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: Prev 1 [2] 3 4 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: How About A New Entry-Level License Class?  (Read 19039 times)
2E0OZI
Member

Posts: 270




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2012, 11:13:06 AM »

10w on all bands almost everywhere, all modes is the basic formula for the UK Foundation class. It makes you build decent antennas to get contacts, but at the same time gives you the thrill of contacts all over the world (when conditions allow) and you can operate flexibly.

As a side effect very few of the newbies in my 8 night class wanted to do anything but get on HF - I think 1 of the 10 was into 2m and that was it. Emcomm wasn't on the radar. DX was.
Logged

Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
George Orwell
N5RWJ
Member

Posts: 461




Ignore
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2012, 01:49:13 PM »

I'm thinking more like 75 watts input, crystal-controlled, on slivers of HF cw bands (except 20m), one-year, non-renewable. 
Why do you think this?
Logged
N5RWJ
Member

Posts: 461




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2012, 02:04:06 PM »

I'm thinking more like 75 watts input, crystal-controlled, on slivers of HF cw bands (except 20m), one-year, non-renewable.  

I remember being very happy when I got my novice license with just a few crystals.  I was KN5IHO.  With its restrictions it shows that a person really wanted to be a ham.

Tom
Tom, this topic is about Tech SSB and digital privilege for the the 21 Century, not novice CW that's being replaced by Data/digital signals. Although we do need a BASIC license to replace the old Novice ticket.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 02:15:59 PM by N5RWJ » Logged
K0ZN
Member

Posts: 1561




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2012, 03:39:51 PM »


 This is an absolute fact of human behavior:  The easier something is to obtain, the less value it carries.   To wit:  a driver's license vs. a pilot's license, etc.

 You can absolutely bet, that the lower the bar gets for entrance into Amateur Radio the worse the quality of the operator pool and behavior on the air.  That is precisely why the CB band is such a cesspool.  Do we really want to move in that direction?

 Easy entrance to ham radio??   BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR.  YOU MIGHT GET IT !


  73,  K0ZN
Logged
AK7V
Member

Posts: 251




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2012, 04:05:52 PM »


 Easy entrance to ham radio??   BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR.  YOU MIGHT GET IT !


  73,  K0ZN

We are already there.  I think the issue is, once people are through the gate, how will the licensing structure stimulate their motivation, learning, and improvement?  And is that even a worthwhile goal?

Personally, I saw that there was a challenge (Extra class, 20wpm code) and decided from day one that I was going to go for it.  Some of us are like that.  Didn't matter what the privileges were for the various license classes.  I was a no-code Tech for about a year (did the HT/repeater/packet thing while in high school), then General for a month (during which I got on HF and got my code speed up from 13 [achieved by listening to tapes] to 20+), then passed Advanced/Extra/20wpm in one sitting.
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3925




Ignore
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2012, 06:42:34 PM »

This is an absolute fact of human behavior:  The easier something is to obtain, the less value it carries.   To wit:  a driver's license vs. a pilot's license, etc.

I wouldn't call it an absolute fact, but it's generally true.

You can absolutely bet, that the lower the bar gets for entrance into Amateur Radio the worse the quality of the operator pool and behavior on the air.  That is precisely why the CB band is such a cesspool.  Do we really want to move in that direction?

The point of the "Basic" license idea is not, repeat NOT, to make it easier to get a license/lower the bar/remove the standards. Not at all.

What it's about is making the "entry level" license class more of a "sampler" of what ham radio is all about. The license test itself would contain relevant stuff for the privileges granted. Some things now in the Technician would be removed (like high power UHF RF safety questions and such) and there would be more on the basics of practical radio.

That's the idea, anyway.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3925




Ignore
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2012, 07:13:56 PM »

Quote from: N2EY
The problem is that the WARC bands are already narrow. 30 meters is only 50 kHz, while 17 and 12 are only 100 kHz.

How much of each band would you give Basics?

None.

Two bands.  20m and 40m.  Maybe less frequency range than the General, but still in a meaningful portion of the bands.  Power limit 50W PEP to discourage the purchase of ANY type of amplifier, especially CB type junk, and to discourage "all knobs to the right" operation.

I see a couple of problems there.

First, 20 meters is a busy band, and probably not the best place for beginners. Same for 75 meters.

Second, there needs to be considerable diversity in bands so that round-the-clock and round-the-cycle operation is possible most of the time.

Third, the vast majority of HF rigs, new and used, are in the 100 watt class. A 50 watt power limit just encourages pushing the rules. A 150 watt limit is higher than almost all HF rigs, yet a full 10 dB below the legal limit. I doubt anybody will run an amp to reach 150 watts!

