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Author Topic: Bring back the Advanced Class  (Read 47183 times)
K9AIM
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« Reply #90 on: July 12, 2013, 08:21:50 PM »


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.


really???  that comparison is so ludicrous it suggests you are biased against Morse code (or its advocates) to such an extent that you can't think or see straight. Requiring driver licensees to know the hand signals for left and right turn should their turn signals fail would be closer, but even it would fail to resemble a Morse fluency requirement.   The fact is that a large percentage of Extra class licensees know and utilize Morse code.  The same cannot be said about most driver's licensees and knowledge of how to shoe a horse.

the suggestion that Morse code requirement was discrimination due to ADA is equally mis-applied.  Afterall while it is discrimination to require a vision test for driver license applicants, it is legal and proper discrimination.

is it discrimination to require that French - English translators know both languages?  is it discrimination to not grant illiterate folks a ham license since they can't read the exam?  PLEASE, just stop with the Morse code was discrimination crap!!! 

Many who think Morse code requirement was a good thing feel that way not because they think they are somehow better than those who came after the Morse requirement and thus never learned.  Some of us dare to suggest that learning Morse code, in addition to installing a first hand appreciation of radio communication history, also facilitates the learning of efficient and respectful communication protocols, and thus makes for better operators.   You can make fun of CW because it uses an old language that many have not the patience to learn, but don't suggest a language requirement is discrimination.
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KB1SF
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« Reply #91 on: July 13, 2013, 04:20:00 PM »

That comparison is so ludicrous it suggests you are biased against Morse code (or its advocates) to such an extent that you can't think or see straight.

To the contrary, Morse is actually my preferred mode while I'm on the air.  How that makes me "biased against Morse" is anyone's guess.

And you'll note that that I included the word "TEST" in my comparison.  Requiring a Morse TEST for a full featured license in our Service has LONG since outlived any plausible regulatory requirement for doing so.  

Indeed, I don't remember having to complete an "SSB Voice Test" or a test to copy RTTY tones, packet chirps or PSK-31 "hash" by ear for my General, Advanced or Extra Class license, did you?  In my mind, such skill tests would have been equally as discriminatory as the Morse test as none of those other tests would have been based on any regulatory need either.

Quote
The suggestion that Morse code requirement was discrimination due to ADA is equally mis-applied.  Afterall while it is discrimination to require a vision test for driver license applicants, it is legal and proper discrimination.

Being able to see what's around you (not to mention the road ahead!) is a basic SAFETY requirement for a driver's license.  

However, Morse is only ONE (of many) modes of communication in our Service and has absolutely nothing to do with keeping ourselves (or our neighbors) safe while operating our amateur stations.  So, again, requiring a Morse test as a non-negotiable "safety" requirement for a ham license in the 21st Century fulfilled absolutely no regulatory need.

Perhaps that's why the FCC finally ditched such testing once the ITU requirement was made optional.

Quote
Is it discrimination to require that French - English translators know both languages?  is it discrimination to not grant illiterate folks a ham license since they can't read the exam?  PLEASE, just stop with the Morse code was discrimination crap!!!  

As an accredited examiner, I've administered more than one examination by reading it (out loud) to a blind person. They couldn't read it either. And I'd do the same for an illiterate person. In fact, as examiners, we are encouraged to do this.  It's called administering an "accommodated" exam.

And, again, if the requirement for a Morse test for an HF license wasn't systemically discriminatory, then why does the FCC still encourage testing accommodations like those I've noted above but yet decided to ditch the Morse testing requirement just as soon as they could after the ITU made it optional?  

Can you think of any other reason why they did so?

Quote
Many who think Morse code requirement was a good thing feel that way not because they think they are somehow better than those who came after the Morse requirement and thus never learned.  Some of us dare to suggest that learning Morse code, in addition to installing a first hand appreciation of radio communication history, also facilitates the learning of efficient and respectful communication protocols, and thus makes for better operators.

Perhaps.

However, the FCC wholeheartedly disagreed with your notion when they noted (in their Rule Making that ditched the Morse test requirement) that, "The record is devoid of a demonstrated nexus between Morse code proficiency and on-the-air conduct. As a result, we concur with the observation that “maintaining the code requirement does not purge amateur radio of bad operators".

Quote
"You can make fun of CW because it uses an old language that many have not the patience to learn, but don't suggest a language requirement is discrimination.

