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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

The Tech License

Ed Eggert (K3VO) on July 2, 2018
View comments about this article!

In 1952 the FCC came out with the Novice license and the Tech. The Tech was 5 wpm code and the General class exam. It was designed to get activity on 220 MHz and also for RC aircraft. Since it was difficult to get on 220 MHZ they soon gave Techs 6 meters and activity took off. Novices at that time could use 2 meters. Later, Techs were given 2 meters and before long repeaters came along and t2 and 432 were busy.

Now the Tech license can be learned in the morning at a Hamgram and the test that afternoon.

The ham population is about 134,401 Extras, 169,524 Generals and 357,236 Techs. Now we have all these Techs and the VHF repeaters are dead all over the country. Now the league wants to give Techs more HF bands, The league by the way has about 154,000 members so the Techs are not members of the league in any great numbers.

The Tech license needs to be up dated with question on how to operate a station for a start. Right now it’s easier then the original Novice license exam. Since no code is required anymore perhaps scrap the Tech and only have a General.

I talked to a new Tech the other day and asked why he was not on our repeater. His reply I don't know how to make a contact. Another I ran into had his license and a rig but did not know how to use it. On 40 meters a new General asked me if the CQ I called was legal. We have a problem guys and girls.

Our club gives the exams plus a free membership to new hams. On Wednesday night we have a net for people with questions about the hobby. We also loan out radios to get on the air with. We usually never see the new people again after they have passed the exam. We have loaned out only one radio.

We need a follow up to these new techs. Also if the league wants to give them more HF space restrict it to the digital modes or CW. No Phone.

The League brags about the Ham population. Yes we have numbers but not operators. In this day of $35 HTs repeaters should be really active.

Member Comments:
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The Tech License  
by W1RC on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I believe a large number of new licensees who are becoming licensed through numerous “Tech-in-a-Day” sessions conducted nationwide are first responders, ie: police, fire, paramedics, emts, whose interest in amateur radio is professional access to our two meters and uhf repeater metworks as an alternate form of communications to their own Public Safery bands. Even though statistically the number of licensees is growing the hobby is not.

Even though the number of licensees is increasing we are seeing a slow decline in attendance at hamfests and flea markets, With all the dirt-cheap dual-band portables available for as low as $20.00 why are our repeaters not hummimg with activity?

We see it at these “Tech-in-a-Day” classes that essentially coach people how to pass the Technician Class exam which is administered immediately after the tutorial session. How many of these people do we ever see again?

It is my considered opinion that many of the new licensees are not interested in the hobby.

The question here is can we interest these “professional amateurs” in joining clubs and exploring the other aspects of the hobby than those that attracted them in the first place?

Something to think about........
 
RE: The Tech License  
by W4KYR on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
("I talked to a new Tech the other day and asked why he was not on our repeater. His reply I don't know how to make a contact. Another I ran into had his license and a rig but did not know how to use it. On 40 meters a new General asked me if the CQ I called was legal. We have a problem guys and girls.")

With all the countless 'How To' videos over on YouTube, the answer to these and other questions are just a few clicks away.

YouTube has videos on how to use a repeater.

YouTube has videos on how to program a particular radio.

YouTube has videos on how to call CQ properly.

And over on YouTube there are countless other videos on rules and accepted operating procedures. Everything you need to know about Amateur Radio these days is on the net.

Many years ago we had no YouTube or even the internet and somehow we got by. In fact we flourished...The ham radio club meetings were always packed each month. The repeaters were so heavily used in some areas of the country that many of us migrated to simplex. Now we have more hams than ever and the repeaters are quiet, some are abandoned and others have been taken off the air for lack of use.

So what happened?

Would having additional questions on the Amateur Radio Exams on how to use the internet and proper ways to search for information solve the problem?



 
The Tech License  
by NA4IT on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
A ham "operator" has to want to operate. If he doesn't there is not one thing you can do to make him.

Kinda like the horse and water thing, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
 
The Tech License  
by K8QV on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Clearly, the Novice license concept worked. Today the emphasis seems to be on quantity rather than quality. The ARRL has chosen to push for the easiest path to a license and the emphasis has turned to an emergency communications hobby rather than a ham radio hobby. I doubt there's any turning back. The next step might be a free license included with an ARRL paid up membership. It might also come with a free orange vest.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KG4RUL on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
With the ARRL turning it's efforts to quantity VS quality of new licensees, Amateur Radio is at a turning point. Will we expand our numbers with clueless licensees or will we have fewer, competent operators? I frankly don't know. I hope the latter will be the result.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AD4U on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I got interested in ham radio in the mid 1960's. I struggled to learn the code. I learned the code as a boy scout but I learned it by sight. When I learned the code for a ham license (by sound) I had to learn it the second time. Finally I got my license in the late 1960's by driving 260 miles to Atlanta and 260 miles back home (520 miles round trip).