Fourth and most important, the test for Basic would include questions about practical HF operation to discourage "all knobs to the right" nonsense.

I think one of the biggest problems I see for people getting started today is that they think you have to buy too much stuff to set up an effective station.  They think you need an "all band antenna" and a tuner and then when that system sucks and they have a hard time making contacts, they start shopping for an amplifier.  If they're lucky at some point they learn the lesson about how bad their antenna really is but by the time they bought the amplifier, they're working the world with 100W ERP from their awful antenna and then they think everything works great Cheesy

That sort of thing isn't limited to newcomers. The answer is education.

I see tight band restrictions as an important aspect of the old way of getting into ham radio... I suppose that when Novices of old built their first transmitter, there's a good chance it was going to cover one or two or three bands.  That simplifies antenna choice greatly.    These days with modern operating practices and the availability of relatively inexpensive used and new HF radios of many sorts, we have to face facts that most people are going to have an all-band radio.

I was one of those Novices of old (1967 vintage) and built my first transmitter. Have built many since then, too. But it's not 1967 any more.

Still, consider this:

Back in 1967, when I got started, the US amateur HF bands were 80/75, 40, 20, 15 and 10.

160 existed, but was full of LORAN and location/power/frequency/time of day limitations which seriously limited what you could do. (For example, here in EPA, 160 meter operation was limited to 1800-1825 kHz, where we were allowed 200 watts input power during the day and 50 watts at night, and 1875-1900 kHz, 100 watts day 25 watts night). Most ham gear of the day didn't cover 160 anyhow, so for most of us the HF bands were 80/75, 40, 20, 15, and 10.

Yet out of those 5 bands, Novices had privileges on 80, 40 and 15. Three out of five - 60%.

Today, there are 9 HF/MF bands plus the channels at 60 meters. 60% of 9 bands is between 5 and 6 bands. 

But if we could give something to put the constraint back, I think that would be useful.  But it needs to be good allocations where people can learn that 50W to a good antenna can get good reports around the country and can work the world.  40m/20m would allow a mix of daytime and nighttime operation throughout the entire sunspot cycle (even more important with  the predicted weak cycle, of the utmost importance if some of the more dire predictions for a cessation of sunspot activity beyond Cycle 24 turn out to be correct)

20m and 40m would allow people to try out a variety of different activities: ragchewing, contesting, and DXing.

But 2 out of 9 bands is much more restrictive than even the 1967 Novice!

=============
Now, I do see the value of allowing the Basic licensees on the WARC bands.  They're friendly and valuable bands.   But I really do think that there's a strong disadvantage to trying to plan for too many bands. 

Maybe 40m and 17m should be the two bands instead of 40m and 20m.

If the sunspots were not such a factor on 15m I would push for 40m and 15m as the two bands, because 15m is a fantastic band and the harmonic relation between 40m and 15m means slight mods to a 40m dipole or vertical will make a pretty good 15m antenna.  But it goes too flat in the doldrums.  17m is okay.

But why only two bands? Why not 4 or 5?

How about this:

80 CW/data, 40 CW/data/phone, 30 CW/data, 17 CW/data/phone, 15 CW/data/phone, 10 CW/data/phone. This is a bit more than current Novice/Tech HF, and offers a wide range of bands for differences in sunspot cycle, time of day, antenna capabilities, and not having too big a gap between bands.

73 de jim, N2EY
Logged
N5RWJ
Member

Posts: 461




Ignore
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2012, 08:50:09 PM »

I think phone on 75m above 3950 is better than phone on 40m, on 75m you find Elmer's that will help new hams ,and  also the spirit of Ham Radio reside their. Some new hams have homework to do ,and others are getting of from work needs time with the family , before getting on the air.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 08:55:01 PM by N5RWJ » Logged
N3OX
Member

Posts: 8847


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2012, 11:32:14 PM »

First, 20 meters is a busy band, and probably not the best place for beginners.

True enough but I guess I'm thinking that we're basically unleashing beginners on 20m right now (because General is the first meaningful HF license for voice and data, especially away from sunspot peaks) and it's not a disaster in terms of business and crowdedness.

Quote
Third, the vast majority of HF rigs, new and used, are in the 100 watt class. A 50 watt power limit just encourages pushing the rules.

Maybe so.

Quote
A 150 watt limit is higher than almost all HF rigs, yet a full 10 dB below the legal limit. I doubt anybody will run an amp to reach 150 watts!

