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Author Topic: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class  (Read 25153 times)
W0DV
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« Reply #45 on: June 27, 2012, 03:53:12 PM »

Same tired, old topic. Advanced hams will never be grandfathered to Extra. The ones who will not take the exam either can't pass it or they are just being stubborn. I doubt any will admit to the former.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #46 on: June 27, 2012, 05:45:42 PM »

Those Generals sure got the ----   .. no ?

I recall such. Was a Novice..then

Not a big problem. The key was to upgrade early, before everyone else did, then you had some nice QRM free frequencies to use  Grin

The long drive to be at the FCC field office at 8AM for the test was an incentive to study and make sure you passed so you didn't have to make the trip again. Doors opened at 8AM and closed just a few minutes later. If you didn't make it in time then you just had to come back again next month.

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WB6DGN
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« Reply #47 on: June 30, 2012, 09:45:14 PM »

Quote
As I said, the FCC is not about to "gandfather" anyone, for to do so would be an admission that their stupid "incentive" nonsense is no longer legal...

OH! GOOOD GRIEF!!!  NOW we got "No ham left behind"; or is it no ham's behind...OH NEVER MIND!  What the hell's wrong with a little (and I DO mean LITTLE) mental challenge for a little extra "atta boy"?  The ham test isn't rocket science; hell, it isn't even "paper airplane science" any more.  If you can force yourself to sit down at your computer for an hour or so for two or three nights, you've got it done with not even as much effort as these silly posts.  As the saying goes, "JUST DO IT!"
Tom
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M0HCN
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« Reply #48 on: July 01, 2012, 07:28:49 AM »

As for the regulatory need for the extra, there actually kind of is one!

For a license to be acceptable for the CEPT agreements allowing reciprocal licensing, the license must cover defined subject matter set by international agreements, therefore short of changing the requirements for a license to be acceptable for the purposes of reciprocal licensing (Not trivial, requires international agreement), something that looks very much like the extra class license is required.

Now the whole incentive licensing thing can be argued about endlessly (As can power limits (UK incentive) Vs frequency limits (US incentive), but the need for the top level license to have a test at more or less the level it is (including all those EE questions) is actually set by international treaty.

Regards, Dan.
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KB1SF
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« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2012, 06:29:22 AM »

As the saying goes, "JUST DO IT!"
Tom

Hmmmmmm....

Tom, I wonder if you's be singing this same tune if all our licenses to drive our private automobiles were based on us having to demonstrate how windshield washers and wipers are controlled and constructed, how the fuel injectors work, or required us to answer questions about a schematic that depicts how our headlights and taillights are wired up.  

That is, I wonder how many of us would roll over and "just do it" (as you suggest) as a result of THAT nonsense?

For that matter, who has ever heard of requiring an "Extra Class" driver's license just to, for example, drive one's private automobile farther away from home?  Granted, there are commercial requirements that must be met if one is driving one's vehicle "for hire".  But NOTHING of the sort is levied on us just to drive our own, privately owned conveyances anywhere we might wish.

And why is it that every other government-required license that I carry in my pocket these days (including my FAA Private Pilot's license) all require that I simply demonstrate basic competencies rather than "achievement"?  Lord knows, I can do FAR more damage to life and limb flying my airplane if I don't know what I'm doing than anything I could possibly do with a ham radio transmitter.

As I've said in other posts, most other countries never bought into the FCC's "incentive licensing" foolishness…including it's hierarchy of ever more difficult written and Morse tests.  As a result, nowhere else in the world are our bands as carved up (with regulated sub-bands (and even sub-sub bands)) by license class and (largely1950s era dominated) operating modes as they are here in the United States.

