams from a published pool.


73 de Jim, N2EY
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K2HAT
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« Reply #204 on: September 18, 2011, 04:29:10 AM »

 I was first exposed to Ham radio when in the Boy Scouts, about the same time,
as I got involved in CB radio.

I waited for almost 30 years for the Morse Code requirement to be dropped.
I took my tests the first date I could find near me, and passed Technician and General,
and failed my Extra Class the first try. The VE's at the test told me I was very close to passing
the Extra Class test, and to study so more, and try again soon.

 The next test date in the Albany NY area was 10 days later, and I passed my Extra Class
test, on my second try.
I had bought the Radio Shack "Now Your Talking" book in the early 1990's, and kept reading it
once in a while, and was glad to have that book to learn from.

 I was motivated to get my Extra Class license and am glad to have the "Extra" portions of the bands to use once in a while to talk to other Amateurs who worked a little extra hard, to get the Extra Class license. I can not utilize 160m very well from my home, but have made a few contacts on that band.

 I am a newer ham, that has become involved with a Amateur Radio Club,
and I enjoy helping to do NTS traffic also.

73 K2HAT Lee HAT

 

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WA4HKY
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« Reply #205 on: September 18, 2011, 08:45:48 AM »

Regulation is good for the hobby. Leave it alone please... We have made enough changes over the years. Amateur radio does not need Affirmative Action. Our country has been embarrassingly "dumbed down" too much already. I'm surprised the licensing structure has not been labeled "racist" because it requires extraordinary effort to acquire.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2011, 07:14:37 PM by WA4HKY » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3879




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« Reply #206 on: September 19, 2011, 04:13:36 AM »

I waited for almost 30 years for the Morse Code requirement to be dropped.

Why?

The code requirement for Technician was dropped in 1991. All license classes went to 5 wpm in 2000, and had been available with 5 wpm and a doctor's note since 1990.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KC8WUC
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Posts: 52




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« Reply #207 on: September 20, 2011, 07:05:33 PM »

This argument (caste v. not a caste system) reminds me of a long standing argument among us merchant mariners, did you come up through the hawspipe or are you from Kings Point (the U.S. Merchant Mariner Academy). It really makes no difference how you passed the test or what test you passed to get your credential, it what you know and how you apply it.

73,

Michael KC8WUC WDE9344
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KA2UUP
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« Reply #208 on: September 22, 2011, 01:19:57 PM »

This sounds like something you would hear on 14.275. Wink
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NO6L
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« Reply #209 on: September 23, 2011, 08:57:34 AM »


Title: Do we have a "caste-like" system on ham radio?


You know, there is a handy item available to help people to avoid using the wrong word in spoken AND written language, it's called a dictionary.

Unless you're just trying to "Poke a a hornets nest". In which case you're just another "troll". That said, in my estimation this thread should never have exceded one page, and maybe less than that.

73, I guess.
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