It took me until the early 1970's to master the 20 WPM for my extra. Then I had to make another trip to Atlanta. In other words, I had to work for my ham license. I did not go from no license to extra in a single VE session. Along the way I also learned the basics.

On my soapbox, it still bothers me when a extra license ham ask how to build a simple half wave dipole antenna or how to connect an amp to a rig or how to tune a amp.

Shoot away at me!

Dick AD4U
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KJ4HVL on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"A ham "operator" has to want to operate."

This exactly. I rarely attempt QSO's because I never know what I'm going to get. Guys who think you aren't worth talking to if you aren't running 1500 watts. Guys who want a quick 59 qsl? qrz. Guys who are outright jerks.

With a little more sanity and decorum the hobby would be more engaging, and more approachable.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N4KZ on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Like many old-timers on the air, I am a product of the old novice license. It was a wonderful experience that motivated me and prepared me to upgrade to general, which I did after 6 months in the HF novice bands. That was back in the '60s. Today, the technician license, thanks to the FCC, has become the de facto beginners license and clearly it's not working in that vein. The reasons for its failure are many. Many hams like blaming the ARRL for the ills of amateur radio. Personally, I don't buy that concept. Yes, I've been a League member for nearly 50 years but have disagreed with quite a few League decisions. But when it comes to defending access to our radio spectrum and helping us obtain additional spectrum, there's is no other ballgame in town. And the ARRL has done a good job at it. I think the League is on the right track in addressing the tech issue -- that so many get a license but few get on the air and stick with it. Yes, some are first responder types and probably not all that interested in ham radio per se, but that's not the real problem. The current entry-level license ought to more closely mirror the old novice ticket experience -- by granting limited access to more HF frequencies and modes. Heck, they already have full access to VHF/UHF but that clearly is not the experience many want. I support the current ARRL proposal to beef up the tech ticket's privileges. I know among some that's not a popular concept. But in my almost 50 years on the air, I've heard hams sling around criticisms about how it's gotten too easy to get a license. This is nothing new. Shoot, I got that same crap from old-timers 50 years ago that because I didn't have to draw circuits on the exam, I wasn't a real ham. We need to nurture our young, not eat our young. I know it's hard to recruit young people into ham radio but we get some. But the real audience is retirees with time and the need to do something interesting that challenges their minds every day. Many have disposable income available for recreation. That's the real audience we should aim for. The ARRL proposal is a good one. I challenge any of the critics to come up with something better.
 
The Tech License  
by W5TTW on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Don't kid yourselves. The "League" is only interested in selling more magazine subscriptions and wallpaper. 1/2 of the current licensees are techs. The overwhelming majority of techs didn't take the test to become amateur radio operators. They did it because they're preppers and CERT types. Their only skin in the game was taking an easy test and purchasing a $35 HT from Amazon. They have ZERO interest in the hobby and they don't join the league. The league hopes that additional privileges will entice them into exploring the hobby, and later joining. What the league fails to realize is that those techs won't invest in additional gear.
 
The Tech License  
by KB2DHG on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Before I became a ham, I was into SWL, I would spend hours listing in on Ham radio operators and learned so much just by listing in on how they talked, called CQ and handled QSO's... I also read all of the ARRL license manuals and even got a copy of the Handbook, Back then we did not have computers or practice exams. We had to study and LEARN the material needed to be a good operator. In the beginning I did find it hard to learn Morse Code BUT am SO GLAD I did and was forced to learn it, because it is one of my favorite modes and if I were never forced to learn it I may have never given it a try... Having to learn and study the material needed to get a Ham Radio license gave me a special pride and made me appreciate having the privilege of being a member of this time honored hobby...MORE OVER, I learned, learned about electronics, operating procedures, what frequencies to use during poor propagation, CW, repeater operation, HF,VHF and many other modes... I would love to see them bring back the Novice, Tech, General and Extra back. And for the General Class, a code proficiency of 10 WPM. I believe that CW should be part of Amateur Radio in that in emergencies, CW is always a dependable means of getting a message across...
 