Elsewhere, the Amateur Service is regulated almost exclusively by bandwidth, not by license class or operating mode. And the differences between license classes in those countries have FAR more to do with safety (such as limiting the power output of lower tiered licensee's transmitters and prohibiting them from building those transmitters "from scratch") or regulatory matters (not allowing them to give exams or be the licensee of a club or repeater station) rather than an ego-stroking scheme to "reward" so-called “exclusive” frequency spectrum in exchange for regurgitating enough correct (but increasingly irrelevant) answers on ever-more-comprehensive, government mandated, multiple-choice exams.

This is probably also why most other countries in the world that have chosen to do so were easily able to drop their Morse testing requirements (or make them optional as the Canadians did) without skipping a beat.  The “earned” (spelled: "stroked-ego-based") element was (and remains) all but absent under those other licensing systems.

Unfortunately, the FCC unknowingly dug itself into a deep legal "hole" back in the 1950s and 1960s when they hatched their "incentive licensing" farce.  That's because a multitude of equal opportunity and equal access laws (most notably the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act just to name a few) that have since been passed into law made such blatantly discriminatory requirements (like passing ever more difficult Morse tests (and still largely irrelevant written tests like the Extra Class exam) in order to gain full access to federally administered services like Amateur Radio patently illegal.

Yet, even as late as 2003, the FCC still wasn't able to entirely eliminate their blatantly discriminatory Morse testing requirement for access to the HF bands in our Service because that same requirement had not (yet) been eliminated internationally under Article 25 of the ITU radio regulations.  

In fact, my guess is that the FCC arrived at the inescapable conclusion that Morse tests in the Amateur Service were no longer serving any useful purpose soon after all those US equal access laws started to come on the books. That's probably why they chose to eliminate the 13 WPM and 20 WPM tests twelve years ago (in 2000) and then dropped the remaining Morse test back to 5 WPM for all license classes...the absolute minimum required to make it a credible test and still meet the international treaty requirement for a Morse test spelled out in Article 25 of the ITU regulations still in force at the time.  

The FCC's action to drop Morse testing entirely has also defused (but not eliminated) a large part of their systemic discrimination exposure under US equal-access law because the FCC could then ALSO ditch all the doctor-certified code waiver gobbledygook for those higher speed tests…procedures that were also a class action lawsuit simply waiting to happen.

Morse testing in the Amateur Radio Service in the United States is now history.  And it's only a matter of time before someone, somewhere successfully challenges the REST of the FCC's systemically discriminatory incentive licensing system in Federal court before it, too, goes the way of the dinosaur.

In fact, I have it on competent authority (from a retired FCC staffer) that increasing pressure to avoid costly (not to mention embarrassing) class-action litigation IS now at least partly responsible for driving the FCC's overall strategy to largely deregulate our Service going forward.

So, unless the FCC is hauled into court on it sooner, I think we will continue to witness a gradual dismantling of all the trappings of incentive licensing that still remain.... including all the regulated sub-band (and sub-sub band) foolishness based on license class and operating mode that go along with it.

In that sense, the FCC's decision to drop ALL forms of Morse testing was only the latest chapter in their overall strategy to largely de-regulate our Service and to start placing far more of that regulatory responsibility (i.e. what mode goes where) back on the shoulders of licensees.... which is where it should have been all along.  

The bottom line here is that; in the United States (and despite the howls of protest from the "incentive licensing forever" crowd) the FCC has finally realized that becoming certified as an Amateur Radio Operator SHOULD simply require a forward-looking license to learn.  The criteria for those licenses should be based on the MINIMUM technical and/or operational skills and knowledges required to assure the safety of oneself and/or one's neighbors as well as to instill operational courtesy while preventing interference to other licensed Hams or other Services.  

Period.  

Or, to put it another way, it is absolutely crystal clear from their actions to date that the FCC has finally realized that such certifications can no longer be legally based on a series of backward looking, 1950s-era achievement-based and psychomotor tests that hand out frequency and mode-based "rewards" to licensees for successfully completing ever more irrelevant (not to mention blatantly discriminatory) "hazing rituals".  

