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Author Topic: Old code requirement question  (Read 21881 times)
W9GB
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Posts: 2597




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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2013, 02:57:09 PM »

Quote from: AA4PB
It was odd in that someone who actually copied more characters correctly could flunk while someone who copied less characters correctly passed because his correct characters happened to be all together while the other poor fellow had his fewer errors sprinkled thought the text.
Yes, that happened to me as a Novice ... when I first took the 13 WPM at Rock Island Army Arsenal with Chicago FCC examiners.  I had passed the written "fill-in" answer tests (General and Advanced), BUT I stumbled on paper copy of the 5 minute CW test with a couple of characters missed around the 55th to 60th letter.

The FCC examiner checked it twice, trying to see if I had 65 characters (one minute solid copy) in my pencil copy.  You could actually read and understand much of the QSO exchange.  Tough news for a 16 year old, who had test anxiety.  I got my Technician class as a consolation prize, since the FCC only came to Rock Island 4 times each year (in that era).
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 03:01:06 PM by W9GB » Logged
AF5CC
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Posts: 816




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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2013, 06:24:54 AM »

I also took most of my exams at the Rock Island Arsenal.  In the later years, right before the VE program started, they only came out once a year.  I was a general for only a few months, but I had the Advanced license for a year, waiting for them to come back so I could upgrade to extra.  When I took the code tests there, the code was in the form of a 5 minute QSO, and you had a fill in the blank test about details for the QSO.  You had to get 7 questions right to pass. They never checked my paper for 1 minute of solid copy.

73 John AF5CC
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W8ASA
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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2013, 07:06:25 AM »

I took my Conditional test in the summer of 1964. I was living in Germany as an Army brat. First, I had to find a licensed ham, who was also the operator of an official Army Signal Corps unit that still used Morse Code. Luckily, DL4WU was also my mentor at the time. He gave me the receiving and sending tests at 13 WPM, then continued increasing it until my writing couldn't keep up any more and turned to scribble at 24 WPM. He certified the results, and had his commanding officer sign as a witness. We sent that information to the FCC, and one month later, the FCC sent the written test to his commanding officer. For some reason, they wouldn't send it to my address!  Grin

He called me in to their unit orderly room, and both sat their drinking coffee while I took the test. DL4WU looked over the test and said I passed, but that his scoring was only informal and didn't count. They sent it back to the FCC, along with the Form 605, etc, and a letter signed by him and his C.O. saying the test was proctored by both of them.

In those days, you had to have a U.S. address, so I used my grandmother's address in Pennsylvania. Three months later, my folks received a letter from my grandmother that included my license! My first call sign was WA3BQU. Five years later, I renewed it, and was issued WB6QWF because I was in California at the time.

Some time during the 1970s, my license changed to General.

At the time, we were told that a Conditional licensee "could" at any time be asked to come to the FCC to re-take the General exam. I never heard of that happening though.
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AB1TS
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« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2013, 04:11:39 PM »

Thanks for all the great info guys. The reason I asked the question in the first place was because I wanted something to base my own ability against. I didn't have to pass a cw test to get my extra, but I like knowing where I stand against the old regs. So, far at this point I would still be working on getting that extra ticket if I had to copy 21 wpm!
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13010




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« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2013, 04:50:32 PM »

While the original testing was "1 minute of solid copy", there was a brief period when
the ONLY option was the 10 questions.

I clearly remember this from when I sat for my Extra (1978) at the San Francisco field
office.  One of the examinees had perfect copy and clearly legible, but failed because
he hadn't answered the questions.  He was indignant, as he was a commercial operator,
so the FCC examiner pointed him to the proper form to claim an exemption from the
CW test for holders of commercial radiotelegraph licenses.

But that was a rather short window of time as I recall before they reverted to accepting
either 1 minute of solid copy or answering 7 of 10 questions correctly.
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12667




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« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2013, 05:42:00 PM »

Its been so long that quite possible I don't remember - but in the FCC Detroit field office I don't recall ever taking a written exam for the code test. They just picked up your copy and started counting correct characters. Maybe the written code exam started in later years just before the VE system was implemented? The VE system started with only the questions and later allowed the solid copy model if you failed the questions.
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2756




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« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2013, 10:50:20 PM »

There was at least one privilege that a General had, but not a Conditional:  The General could act as the administrator of the Conditional test.  A Conditional licensee could not.

I don't think a Conditional licensee could administer a Novice test, either, but I may be wrong on that.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K4JC
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Posts: 76




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« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2013, 10:42:57 PM »

Yes, that happened to me as a Novice ... when I first took the 13 WPM at Rock Island Army Arsenal with Chicago FCC examiners.  I had passed the written "fill-in" answer tests (General and Advanced), BUT I stumbled on paper copy of the 5 minute CW test with a couple of characters missed around the 55th to 60th letter.

