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Author Topic: Zero to Extra Class in 3 Weeks. Confession of a Dick Bash Ham  (Read 18103 times)
W1QJ
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« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2013, 08:45:32 AM »

This is an interesting thread.  When I was going for my extra the Dick Bash book had just hit the shelves.  I was using the ARRL license manuals for all my tests.  I never bothered  with the Bash Book as it was called because of the stigma attached to it.   How many remember Harry Finkelman?  Am I dating myself?
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N2EY
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« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2013, 09:11:08 AM »

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.

You don't have to memorize all 700 answers. All you have to do is remember enough of them to pass. That's a BIG DIFFERENCE, considering that it only takes 74% right to pass. Someone who gets 74% right gets the same license as someone who gets 100%.

In Bash's time, the Q&A pool was much smaller, too. There used to be a rule that if you flunked a written exam you could not retest until at least 30 days had passed. That rule existed in part to conceal the fact that there weren't many different versions of the writtens, and that if you could retest immediately you'd soon get the same test again.

Remember the game "Trivial Pursuit"? Many years ago, when it was new, somebody gave me one. I took the cards with me and read the Q&A whenever I had time - TV commercials, riding the bus, etc. Eventually I had seen most of the questions and answers at least once. I didn't study them, I just read them.

Just having seen the Q&A before made me almost unbeatable. I didn't understand much of what I read, and today I've probably forgotten much of it. But for a while.....

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K8AXW
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« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2013, 09:11:36 AM »

4D:  I only wish the Robert Young philosophy still persevered today.

QJ: You're a young feller!  
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W9KEY
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« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2013, 09:38:56 AM »


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


Problem is the sub-population of hams who like test-taking is probably VERY small.  Most of us took a test to get a license. Your idea is fun to imagine, but I doubt you'd get many takers, and the logistics of making all of these tests available would be a lot of work for someone. 
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W9KEY
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« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2013, 09:54:05 AM »

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?

The problem is that it is a bit childish for pre-1980 hams to look down their noses at new hams on the basis of what hoops the FCC required them to jump thru to obtain a license. Some new hams are more knowledgeable than some of their pre-Dick Bash counterparts despite the new exam process.  They took the exam of their day and passed it and are no less hams than anyone else.   It is the decision by the FCC to publish the questions and answers and eliminate the code that may be frowned (or snarled) at.  We really need to evaluate the merits of a ham based on their attitude, on air behavior, and technical savoir faire -- and NOT on what year they were first licensed.



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W9KEY
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« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2013, 10:13:10 AM »

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.

I passed the Advanced in 1977 at age 15 at the FCC office in Chicago.  I had to study and digest the subject material being tested on in order to know how to choose the correct answer and pass the exam.

I passed the Extra in 2012.  The challenge was not nearly so difficult -- even though I was also being re-tested on the entire Advanced material after a 30 year absence. 

To prepare for the exam, I had three choices --   

1). Learn the subject material being tested sufficiently enough to know correct answers to pass the exam. 
2). Learn just the basics of the material and take practice exams of the actual questions and then review the actual answers
3). Memorize the answers using the actual test Q & A's.

I chose option 2 and it was FAR easier than option 1 in terms of my time commitment as well as what I learned in the process.  I did learn material, but I also had a question and answer familiarity by the time I sat down for the exam.  That is sure a much different dynamic than sitting down to a test you have never seen before and everything being on the line as was the case for me in 1977.

Option 3 may be easier than you think.  When I began seriously considering taking the Extra, (I wanted those Extra CW segments where the DX tend to be -- my code proficiency is > 20wpm) I looked at various strategies of passing the test.  Those who advocate option 3 point out tricks for learning the answers.  I forget them all because I did not follow that method, but it involves remembering particular things about the answer.   If it is a math question, remember one number in the answer that sets it apart.  maybe it is 1.405 and it is the only answer that has a 4.  It may sound tough -- but people generally get these things down to a science (the easiest way to get through a hoop).  You do have to spend a lot of time with the Q & A pool -- and to me that is far more drudgery than studying and learning.  Option 2 was fast and easiest for me, but it did entail a lot of practice testing and was nowhere near as difficult as passing exams in the pre-Dick Bash era. 

« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 10:15:34 AM by K9AIM » Logged
AC4BB
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« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2013, 11:21:26 AM »

  It's not where you learned/studied the exam material But,how much of it you actually retained?  I had an extra class call me up and ask how do make a dipole for 75 meters?  I actually had to figure it up for this person and then divide the equal sides. 
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AC4RD
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« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2013, 12:59:24 PM »


The problem is that it is a bit childish for pre-1980 hams to look down their noses at new hams on the basis of what hoops the FCC required them to jump thru to obtain a license. Some new hams are more knowledgeable than some of their pre-Dick Bash counterparts ... We really need to evaluate the merits of a ham based on their attitude, on air behavior, and technical savoir faire -- and NOT on what year they were first licensed.

{sound of enthusiastic cheering and applause for K9AIM}

You are EXACTLY right!

And "childish" isn't the word I would have used.  :-)
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WA4D
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« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2013, 01:47:08 PM »

Quote
It's not where you learned/studied the exam material But,how much of it you actually retained?  I had an extra class call me up and ask how do make a dipole for 75 meters?  I actually had to figure it up for this person and then divide the equal sides.