The Tech License  
by NY7Q on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
GIVING TECHNICIANS MORE PRIVILEGES IS NOT THE ANSWER. IT IS A BIG MISTAKE. WHEN WE HAD THE NOVICE WITH TIME LIMITS BACK IN THE DAY, WE HAD MORE INTELLIGENT OPERATORS. WE HAD BETTER OPERATORS AND MORE INTEREST IN RADIO AND EXPERIMENTING. TODAY, IT IS A COMPLETE MESS. I TRIED TO HELP OR MENTOR A COUPLE TECHS RECENTLY AND WAS TOLD TO TAKE A HIKE OLD MAN. AND I WAS POLITE AND HELPFUL. WE SHOULD GET BACK TO ALL CAPS, AND TWO YEARS AS A NOVICE TO GET EXPERIENCE ON THE AIR AND OPERATING RADIOS, BUILDING ANTENNAS...ETC.
IT IS JUST A MESS RIGHT NOW.
 
The Tech License  
by W0BBB on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
When I got Novice in 1990 it required attending a few training classes, mostly oriented to learning code. You developed friendships, maybe even found a good Elmer. The first QSO was exciting. Now, as mentioned, Tech in a day is the norm, no friendships, no Elmers. Somehow we need to get folks involved as part of the licensing process, not a here's your ticket, get on the air, bye. We just hang them out to dry.

Several repeaters are active in the area, but users seem to be more into their little clique, not welcoming new users into the conversation.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KB6QXM on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
What I see is that the original intention of the Technician class license is no longer being followed.

The original intent of the Technician class license was that the licensee would focus on VHF/UHF.

Now it looks like the ARRL is trying to give more privileges to the Technician class license and to make an easy entry point to Amateur radio and to make up the gap with the elimination of the Novice license.

What I am seeing is a consistent thread that the ARRL is doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to get the numbers of licensed amateurs up with no concern for the integrity of the hobby. No concern on how to address ISSUES that affect amateurs in the hobby. (Addressing why the average age of licensed hams are GOING UP or any issues affecting hams like distracted driver laws, HOAs, CC&Rs). You can try to raise the numbers, but how does that help the hams to get on the air.

The ARRL has been pushing contests, elimination of license classes(Advanced and Novice). Adding privileges without any additional work.

I understand from a business perspective on why the ARRL is doing what they are doing, but at the dilution of the hobby.

 
RE: The Tech License  
by W1RC on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I have gotten to a point where all I care about is not losing any of our priceless spectrum. I do not like contests because of the inconsiderate clowns who try to monopolize the bands to feed their fragile egos and I have done all the DXing that I want to so,on iber 50 years on the air.

All I wamt to do now is play with my vintage vaccuum tube junk and military stuff to talk with my buddies and the other “Old School” hams who share my views.

However they are becoming fewer and fewer.....
 
RE: The Tech License  
by W1RC on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I have gotten to a point where all I care about is not losing any of our priceless spectrum. I do not like contests because of the inconsiderate clowns who try to monopolize the bands to feed their fragile egos and I have done all the DXing that I want to do in over 50 years on the air.

All I wamt to do now is play with my vintage vaccuum tube junk and military stuff to talk with my buddies and the other “Old School” hams who share my views.

However they are becoming fewer and fewer.....
 
The Tech License  
by ALPHONSE on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!


“The Tech license needs to be up dated with question on how to operate a station for a start ... Our club gives the exams plus a free membership to new hams.”


Most single session license classes teach to the test. This produces acceptable test results for many students if you are OK with the fact that the students come away with nearly zero real understanding of the subject matter.


If good operating practices, procedures, and repeater etiquette are important to your club you should tell your students all about it while you have their attention. Let them know what is going on and what to expect. Who else will teach them if you don’t?
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KB2FCV on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Ham Radio is going to stick or it's not. Back when I was a Novice, we had a few groups of us get our licenses. Some of us remained active and upgraded.. some never got on the air. Of the ones that remained active and upgraded... most were active for a couple of years and then school / other priorities took over. I'm pretty much the only one in the group that stayed active over the years. A few retain their licenses and hope to come back to it but life gets in the way.

We had HF to play with at first... we built antennas.. we got on the air... we had a mentor to help us out. There was plenty of opportunity for the bug to bite. It's definitely a different world today where you can get on the air for 20ish bucks with a small HT. There are many of these classes in a day... but you don't really get much exposure to it. I don't know what draws new people to the hobby but the people that want to be here are going to stay with it. I'm not sure what the solution is to capture the ones that get their license and not do anything with it.

Maybe stress all the *other* things you can do other than "When all else fails". Even up in VHF / UHF there are so many neat things you can do... satellites, E openings, contests, meteor scatter, EME... etc. Adding some more digital privileges might help.. maybe start with that small change. Instead of just CW in the majority of HF bands avail to the tech... update that to digital and see if that helps. Start pushing that?
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K2LGO on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
That's like not throwing your lure in the water, for fear of what you might catch....You just have to hook up with a couple of duds, to get in the game...
 