Again, I was not making "fun" of CW.  I enjoy operating via CW very much.

I was merely stating that requiring a TEST for Morse in order to obtain a full-featured ham license was systemically discriminatory. That's because Morse is not the sole "language" that we use in Amateur Radio. And singling it out as a hard and fast examination requirement (without also doing the same for all the other "languages" we use over the air) was very clearly (and illegally) "discriminatory" under current US law.

Anyway, Morse testing in the USA is now history.  

And, from my perspective, Morse activity on our bands has actually INCREASED since that decision was made.  Perhaps now that it's not a hard and fast test requirement, people are no longer looking at learning it as drudgery and are actually getting on the air to give it a try.  And many are finding that they really enjoy it.  

Funny creatures, we humans.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 05:08:28 PM by KB1SF » Logged
K9AIM
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Posts: 917




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« Reply #92 on: July 13, 2013, 09:19:02 PM »


And, again, if the requirement for a Morse test for an HF license wasn't systemically discriminatory, then why does the FCC still encourage testing accommodations like those I've noted above but yet decided to ditch the Morse testing requirement just as soon as they could after the ITU made it optional?  

Can you think of any other reason why they did so?


Keith most of your replies have pretty much caused me to feel it necessary to go QRT on my arguments with you tonight.  Thanks, I think  Smiley

on your above question though I do have a further transmission: I was under the impression the FCC happily ditched Morse testing because it was too labor intensive and because some king complained to one of our Presidents (the first Bush I believe). 

maybe i can use a lifeline and defer to N2EY on this...  Huh
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KB1SF
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« Reply #93 on: July 14, 2013, 07:43:07 AM »

Oon your above question though I do have a further transmission: I was under the impression the FCC happily ditched Morse testing because it was too labor intensive..."

Too labor intensive....for whom?

I'm more inclined to believe it was because there was no UNIFORM way to construct a test that was both valid and replicable to adequately measure one's Morse competency, particularly because such tests were administered by largely untrained volunteers and because they were also administered to persons who are handicapped in some way.

As an Accredited Examiner (in both the USA and Canada) as well as an Amateur Radio instructor who has helped introduce Ham Radio to hundreds of future Hams for more than 25 years, I learned long ago that, for some people, learning Morse is a "snap".

But, for others, it can be days, weeks, or even years of absolute frustration, resulting in failure after failure.  And the amount of “extra effort” expended by such folk seldom, if ever, makes any real difference in the outcome.  In fact, there are any number of widely recognized, certifiable medical conditions that can make learning Morse nigh on impossible for some otherwise “ordinary” people.

That's because proficiency in Morse is an inherent, complex, human psycho-motor skill.  

That means it involves a whole host of both psychological (mental) as well as physiological (motor) skills and abilities, some of which can be "learned", but most of which are NOT AT ALL "learnable".  That is, we are either born with these abilities to learn those skills or we aren't.  And that ability to learn those skills can also be impaired by accident or disease.

Now, certainly, listening for the dots and dashes (or the entire "sound") of a Morse character is a part of that activity.  But, then there's the mental interpretation part of what those sounds mean, as well as the brain's ability to send the proper neural messages to one's hands and fingers to write down the letters and words on a piece of paper or a typewriter.  The latter activity also involves one's ability to see as well as to hear…not to mention one's ability to properly form recognizable characters on a page and/or finding the correct key to depress on a typewriter.  At least ONE of those additional skills are required in order to pass such skill tests.

And, much like those things that can interfere with an RF signal traveling down a piece of coax (like broken shielding, water in the cable, bad connectors, or a mismatched antenna), there are any number of psycho-motor issues that can distort or even prevent the sound of the Morse character from being properly heard, interpreted and then correctly written down at the other end of that process.

So, as I said, because it IS such a complex, human activity, the ease of learning Morse varies widely throughout the population based on that long list of inherently human factors I've noted, many of which are completely beyond our control.  My guess is that these two facts (along with the fact that there is no longer an international requirement that they do so) were probably among the most compelling reasons why the FCC finally dropped Morse testing entirely.  

Call it genetics, the “way we are born" or what have you, but the simple truth is that we are NOT all put together exactly alike.  But, unfortunately, since learning Morse is a singular activity, it is horiffically easy to view another person's ability (or inability) to learn it using a sample size of one.

