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Author Topic: Bring back the Advanced Class  (Read 51920 times)
WA2OLZ
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« Reply #75 on: July 07, 2013, 05:09:58 PM »

I will not upgrade until the 20 wpm CW is put back in with the Extra.

I see the same "I'm-better-than-you-because-I-passed-a-Morse-test" curmudgeons are still beating their same old (now long since dead!) Morse code testing "horse".

Tell you what, David...if you're so absolutely adamant about showing completion of a stupid Morse test on your license, I suggest you start studying for the Canadian Basic exam (http://www.qsl.net/ve3sar/exams.htm).

Then, when your're ready, come on up to my QTH (50 miles NE of Detroit) and I'll administer both exams (the written and the 5 WPM Morse test) to you around my kitchen table.  Your Canadian Certificate will show successful completion of both...and you'd also have a Canadian call sign to boot.

The bottom line here is that the Morse test is history in the USA. And it's not coming back.

Get over it.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB

Excuse me. I believe your attitude is showing  Roll Eyes
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APW19562
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« Reply #76 on: July 07, 2013, 06:35:08 PM »

I've heard so many people complaining about certain bands being "dead"... "no activity"... blah blah blah...  yet people still rag on about how much more difficult or scrutinizing the testing should be.

Are people seriously THIS STUPID ?

If you want more activity on the ham bands, and want more people involved and interested... then the licensing regulations need to be looser than they currently are.

I recently attended a local Field Day at a radio club that has been around since 1922.

MOST of those in attendance appeared to be the original founding members... with one foot already in the grave. The club membership numbers have been in steady decline for many years.

This is the direction ham radio will take if stubborn old hams insist on difficult licensing requirements and arrogant attitudes toward new blood in the hobby.

I'm 45 years old and would have gotten into this hobby 20 years ago if the CW testing had been done away with back then.
The CW requirement only caused me to completely shrug off ham radio and find other interests... as I had ZERO interest in morse code, which in my opinion is only a step better than carrier pigeon.  Grin
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KG6AF
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« Reply #77 on: July 07, 2013, 06:58:01 PM »

If you want more activity on the ham bands, and want more people involved and interested... then the licensing regulations need to be looser than they currently are.

How much easier do you want to make it?  We had an eight-year-old pass the Tech test at one of our VE sessions a few weeks ago; it was pretty cool.  We've done VE sessions after one-day Tech classes, and at most of those sessions almost everyone passed.

I don't think a person needs to be an electrical engineer to get a ham license, but I don't think it's asking too much that they have the gumption of that eight-year-old, or the perseverance of those who listened to lectures for eight hours.  If people can't do that much, how involved will they be when they get their license? 

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N0IU
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« Reply #78 on: July 08, 2013, 03:56:46 AM »

I've heard so many people complaining about certain bands being "dead"... "no activity"... blah blah blah...  

Yes, propagation is not good. I agree with that.

But there is a very interesting phenomenon in radio that occurs when everyone is tuning across the bands look for activity... NOTHING happens!

The one piece of information that they do not teach on any test at any level is that TWO RECEIVERS CAN NOT COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER!

If a band appears to be dead, try sending CQ using the mode of your choice and see what happens. You might be surprised! In order for there to be activity, someone has to do the talking!
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KB1SF
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« Reply #79 on: July 08, 2013, 04:17:45 AM »


I'm 45 years old and would have gotten into this hobby 20 years ago if the CW testing had been done away with back then.  The CW requirement only caused me to completely shrug off ham radio and find other interests... as I had ZERO interest in morse code, which in my opinion is only a step better than carrier pigeon.  Grin

You are not alone. 

The truth is that requiring a Morse test for a full featured Ham license was a lot like having to know how to shoe a horse in order to get a driver's license to drive a modern day automobile.

And God only knows how many thousands....if not hundreds of thousands...of people in the USA just like you were turned off (or turned away) from the hobby because they could never be "real hams" in the eyes of their "crusty curmudgeon" compatriots...principally because they couldn't (or didn't) pass a stupid Morse test.  Unfortunately, there still FAR too much of that condescending arrogance still alive and well in our hobby.