The Tech License  
by KB2RJH on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I’m a Tech class and have no desire to upgrade to many snobs who think they are better than everyone else who are to good to talk to anyone but there own little click. Don’t get me wrong I’ve talked to some nice hams on 10 meters who aren’t snobs and talk to us so called lower class people.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KJ4DGE on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
KB2RJH, Don't be put off by a few wise-guys or know-it-alls. I ran into a similar problem as a tech years ago. What drove me to general was the desire to experiment on HF with antennas and also to try AM mode among other pursuits.

I have talked to folks all over the country and the world and while some ops may think of themselves as better than anyone else, the same holds true of most of humanity.Ignore the bad manners and find the good folks!

There is so many cool things to do in this hobby and yes if you try on 2 or 440 you WILL run across some very nice folks who share similar interests.

Even if computers and cell phones are what you are use to, you can even make contacts via Echolink with your cell or PC. Its becoming more the norm these days than the exception.

73

Greg
 
The Tech License  
by WA7SGS on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Remember when radio was a big part of our lives, just like newspapers and magazines? Whether it was the broadcast bands, shortwave, CB or commercial/government radio, it was a common thing to encounter in daily life. That set the table up nicely for amateur radio.

That was then. This is now. How many good writers of letters are out there, either email or snailmail? Not many! Same goes for those who get the Technician test taken. How would they even know what radio operating was? The soil from which operators and writers spring is no longer large in size or fertile.

We do get some preppers and emcomm people come our way since that is the way the winds of the present blow. The love of radio is mostly gone since it is not the major way of communicating any more. Ironically we use radio more than ever with WiFi, Bluetooth, satellite TV and smartphones being the devices du jour. There just is not the same lovable mystery of wireless transmission springing from them.

Most of us will be dead in a couple decades or so. Amateur radio will live on in some form. It always has. Wish we could see how it happens and then maybe we would not feel so bad right now!
 
The Tech License  
by WX4O on July 2, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Years ago there the Bash Books.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K6AER on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
When an Extra posts, "how do I make a dipole", what good is a Tech License.

For the most part repeaters are dead.

The FT-8 crowd will not converse.

When you tune from the extra portion of the band to the general portion of the band I sometimes check to see if the read out doesn't say 27 MHz.

We don't require CW for the higher licenses so why have a novice license?
 
The Tech License  
by K0RGR on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I see so many people taking any proposal from ARRL, adding a little baloney and a lot of conspiracy theories to it. I do not believe ARRL is aiming to increase subscriptions with this proposal. If you think that, you and Alex Jones can put together a video to prove it.

I've long been an advocate for granting Techs limited data privileges on HF. We've eliminated the telegraphy requirements, for good or ill. The data modes are the equivalent of CW for practical purposes.

Like it or not, and I don't, the Technician is our entry level. It is, indeed, VHF/UHF oriented. Looking at the newest question pool, it looks to be even more so than before. At least they got some questions about DMR in.

The old Novice provided a much more balanced entry experience. The newbie had to use a non-voice mode at 75 watts input power (maybe 50 out if you were lucky), crystal controlled. Still, an active Novice could work the whole country and maybe some DX. He could do it whenever he wanted, night or day.

The current Tech starts out with his Baofeng, and soon tires of talking to the same three guys on the local repeaters all the time. Those guys are all octogenarians and go to bed at 7.

Sure, there are other things he can do, but after his initial sour introduction, the newbie wonders why he should bother. Giving them digital privileges restores that Novice experience - at least to the ones who are somewhat interested in it.


Yes, there are many who really aren't interested in the radio aspect of it. They want to use it as a utility. These were often the overwhelming bulk of newbies that came through my classes a few years ago. But now, I am seeing more and more people who are interested in the classic ham radio experience. They want to talk to DX.


I'm not wildly enthused about phone privileges for Techs on HF. What's been proposed doesn't suck. I would favor the 15 meter proposal - 15 has needed a shot in the arm for a long time. When they gave Novices and Techs 10 meter phone privileges, it seemed to suck a lot of activity out of 15. I'm not sure about 40 and 80, but I suspect ARES is wanting those.


So, yes, I support the proposal.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I got into radio repair at about 14 years of age. I heard of ham radio but had no liking for the code factor so didn't bother looking into it.

When I married at age 26 the wife suggested I find a hobby to take up my spare time. A friend got me interested while he was learning cw for the novice test. It kind of intrigued me and it seemed like I might be able to do it if I tried.