Or, to put it another way, those who arrogantly declare that, "I learned Morse and so can you" are simply basing their assertions on a sample size of one...their own experiences.

Now, clearly, there ARE many people in our hobby who are just too lazy to get up off their finals to learn Morse. And that is certainly their choice.

But, for the “Morse testing forever” crowd to now lay that same judgment on folks who absolutely CAN’T learn Morse no matter how much "extra effort" they put into doing so is disingenuous at best and downright discriminatory at worst.  

The bottom line here is that, as much as the left-brained, engineer-types in our hobby obsessively seem to believe otherwise, we humans AREN’T all put together like our Amateur Radio transceivers that come off the assembly line with the same parts list, the same knobs on our “front panels” or the exact same genetic programming (psycho-motor skills and abilities) uploaded into our “boot ROMs”.

To me, this is the principal reason why the Morse test was "systemically discriminatory" and why both the ITU and the FCC finally dropped it as a hard and fast requirement for HF privileges in our Service. The test unfairly discriminated against people based on uniquely variable (not to mention highly complex) human traits, characteristics and skills that (much like such things as one's skin color) are well beyond a person's innate ability to control or change.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 07:53:55 AM by KB1SF » Logged
K9AIM
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« Reply #94 on: July 14, 2013, 08:52:45 AM »


Too labor intensive....for whom?


for the FCC budget.

I'm more inclined to believe it was because there was no UNIFORM way to construct a test that was both valid and replicable to adequately measure one's Morse competency, particularly because such tests were administered by largely untrained volunteers and because they were also administered to persons who are handicapped in some way.


In 1977 when I passed the 13wpm test at the FCC Chicago office (and failed the 20wpm one) I had, nor heard, any concerns about whether the test adequately measured my Morse competency.  

I suppose to cut costs they could have inserted multiple choice questions to gauge Morse fluency instead of requiring perfect copy of Morse via audio tapes.  

translate the following Morse code transmission: dah dah dih dih dit ,  dih dih dih dah dah ,  dah dih dit ,   dit ,  dah di dah ,  dah dih dih dit, dih dah dah dah dah , dih dih dit, dih dih dah dit , dih dih dit , dah dih dah

A). WB2AM is giving KB1FH a signal report
B). KB2AM is calling CQ DX
C). KB1SF is sending best regards and signing off
D). W1AW is identifying station QTH

bottom line is More proficiency is a language requirement, and like any learning calls into play the strengths and weaknesses of the individual attempting to gain sufficient competency to pass a multiple choice exam on the subject.  In a way it made amatuer radio testing more balanced in that morse code may involve brain functions not as directly associated with math or science as the majority of the amateur test.  

i struggled significantly with learning Morse at age 13, but the interest in attaining a ham license and being able to communicate with my uncle eventually was incentive enough for me to break through the impasse.  Increasing my competency from merely knowing which symbols represented which letters to 13 wpm took months of usage of the language (Morse) in actual communication.  One had to actually learn by doing (unlike the theory portion which one could potentially pass merely through book study).  

Bottom line is that the Morse requirement was a language competency requirement, and that language still is widely used by amateurs today. It also was a requirement that fostered an appreciation of the importance of efficient and concise use of words to communicate, which it seems to me facilitates better operator practices for those who also communicate via voice.

73, K9AIM
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KB1SF
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« Reply #95 on: July 14, 2013, 05:19:25 PM »

Bottom line is that the Morse requirement was a language competency requirement, and that language still is widely used by amateurs today. It also was a requirement that fostered an appreciation of the importance of efficient and concise use of words to communicate, which it seems to me facilitates better operator practices for those who also communicate via voice.

I find it interesting that there are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of newly-minted (and even some "oldly-minted") General and Extra Class hams now in our midst who never (ever!) took a Morse exam.

Yet a goodly number of these people seem to be able to communicate quite "efficiently and concisely" with Morse over the air.  

So if what you say about a "language competency requirement" is true, then how did all those new people become qualified to send and receive Morse code by ear WITHOUT taking an FCC Morse exam?  And, as far as a "language competency requirement" goes, how come I didn't have to take a "voice exam" (in English or any other spoken "language") in order to qualify for a General, Advanced or Extra Class license?