And the testing problem is not the "easiness" or "hardness" of the testing structure...it's the relevance of the test questions to the (added) privileges they grant.

Clearly, the Technician class exam is not nearly comprehensive ENOUGH.  It grants high-power operating and "from scratch" transmitter construction privileges right off the bat after candidates pass a horribly UN-comprehensive, 35 question, multiple choice exam. 

And, on the other end of the testing scale, all one has to do is look at the latest question pool for today's Extra Class license to see just how completely redundant it is. It's absolutely, chockablock full of questions relating, for example, to satellite, EME and meteor scatter operation, slow and fast scan television operation, formats for submitting DX contest logs, APRS, digital HF Packet operation, and a whole lot of other (redundant) questions relating to privileges that have already been granted to lower class licensees.  That is, even lowly Technicians, can (and do) operate on our satellites, bounce their signals off the moon and meteorite trails, use APRS and…(gasp!)…even participate in contests!

So, I have to ask: Why are all of these questions reserved for the Extra Class exam?  Shouldn't they be on the exam for the Technician license if all those privileges are granted to Technicians?

And if all you "crusty curmudgeons" think I'm "blowing smoke" on this issue, I suggest you all download your own copy of the latest Extra Class question pool (http://www.ncvec.org/page.php?id=356 bottom of the page) and see for yourself the kind of absolutely redundant, primarily Technician class hogwash it contains.

Clearly, such nonsense is yet more evidence (as if we needed any) that our stupid "incentive" licensing system, puts the "cart before the horse"…and always has.  And, today, it really doesn't measure much of anything, except perhaps how to take multiple choice examinations.

By any measure, the current licensing system for our Service in the USA examines the wrong things at the wrong points in the licensing cycle.  As a result, it does an absolutely miserable job of making sure 'wet behind the ears" newcomers aren't going to maim (or kill) themselves or their neighbors, and/or cause harmful interference to other hams (or other services) while operating. 

Clearly, the entire licensing system for our Service in the USA is running "open loop"….and…as I've repeatedly discussed in these and other forums, it has also now become systemically discriminatory (spelled "illegal" under US equal access law) to boot.

Or, to borrow a phrase from a certain political campaign from not too long ago:  "It's the system, stupid!"

That's because our US licensing system delays a fully comprehensive examination of what many people would call "essential" operating skills until one self-selects to take an exam for the Extra Class license…. a license that, as of late, only 17-18 percent of all US hams now hold.  And, as I've shown, there's absolutely NO direct relationship to the questions on the Extra Class exam and the added privileges it grants.

Zip. Nada. None.

Any way you cut it, my friends…that's nuts!

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB

You can read more of my thoughts on this issue (and others facing our hobby) on my Ham Radio blog at:  http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca/
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WN2C
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Posts: 447




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« Reply #80 on: July 09, 2013, 09:04:38 AM »

seven month old thread !!  Talk about beating a REALLY DEAD HORSE.
I think the horse died several years ago!!  Get over it already!! It ain't I tell ya, it ain't coming back!!

Rick  WN2C



Now some one needs to bring up incentive licensing...oh boy!
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KB1SF
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« Reply #81 on: July 09, 2013, 09:53:16 AM »

Now some one needs to bring up incentive licensing...oh boy!

They shroud...because it, too, is now "systemically discriminatory" under a whole plethora of US equal access laws enacted in the 1990s.

The explanation why is contained in my blog at: kb1sf.blogspot.com


73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
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WA2OLZ
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« Reply #82 on: July 09, 2013, 02:23:29 PM »

What's wrong with discrimination based on skill? The inverse is like giving a trophy to every Little League participant regardless of their ability and contribution.

Survival of the fittest - not take from the rich to give to the poor. Enough of creeping socialism and political correctness!
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KB1SF
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« Reply #83 on: July 09, 2013, 03:54:55 PM »

What's wrong with discrimination based on skill?

Clearly, there is absolutely nothing "wrong" if people wish to achieve something as a result of their experiences in ham radio.  But, as I've also said in these and other forums, a taxpayer supported, federally administered LICENSING system that grants access to our amateur radio frequencies is not the way to do it.

