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Author Topic: FCC CW Test Content  (Read 10922 times)
WX2S
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Posts: 702




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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2012, 07:08:27 PM »

At the risk of raising a necro-thread... I was just listening to a practice Extra test on the Gordon West CD set, and he mentioned that the examinee had a choice of either one minute of perfect copy or answering ten questions about the message. Anyone ever experience this?

Not that it matters now; just curious.

(I never took the Extra code test, but the General test was plaintext. I took it in Baltimore, and I remember, slightly, the yellow pad and #2 pencil.)

73, -WX2S.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 07:11:14 PM by WX2S » Logged

73, - Steve WX2S.
I subscribe to the DX Code of Conduct. http://dx-code.org/
AE5QB
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Posts: 269




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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2012, 08:08:14 PM »

Took the novice, general, advanced, and 1st class radiotelephone with radar endorsements exams all on the same day.  Passed them all - no brag just fact.  If I recall properly it was at the FCC office in Norfolk, Va.  but the brain cells are going.  I do remember the code exams.  They were all text in the format of a typical QSO.  I don't recall if there was an option for solid copy or questions but I remember answering questions such as call signs, QTH, temperature, etc.  I was able to copy about 15 wpm at the time so the code test was nothing to worry about.  I had just finished the USN's basic electronics course, FT A school, FT C school, and the AN/SPS 48A radar school at Dam Neck Va. so the technical tests seemed like just another day at work for me. I spent nearly the entire day there and got to know the examiners pretty well.  They even took me to lunch.  I was really young and felt no pressure or stress at all.  It was just another test like the ones I had taken in high school and 2 years of naval schools.  No big deal at all.  I was a good test taker then but I don't think I could handle a marathon session like that today.
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AB7KT
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Posts: 155




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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2012, 03:14:29 AM »

My extra class test was just a basic ham, CW QSO

I don't remember what my 13 wpm text was
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I thought you said this was a weak signal mode ? I HAVE a weak signal and he still didn't hear me.

FWIW: My callsign is AB8KT
N2EY
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Posts: 3877




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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2012, 07:08:55 AM »

I was just listening to a practice Extra test on the Gordon West CD set, and he mentioned that the examinee had a choice of either one minute of perfect copy or answering ten questions about the message. Anyone ever experience this?

That was the format from the late 1970s/early 1980s onward. But it wasn't always so.

It used to be that the only way to pass the receiving tests was to copy at least 1 minute with no errors, and the exam was 5 minutes long. At least 25 correct consecutive legible characters for 5 wpm, 65 for 13 wpm, 100 for 20 wpm. You didn't get time after the test to go back and correct or fill in, and "legible" meant "legible to the examiner". You could use a typewriter if you provided it.

The option of answering questions on the contents came later. For a time there was even a choice between fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice!

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AE8I
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« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2012, 04:12:07 AM »

I took my Extra Class exam at the J. W. Peck Federal Building in Cincinnati, Ohio on August 28, 1978. The 20 WPM code test was a typical Amateur QSO, with a 10 question, fill in the blank test concerning what was sent. We were given two pieces of white paper and a pencil or two, as I recall, to record the text. I don't remember if an option for one minute of perfect copy was offered to us or not, but I tend not to think so.
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N3QE
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Posts: 2155




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« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2012, 12:47:48 PM »

Circa 1978 (my Novice) and 1981 (my General and Advanced, at FCC field office) the FCC code exam was taker's choice between "minute of perfect copy" and "listen to a QSO and answer some questions". I think it was about 1978 that the "listen to a QSO and answer some questions" must have become an option; all the training classes/tapes/records I had certainly worked towards the "minute of perfect copy".

IIRC... everyone at my FCC exam session opted for "listen to QSO and answer some questions". I seem to recall the QTH and/or name in the QSO had some oddball spellings. Not multiple choice in my case.
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N3DF
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Posts: 252




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« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2012, 10:20:35 AM »

Around 1980 I was a Volunteer Examiner in Colorado.  A youth wrote "Dallas, TX" as his answer to the question of where one of the two operators in QSO was located.  The test tape had sent "Dallas, Texas" in full.  One of the three examiners balked at passing him, and I nearly exploded until he changed his mind. 
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Neil N3DF
K9AIM
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Posts: 997




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« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2012, 10:52:16 AM »

I passed the General and Advanced exams at the Chicago FCC office in early 1977 and took -- but failed -- the Extra code exam.  It had to be solid copy and there was not then an option to answer questions about the QSO instead. I could easily pass the 20wpm code copy requirement today, but of course it is not required...

