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Author Topic: 201 Varick Street  (Read 2392 times)
K2RMO
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Posts: 10




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« on: April 23, 2014, 09:02:02 AM »

As I slowly get back into the HF world after many years, I was thinking of the days before VE's actually having to go to the FCC office to take the code and written tests (General then Advanced). I was first licensed in 1977 as a Novice (5wpm code and written tests taken at a local club). WB2THV was my issued call. In 2007 changed to vanity call K2RMO (my initials). Was mostly on 2 and 440 in the 2000's.

I remember going to the FCC office in NYC (1978 I think). People filed into a room to take the 13wpm test. Then the written part of the General. It might have been a year or so and after many contacts, made the trek back to take the Advanced test. Since the code requirement the Advanced was also 13wpm I didn't have to take it again. Passed the written.

I'm also working on increasing the CW speed to where it was in the late 70's early 80's (around 25wpm). I like CW and will never stop using it.

One of these days I'll shoot for the Extra ticket.

73 de K2RMO - Bob
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K8AXW
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2014, 09:35:01 AM »

Bob:  These young whipper-snappers (whatever that is) don't know how well they have it!

Way back in '60 when the FCC was recalling the Conditional Class License, I had to make the trek to Washington, DC for the exam before the FCC inspector.

That's a quick sentence to describe:  A 3 hour drive down out of the hills of WV into a madhouse full of crazy drivers in a place that gave birth to the term, "Up to your ass in alligators."  Because of my young stupidity I took my wife which created a whole new host of problems, one which didn't allow me to refresh my studying before the test at 0800h. 

Then the people we stayed with in DC insisted on taking me to the FCC building which was great but after the stress of the test the ride back to his house was like jumping into a stock car with an insane driver.  He was late for an appointment and had me to deal with.  After getting to the house I spent the next 4 hours with my head in a commode puking up my toenails!

The second trip to an FCC examining office was a trip to Baltimore, MD.  This time the wife stayed the hell home and another ham went with me.  We had to leave at 0300h to make it on time.  Same swamp, different alligators but we made it.  Unfortunately, they had moved the examining office to another building some distance away.

Needless to say we were late and the code tests were over.  The examiner initially refused to consider our circumstances but after a heated argument he relented.  Also needless to say I started the testing in a very high state of agitation.  But I passed.  Just outside Baltimore we ran into a severe thunder and rain storm and lightning hit the road a hundred or so yards from us.  I was thankful I had used the restroom before I left.  At this point in my life I determined there was no way I would EVER live in the city!

My third and final trip was once again to Baltimore but this time I got there on time.    This time it was for a commercial ticket and the examining room was monitored by a lady who apparently was a housing project spokesperson.  She spent the whole 8 hours (she did leave for lunch) on the telephone raising hell and putting a rock under with several people that must have been responsible for problems at the housing project.

That's when she wasn't ripping on someone because, after looking at their test papers, she felt they had no business of being there and wasting the FCC's time!

Now we have VEs that stroke your hair to calm you down while you take your test.  They grade your test there instead of having to wait a month to learn if you passed. All of the tests are from question pools with no circuit diagramming or troubleshooting.

Am I a crotchety old troll that lives under a moss covered bridge? Yea, guess I am.
Next a prospective ham will make a phone call and an VE will make a house call.
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AE4RV
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 10:29:02 AM »

"Next a prospective ham will make a phone call and an VE will make a house call."

Once I was on a VE team that did make a house call. The prospective ham was disabled, blind and elderly, so I hope you'll forgive us.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 03:26:10 PM »

RV:  Why wasn't it a surprise when I read your reply?   Shocked   
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K3GM
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Posts: 1797




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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2014, 04:53:05 AM »

The story's the same no matter where you lived in the US at the time.  In Philadelphia in the early 80's, one had to navigate the wilds of center city and the Federal Courthouse there to take the test.  I  was serving jury duty at city hall and was excused early for the day.  I ran down to the courthouse just in time to make the General test.  I just remember the stern faced examiner; all business, no smiles, no chit chat. Later, the FCC office moved to an office building in a suburbs north of Philadelphia; so much nicer to get there and free parking too. Same tester.  I passed the Advanced, then tried and passed the Extra written element, but missed the code.  "You failed...." in a dismissive tone.  They didn't tell you how many you missed, just that you failed.  Then came the previously unheard of testing at large hamfests, with the same stern faced woman at the controls of 20 wpm code tape.  I was accustomed to sending and receiving the non-standard Farnsworth style, and my paper looked like just a page of random letters when finished. But after adding slashes between words, it all actually made sense!  Yes, it was much different than today.....
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 05:03:24 AM by K3GM » Logged
KA5IPF
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2014, 05:15:33 AM »

1981 Downtown Dallas, Tx. Federal Courthouse, pay parking (if you can find it). General and Advanced. Same woman (I think). I still have the temporary license they gave, one for /AG and later on one for /AA.
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