Moreover, what the FCC has been doing all these years by forcing “achievement” down EVERYONE’S throat with their stupid “Incentive Licencing” nonsense has since become systemically discriminatory under current US law, and is therefore quite illegal.

Indeed, the ARRL and other similar organizations have a boatload of awards one can strive for and “achieve” for those persons who need some external incentive to do so. Likewise, numerous “achievement” awards are also available for those who want yet another piece of paper to hang on their shack walls to show others how great they are.  

But, again, those so-called “incentives” have absolutely no place in a federally funded licensing system.  That's because an FCC license that simply grants access to operation in our Service is NOT a “diploma”. And the federal government has absolutely NO business continually peddling it as such, particularly in this supposedly “enlightened” age of equal access for all.

Rather, our licenses should be thought of as nothing more than a “permission slip”…a “license to learn” if you will…that simply shows that the holder has proven to the appropriate government agency that they have demonstrated the necessary set of knowledges and skills that will keep themselves and others safe without also causing harmful interference to other hams (or other services) with the (added) privileges granted. Period.

The bottom line here is that if people want (or need) yet another piece of paper to show they have “achieved” some level of technical skill or other knowledge in our Service, that can (and should) be a pursuit that is undertaken OUTSIDE of the licensing system and NOT as an integral part of it.

Or, to put it another way, if such persons continually crave that kind of "ego stroking" to make themselves feel that they are somehow better than everyone else in our Service, that's certainly their business.

However, I highly resent having to pay for their ego stroking with my tax dollars!

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF /  VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
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WA2OLZ
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« Reply #84 on: July 09, 2013, 04:12:52 PM »

We must agree to disagree. I am also a certificated private pilot with instrument privileges. I sure would not want to be in the clouds with others who were granted the same rights because the government shouldn't regulate their activities if they were unqualified.

Sorry - the dumbing down of America is deteriorating the values of the country and its citizens. I, for one, will vigorously oppose lowering standards for the sake of convenience, political correctness or 'equality' based on global standards.
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KB1SF
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« Reply #85 on: July 09, 2013, 05:14:50 PM »

We must agree to disagree.

Agreed.

Quote
I am also a certificated private pilot with instrument privileges. I sure would not want to be in the clouds with others who were granted the same rights because the government shouldn't regulate their activities if they were unqualified.

I, too, am a certificated pilot.

However, I think you'll agree that we pose a FAR more lethal danger to ourselves and others if we don't know what we are doing while at the controls of an aircraft than when we're operating an amateur radio station.  Your attempt to equate the two is an "apples and oranges" argument.

Quote
Sorry - the dumbing down of America is deteriorating the values of the country and its citizens. I, for one, will vigorously oppose lowering standards for the sake of convenience, political correctness or 'equality' based on global standards.

Unfortunately, what you and others who share similar views seem to have (conveniently?) forgotten is that the "standards" for our Service in the USA were needlessly "dumbed up" in the 1950s and 60s for absolutely no real regulatory reason.  Clearly, the underlying goal of incentive licensing was to forcefully "educate" us with the aim of turning us all into budding RF Engineers. And THAT was done primarily so as to further a whole plethora of government social and economic goals of the day.  

You may be old enough to remember the "missile gap" of the 1960s when our government bureaucrats were throwing anything and everything at the wall to stimulate a countrywide effort to crank out hordes of mechanical, electrical and RF engineers. Obviously, "incentive licensing" in our radio service was made all the more palatable because of its relationship to the backdrop of the "missile gap" paranoia of the day.

But, it is also important to remember that, besides the "missile gap" being later shown to be overwhelmingly in the US's favor, all that nonsense happened NEARLY 50 YEARS AGO!  What possible regulatory purpose is still being served...in the 21st Century...by indefinitely keeping all that "missile gap derived" nonsense firmly in place today?  The Soviet Union has long since gone the way of the dinosaur, and most of our electronic components and equipment now originate from the Far East.