All of which is yet MORE proof (as if we needed any) that the Morse testing requirement served no regulatory purpose whatsoever and was therefore an "unnecessary regulatory barrier" (to use the FCC's words) to full access to our bands.  The FCC even said as much in their Report and Order that finally ditched that requirement in the USA back in 2007.

And, since you also brought up the subject of "efficient and concise" use of words, I can think of no more "efficient and concise" use of words (not to mention bandwidth!) than an over-the-air exchange made via RTTY, Packet, PSK-31, or a whole host of other digital communications modes that nobody ever took a "language competency" skill test for either.  What's more, many of these "new" modes are far more parsimonious with bandwidth than even a CW signal is.

So, it seems to me your "efficient and concise" argument doesn't wash either.

My bottom line here is that the Morse testing requirement served absolutely no valid regulatory need in a 21st Century Amateur Radio Service.  And it's been over 6 years now since that testing requirement (finally!) went the way of the dinosaur in the USA...not to mention a good deal longer in an ever-increasing majority of other countries o the planet.

And despite all the frantic hand-wringing from the "Morse testing forever", "Good Old Boy's CW Club" portending the "end of Amateur Radio as we know it" (or an onslaught of "riff raff" from that "other" radio service (CB)) the sky has yet to fall.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 05:27:33 PM by KB1SF » Logged
K7KBN
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« Reply #96 on: July 14, 2013, 06:28:32 PM »

RTTY, packet and the "other digital communications modes" you mention require a computer and/or other equipment to send and receive successfully.  CW requires only a key.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
AF6WL
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« Reply #97 on: July 14, 2013, 07:50:46 PM »

I thought morse was only there to ensure operators could yield to primary band users and in emergency situations.
These days priority traffic is more likely to come by voice , USB voice, hence my bigger concern is the persistence of LSB on 160/80/40m.
When morse was scrapped the legacy LSB mode should have been traded out.

I also wonder about the procedures for handling, not Mayday/SOS but, lower tiers of priority traffic:

I would like to see taught commercial radio practices; particularly the Marine and Aviation PAN and Securite broadcasts ( yes broadcast !) ;  and hear them used on local repeaters and HF bands where appropriate.

e.g.
Pan Pan Pan could apply when needing the channel cleared for calling in assistance after a non injury road accident or a power line across the road.
Securite Securite Securite would be appropriate when alerting there was a forest fire is in the area.

i.e not just Break Break.
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K9AIM
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« Reply #98 on: July 15, 2013, 12:07:49 AM »


I find it interesting that there are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of newly-minted (and even some "oldly-minted") General and Extra Class hams now in our midst who never (ever!) took a Morse exam.

Yet a goodly number of these people seem to be able to communicate quite "efficiently and concisely" with Morse over the air. 

So if what you say about a "language competency requirement" is true, then how did all those new people become qualified to send and receive Morse code by ear WITHOUT taking an FCC Morse exam?  And, as far as a "language competency requirement" goes, how come I didn't have to take a "voice exam" (in English or any other spoken "language") in order to qualify for a General, Advanced or Extra Class license?

All of which is yet MORE proof (as if we needed any) that the Morse testing requirement served no regulatory purpose whatsoever and was therefore an "unnecessary regulatory barrier" (to use the FCC's words) to full access to our bands.  The FCC even said as much in their Report and Order that finally ditched that requirement in the USA back in 2007.

And, since you also brought up the subject of "efficient and concise" use of words, I can think of no more "efficient and concise" use of words (not to mention bandwidth!) than an over-the-air exchange made via RTTY, Packet, PSK-31, or a whole host of other digital communications modes that nobody ever took a "language competency" skill test for either.  What's more, many of these "new" modes are far more parsimonious with bandwidth than even a CW signal is.

So, it seems to me your "efficient and concise" argument doesn't wash either.

My bottom line here is that the Morse testing requirement served absolutely no valid regulatory need in a 21st Century Amateur Radio Service.  And it's been over 6 years now since that testing requirement (finally!) went the way of the dinosaur in the USA...not to mention a good deal longer in an ever-increasing majority of other countries o the planet.

And despite all the frantic hand-wringing from the "Morse testing forever", "Good Old Boy's CW Club" portending the "end of Amateur Radio as we know it" (or an onslaught of "riff raff" from that "other" radio service (CB)) the sky has yet to fall.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com

whoa there cowboy, that's a lot of hyperbole.  what i actually said was that learning to communicate via Morse fosters an appreciation of the importance of efficient and concise use of words to communicate (sort of the anti-thesis of a lot of what you hear on 75 meters these days).

it is a little silly to leap from there to saying one cannot learn to communicate well without learning Morse, or that one cannot learn Morse unless it is required to obtain a ham license, so please don't pretend that nonsense is coming from me.