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 06:33:40 AM by KB1SF » Logged
AA4PB
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« Reply #50 on: July 02, 2012, 07:05:59 AM »

"I wonder if you's be singing this same tune if all our licenses to drive our private automobiles were based on us having to demonstrate how windshield washers and wipers are controlled and constructed, how the fuel injectors work, or required us to answer questions about a schematic that depicts how our headlights and taillights are wired up. "
----------------------------------------------------------------

One major difference is that hams are not suppost to be simply "drivers" of radio transmitters. They are responsible for the "technical" control of their stations and that requires a basic technical knowledge. In commercial applications where the equipment operators don't have technical knowledge, there is a requirement to have the equipment serviced and maintained by a qualified outside person.

If you want to eliminate all the technical stuff from the exams then you need to add a requirement for an annual station inspection by someone qualified - just like you have to have an annual safety inspecion on your vehicle. Heck, you could even require that transmitters broadcast a special signal each time it is keyed indicating if the radio is overdue for the inspection. Or, require licenses to be renewed every year at a cost of $50 and maintain a database that must be updated by inspection personnel before you can obtain your license renewal if you really want it to be like vehicles. Maybe the license renewal fee should be based on the transmitter's maximum power output capability.  Grin


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KB1SF
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« Reply #51 on: July 02, 2012, 07:14:18 AM »

As for the regulatory need for the extra, there actually kind of is one!

For a license to be acceptable for the CEPT agreements allowing reciprocal licensing, the license must cover defined subject matter set by international agreements, therefore short of changing the requirements for a license to be acceptable for the purposes of reciprocal licensing (Not trivial, requires international agreement), something that looks very much like the extra class license is required.

Well, not quite.

The CEPT is NOT a "treaty" requirement, as it has absolutely nothing to do with the ITU regulations.  

Rather, it's a separate agreement among several (primarily European) countries to recognize each other's licensing systems for the Amateur Radio Service.  As a result, a CEPT permit must, by design, default to the most stringent of the lot…including those that still require a Morse test for access to the HF bands.

What's more, I don' t think the CEPT consortium's "non-recognition" of some of our US licenses is related so much to the number of exams we have in our "incentive" system, as much as it has to do with their relevance (or lack thereof) and/or comparability to most of the rest of the world's licensing systems for our Service.  As I've said, most other licensing systems in the world specifically withhold operating privileges from lower class licensees based primarily on safety and non-interference considerations rather than on rewarding "exclusive" slices of artificially walled-off sub-spectrum to higher class licensees.  

Indeed, what I've been advocating in these forums and threads is that we in the USA need to stop focusing our licensing system on creating budding RF Engineers and, instead, make the questions on our exams actually match the operating privileges those licenses grant.  Right now, that isn't happening.

And if this approach leads to a more technically comprehensive (i.e. "harder") exam "up front", then SO BE IT!  

In fact, that's exactly what Canada does right now with their Basic exam...an exam that ALL Canadian hams must now pass in order to get ANY license for our Service in that country.... even for VHF and UHF operation.

I know from my own personal experience (from administering them) that the 100-question Canadian Basic exam is a whopper of a test that not everyone passes the first time...or the second...or the third…or even the fourth!  You actually have to "know your stuff" to pass it.  And, with 100 questions pulled out of a 900-item question bank, I've also found that it is extremely hard (if not impossible) for candidates to simply "memorize the test". That's probably because the Canadian Basic exam is roughly equivalent in content and comprehensiveness to our US Tech and General exams put together.

But, even so, there's still a difference.  

That is, rather than focusing on testing obscure parts of our hobby that few (if any of us) will ever need to know about (let alone use!) that Basic exam focuses specifically on examining only those skills and knowledges that hams will absolutely "need to know" in order to keep themselves (and their neighbors) safe and/or from causing harmful interference to other hams or other services.  

