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Author Topic: Zero to Extra Class in 3 Weeks. Confession of a Dick Bash Ham  (Read 13614 times)
K9AIM
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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2013, 03:18:29 PM »

One last off-topic digression:  I got VEC credentials and did a few tests with some of the locals, many years ago, back not long after I got my extra.  I was REALLY impressed by the diligence and the care and work that the testing guys put in.  Seeing it from a VEC volunteer position gave me a whole new impression of how much VEC volunteers do and how seriously they take it.

I was a little inclined to see the VE system unfavorably, having had to brave the Chicago FCC office 34 floors up (or whatever it was) as a 14 year old.  But now, having taken the Extra last year in Rockford, IL while visiting my mother -- I have a lot of respect for VEC hams.  The ones I encountered were *very* professional.  That said, human nature being as flawed as it is, I wonder how many times (if any) someone somewhere 'helped' a buddy they wanted on the air out?  75 meters especially leads me to that question...  Undecided
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AC4BB
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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2013, 07:16:46 AM »

 Nothing different now the exact questions are avaliable now as they were then.  For some reason it's OK now to do it?
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AC4RD
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« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2013, 09:09:14 AM »

For some reason it's OK now to do it?

For some reason it is NOT OK to do it?  Why does the FCC allow it?  Are people who DO pass the test that way shunned, do they have rocks thrown at them, are they driven out of the ARRL and local ham club meetings?

I'll say it again: if you want to be a ham and pass the test (honestly, thanks Jim), you're a ham.   Why should we look down our noses at other hams over a minor issue like that?

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AC4BB
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2013, 09:34:03 AM »

For some reason it's OK now to do it?

For some reason it is NOT OK to do it?  Why does the FCC allow it?  Are people who DO pass the test that way shunned, do they have rocks thrown at them, are they driven out of the ARRL and local ham club meetings?

I'll say it again: if you want to be a ham and pass the test (honestly, thanks Jim), you're a ham.   Why should we look down our noses at other hams over a minor issue like that?



  That's what I'm trying to say.  Back then, People  who would do that and  they were treated like they had a disease if, they did it.  I'm glad times have changed.
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K9AIM
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2013, 10:00:42 AM »

For some reason it is NOT OK to do it?  Why does the FCC allow it?  Are people who DO pass the test that way shunned, do they have rocks thrown at them, are they driven out of the ARRL and local ham club meetings?

I'll say it again: if you want to be a ham and pass the test (honestly, thanks Jim), you're a ham.   Why should we look down our noses at other hams over a minor issue like that?

I don't think anyone is saying we should look down our noses or throw rocks at new hams or that any who passed the test after the FCC published the answers are less bonafide hams the rest of us.   The feeling though is that it is wrong that the FCC did this.  It is simply easier to pass the exams now.  It is possible to memorize rather than learn the material.  But i doubt we are going to put the genie back in the bottle... 

What might be considered though is making the question/answer pools 10 times larger than they are now.  That would make memorizing answers a bit more of a challenge -- and should not take that much work to put in place.   

VE's could have a randomize program that picks a particular exam for each new testee, and then the VE would print it out. 
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KG6AF
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2013, 12:11:58 PM »

What might be considered though is making the question/answer pools 10 times larger than they are now.  That would make memorizing answers a bit more of a challenge -- and should not take that much work to put in place.   

Exactly.  This requires no change to the regs.  You might be underestimating the effort involved in coming up with good questions and distractor answers, but it could be done.  (One area in which it would be very easy to expand the number of questions by 10x is math problems, where about all you'd have to do is change values in the problem statements.)  My challenge to anyone complaining about how easy the exams are now is to go to the NCVEC web site ( ncvec.org ), ask them to expand the question pool, and submit at least one question, complete with the correct answer and three distractors. 

Quote
VE's could have a randomize program that picks a particular exam for each new testee, and then the VE would print it out. 

The ARRL already provides such a program to its VEs.
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AC4BB
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2013, 12:51:57 PM »

  I'm an advanced class Dick Bash, I still have the book around here somewhere?
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N2EY
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2013, 01:42:12 PM »

BTW, Jim N2EY--this only occurred to me later in the day, after I had a couple of cups of coffee:  How could you pass a licensing exam OTHER than the exam that was in force at the time?  Wink 

I'm glad you got the point.