I do remember that being a teen in an FCC office and knowing I had to do perfect copy without any ability to pause the tape made it seem a lot more difficult than would be copying in the comfort of my own surroundings...
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W2LO
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Posts: 214




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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2013, 04:56:25 PM »

 I definitely remember my 1960 13 wpm (General) and 1965 20wpm (Extra) CW receiving tests at the New York FCC office on Washington Street in lower Manhattan. The FCC office was not far at all from the old "Radio Row", later to become the site of the World Trade Center.

 The 1960 test was about a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral (now Cape Kennedy) and the 1965 Extra test was about a personnel/hiring issue. I passed the CW but failed the theory the first time on the Extra test; when I came back a month later (you had to wait a month before trying again) they gave me the exact same CW test and this time I passed the theory. You received no credit for passing the cw only; you had to pass both the cw and theory at a single sitting. Theory questions were multiple choice, the drawing of circuit diagrams having been eliminated a short time before.

 One earlier posting stated that the CW test was random numbers, etc. This is incorrect; the stated FCC policy was "plain text" with at least one solid minute correct out of a five minute test without any later corrections permitted . The commercial telegraphy exams did include groups of 5 random letters and numbers.

 By the way, the sending test consisted of maybe 20-30 seconds of straight text, just enough for the examiner to determine if you could do it OK.

 After you passed your Extra in those days the FCC would mail you a nice blue 8 x 10 inch certificate awarding you your Extra privileges. I've still got mine dated September 10, 1965.

 You would never forget your visit to the FCC office.....not even 50 or more years later.

 
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 05:01:22 PM by W2LO » Logged
N3DF
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Posts: 252




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« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2013, 08:17:33 PM »



 After you passed your Extra in those days the FCC would mail you a nice blue 8 x 10 inch certificate awarding you your Extra privileges. I've still got mine dated September 10, 1965.



 

Is your Extra certificate really 8x10?  Mine (and all of the others that I have seen) is 7x9.  It is an odd size and it was hard to find a frame that fit well. 
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Neil N3DF
K7KBN
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Posts: 2784




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« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2013, 10:01:12 PM »

Yeah - that was an odd size.  Maybe it was a standard back in the day, though.  The Navy used to use   8 x 10.5 inch paper for stationery.  When I submitted my application for the Warrant Officer program, the instruction clearly stated that size, and the local Naval Reserve station actually HAD a bunch of it!

Guess it worked.  But 7 x 9???
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
N3DF
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Posts: 252




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« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2013, 06:18:01 AM »

Yeah - that was an odd size.  Maybe it was a standard back in the day, though.  The Navy used to use   8 x 10.5 inch paper for stationery.  When I submitted my application for the Warrant Officer program, the instruction clearly stated that size, and the local Naval Reserve station actually HAD a bunch of it!

Guess it worked.  But 7 x 9???

When I first started working the entire Federal civil service used the 8x10.5 (two hole punch) standard, which I understand was a leftover from the 19th century.  We converted to 8.5x11 (three hole punch) early in the Ford administration.  Threw out a lot of file cabinets!
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Neil N3DF
W2LO
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Posts: 214




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« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2013, 11:05:58 AM »

 My curiosity got the better of me so I got the FCC certificate down and measured it; it is indeed 7 x 9. No problem getting a frame for it though; my father was in the picture frame business for over 40 years-hi!
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WD8KNI
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Posts: 143




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« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2013, 04:14:40 AM »

1972 Cleveland FCC office, 13 WPM, 5 letter code groups, with one minute solid copy out of 5 minutes..  I remember it well.  Copy was perfect, I was then asked to send one paragraph the examiner provided, no sweat.. he then asked me to send every possible punctuation. The last one was a / bar.. 

At that point I was brain dead.. 

Examiner:  "I can't pass you without being able to identify portable operation"
 
After seconds that seemed like 10 minutes of panic.

Me:  "last month your office issued a directive that portable identification was no longer require"

Examiner:  "Smart ass, you pass"  .. Fred

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K5XH
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2013, 01:36:37 PM »

I took my Extra in Kansas City sometime around 1975. Code was plain text in the form of one side of a typical QSO. It was heavy on numbers. Like the type of receiver and how many tubes it had and the type of tube in the final. The examiner did not look at the copy but there was a multiple choice test on the content. There was no sending requirement.

In about 1970 I took the Advanced test in Chicago. It was pain text also and I had to send a little.
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