Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Tech HF privileges  (Read 17538 times)
KJ1H
Member

Posts: 47


WWW

Ignore
« on: February 12, 2012, 09:00:21 AM »

This oughta stir the pot up a bit. Smiley

Currently, Technician HF privileges are a relic of the old Novice bands.  Novices had these freqs, plus a little bit of 220 and 1.2GHz.  Techs (with code) gained everything above 30MHz in addition to this.  Generals gained the General HF bands, and so on.  When the no-code Tech came along, it was easy enough to simply drop the Tech's HF privileges, unless they passed the 5wpm code test, in which case they became a Tech Plus and got the Novice HF bands (same as the old Tech).  Then the Novice license was dropped entirely, along with the international requirement for code proficiency for HF use, and all Techs were given access to the HF subbands.  Finally, the code requirement was dropped for all US license classes.

In the Novice days, code was the key to upgrading to General and Extra and gaining access to additional bands and modes, particularly voice.  Novices, like today's Techs, only had SSB privileges on 28.3-28.5, while CW was available on 80, 40, and 15 meters, as well as 10.  Though a limited selection, it was enough that a Novice could generally find some band that was open enough to make CW contacts, which provides CW practice, which raises speed, which got you through the 13wpm test for General.

I give a brief history to put my thoughts into perspective.  The HF bands available to the entry level license made perfect sense back then.  But they haven't kept up with the times.  What good are CW subbands if you don't know CW, and are not interested in learning?  10m is on its way back, but that's the only subband with voice privileges, and is not particularly reliable just yet.  Sure, you can upgrade and gain access to at least a slice of all the HF bands, but modern Techs don't really have the opportunity to give HF an honest try and see what they'll get if they upgrade, or have the thrill of talking to someone across the country or world that would motivate them to upgrade.

The current Tech HF subbands are completely out of line with the way our licensing structure has evolved since the Novice license was the way in.  It seems to me that the addition of some voice subbands would be appropriate.

There are a few ways that would work.  One would be to allocate smaller segments of the General subbands to Techs on 80, 40, and 15, to mirror the existing CW bands.  Another would be to follow the lead of the UK, and grant Techs access to ALL of the General bands, but at very low transmit power - 10 to 50 watts or so.  In this case, the ability to crank up the power to be able to work everything you can hear would be the incentive to upgrade, rather than gaining access to additional bands in the more traditional method.

Another post mentions how for every HF radio sold these days, 4 VHF/UHF radios are sold.  There isn't a lot of incentive for Techs - by far the largest license class - to get on HF, and many are happy with just the VHF/UHF bands.  I'm surprised the manufacturers haven't gotten behind the idea of giving Techs more voice privileges, for the simple reason that they could then sell more radios to Techs.  If a power limit is imposed on Techs on HF, new models could include a wattmeter, and/or a simple way to ensure those limits aren't exceeded, like a low power button (similar to VHF/UHF rigs).

I'm not suggesting granting full General privileges to Techs.  If we're going to have a three license class system, there have to be some advantages to having the higher class.  I'm also saying this as someone who was licensed as a Novice and worked my way up through Tech and General before no-code licensing came in (no, I don't feel superior to codeless hams).  The Novice CW bands worked well for me to improve my CW proficiency.  And though I'm not on HF these days aside from 10m SSB mobile, I enjoy CW and am certainly not anti-code.  I just believe that the HF bands for the entry level license should be more appropriate to the current license structure.  I have no personal stake in this, nor do I believe that my suggestions are necessarily the solution.  I'm putting this out there to encourage discussion of the subject, nothing more.

OK, I'm putting on my fireproof suit and raising shields to maximum power. Smiley
Logged

73 - Justin
N3OX
Member

Posts: 8847


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 10:12:34 AM »

I'd be fine with that but I don't think Techs should be allowed on 80.

So many people are antenna restricted these days and I hear so many stories of these new guys firing up their 100W (worse if it's 10W or 50W) on 80m into their terrible first "multiband" antenna and they go around looking for someone to talk to.