Some folks make a big deal about how so-and-so didn't have to take such-and-such test. But what choice did so-and-so have? Unless a time machine is invented, one can't go back to 19-whatever and take the old tests.

Maybe there's an idea there.....

Imagine a "traveling road show" that re-created the old tests and testing methods. Say for each decade. They would show up at hamfests, conventions, etc., and administer "the old tests" the way it was done "back when". If you passed, you'd get a nice certificate attesting to the fact. It would not be a license, of course, just a certificate of accomplishment. And you could collect the whole set, for every decade from say 1912 to the present - but ONLY by passing the tests.

The code tests would be done the old way - maybe even with a paper-tape code machine. The written tests before 1983 would have to be re-created from various license manuals and Q&A guides, but that's not really such a big task (and they would be kept SECRET, too!)

Imagine being a relatively-new ham - and the next time somebody gives you a load of stuff about it, you mention that you have the Extra certifications for 1952, 1962, 1972, 1982 and 1992, as well as the current one.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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K8AXW
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2013, 02:11:48 PM »

I read and reread these posts and I keep coming up with the same questions!

Whatever happened to the process of actually learning something, which the old time tests required? 

Why are so many happy and actually gleeful that they don't have to learn anything to get a ham license?

Where does the confusion and hurt come from when an old ham who has worked his ass off, which in many cases required a trip to the FCC examining point and facing the scrutiny of a hard nosed  FCC examiner, looks down his nose at someone who memorizes the answers to a test to get the same license?

It's quite possible that these same people look down their noses at Mexicans coming into the U.S. and driving tractor-trailers on our highways without ever passing a test on our driving laws and customs along with the special tests passed by our American counterparts!  Ask any American trucker how he feels about this. The analogy is similar.

Why do those who feel it's OK to pass a test by simply memorizing provided answers to a test then get on a forum such at this one and ask simple questions like how to hook their transceiver to an antenna. 

Ham radio is a technical hobby.  Probably the most technical hobby going.  A ham license is supposed to indicate at least a small level of technical competence.  It also indicates that the holder understands what is expected of him or her to prevent interference to other services, which could prove disastrous.

So far, all I've read is one blowing smoke into another's ear and no answers to obvious questions of why "you're being treated as you are."  Get real!



 
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KD8TUT
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2013, 02:21:39 PM »

I'm about to tread where angels fear to go... but....

To me it seems an uncertainly that you could memorize the answers to the Extra exam.

I passed both the Technician and General exams in January 2013. Then I passed Extra Saturday (3/16/2013) after two months of preparation, and failed attempt in February.

As a note: my background has radio in it and 22 years experience in network design and security.

The Extra exam is different. You could definitely memorize the Technician exam. You *might* be able to pull it off with the General exam. It's an impossibility with the Extra exam. There were questions on the exam that demanded I knew subject. They mocked me!

Maybe I don't have a big enough brain pan to memorize 700 questions. However I am smart enough to learn reasoning. And that test seemed to spend a lot of time making me think.
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AC4RD
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2013, 05:06:48 PM »

BTW, Jim N2EY--this only occurred to me later in the day, after I had a couple of cups of coffee... 

I'm glad you got the point.
...
Imagine a "traveling road show" that re-created the old tests and testing methods. Say for each decade. They would show up at hamfests, conventions, etc., and administer "the old tests" the way it was done ...

D'ooooh!  I finally managed to walk into the point after it had been waved in my face for a few hours.  :-)   

I like the idea of "Antiques Hamshow."  :-)  Not just the "vintage testing" idea.  You could also do:  "This is an Atlas 210-X ... do you have any idea of how much it's worth?"

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WA4D
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« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2013, 06:46:07 PM »

What a hoot! This thread taking twists and turns I never imagined.  K8AXW offers the old guard view. (And I say that with no malice) And it is or was a legitimate view in the era of Robert Young and "Father Knows Best".

But K8AXW's point is valid.  Learning via answer books is hardly ethical and yet it's accepted. One could make the case that the current Question pool model is a variation of the Bash era as well.