My point was that if you spend a year communicating using Morse before you get voice privileges, you are far more likely to have learned good communication protocol which comes from the history of using a mode that requires efficient practices to save time and trouble. 

i do hear some things today I never heard back in the 70's -- such as some folks sending Morse with there dahs being only 1.5 times as long as there dits.  That is extremely frustrating to try to copy, but it is what it is.  at least folks are discovering how much fun Morse code is.


as for your suggestion that forcing folks to learn Morse was unfair and discriminatory -- let me play the hyperbole card:  i take it that you are for doing away with all math and formulas in ham  exams for the same reason?  heck i bet you think we should just hand licenses to everyone since testing for Morse or any other type of knowledge or fluency is asking too much of them?   Huh

and were that to happen i am not suggesting the sky would fall.  only that it would be hard to differentiate 11 meters not just from from 75 meters -- but from a lot more of the ham bands if that were to occur.   the sky may not be falling, but do you like what you hear on 75 meters? 
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N2EY
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« Reply #99 on: July 15, 2013, 06:45:08 AM »

I was under the impression the FCC happily ditched Morse testing because it was too labor intensive and because some king complained to one of our Presidents (the first Bush I believe). 

maybe i can use a lifeline and defer to N2EY on this...  Huh

The history of Morse Code testing in the USA is a long and detailed story. Here's a brief explanation of the past 35 years or so:

- In the late 1970s the FCC "waived" the sending test, on the idea that anybody who could pass the receiving test could probably pass the sending test too. This was done without a lot of fanfare, and what it did was to eliminate the need for a skilled examiner.

- In 1990 the FCC created "medical waivers" for the 13 and 20 wpm code tests. These came about because the king of Jordan was a ham, and one day, during a QSO on 10 meters, suggested to the US ham he was talking to that they QSY to 20 meters. The US ham told him a sob story that he couldn't go to 20 because he couldn't upgrade to General because he couldn't pass 13 wpm. The King thought about this and sometime later asked president Bush 1 if something couldn't be done about it. The White House "asked" FCC what could be done - and medical waivers were the result.

Those waivers required that a person get a letter from a doctor - any MD or DO - stating that the person would have "more than average difficulty" learning 13 or 20 wpm code. No specific problem need be diagnosed, nor did it have to be "impossible" for the person to learn it. The problem didn't even have to be permanent. The person seeking the waiver could write the letter, get a doc to sign it, and get any license with just 5 wpm and the written tests. 5 wpm could not be waived because of the treaty.

- From the 1970s onward there were occasional proposals to create "no code test" amateur licenses in the USA, and to reduce/eliminate the tests entirely. These came from a variety of sources, but the overall effect was a gradual reduction in the code test requirements and lack of support for the treaty requirement. When the treaty changed in 2003, the FCC's last reason for the remaining 5 wpm code test went away.

Why anyone still debates all this is a mystery. The code tests in the USA and some other countries are GONE and they're not coming back. For better or worse, the whole license structure and system is being minimalized and simplified because the FCC's resources are very limited.

So if you like Morse Code, and Amateur Radio, and want them both to survive and flourish in the future, the thing to do is to find ways to do that other than the license requirements. Because those requirements aren't going to change much. FCC isn't going to add license classes without a very good reason.

Some years back I came up with a list of Ten Ways to keep Morse Code alive and thriving in Amateur Radio. Shall I post them again?

It's been 13 years plus since the change to a 3-class system began. We're at the point that more than 9 out of 10 US hams have a Technician, General or Extra license, and those three license classes continue to grow.

Let's do what we can to continue that growth.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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KB1SF
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« Reply #100 on: July 15, 2013, 04:50:57 PM »

My point was that if you spend a year communicating using Morse before you get voice privileges, you are far more likely to have learned good communication protocol which comes from the history of using a mode that requires efficient practices to save time and trouble.

"...to save time and trouble"...for WHOM?  

Or, more to the point, who appointed you as the official timekeeper of how much of what gets communicated on our ham bands...and how long that communication takes?