I actually recall this Question from the Bash "Advanced" Book!!

If you wanted to talk to a bunch of Nuts on ham radio's classic 75 meter band, where most Hams run liberal interpretations of the "legal limit", how long would your doublet be? HINT: The Frequency is 3.895 mhz.

A) 142.4 feet (Grounded on one end)
B) 92 Feet (as long as it's elevated 92 feet)
C) 120.1 Feet
D) None of the above


Oh Yes, I'm sure the Formula of  468/F is somewhere in there too. But it's  been 30 years!
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AC2EU
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« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2013, 03:30:06 PM »

I hear about the "old exams" from the "ham elders" ( not that I am a spring chicken) all the time. The fact is, those guys took the test on tube technology and probably would not pass the new extra without some study.
I am an electronics professional, so I didn't find the Extra very challenging at all. It's just electronics 101 and some other stuff.
All you need to know is a few impedance, reactance resistance calculations and how calculate core turns. If you can do basic math it should be cinch.
Unless someone has a real good memory for numerical questions, I don't know how they could memorize all of it. Knowing the material is the best way to pass the test and not embarrass yourself when your peers expect you to know more about stuff than they do.

I will confess here in front of all of you that I am indeed, an "EXTRA lite" as the old timers like to refer to us " no code" guys.
However, when I found out that they nixed the CW requirement, I took all three exams in one session and passed. It only took a month of preparation. It's not that hard. ( maybe that's what happened to 75 meters?)
Becoming proficient in CW has proved to be the real challenge...  Shocked
To be a LID or not to be, that IS the question!
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K8AXW
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« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2013, 07:15:00 PM »

Quote
Some new hams are more knowledgeable than some of their pre-Dick Bash counterparts despite the new exam process.

Quote
We really need to evaluate the merits of a ham based on their attitude, on air behavior, and technical savoir faire

 Grin AIM: If you could find a way to dry, sack and sell that load, you wouldn't have to work next year. 

I think this is the present day philosophy whereas kids in school no longer get graded "because some in the class might get their feelings hurt!"

That's all from here folks.  Y'all keep blowing smoke in each others ears..... everyone has the RIGHT to feel good!
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AE5QB
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« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2013, 09:03:30 PM »

I used to be really envious of those who had college degrees until I got one.  The day I graduated I looked back and said, "This is it? This what the last 10 years leads up to?"  When I got my first job in my college discipline, I realized I didn't know crap.  I used to think being a pilot would be the bomb.  After soloing in 25 hours I thought, this isn't so tough.  When I got my license I said, "Ok I did that, now what.  I really still don't know much about flying compared to the military pilots and 1200 hour commercials."  When I took and passed my Novell and MS certification exams I was proud, but that didn't make me an expert network administrator/engineer.  So where am I going with this?  The point is that most education is designed to prove you have the persistence to stick with it, can endure the sacrifice and effort needed to get through the material, play the school game, and then make you think you are someone you are really not in order to keep you interested in the field.  A diploma in anything is simply a minimum starting point.  I don't care if it is a medical degree, an engineering degree, or a PHD.  When you reach a new level you are starting over.  A new extra, no matter what you did to get it, is still a little fish in a big pond.  You did not wake up one day and take a test and move from general to extra and all of sudden become infused with all knowing divine knowledge.  You just became an ignorant person at a little higher level than another guy.  So however you get your ticket.  Know you still know nothing.  It is a ticket to ride and not a ticket to brag.  Have fun, encourage others to get into it and never stop learning.  When you do, you die!

For those who want the old tests back as they were, you better brush up on your tube knowledge.  Just silly in my opinion.

73,   
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K8AXW
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« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2013, 03:05:35 PM »

QB:  It seems to me that with your incredible intellectual background you have a problem with simple logic!

Take your soloing in 25 hours for example.  Who would you prefer to fly with?  A guy who is able to solo in 25 hours or a guy who simply read a book full of answers and passed the tests? 

I did basically this very thing a long time ago but when it came to hands on flying, I couldn't have flown a cardboard box down a mine shaft!

This same question can be applied to each of your accomplishments. 
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AC4RD
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« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2013, 04:31:31 PM »

I hear about the "old exams" from the "ham elders" ( not that I am a spring chicken) all the time. ....
I will confess here in front of all of you that I am indeed, an "EXTRA lite" as the old timers like to refer to us " no code" guys.

AC2EU, maybe I'm an Old Phart; been a ham since '91, extra since '92.  And I have NEVER used the phrase "no code" in a derogatory way, and never will.  You're a ham, I'm a ham, K9AIM is a ham, and we are ALL friends and we all treat each other with courtesy and respect. 

K8AXW doesn't agree, but we won't be nasty to him because of it.  :-)

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W9KEY
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« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2013, 05:16:45 PM »


AC2EU, maybe I'm an Old Phart; been a ham since '91, extra since '92.  And I have NEVER used the phrase "no code" in a derogatory way, and never will.  You're a ham, I'm a ham, K9AIM is a ham, and we are ALL friends and we all treat each other with courtesy and respect. 

K8AXW doesn't agree, but we won't be nasty to him because of it.  :-)


true, but AXW mistakes our commitment to being civil as a preference for blowing smoke into the ears of our listeners  Wink
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