"Learning" as K8AXW rightfully suggests, should be valued. And pride taken in. I have an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree and various professional continuing education certificates from major American Universities. There were no Dick Bash books available for any of these programs.

Still I don't believe Ham Radio is really a "technical" hobby as some suggest.  Yes there are some fundamentals of RF technology, propagation and basic electronic theory. But that's about the end of it.

KD8TUT suggests that I could not have memorized the answers for the Extra exam. He failed it after 2 months of prep and 22 years of experience. Therefore what I did (and many other Hams did) should be impossible.  You (KD8TUT) say the Extra class exam as currently written made you think. And reason.  I assure you. The Bash materials didn't make you think. They gave you the VERBATIM answer word for word of the question pool. No "thinking" was necessary.  Some of us can memorize quickly. Others cannot. I'm sure there is much you can do intellectually that I am incapable of.  

Most Dick Bash "Graduates" are reluctant to to admit that they used the materials. But I'm guessing there were thousands of successful exam candidates in the 3 years the books were sold.  But since there is such "shame" associated with this back door entry to the Hobby, they remain veiled from our view.

Me? I have no shame. Nor do I have any guilt. Ham radio is not my identity.  Or a lifestyle. It is a frivolous hobby, a waste of time and money. And occasionally fun. (Like now!)

Cheers from California!

miike
http://www.hamqth.com/wa4d   (Photo shot today! I'm handsome for a Dick Bash Grad!)
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 06:50:21 PM by WA4D » Logged
KD8TUT
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2013, 07:48:03 PM »

KD8TUT suggests that I could not have memorized the answers for the Extra exam. He failed it after 2 months of prep and 22 years of experience. Therefore what I did (and many other Hams did) should be impossible.  You (KD8TUT) say the Extra class exam as currently written made you think. And reason.  I assure you. The Bash materials didn't make you think. They gave you the VERBATIM answer word for word of the question pool. No "thinking" was necessary.  Some of us can memorize quickly. Others cannot. I'm sure there is much you can do intellectually that I am incapable of.  

Well, I'm not a dummy, but wouldn't put myself above anyone. My personal situation right now gives me a great deal of time not had previously due to a demanding work schedule. But for the last year, I've been caring for a very ill parent. That is indeed a luxury most people do not get and it's appreciated. The side effect of my new "temporary career" is lots of time to study and learn things.

But from the standpoint of having just sat for the exam, and preparing in a way where there was an understanding of the material, it was a challenging test.

I could not memorize 700 questions. My head isn't that big. Maybe that's just me.

What's next?: Working through this ARRL antenna book on my desk, then start re-learning code for QRP operation, and then buy a nice low power rig.

Perhaps, it's not about intellect, but rather about character and perspiration.

I hope my comments were not taken in an insulting manner. I'm too young of a ham to really comment on these things with any authority.

73

Michael
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K8AXW
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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2013, 08:22:37 PM »

4D:  Well.....I decided to present a different viewpoint, one I consider valid. One that no doubt will upset people...... so get upset.

Quote
And pride taken in. I have an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree and various professional continuing education certificates from major American Universities. There were no Dick Bash books available for any of these programs

After all of your work to get this degree and certificates, what if a method was devised (say a Dick Bash method) to circumvent all of this work and the person receive the same degree and certificates you worked for?  And what if they were competing for the same job you are with every chance of getting it.  How would that go down?

As for ham radio not being a technical hobby..... I simply can't agree.  CB is a communicating media without the "technical" aspect.  I could get into a long dissertation on why it is a technical hobby but what would be the point?

I've predicted for some time that our ham gear will one day be all SDR (Software Defined Radio) and I also predict that one day ham radio will be CB all over again.  OK, call me a left over from the "Robert Young" era.....   I doubt if I'll be here to see it but most of you will.  Remember these words.

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WA4D
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« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2013, 06:53:52 AM »

K8AXW---  I happened to like "Robert Young".  He was a role model in the 50's. And his values preserve to this day.

And if viewpoints "upset" people.....so be it. Who cares? You've made your point, with articulate rhetoric and reason. Good for you. (and us)
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