Then they find all these loud guys who run 1500W to talk one state over to two buddies ... they're really loud but have zero, zip, zilch interest in digging out a weak signal to give a guy a new contact.  They tell him to go away and buy an amplifier...

We could use a more meaningful entry level license for people interested in HF, and I think there's some value to restricted power so people learn how much can be done with low power if they work on their antennas.  How about general class bands 40m and up but limited to 25W PEP...  ?
Logged

73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
W7ETA
Member

Posts: 2527




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2012, 08:01:06 PM »

Well.  That's odd?

I cudda sworn that 10 meter phone started at 28.5 Kcs?  And that I didn't get phone privileges until I passed General?

At the time Tech licenses didn't have more phone privileges on HF than Novice did.

You will find that as we go up the sunspot cycle 10 meters will be open world wide past sunset.  Eventually 6 meters will open up for "long-haul" contacts.

Modest stations, ones with converted CB beams at 30 and 40 feet will feast on 200 or so DX countries a year.  Station with just 800 watts will easily work 10 meter long path.

For me the biggest advantage of my Novice ticket was that I could get on the air in the sub-bands and have FUN.  Fun where everyone knew that if you operate in the Novice sub-bands you were going to be dealing with "dumb novices".  And, everyone was limited to around 100 watts.

Plus I was able to gradually become a better op in sub-bands where unusual station operation was common.

One could always tell a very new Novice op when they used KN.  Hi hi.

To get my code speed up I copied W1AW and used practice tapes.

The FCC dealt with the issue of what privileges Tech have and where the can operate when they changed the licensing structure.

Perhaps the idea of current Tech tickets was so that people could get any entry ticket ticket and not hurt themselves? Once they gain more fundamental knowledge they have the opportunity to be foolish with more people over farther distances when they upgrade.  Hi hi

If one buys a ham radio with 10 meters, one can listen to the other bands.

I still remember tuning to 20 meters at nigh and being amazed and awed hearing USA hams talking with The South African Cowboy, ZS6 Push Button.

I wanted to be able to do that so I studied and worked my practices tapes.

73
Bob

And, Yes.  Hams used non-standard phonetics for their call signs.  It made it easier to remember calls signs and people.
Logged
N3DF
Member

Posts: 253




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 08:17:21 AM »

....or, spend a week or so studying the General questions and pass the exam. 
Logged

Neil N3DF
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3925




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 10:00:25 AM »

In the Novice days, code was the key to upgrading to General and Extra and gaining access to additional bands and modes, particularly voice.

Not just code. You had to pass more written tests too.

Novices, like today's Techs, only had SSB privileges on 28.3-28.5, while CW was available on 80, 40, and 15 meters, as well as 10.  Though a limited selection, it was enough that a Novice could generally find some band that was open enough to make CW contacts, which provides CW practice, which raises speed, which got you through the 13wpm test for General.

Actually, after 1990 all license classes were available with just 5 wpm code and a medical waiver.

In the bad old days when I was a Novice, we had no access to 10 meters at all.

The HF bands available to the entry level license made perfect sense back then.  But they haven't kept up with the times.  What good are CW subbands if you don't know CW, and are not interested in learning?  10m is on its way back, but that's the only subband with voice privileges, and is not particularly reliable just yet.  Sure, you can upgrade and gain access to at least a slice of all the HF bands, but modern Techs don't really have the opportunity to give HF an honest try and see what they'll get if they upgrade, or have the thrill of talking to someone across the country or world that would motivate them to upgrade.

Sure they do. Just learn the code and use it.

The current Tech HF subbands are completely out of line with the way our licensing structure has evolved since the Novice license was the way in.  It seems to me that the addition of some voice subbands would be appropriate.

There are a few ways that would work.  One would be to allocate smaller segments of the General subbands to Techs on 80, 40, and 15, to mirror the existing CW bands.  Another would be to follow the lead of the UK, and grant Techs access to ALL of the General bands, but at very low transmit power - 10 to 50 watts or so.  In this case, the ability to crank up the power to be able to work everything you can hear would be the incentive to upgrade, rather than gaining access to additional bands in the more traditional method.