I don't.  I get the impression that many, many new hams  blame not enough power for their lack of success and I get the impression that a lot of people, new and more experienced, have a poor appreciation of decibels.  Why can we sell legal limit amps for hundreds or thousands more than 700-800 watt amps while ALSO having so many who accept 2-3dB feedline loss in their untuned vertical?

Maybe 50W encourages people to break the rules but I think 150W is going to drive sales of 150W amplifiers, which are the worst possible ones because they're 100W amplifiers driven way too hard.... the worst case is those who use the golden screwdriver to get closer to 150W out of their 100W barefoot rig  

 I do think that some of the problem is the importance placed on transmitter power in the CB hobbyist community that feeds a good number of new hams (I have nothing against this... I was a CBer first, but TRANSMITTING and TRANSMITTER POWER is of great importance there).   Some of it is probably purely because "more power" is very concrete and makes sense to people.   But wherever it comes from, I get really bummed out when people are throwing away hundreds and hundreds of watts from their expensive amplifier without recognizing that they paid dearly for those watts.

I can see how maybe 50W just gives the temptation to run 100W, but 150W will give the temptation to run 150W, which almost nothing out there will do properly.

Quote
That sort of thing isn't limited to newcomers. The answer is education.

I agree that the answer is education but I think the sheer number of bands is a barrier to learning some lessons about really good simple antennas.  I think people look to the "all band" wires which have inconsistent performance and many pitfalls because if they don't, the other bands they COULD be using are nagging at them.  It's a big price to pay.

I would love to see a beginner path that made it make less sense to slap down $120 for a  texarkana windom, 1/pi sized G5RV, distributed blah wire, controlled helix cage transducer, or Junior Pit Viper.  I would like to see fewer stations relying on an amplifier to bring their ERP back up to what you can do with a barefoot rig and a dipole and more people learning on their own that it can be done with 100W and a dipole.  

Maybe it's too restrictive and maybe licensing is totally the wrong way to help people learn this lesson, but telling people that they should try a single band dipole against their all band wonder wire is likely to be met with "but my all band wonder wire works *fine*"  This is okay in some ways: if they're having fun, they're having fun.  But if they're 6dB down from a dipole and pondering that AL-811 or whatever to make up for it... that's not great.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 11:37:26 PM by N3OX » Logged

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

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
N5RWJ
Member

Posts: 461




Ignore
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2012, 03:05:01 PM »

Ham radio is a hobby that lets you communicate with others, via radio transmitter , that is governed by the rules of FCC.
that was granted to it ,by the Congress of the USA , among other things the FCC is meant to promote this hobby, with operating
Skills by, testing the hobbits. To do this it now has asks for help from the hobbyist ,that now conduct its own testing for its members.

The FCC has removed the beginner Novice license ,And this topic is about braining it back, as a new basic License.
And deciding what privilege it should have. And also about making the Technician license a more voice and data centric  license, and what privilege should be granted or lost .( I think it should be the same as General, with less band space ?)

1# Do you think we should bring back a new Basic Beginners license , if you do then what knowledge should be displayed privileges and band space granted?
2# Do you think the Technician license which has been a beginners type license ,should be change into a type of small General license ,with less band space . If you do agree, what knowledge should be displayed and band space granted?
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 05:49:00 PM by N5RWJ » Logged
N5RWJ
Member

Posts: 461




Ignore
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2012, 03:53:08 PM »

1# Yes ,we should bring back a new beginners license, and the privileges granted to it ,must be geared to the 21 Century, and support SSB, and Data modes as well as the VHF, UHF Skills.
2# yes, the technician should be made a more Ham centric license ( Small General Type), and privileges granted it must also be geared to this Century.
It should have phone and Data mode privileges ,on more than one band. This will position Technicians in the same category as other license Hams, If he wants more band space as a Full General license holder , then he must test for it.

   I think we should change the novice name to Basic?
   I think we should change the name technician to something ells, maybe Technical or Major license ? That could give us the Basic, Major, General, and Extra Ham licenses?
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 04:34:07 PM by N5RWJ » Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3925




Ignore
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2012, 05:14:10 PM »

1# Yes ,we should bring back a new beginners license, and the privileges granted to it ,must be geared to the 21 Century, and support SSB, and Data modes as well as the VHF, UHF Skills.

And CW, of course.


2# yes, the technician should be made a permanent license, and privileges granted it must also geared to this Century.
It must have phone privileges ,on more than one band. This should encourage Tech to work for more privileges. I also suggest the technician name be change?


No amateur license in the USA is "permanent". All are renewable, however.

The FCC has indicated that three license classes are the right number, in its opinion. If a new one is created, one of the old ones should be phased out. The logical one to phase out is the Technician.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
N3OX
Member

Posts: 8847


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2012, 11:10:46 AM »

The FCC has indicated that three license classes are the right number, in its opinion. If a new one is created, one of the old ones should be phased out. The logical one to phase out is the Technician.