Clearly, the other underlying goal of all this "incentive" nonsense at the time was to line the pockets of the ARRL who, if memory serves correctly, were on the financial "ropes" at the time. Indeed, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the League has been cashing in on "incentive licensing" ever since by selling tens (if not hundreds and hundreds) of thousands of copies of their so-called "upgrade" materials along the way.

But the ARRL wasn't the only one pushing this nonsense at the time.  The "good old boys" at the FCC were clearly involved in it too.  

And all the while many US hams continue to worship the FCC as some kind of "demi-God" from whom all blessings flow,  unfortunately, many of those same US hams seem to have collectively lost sight of the fact that the FCC is nothing more than another US Government regulatory agency

Or, to put it another way, the FCC has never been granted the statutory authority to set themselves up to "educate" anyone.   What's more, as we taxpayers pay their salaries, these bubbleheaded FCC bureaucrats all work for YOU AND ME and NOT the other way around.

Now, I don't know about you, but, from my own personal perspective, I highly RESENT being manipulated, controlled and, in effect, abused by a bunch of gormless government bureaucrats who remain seemingly hell-bent on using we hams (and prospective hams) as unwitting pawns to further their own social and economic policy goals as outlined in their Part 97.1…. particularly all that "maintaining and expanding a reservoir of trained operators and technical experts" nonsense.

In my book, ALL of that eyewash remains in DIRECT CONTRAVENTION of the "personal aim" and "amateur" spirit (not to mention the "non pecuniary interest" intent) of our International Telecommunications Union (ITU) regulators for our Service. And the FCC has been getting away with all of this internationally illegal foolishness for decades largely because US hams collectively 'bought into" all that nonsense in the first place and have continued to worship it all as "the Gospel truth" ever since.

Indeed, it's often been said that we don't get the government we deserve, we get the government (in this case the FCC) we allow.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 05:25:11 PM by KB1SF » Logged
APW19562
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Posts: 46




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« Reply #86 on: July 09, 2013, 07:52:16 PM »

To go a step further... I find it incredibly bizzare that I had to go through so much effort to get a license to use a simple radio... yet when I opened my gun shop a few years ago, there was no test at all. Simply fill out the application and submit it with fingerprint cards and fee. 90 days later I can sell and manufacture title 1 guns. To go a step further, I paid a $500 SOT tax and was then able to mfg full auto machineguns, silencers, short barreled rifles and shotguns, etc...

Never once was there any test or skill assessment done before I was building machineguns...  but damn if I could use a $135 Kenwood TM281 radio if I didn't study and take a test for a Tech license.  Roll Eyes

Strange but true.  Grin
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KB1SF
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« Reply #87 on: July 11, 2013, 05:46:53 AM »

Never once was there any test or skill assessment done before I was building machineguns...  but damn if I could use a $135 Kenwood TM281 radio if I didn't study and take a test for a Tech license.  Roll Eyes

Indeed.

Like I said, requiring proficiency in the Morse Code in order to obtain a Ham Radio license was much like having to demonstrate how to shoe a horse in order to get a driver’s license.  And keeping that license requirement alive well into the 21st Century was nothing more than a government-sponsored hazing ritual.

And, speaking of driver’s licenses, why is it that I STILL don’t need to know how the fuel injectors, transmission and brake lights all work on my car in order to obtain one?  

Maybe that’s because my personal driver’s license, along with many other government-issued, private licenses that I've carried in my pocket over the years all have licensing structures that are set up to simply measure basic competencies.  

That is, they simply require me to demonstrate to a competent government authority that I won’t be a hazard (or a nuisance) to either myself or others while exercising the privileges of my license.  The real learning comes much later, usually with years and years of actual on the road or (in the case of Ham Radio) “hands on” experience.

I've always found it interesting that most of these other government license structures also don’t require that I go back and take yet another "achievement test" in order to drive my vehicle farther away from home, for example.  Granted, state and provincial driver license structures all require another series of tests if I want to drive a larger vehicle (or one for commercial purposes).  But, even here, the requirement for another test is for safety reasons…not just for increased knowledge for knowledge’s sake.

Think about it!  

Who has ever heard of an "Extra Class" Driver’s License to drive a passenger car?

Sounds ludicrous, doesn't it?  