Another post mentions how for every HF radio sold these days, 4 VHF/UHF radios are sold.  There isn't a lot of incentive for Techs - by far the largest license class - to get on HF, and many are happy with just the VHF/UHF bands.  I'm surprised the manufacturers haven't gotten behind the idea of giving Techs more voice privileges, for the simple reason that they could then sell more radios to Techs.  If a power limit is imposed on Techs on HF, new models could include a wattmeter, and/or a simple way to ensure those limits aren't exceeded, like a low power button (similar to VHF/UHF rigs).

I'm not suggesting granting full General privileges to Techs.  If we're going to have a three license class system, there have to be some advantages to having the higher class.  I'm also saying this as someone who was licensed as a Novice and worked my way up through Tech and General before no-code licensing came in (no, I don't feel superior to codeless hams).  The Novice CW bands worked well for me to improve my CW proficiency.  And though I'm not on HF these days aside from 10m SSB mobile, I enjoy CW and am certainly not anti-code.  I just believe that the HF bands for the entry level license should be more appropriate to the current license structure.  I have no personal stake in this, nor do I believe that my suggestions are necessarily the solution.  I'm putting this out there to encourage discussion of the subject, nothing more.

Your intent is good but the implementation needs work.

The real problem, IMHO, is that the Technician isn't a good entry-level license at all. What we need is a "Novice for the 21st Century" license.

What should be done is to close off the [Novice] Technician to new issues and come up with a brand new license class. Call it Basic, to give it a name. (Edited to fix mistake)

The Basic class would require a simple but comprehensive test of..well...the basics. It would allow operation on parts of a few bands with a few modes at limited power, to give newcomers a sample of what is out there.

For example, Basics might be allowed on parts of 80/75, 40, 15, 10, 6, 2, 220 and 440, plus all of the WARC bands, running CW, SSB, FM and a few digital modes like PSK31. Power limit 100 watts HF, 25 watts VHF/UHF. Vanity calls limited to 2x3s only. Basics could not be repeater control ops, club trustees, etc.

With the low power and other limitations, many of the higher-level technical, RF exposure and regulations questions now in the Tech could move to the General, and the Basic could focus more on practical-radio areas. A Basic would be much more of a "sampler" license, rather than the VHF/UHF-centric Technician.

Existing Novices and Technicians would have Basic privileges added, so there would be a linear progression up the license ladder.

The Basic exam would not be "easier" than the Technician; rather, it would focus more on what a beginning ham really needs to know.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 02:32:39 PM by N2EY » Logged
KJ1H
Member

Posts: 47


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 12:25:05 PM »

Jim, while I don't agree with all your points, I think you really get what I'm driving at here, and I completely agree with your "Novice for the 21st Century" concept.  In fact, I think you stated my case better than I did. Smiley
Logged

73 - Justin
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3925




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 02:43:09 PM »

Jim, while I don't agree with all your points, I think you really get what I'm driving at here, and I completely agree with your "Novice for the 21st Century" concept.  In fact, I think you stated my case better than I did. Smiley

Thanks!

But what points do you not agree with?

ISTM that one of the big problems for newcomers to US ham radio is this:

They start out with the Technician, which gives them the whole world above 50 MHz but very little below. That's not bad if a person is only interested in VHF/UHF, but I think we can do a lot better.

And there's more:

Since the Technician allows high power operation on all modes and bands above 50 MHz, the test for it is full of questions about those modes, bands, RF exposure safety, and more. Plus a little about HF. As a result, the prospective new ham has to learn a lot about things s/he will probably not use right away, while leaving big gaps in other areas of knowledge.

ISTM that a much better approach is to have a license that offers a more balanced set of band/mode offerings, so the newcomer can try out a lot of different things.

For example, if a newcomer is interested in HF digital/data comms, as a Tech s/he has almost no privileges. Have to get a General just to run a Warbler on 80 meters or a QRP CW rig on 30 meters! Yet the same Tech can run the legal limit on ANY mode on, say, 2 meters. Does that make sense?