Amateur Radio is just that...for amateurs.  It's made up of persons who participate in it (by ITU definition) "solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

Or, to put it still another way, it's a hobby, not the military service.  

Quote
I do hear some things today I never heard back in the 70's -- such as some folks sending Morse with there dahs being only 1.5 times as long as there dits.  That is extremely frustrating to try to copy, but it is what it is.  at least folks are discovering how much fun Morse code is.

If you don't like someone's "fist", may I humbly suggest you simply turn that great big knob that's located on the front of your radio to another frequency?

Indeed, the last time I checked, it was my understanding that nobody was forcing us to have a QSO on our bands unless we both decided we wanted to have one.

Did I somehow miss a change in that notion?

Quote
as for your suggestion that forcing folks to learn Morse was unfair and discriminatory -- let me play the hyperbole card:  i take it that you are for doing away with all math and formulas in ham  exams for the same reason?  heck i bet you think we should just hand licenses to everyone since testing for Morse or any other type of knowledge or fluency is asking too much of them?

If you had bothered to read any of what I've posted in this and other forums (as well as what I've posted in my blog) you'd know that what you suggest is absolutely NOT what I'm advocating.

First of all, the ITU regulations make it quite clear that we are to be both tested and licensed. So, neither requirement is about to go away any time soon. But, short of a small "laundry list" of topics, those regulations are completely silent on how comprehensive those tests are supposed to be.

As I've also said, most other licensing systems for our Service in the rest of 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 and other forums is that the USA needs to stop focusing their licensing system on creating budding RF Engineers and, instead, make the questions on the US exams actually match the operating privileges those licenses grant.  

Right now, that isn't happening.

And, contrary to your accusations, if this new 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.  

Canadian 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 would get 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 in the 21st Century.  

Or, to put it another way, this approach gets our examination system back into the business of examining skills and knowleges based on "needs" 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".

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and were that to happen i am not suggesting the sky would fall.  only that it would be hard to differentiate 11 meters not just from from 75 meters -- but from a lot more of the ham bands if that were to occur.   the sky may not be falling, but do you like what you hear on 75 meters?
 

Not at all.  

But, I also know (from even a casual reading of Mr. Hollingsworth's published "scofflaw list" from a while back)  that most of that nonsense on 75 Meters was coming from a small group of FCC-office examined, 20 WPM Extra Class operators who firmly believed that their longevity in our Service somehow gave them the right to pollute our bands with their boorish behavior.

So much for the widely held notion that the Morse test kept the "riff raff" out...

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 05:04:58 PM by KB1SF » Logged
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« Reply #101 on: July 16, 2013, 08:29:28 AM »


Or, more to the point, who appointed you as the official timekeeper of how much of what gets communicated on our ham bands...and how long that communication takes?

Amateur Radio is just that...for amateurs.  It's made up of persons who participate in it (by ITU definition) "solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

Or, to put it still another way, it's a hobby, not the military service.  


what i suggested was that learning to communicate via Morse code, and I am talking about the old school practice of actually hand sending Morse code via a key -- due to the amount of time it takes to tap out the letters and words -- facilitates an appreciation for concise efficient communication.  There is no rule against sending 'my location is" or "the weather here today is" but most of us are mortals and therefore have some limits on our time.  Communicating using abbreviations like QTH and wx save time and make for more efficient copy.  So much so that you won't hear many (if any) CW ops in the ham bands not using such abbreviations. When phone transmission emerged those abbreviations used in code carried over because they are a more efficient way to communicate -- as long as both parties know how to decode them.  How did you get from what I said that I was calling for military type rules here or that I appointed myself as the official Timekeeper  Huh


If you don't like someone's "fist", may I humbly suggest you simply turn that great big knob that's located on the front of your radio to another frequency?

Indeed, the last time I checked, it was my understanding that nobody was forcing us to have a QSO on our bands unless we both decided we wanted to have one.

Did I somehow miss a change in that notion?


thanks for the tip, but I was actually already familiar with the option you suggest above.  My tendency in such circumstances however is to hang in there with the newbie, or person with some kind of disability, and try and finish the QSO (and provide a request that they make their dahs longer)


 most other licensing systems for our Service in the rest of 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 and other forums is that the USA needs to stop focusing their licensing system on creating budding RF Engineers and, instead, make the questions on the US exams actually match the operating privileges those licenses grant.  