In fact, it’s about as ludicrous as requiring that I have an "Extra Class" Amateur Radio License in order to have full privileges and operate anywhere I want to on the Ham Bands!

I think Rich Moseson, W2VU, in his “Zero Bias” editorial in the January, 2006 CQ Magazine illustrated this point quite clearly.  He talked about the “University of Ham Radio” as a college of sorts where learning is going on every single day.

However, in this “university” there are no grades, no tests, no papers, and no deadlines.  If a “course” doesn't suit you, you can “drop” it at anytime without penalty.  If you want to declare a “major” you can do so, simply by delving into a particular aspect of Ham Radio with gusto, sometimes becoming a leading expert in the field.   Others (like me) choose to learn a little bit about a lot of things.  This, my friends, is where the real “learning” takes place in Amateur Radio.  It certainly doesn't come from cramming for yet another stupid FCC test!

The truth is that those of us who REALLY want to learn more about electronics and RF theory are going to do so, regardless of the “easiness” or “hardness” of the test(s) we have to take to get our initial Amateur Radio licenses.  

Which, in my view, makes the whole concept of “incentive licensing” something of an oxymoron.

I've often wondered how many of us who are, for example, overjoyed that drawing schematics has once again been made a requirement in the testing structure for amateur radio licenses in the USA are also the same ones who couldn't now draw one from scratch to save their soul.  And how many more of us will admit that, even in the time of “incentive licensing”, we simply learned enough about electronics and RF theory to pass the test(s) and then promptly forgot it all?

While it is certainly true that Ham Radio has launched careers, I believe that those with a passionate interest in electronics and RF theory will always find a way to advance those interests regardless of what they are forced to learn to pass an FCC test.  That’s because, as Rich has so eloquently noted in his editorial, a passionate desire to learn and master such things ultimately has to come from within.

That is, while an interest in Amateur Radio may have provided the initial spark for some of us to get up off our finals and get our noses in the books, the continued, passionate desire to learn all we can about such things doesn't come simply by passing a series of ever more difficult achievement tests for the FCC.

Sadly, all incentive licensing has done for Amateur Radio been to create a “caste system” within the hobby, a system that, even to this day, is still chock full of meaningless government-sponsored hazing rituals and achievement tests that have absolutely nothing to do measuring our real learning.  

That is, beyond the basic exams, all these “incentive” tests have ever measured is one’s innate ability to decipher a series of dots and dashes by ear, and/or how well someone can memorize ever more complicated formulas and information for an exam.  

Period.

Put another way, over the years, all that incentive licensing has really succeeded in doing has been to separate us from ourselves.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 05:56:52 AM by KB1SF » Logged
N2EY
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« Reply #88 on: July 12, 2013, 07:33:30 AM »

Like I said, requiring proficiency in the Morse Code in order to obtain a Ham Radio license was much like having to demonstrate how to shoe a horse in order to get a driver’s license.

You can say it, but that doesn't make it true.

Try this analogy: It was like having to demonstrate the ability to drive a stick-shift car in order to get a driver's license. The demonstration only required going 5 mph in first gear, but it was required.

That ended more than six years ago and it's not coming back. Issuing new Advanced licenses ended more than 13 years ago and it's not coming back either.

 And keeping that license requirement alive well into the 21st Century was nothing more than a government-sponsored hazing ritual.

It was only kept because the treaty required it. It only lasted after the treaty changed in 2004 because the folks who wanted the test removed couldn't get their act together.

 
And, speaking of driver’s licenses, why is it that I STILL don’t need to know how the fuel injectors, transmission and brake lights all work on my car in order to obtain one?  

Maybe that’s because my personal driver’s license, along with many other government-issued, private licenses that I've carried in my pocket over the years all have licensing structures that are set up to simply measure basic competencies.  

That is, they simply require me to demonstrate to a competent government authority that I won’t be a hazard (or a nuisance) to either myself or others while exercising the privileges of my license.  The real learning comes much later, usually with years and years of actual on the road or (in the case of Ham Radio) “hands on” experience.