Requiring reduced power on HF is problematic because most modern rigs are in the 100 watt class. So it makes sense to accomodate them. OTOH, there are lots of VHF/UHF rigs rated 25 watts or below - and VHF/UHF is where the greatest RF exposure risk (and questions) are.

OTOH, Basics shouldn't have the same privileges as Generals, because there will be little incentive to upgrade.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
N5RWJ
Member

Posts: 461




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2012, 03:59:38 PM »

Why not follow the UK lead , grant Techs all of the general phone/cw bands, without the use off Amp's, start a new Basie license. This should make for easy enforcement, help with Radio and other gear sales.
Note: The FCC and World canisters CW, as obsolete communication,and no Govt Tests for it , Its time to give them phone privileges?
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 11:50:23 AM by N5RWJ » Logged
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2835




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 10:07:00 PM »

"Novices had these [80/40/15M cw] freqs, plus a little bit of 220 and 1.2GHz."

I don't remember 220 and 1.2GHz.  When I was first licensed in 1959, we novices had the limited HF cw freqs, plus phone privileges on 2M.  At that time, anything above 148 MHz was considered witchcraft.  Might still be...  Grin
Logged

73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
N5RWJ
Member

Posts: 461




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2012, 11:36:43 AM »

Why not follow the UK lead , grant Techs all of the general phone/cw bands, without the use off Amp's, start a new Basie license. This should make for easy enforcement, help with Radio and other gear sales
Note: Tech have CW privileges on most ham bands, but are no longer tested for Cw ability. because the FCC considers CW obsolete( don't no how this post curred.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 11:57:52 AM by N5RWJ » Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3925




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2012, 02:41:21 PM »

Why not follow the UK lead , grant Techs all of the general phone/cw bands, without the use off Amp's, start a new Basie license.

No, that's not a good idea. It's too much of a giveaway. Neither FCC nor the amateur community will go for it.

This should make for easy enforcement, help with Radio and other gear sales.

Enforcing the power limit isn't easy.

The goal is a better entry license, not a bonanza for existing hams.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3925




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2012, 02:44:39 PM »

Note: Tech have CW privileges on most ham bands, but are no longer tested for Cw ability. because the FCC considers CW obsolete.

The FCC does not consider CW "obsolete". They simply don't see any reason to have a separate test for it any more.

There are lots of things hams do which are not specifically tested for. That does not make them "obsolete".

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
W7ETA
Member

Posts: 2527




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2012, 03:34:46 PM »

If had my way, an entry license would cover safety, rules and regulations, and the basics of setting up a station.   I'd also have an eye on CB mythology and CB misinformation while developing what would beginners would be tested on. The entry ticket would put novice ops on HF digital, with 100 watts, may be just on the WARC bands?

My guess is a digital only ticket would be FUN and novice ops would be spared the experience of starting out on repeaters.

My assumption is that this would be closer to my experience as a Novice, which I believe was a lot more FUN than novice Techs have.

73
Bob

Logged
KG4NEL
Member

Posts: 443




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2012, 08:58:45 PM »

The 220 and 1.2gig Novice allocation was curious to me even in 2001 when I got my license, it seemed out of place even then.

Does anyone know the reasoning why those bands, in particular, got chosen?

I was weird...I was a heck of a lot more active as a Tech on SSB (50MHz and up, at the time) than I ever was as a General - I think I may have made 1 or 2 HF QSOs in that time. Part of that was due to the timing of the solar cycle vs. when I went to undergrad :p
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3925




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 02:33:43 PM »

The 220 and 1.2gig Novice allocation was curious to me even in 2001 when I got my license, it seemed out of place even then.

Does anyone know the reasoning why those bands, in particular, got chosen?

The following is my understanding:

1.2 gig came about as a way to interest the UHF folks in ham radio.

220 came about when the FCC was considering taking the band for land mobile use. The idea was that Novices would fill it up. This sort-of worked: they took 220-222 instead of the whole band.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!