Right now, that isn't happening.

And, contrary to your accusations, if this new 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.  

Canadian 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.  

 

I have stated before that I would prefer FCC license class to restrict maximum power to the highest license class and to limit it for safety and RFI purposes for less advanced licensees.  In fact I think maximum power itself should be halved due to advances in radio and antenna technology.  It would be interesting as well to create an international QRP only band to foster further advances in technology.  Having the exam be more about safety and practical knowledge makes perfect sense to me.  I do think some emphasis should be put on operating practices to try and preempt the 75 meterization of the world.

 

But, I also know (from even a casual reading of Mr. Hollingsworth's published "scofflaw list" from a while back)  that most of that nonsense on 75 Meters was coming from a small group of FCC-office examined, 20 WPM Extra Class operators who firmly believed that their longevity in our Service somehow gave them the right to pollute our bands with their boorish behavior.

So much for the widely held notion that the Morse test kept the "riff raff" out...


can you be more specific on the date than 'a while back'?  the nonsense i hear on 75 meters is fairly widespread and to suggest it is due largely to a small group of FCC administered 20wpm Extras seems a bit self-serving on the part of those who want to argue the 20wpm requirement was completely without merit.  Being 20wpm code fluent does not completely prevent one from being a jackazz.  Wink

« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 08:35:55 AM by K9AIM » Logged
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« Reply #102 on: July 16, 2013, 01:42:45 PM »


what i suggested was that learning to communicate via Morse code, and I am talking about the old school practice of actually hand sending Morse code via a key -- due to the amount of time it takes to tap out the letters and words -- facilitates an appreciation for concise efficient communication.  

Perhaps.

But you obviously don't have a teen-aged son or daughter in the house who taps out all forms of "efficient communication" via their ever-handy "smart phones".  

The same holds true for many hams who also tap out all forms of "efficient communications" via RTTY and PSK-31...and (gasp!) even CW via a keyboard.  Why you single out a knowledge of hand-sent CW as the only way one can develop these "efficient communication" skills" (and even requiring a stupid test for it before one could obtain a full-featured license in our Service!) is quite beyond me.  

The truth is that such skills can be learned in a myriad of other ways besides sending and receiving Morse code by ear if one chooses to do so.  But, regardless, being able to send and receive communications "concisely and efficiently" was never made a regulatory requirement for a license in our Service.  Never.
  
Quote
How did you get from what I said that I was calling for military type rules here or that I appointed myself as the official Timekeeper  Huh

Because your comment dripped with condescension for those people who are still (slowly) trying their hand at leaning "The Code".  

Quote
My tendency in such circumstances however is to hang in there with the newbie, or person with some kind of disability, and try and finish the QSO (and provide a request that they make their dahs longer)

I just slow down, try to match their speed, and make sure MY sending is as clean and well-timed as I can make it. In that sense, I try to teach by example.  Remember, our brains and hands don't all come off an assembly line, so we should all come to expect (and make allowances for) a wide variation in people's on-air skills and abilities.  

The bottom line here is that I absolutely refrain from passing judgement other people's "fists".  That's because ham radio is a hobby.  It isn't some college or university degree program where we're all being judged and graded on our performance.

Quote
can you be more specific on the date than 'a while back'?  the nonsense i hear on 75 meters is fairly widespread and to suggest it is due largely to a small group of FCC administered 20wpm Extras seems a bit self-serving on the part of those who want to argue the 20wpm requirement was completely without merit.

I suggest you look at some of the more recent "scofflaw" stats (unfortunately, the older ones have been deleted) and see for yourself.  http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/AmateurActions/Welcome.html

Quote
Being 20wpm code fluent does not completely prevent one from being a jackazz.  Wink

Which is precisely my point.  

So, again, because of its abject failure as an effective "lid filter" and your now (discredited) notion that a working knowledge of Morse is the only way to somehow insure "concise and effective communication" on our bands, what other REGULATORY purpose did keeping the Morse test alive well into the 21st Century serve?

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 01:45:19 PM by KB1SF » Logged
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« Reply #103 on: July 16, 2013, 02:10:01 PM »


But you obviously don't have a teen-aged son or daughter in the house who taps out all forms of "efficient communication" via their ever-handy "smart phones".  