What's more, unlike our current US Tech license (based on successfully completing a horrifically un-comprehensive, 35-question exam) that grants high power operating and transmitter construction privileges from day one, holders of the Canadian Basic certificate are STILL limited to running only 250 watts of power.  Basics also cannot build transmitters "from scratch" (kits are OK) and they can't hold the license of an in-band repeater or club station, or give exams. To do those things, they need to pass yet another, 50-question exam over much more technically oriented subject matter.

That is, unlike our General and Extra Class exams that simply ask more obscure questions about subject matter relating to operating privileges that have (in most cases) already been granted to lower-class licensees in the US system, the Canadian Advanced exam is anything but yet another "achievement test".   To put it bluntly, it's a big-time toughie over a whole lot of new material!

However, even though it is a much more comprehensive and technically oriented exam, it still focuses on examining only those added technical knowledges and skills that Advanced certificate holders absolutely need to know to keep themselves and their neighbors safe (and themselves from causing harmful interference) while exercising those newly granted (high power and repeater-enabled) privileges.

The bottom line here is that candidates for licenses in our Service in Canada are examined NOT based on their "achievements" or with an aim to "educate" them into becoming budding RF engineers.  Rather, Canadian licensed candidates are examined on what they absolutely need to know to do certain things in our Service based primarily on safety and non-interference concerns…and nothing more.    

And before some in our ranks once again accuse me of trying to breed "mediocrity" in our Service, please understand that I am NOT advocating that we "water down" our exam structure any further!  

To the contrary, what I AM advocating is that we need to "front end load" our examination requirements and then subsequently examine only those things that we all know (from our own experiences) are specifically required keep ourselves and others safe while also helping to prevent us all from becoming a nuisance to other hams or other services.  Such an approach would, indeed, make an "Extra Class" license totally irrelevant, and therefore absolutely unnecessary.  Which, in my mind, it already is.

This approach gets the FCC out of the "education" business (where they absolutely don't belong and where their "incentive" system has proven to be a dismal failure in that regard) and back into simply examining us for basic (and advanced) technical and regulatory competencies that are specifically relevant to what we actually do…on the air…as modern hams.  

Or, to put it another way, this approach gets our examination system back into the business of examining skills and knowleges based on "need" rather than for some obscure modicum of educational "achievement".  

That's not advocating "mediocrity" in our Service (or creating a "no ham left behind" Radio Service)!  Rather, it's called examining for the right set of needed technical and regulatory skills at the right times in our ham radio "careers".

73,

Keith
KB1SF  / VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 07:24:43 AM by KB1SF » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #52 on: July 02, 2012, 08:41:03 AM »

One major difference is that hams are not suppost to be simply "drivers" of radio transmitters. They are responsible for the "technical" control of their stations and that requires a basic technical knowledge. In commercial applications where the equipment operators don't have technical knowledge, there is a requirement to have the equipment serviced and maintained by a qualified outside person.

If you want to eliminate all the technical stuff from the exams then you need to add a requirement for an annual station inspection by someone qualified - just like you have to have an annual safety inspecion on your vehicle. Heck, you could even require that transmitters broadcast a special signal each time it is keyed indicating if the radio is overdue for the inspection. Or, require licenses to be renewed every year at a cost of $50 and maintain a database that must be updated by inspection personnel before you can obtain your license renewal if you really want it to be like vehicles. Maybe the license renewal fee should be based on the transmitter's maximum power output capability.  Grin

All true - and there's more!

In many states, (if not all), the inspection is for more than safety items (brakes, tires, lights, wipers, etc.) There are also emission inspections that verify that what comes out of the tailpipe meets regulations.

Also, a motor vehicle must be insured, titled and registered, not just inspected. If you want to build your own car, it must go through an inspection process before it can be licensed.

We hams have an enormous amount of freedom to design, build, modify, repair, align, and operate transmitters, using a wide variety of frequencies, modes and power levels. All on our own recognizance, as it were.

And all we need do is show a little basic radio knowledge on a multiple-choice written test(s). Nothing on any of those tests is anywhere near EE levels, nor was it ever, yet FCC deems them adequate.