I don't know about that.  I think the issue is that there are other uses for ham radio other than the mainstream hobby uses... people who want to get a license to do telemetry for stuff like edge of space balloons or who want to experiment with microwave wireless networks don't need to know anything at all about HF.

We need a beginners' license for the mainstream HF communications hobby but I think the Technician license needs to be kept as a single point of entry focused on the 50MHz and up bands, because those things have a great deal of utility for hackers and experimenters who don't care one bit about the stuff we do below 30MHz and who just need the preparation and authorization to use higher power and more versatile VHF/UHF/microwave communications than off-the-shelf part 15 stuff allows.

I don't know the history but that really seems to be a lot of what the Technician class license is good for.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 11:13:29 AM by N3OX » Logged

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

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
KJ1H
Member

Posts: 47


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2012, 09:43:20 AM »

Jim, you know my feelings on the matter since you posted in my earlier thread about it. Smiley I agree with the concept that the entry level ham license should more accurately reflect what you need to know to get on the air, as well as the offerings available to hams.  CW is no longer a stepping stone to higher license classes, so why restrict Techs to those HF subbands as a relic of "the good ol' days?"

One point to consider is that many of the newest VHF/UHF radios put out more than 50w on high power.  This Kenwood TM-271A sitting next to me puts out 60w, and its replacement, the TM-281A, does 65.  To make the "Basic" license reflect what's really happening in the world of ham radio these days, perhaps a limit of 75w or 100w would be more reasonable.  That could also effectively end the "horsepower wars" of the manufacturers trying to one-up each other with high power settings we don't really need.  Personally, I'd like to turn down my TM-271A's "low" power setting from 25w to more like 10w, which is perfectly adequate for most of my needs.

I like the idea of giving Basics the WARC bands, particularly if we're going to keep them off 20m.  They're kinder, gentler bands with similar performance characteristics to 20m, which lets them get a feel for it before being thrown to the lions on 20m.

To reiterate, this is NOT a proposal to make it easier to get a license, the way eliminating the code requirement was.  This is a proposal to make the material would-be hams are tested on a lot more relevant to what they actually need to know to be a ham radio operator.  What good is knowing the Tech 80m CW band limits when you don't know CW, don't have an HF rig, and only operate on 2m and up?  The proposal to expand the HF bands available to the entry level license (Basic, Tech, call it what you like) simply reflects the modern reality that CW fluency is not necessary for access to any amateur band.  What we have today is, in part, a chicken/egg situation.  Many Techs never bother to get on HF, partly because it's a big investment in equipment and time for not a whole lot of privileges.  If we give them a sample of what's out there, I'll bet a lot of Techs would upgrade to gain access to more of the HF bands.  

I'm surprised the manufacturers haven't gotten behind this idea, because they'd be able to sell more HF radios...
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 09:50:19 AM by KJ1H » Logged

73 - Justin
W5DQ
Member

Posts: 1209


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2012, 11:23:31 PM »

The point of the "Basic" license idea is not, repeat NOT, to make it easier to get a license/lower the bar/remove the standards. Not at all.

What it's about is making the "entry level" license class more of a "sampler" of what ham radio is all about. The license test itself would contain relevant stuff for the privileges granted. Some things now in the Technician would be removed (like high power UHF RF safety questions and such) and there would be more on the basics of practical radio.

That's the idea, anyway.

73 de Jim, N2EY

Whatever is done, I hope the testing structure doesn't allow testing like a Saturday morning walk-in for a 6 to 8 hour 'cram' session and walk out Saturday evening with a new Extra license, like is possible now. I've seen it done more than once and think it is a really bad thing. Folks that do that, even though they are usually sharp and smart, walk away with basically NO knowledge of what ham radio REALLY is and what it is all about and what can be done with it. Many of those drop out after the first renewal period which is a real shame as it takes 15 minutes to fill out and submit the renewal.

With all the changes that have occurred over the years, the worse I think is the loss of the requirement to actually have 'time in grade' as a licensee before testing for Extra. Not because I went that way but I think it is a very valuable experience and helps ham radio overall in the long run as it makes everyone a better operator IMHO. It had been dropped long before I tested for Extra. I did my time as a Novice though.

A license class that provides a sampling of frequencies to whet the appetite is a good idea. Something to think about for a while before rushing into defining it however.

Gene W5DQ
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 11:26:45 PM by W5DQ » Logged

Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
Pages: Prev 1 [2] 3 4 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!