The FCC examiner checked it twice, trying to see if I had 65 characters (one minute solid copy) in my pencil copy.  You could actually read and understand much of the QSO exchange.  Tough news for a 16 year old, who had test anxiety.  I got my Technician class as a consolation prize, since the FCC only came to Rock Island 4 times each year (in that era).

In 1977 when I first decided to get my ham radio license, the Novice test was administered by a General Class or higher amateur. That ham requested the exam forms from the FCC, gave the test, and returned the completed forms to Uncle Charlie. All other class license exams were administered at an FCC Field Office.

I decided to forgo the Novice and try for a Technician ticket, which then required passing a 5 wpm code test along with the Novice and General written tests. At the Baltimore Field Office I passed the code test easily enough and aced the Novice written, but missed passing the General written by 1 question. I asked the examiner, "So I get a Novice license, right?" He said, "Nope, we don't give Novice tests here!" So even though I had passed the requisite exams I still had to go the "legal" route and find a properly licensed ham to give me the Novice test. Not only did that delay getting my ticket for another few months, it also meant I took - and passed - the Novice code and written tests twice! More proof that I never do things the easy way...  Wink
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N2EY
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« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2013, 06:49:02 AM »

Its been so long that quite possible I don't remember - but in the FCC Detroit field office I don't recall ever taking a written exam for the code test. They just picked up your copy and started counting correct characters. Maybe the written code exam started in later years just before the VE system was implemented? The VE system started with only the questions and later allowed the solid copy model if you failed the questions.

You remember correctly.

I am not sure when the "alternative" code tests appeared, but until at least the mid-1970s, the requirement was at least one minute of solid legible copy out of five.

The way the tests were administered at the FCC office in Philly was that you got a yellow legal pad and #2 pencil, headphones, and 5 minutes of plain-language code. When the code stopped, you put the pencil down - no going back and fixing up anything.

The Examiner would look over your copy for the required number of correct sequential characters - 25 for 5 wpm, 65 for 13 wpm, 100 for 20 wpm. The copy had to be legible to the examiner. If it was correct but he couldn't read it, you failed.

A typewriter could be used but the person being tested had to supply it. Special accomodations for blind and similar folks were provided if arranged in advance.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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WX7G
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« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2013, 12:35:51 PM »

You are almost all correct except that there was no code test for Advanced.

The Advanced Class license had a 13 WPM code requirement until April 15, 2000 at which time the FCC stopped issuing it.

So, when someone says they have an Advanced Class you don't have to wonder "13 WPM, 5 WPM, or No Code", because they were issued in only one flavor, 13 WPM.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 12:43:20 PM by WX7G » Logged
W3HF
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Posts: 677


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« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2013, 01:14:54 PM »

You are almost all correct except that there was no code test for Advanced.

The Advanced Class license had a 13 WPM code requirement until April 15, 2000 at which time the FCC stopped issuing it.

So, when someone says they have an Advanced Class you don't have to wonder "13 WPM, 5 WPM, or No Code", because they were issued in only one flavor, 13 WPM.

Unless they got a medical waiver, which was available for the 13 wpm test (but not the 5 wpm). In that case, they would really just be a 5 wpm Advanced with a doctor's note.
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K9AIM
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« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2013, 04:37:27 PM »

I passed the 13wpm at the Chicago FCC office in early 1977. Do not remember any questions about what was heard through the headphones, it was simply copying what you hear and then turning in your copy sheet.  I passed, but failed the 20wpm exam when the examiner encouraged me to try.  It was very nerve-wracking for me as a 14 year old knowing the copy had to be perfect for an uninterrupted minute.  It made 20wpm seem like 30 and I failed.  I did pass my General and was encouraged to try the Advanced which I failed.  Went back 2 months later and passed the Advanced.

Today I can copy 20wpm easily, but that did not matter when I finally upgraded to Extra last year...
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KB4XV
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2013, 12:22:05 PM »

Took my general in houston tx fcc office in the early eighties. Listen to a five minute cw conversation and then had to answer ten questions. Conversation was between a ham in Hawaii and one in Japan so you had to copy all, could not get a couple of letters and guess.
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WA8JXM
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Posts: 51




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« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2013, 04:49:55 AM »

Back 50 years ago a Tech could administer the written portion of the novice test but not do the code test.  You had to be 21 to administer the written portion but no age minimum for the code test.   When I was in high school I did administer the code test but our hs club moderator had to do the written portion.

Yes when I took my tests it was one minute of correct copy and put the pencil down at the end. Likewise one minute of sending. The RI came to town once every three months
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