Seems like a good deal to me.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KB1SF
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« Reply #53 on: July 02, 2012, 09:17:22 AM »

In many states, (if not all), the inspection is for more than safety items (brakes, tires, lights, wipers, etc.) There are also emission inspections that verify that what comes out of the tailpipe meets regulations. Also, a motor vehicle must be insured, titled and registered, not just inspected. If you want to build your own car, it must go through an inspection process before it can be licensed.

All of which deals with the VEHICLE meeting regulations, Jim, not about what knowledge the licensee must possess in order to simply drive one.

Quote
We hams have an enormous amount of freedom to design, build, modify, repair, align, and operate transmitters, using a wide variety of frequencies, modes and power levels. All on our own recognizance, as it were.

Indeed.  And, as I've pointed out in my previous post, perhaps we have TOO much freedom to do all that, particularly at the Technician level.  

That is, does it REALLY make sense to give a "wet behind the ears" Technician full KW operating privileges...at sometimes eye-blinding VHF and UHF frequencies no less.....after passing a simple, 35-question test that does little more than caution them NOT to stick their tongue in a light socket?

Quote
And all we need do is show a little basic radio knowledge on a multiple-choice written test(s). Nothing on any of those tests is anywhere near EE levels, nor was it ever, yet FCC deems them adequate. Seems like a good deal to me.

Giving Technicians full KW operating privileges may sound like a "good deal" to you (and perhaps to the "wet behind the ears" Technician who has yet to demonstrate they actually know how to handle such power levels without killing themselves and/or permanently blinding themselves or their neighbors).  However, to me, such regulatory malfeasance sounds like a safety hazard waiting to happen.

And once again I ask the question that you apparently STILL don't want to answer:  Does it REALLY require a working knowledge of a 600-page license manual (and the successful completion of yet another, 50 question, so-called "Extra Class" exam) in order to safely and courteously operate our ham radio stations in virtually the SAME parts of the HF sub-spectrum as General licensees can already do?  

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 09:24:27 AM by KB1SF » Logged
W5DQ
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« Reply #54 on: July 02, 2012, 09:23:55 AM »

...... us having to demonstrate how windshield washers and wipers are controlled and constructed, how the fuel injectors work, or required us to answer questions about a schematic that depicts how our headlights and taillights are wired up. ......


Too bad it doesn't. There would probably be less idiots on the roads as there are now if those that could not (or most like WOULD NOT) take the time to LEARN something didn't get a license to drive. BTW I'm no mechanic but I could do all this and more related to a car before I could afford to own one myself. I do the MAJORITY of my own maintenance (except where expensive analzyer computers are needed) and much of this knowledge is directly attributable to LEARNING things as a ham and to pass the Amatuer tests.

All your pissing and moaning about 'Why doesn't the FCC just put my grandfathered Extra license in my Cracker Jack box' is getting a bit old and tiresome. Just grow up and let it go. Face it, you're nobody special and the FCC is NOT going to change the rules to suit you so you can have 'something for nothing'. So get over it and either go take the damn Extra test and get the additional priviledges, stay where you are and use what you got or get bent over, sell out and go collect stamps. We're tired of listening to your bellyaching!!!!!!!!
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
N3DF
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« Reply #55 on: July 02, 2012, 11:01:52 AM »

The concept of requiring a demonstration of more advanced CW skill and knowledge in exchange for more Amateur Radio operating privileges originated with the Commerce Department in the 1920s.  It was continued by the FRC and the FCC in the 1930s and 1940s.  Incentive Licensing in the 1960s was a return to that general concept. 
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Neil N3DF
KB1SF
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« Reply #56 on: July 02, 2012, 01:45:47 PM »

The concept of requiring a demonstration of more advanced CW skill and knowledge in exchange for more Amateur Radio operating privileges originated with the Commerce Department in the 1920s.  It was continued by the FRC and the FCC in the 1930s and 1940s.  Incentive Licensing in the 1960s was a return to that general concept.  