The same holds true for many hams who also tap out all forms of "efficient communications" via RTTY and PSK-31...and (gasp!) even CW via a keyboard.  Why you single out a knowledge of hand-sent CW as the only way one can develop these "efficient communication" skills" (and even requiring a stupid test for it before one could obtain a full-featured license in our Service!) is quite beyond me.  



initially radio (and telegraph) used Morse code to generally transmit important data due to cost, technology, and time constraints.  therefore a lot of protocols were developed to make Morse code communications more efficient.  hams adopted many and that inclination tended to carry over into voice communications.

obviously cell phone texting protocols have also come into existence, but to some extent they are also whatever is presently hip amongst young people.  they do make text messaging more efficient, but they have generally been more geared for communications of a more personal nature.
  
Because your comment dripped with condescension for those people who are still (slowly) trying their hand at leaning "The Code".  


your misreading of my statement is noted, however any condescension you found in my statement was inducted by you.  

I just slow down, try to match their speed, and make sure MY sending is as clean and well-timed as I can make it. In that sense, I try to teach by example.  Remember, our brains and hands don't all come off an assembly line, so we should all come to expect (and make allowances for) a wide variation in people's on-air skills and abilities.  


well of course, and i appreciate the approach you've articulated above. my point about the increased prevalence of timing issues seems to stem from op.s who begin their Morse code history via keyboard sending and decoder receiving and then at some point take up a hand key.  perhaps an inevitable bump in the road due to technologies and exam changes that were not around when I became licensed.


The bottom line here is that I absolutely refrain from passing judgement other people's "fists".  That's because ham radio is a hobby.  It isn't some college or university degree program where we're all being judged and graded on our performance.


fist and voice are both pretty individualized, which overall is a good thing.  But when someone is using either in a way that hampers communication, calling it out is not passing judgement. it is what it is; no shame no blame.  


So, again, because of its abject failure as an effective "lid filter" and your now (discredited) notion that a working knowledge of Morse is the only way to somehow insure "concise and effective communication" on our bands, what other REGULATORY purpose did keeping the Morse test alive well into the 21st Century serve?

if a licensed motorist driving a Ford runs a stop light, it does not prove any of the following 3 assertions:

1). Ford drivers are all bad
2). stoplights do not make intersections safer
3). requiring a driver's license to operate a motor vehicle weeds out all the bad apples

even if some licensed operators break laws it may still be true that licensing makes us safer and helps keep out some riff raff.
and the same was true of morse code testing; it helped filter out lids (though no filter is impregnable)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 02:12:50 PM by K9AIM » Logged
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« Reply #104 on: July 16, 2013, 04:16:02 PM »

Quote from: K9 AIMlink=topic=87671.msg687184#msg687184 date=1374009001
initially radio (and telegraph) used Morse code to generally transmit important data due to cost, technology, and time constraints.  therefore a lot of protocols were developed to make Morse code communications more efficient.  hams adopted many and that inclination tended to carry over into voice communications.

So what does this have to do with the Amateur Radio Service in the 21st Century?

Quote
obviously cell phone texting protocols have also come into existence, but to some extent they are also whatever is presently hip amongst young people.  they do make text messaging more efficient, but they have generally been more geared for communications of a more personal nature.

Isn't that what our Amateur Radio Service is all about....a radio service for "persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim?

Clearly, it's comments like yours that invite tech-savvy youngsters (our target audience if our Service is to have any hope of survival beyond the next few decades) to increasingly view our Service as the "Radio Amish".

Quote
fist and voice are both pretty individualized, which overall is a good thing.  But when someone is using either in a way that hampers communication, calling it out is not passing judgement. it is what it is; no shame no blame.

To the contrary, your approach heaps BOTH blame AND shame (not to mention needless embarrassment) on others.  

And then we wonder why youthful newcomers (and potential youthful newcomers) to our Service avoid it (and CW) like the plague.

Quote
even if some licensed operators break laws it may still be true that licensing makes us safer and helps keep out some riff raff. and the same was true of (sic) morse code testing; it helped filter out lids (though no filter is impregnable)

Ditto my comments above.

Sorry, Robert, but your precious Morse code "lid filter" has now gone the way of the dinosaur.  

And it ISN'T coming back.  

I suggest you and your like-thinking buddies need to now accept that fact...and move on.  

'Nuff said.

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 04:18:23 PM by KB1SF » Logged
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