Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 [9]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Bring back the Advanced Class  (Read 55151 times)
N0IU
Member

Posts: 1329


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #120 on: July 19, 2013, 06:41:28 AM »

Well OK Keith, you got me thinking about it. Damn you!

So why not just do away with multiple license classes and testing altogether? By your logic (convoluted as it is), all tests are discriminatory (and therefore illegal) since the entire amateur radio serves no purpose whatsoever, not just the Amateur Extra class. Amateur radio is a nothing more than a recreational past time, period. Despite what the ARES/RACES crowd would like you to believe, the amateur radio service does not serve any need, at the federal level or otherwise.

Sure, we use spectrum space that is managed (and I use the term loosely) by the FCC, but the precedent has already been set since there are other non-commercial "citizens" and "family" radio services that do not require testing or a license.

Of course the hard part would be getting the IARU on board with this, but maybe not. They are the ones who determined that Morse code proficiency tests served no longer served any useful purpose and all the FCC did was incorporate their resolution into Part 97.

I guess we could become just like the Citizens Radio Service and eliminate licensing altogether, but let's take one step at a time.
Logged
KB1SF
Member

Posts: 414


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #121 on: July 19, 2013, 09:43:39 AM »

Well OK Keith, you got me thinking about it. Damn you!

So why not just do away with multiple license classes and testing altogether? By your logic (convoluted as it is), all tests are discriminatory (and therefore illegal) since the entire amateur radio serves no purpose whatsoever, not just the Amateur Extra class.

If you had bothered to read any of what I've already posted in this thread (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 right 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 in order 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, as I've said, 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.  To the contrary, it's examining applicants for a license in our Service for the right set of needed technical and regulatory skills at the right times in our ham radio "careers".

Quote
Amateur radio is a nothing more than a recreational past time, period. Despite what the ARES/RACES crowd would like you to believe, the amateur radio service does not serve any need, at the federal level or otherwise.

Perhaps not.

But, under the ITU rules, ours is still a separate and (now) long-established radio service...the Amateur Radio Service....and is therefore subject to regulation.  

And the "regulatory need" I'm talking about here is NOT whether (or not) the Service "needs" to exist. Rather, it's about whether the system of rules, regulations and licensing for our Service (all of which the ITU says we must have) are fairy and impartially applied as well as based on safety and non-interference considerations that are directly relevant to the (added) privileges those licensing systems grant.  

What's more, for the FCC, this means that their implementing regulatory systems (particularly their system for examining license applicants for our Service under Part 97) must also remain in conformance with the REST of the US Federal Code.  

As I've shown, right now, Part 97 (as it's currently written and implemented) fails these tests...on all counts.

Quote
Sure, we use spectrum space that is managed (and I use the term loosely) by the FCC, but the precedent has already been set since there are other non-commercial "citizens" and "family" radio services that do not require testing or a license.

But, as I said, according to the ITU (not just the FCC) the Amateur Radio Service isn't one of them.

Quote
Of course the hard part would be getting the IARU on board with this, but maybe not. They are the ones who determined that Morse code proficiency tests served no longer served any useful purpose and all the FCC did was incorporate their resolution into Part 97.

While the IARU certainly had a hand in RECOMMENDING that Morse testing be made optional, it was the ITU that ultimately did so. That's because the IARU is  simply an international lobby group that (supposedly) looks out for our interests at the international level.  

But it's the ITU that ultimately writes the intertnational rules.  

[qupte] I guess we could become just like the Citizens Radio Service and eliminate licensing altogether, but let's take one step at a time.[/quote]

As I said, unless there is a WORLDWIDE groundswell on the part of a majority of the world's amateur radio lobby organizations (not to mention individual national governments) doing away with all testing and licensing in our Service simply isn't going to happen....at least not in your or my lifetimes.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF /  VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.com
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 10:10:32 AM by KB1SF » Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3895




Ignore
« Reply #122 on: July 26, 2013, 01:28:37 PM »

Well, we just passed 714,000 current US amateur licenses held by individuals. More than 6 years of growth since the last big rules change in 2007.

Advanceds are now down to just 7.8% of US hams. In fact, more than 90% of US hams are now either Techs, Generals or Extras.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
KF4DCY
Member

Posts: 4




Ignore
« Reply #123 on: July 28, 2013, 02:37:43 AM »

i wish that advance was still a class to advance to. i was a t, t+ and now general. now i have to learn all the stuff that once busted up between the two classes of advance and extra. but as far as the code test went. 5 words per minute should suffice for that portion. and it should still be a part of the t+ segment and higher. as there should be a t+ class and novice. busting up of the old class format was and is a disservice to any and all armatures to be and those to advance to. but that's just my opinion. and we all have one of those.
Logged
AK7V
Member

Posts: 251




Ignore
« Reply #124 on: July 28, 2013, 03:52:10 PM »

The bottom 25 kHz of the bands are worse than they used to be.  In fact, so are the old Advanced and General CW portions.  I remember CW being a lot easier to work -- less QRM and more courteous operators.  You could tell the people you were QSOing with were really "engaged."  Nowadays, sometimes I think they're sitting at a computer that's doing all the work, looking at the code on a waterfall and with the speaker turned all the way down.  I hear what I presume is fumbling with settings, computer errors, etc.

I still have good, visceral, human-to-human CW contacts, and I appreciate them, but they aren't as common as before, and they aren't exclusive on the lower 25, like they (almost) used to be.  And I've only been a ham since the early 90s.

DX - I remember being able to catch some good DX with my pipsqueak station because I was one of the relative few who could operate down in the lower 25kHz - and those that did generally knew what they were doing.  Nowadays some Extras are chasing that DX and stomping all over the place with their slow calls, bad ears, and/or otherwise lousy operations.  It's a lot more difficult to get through.

Another thing that's making it worse is RFI from consumer electronics and power lines, but that's another discussion.

Finally, I was never an Advanced class ham.  I had a General for one month, then went in to take the test for Advanced.  I thought I'd try the 20 wpm code test to get some practice with it, since I was there, and I ended up passing it.  The guys at the VE session suggested I also try the Extra theory test (I passed the Advanced theory that day, so "I got what I came for").  I ended up passing that, too.  So I went from a General to an Extra in one day.  No-code tech to 20 wpm extra in just over a month.  That was a pretty big deal at the time. Reading and understanding the ARRL Handbook was, I believe, what made it possible to pass all the written exams.  Operating every day for a month as a General made it possible to pass the 20 wpm test.  I got from 0 to 13 wpm using ARRL tapes and SuperMorse software for several months.  Didn't bother with Tech+ or Novice.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 03:57:47 PM by AK7V » Logged
Pages: Prev 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 [9]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!