The real reason you don't have to know that stuff is because your car has to be manufactured by, and inspected by, mechanics and engineers who ARE licensed to know how the stuff works. You can't just build a car and put it on the road; it has to be inspected, licensed, and certified to meet various safety and environmental regulations. But any ham can build and use a rig without any such inspection or certification.

That's the difference.

I've always found it interesting that most of these other government license structures also don’t require that I go back and take yet another "achievement test" in order to drive my vehicle farther away from home, for example.  Granted, state and provincial driver license structures all require another series of tests if I want to drive a larger vehicle (or one for commercial purposes).  But, even here, the requirement for another test is for safety reasons…not just for increased knowledge for knowledge’s sake.

Actually there are a lot of license classes and endorsements for driver's licenses.

More important, it is part of the Basis and Purpose of Amateur Radio that hams know about radio. Right up front in Part 97.

Most of all, the level of knowledge and skill needed to earn any class of amateur radio license in the USA is pretty low. Always has been.

I've often wondered how many of us who are, for example, overjoyed that drawing schematics has once again been made a requirement in the testing structure for amateur radio licenses in the USA are also the same ones who couldn't now draw one from scratch to save their soul.  And how many more of us will admit that, even in the time of “incentive licensing”, we simply learned enough about electronics and RF theory to pass the test(s) and then promptly forgot it all?

Are you talking about yourself? Because you sure aren't talking about me.

There is no requirement to draw schematics in the US license tests. None whatsoever. That went away before you ever became a ham. It was gone by the mid-1960s.

If you're going to do a rant against incentive licensing, at least get your facts straight. Incentive licensing is what killed off the last remnants of schematic-drawing.

But hey, Keith, history has never been your strong suit.....

While it is certainly true that Ham Radio has launched careers, I believe that those with a passionate interest in electronics and RF theory will always find a way to advance those interests regardless of what they are forced to learn to pass an FCC test.  That’s because, as Rich has so eloquently noted in his editorial, a passionate desire to learn and master such things ultimately has to come from within.

That is, while an interest in Amateur Radio may have provided the initial spark for some of us to get up off our finals and get our noses in the books, the continued, passionate desire to learn all we can about such things doesn't come simply by passing a series of ever more difficult achievement tests for the FCC.

Sadly, all incentive licensing has done for Amateur Radio been to create a “caste system” within the hobby, a system that, even to this day, is still chock full of meaningless government-sponsored hazing rituals and achievement tests that have absolutely nothing to do measuring our real learning.  

That is, beyond the basic exams, all these “incentive” tests have ever measured is one’s innate ability to decipher a series of dots and dashes by ear, and/or how well someone can memorize ever more complicated formulas and information for an exam.  

Period.

There was a lot more to it. But that was before your time....

btw, there have always been different license levels in the USA, since the beginning. Now we're down to three. We have Extras who passed all the exams while still in elementary school. So all the ranting and griping about the tests sounds pretty hollow.

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WB2WIK
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« Reply #89 on: July 12, 2013, 02:06:14 PM »

What's wrong with discrimination based on skill?

Well, with the amateur radio system today there isn't any requirement for skill.  The only skill test the amateur exams ever had (code) is gone, and I agree it isn't coming back.  But there is no longer any sort of test for any skill, at all.

The comment above about making it easier to get licensed in order to create more "activity" is something I disagree with, a lot.  It's already incredibly easy.  Making it easier isn't likely to change anything.  The real problem is, "interest" in amateur radio has diminished over time, understandably so.  One needs a real curiosity about the magic of wireless communications, and what was mysterious and wonderful 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago, isn't so much, today.

Around here the clubs and VE sessions churn out hundreds of new hams every month, and most of them never get on the air anywhere you'd ever hear them.  Some get involved for EMCOMM work, and most of that is via VHF-UHF FM using hand helds and local repeaters -- so, you'd never hear them.  Many are kids or XYLs of old-time hams who are active, but the now-licensed kids and XYLs aren't, and most never will be.

I don't think there's any advantage to "greater numbers."  Even if we tripled the U.S. ham population it would still be insignificant at 6/10ths of 1% of the population.  As powerful a lobby as lepers. Cheesy
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