....and the 1960s was over FIFTY YEARS AGO!

What other aspects of our government-regulated lives haven't FUNDAMENTALLY and completely CHANGED since that time?  

For example, how many of us now build our own transmitters "from scratch" these days?  My hunch that number is frightfully small...and getting smaller by the day.

So, why do ALL OF US still have to prove that we can do so?

Keith
KB1SF /  VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 01:58:16 PM by KB1SF » Logged
KB1SF
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« Reply #57 on: July 02, 2012, 01:56:14 PM »

All your pissing and moaning about 'Why doesn't the FCC just put my grandfathered Extra license in my Cracker Jack box' is getting a bit old and tiresome. Just grow up and let it go. Face it, you're nobody special and the FCC is NOT going to change the rules to suit you so you can have 'something for nothing'.

Obviously, you haven't been reading the full content of my posts.

If anything, I'm suggesting that our exam structure be made MORE comprehensive (particularly at the Technician level), not less.

Quote
So get over it and either go take the damn Extra test and get the additional priviledges, stay where you are and use what you got or get bent over, sell out and go collect stamps. We're tired of listening to your bellyaching!!!!!!!!

Landon, I already HAVE a US Extra Class license!  And nobody is forcing you to read what I post.  

Or, to put it another way, if what I have to say is so upsetting to you, may I humbly suggest you simply refrain from reading it?

Keith
KB1SF /  VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca
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N2EY
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« Reply #58 on: July 03, 2012, 06:09:10 AM »

The concept of requiring a demonstration of more advanced CW skill and knowledge in exchange for more Amateur Radio operating privileges originated with the Commerce Department in the 1920s.  It was continued by the FRC and the FCC in the 1930s and 1940s.  Incentive Licensing in the 1960s was a return to that general concept. 

Actually there's a lot more to it.

When US amateur radio was reopened after WW1, there was one license class. It required 10 wpm code and a written exam on theory and regulations.

Then the "Amateur Extra First Class" was added. For a few years in the 1920s, that license allowed some additional privileges. But few amateurs bothered to get one, and it soon disappeared.

About 1929 or so the "ABC system" developed. This was a two-level system because B and C were the same license except that B was by FCC exam and C was "by mail" exam.

All ABC licenses had full-power access to all amateur frequencies. All required the same code tests (10 wpm until 1936, 13 wpm after 1936) and all required the same written test.

What made Class A different was that it required an additional written test (but no additional code test). Class A also required 1 year experience as a ham and that all tests be FCC administered.

What Class A got you was the ability to use voice modes on the ham bands between 2.5 and 25 MHz. Class B and C voice was limited to 160 and the bands above 25 MHz.

The ABC system was replaced by the Novice/Technician/General/Conditional/Advanced/Extra system in 1951. Class A became Advanced, Class B became General, Class C became Conditional.

Only Advanceds and Extras could use voice modes on the ham bands between 2.5 and 25 MHz. Also, no new Advanceds would be issued after the end of 1952.

But in December 1952 FCC announced that effective February 1953, all Generals and Conditionals would have all amateur privileges. So what you had was a system where all US hams except Novices and Technicians had full privileges.

That system lasted until November 1968, when the changes known as "incentive licensing" took effect. It was actually a return to the earlier concepts.

Note, however, that it wasn't until 1968 that more code skill was needed to get full privileges.

73 de Jim, N2EY



 

 
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N3DF
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« Reply #59 on: July 03, 2012, 09:06:52 AM »

Jim,

1.  There were two grades after WWI.  The lower class was mail -order (like the later Class C/Conditional.

2.  Class A was a replacement for the earlier "Unlimited Radiotelephone Endorsement," that allowed you to use phone without the need to qualify for the Amateur Extra First Class.  It required a written exam only. 

Neil N3DF
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Neil N3DF
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