There was a local Advanced Class licensee that gave tests and my wife and I took it with him. His advice? "Go for the 13 wpm and get your General!"

Several months later (1962) 4 of us went to Buffalo, N.Y. to take our General test. (I was the lucky one.) I recall one question on the written test was, I think an audio circuit. The question? "Why won't this work?" The answer was a coupling conden….capacitor (hi) was of the wrong value or missing. (Can't remember.)

Several months later two of the others took their Conditional test from me and passed.

You had to know quite a bit about electronics then. I believe the average ham in those days had a love for the experimenting phase more than the ability to be able to talk to someone 1000 miles away.

How I miss the coil winding on the Morton Salt Boxes, etc. Hi. It was a very different world in those post war days with the war surplus goodies one could get fairly cheap and convert to ham freq's. (The ARC-5 comes to mind! Dawgies! I miss it!)

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3RKU on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I know extras who don't know a thing about operating. I've been working the 13 colonies event and can't believe the lids I hear. The older members of my club, hams since the 60's have begun to mentor our members, techs and extras, on how to operate.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KF4HR on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Perhaps someday a ham that has been licensed for several decades will become the FCC Commissioner and decide to totally revamp the amateur licensing process. Now, wouldn't that be interesting?



 
RE: The Tech License  
by KC7MF on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Rant on:

If I were a tech or someone considering amateur radio today, and read this thread, I would go buy a computer game. So here it is:

I get it that the crowning moment of your life was when you passed a silly 5 wpm Morse Code test. You thought it was hard. That feat is not what made you an amateur radio operator. I also understand that you learned some radio theory. That was not what made you an amateur radio operator. What made you an amateur radio operator was the experience of talking to hundreds of fellow amateurs who were kind enough to give you the time of day. From what I have read in this thread, very few of you are returning the favor. When was the last time you spent some time on the Tech portion of the 10 meter band giving eager Techs someone to talk to? I mean really did it. Called CQ and stuck around to see who showed up. Then talked to them about themselves and not how hard it was for you to get your general ticket when you had to ride a train to get there and learn code.

Would you get offended if these new techs asked you why you think Morse Code proficiency should get you more phone bandwidth? Hard to justify, right?

So making it much harder for really busy people to participate in this hobby is your idea of a good idea? Right.

The ARRL is right. It was the right decision to drop code. It was nothing more than an initiation ceremony anyway. I wonder how many old-code extras could pass the code test today. IF it is so all fired important why don't we periodically retest? I'll tell you why. Because most of us would flunk. That's why. IF the electronics and Morse code knowledge was so vital to possessing a license to operate an amateur radio we would always have been tested every few years.

I operate a net a few times a week. Some of the poorest operators are old-time hams. I won't even go near 80 meters for the rude geezers who have been licensed since Washington was a corporal. But come to my net new guy and you will get a warm and friendly reception. We will talk to you as long as you like. We will help you get some fun contacts. Just the other day we turned a new Florida general's first HF contact into a QSL card from net control, another from Boston and a chance to speak to New Zealand. Like maybe he left the net thinking that there were some really nice and friendly hams out there who did not berate him because he didn't have to learn code...you know?

We are the problem. Every time we get bored and blow off a new ham we are part of the problem. Look at those posting above who whine about how dead VHF/UHF are these days. Who among us does not have a 2 meter radio? Why aren't we spending a little time hitting those repeaters so the new people have someone to talk to? When was the last time you did it? I'll tell you why nobody is there. Because we are too all fired lazy to do it. That is why. We big bad extras don't have time to associate with those new folks. And we like to think of ourselves as Elmers. They would have more luck looking at youtube videos of VHF/UHF contacts. So maybe drop your HT on the seat of the car or out on the patio and throw out a call every now and then.

Then there was my all time favorite. A club had a display at a local street fair to introduce people to Amateur Radio. And what did they do? Put a code guy right up front. I watched for 20 minutes and not a single person walking up to their display was handed a microphone.

We have thread after thread about this stuff. I think Frodo said it well..."We have met the enemy and he is us".





 
The Tech License  
by AC2RY on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Today Technician license is mostly used by extended range drone operators. It allowes them to use frequencies outside of public WiFi spectrum in 2 to 5GHz range and transmitt8ng power above few watts. This is necessary for instance to transmit 4K video stream from drone to ground station. I didn't meet anyone who was interested in voice communications and not having General class.
 
The Tech License  
by WA1RNE on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!

Too bad about what ham radio once was. Cell phones and the internet have assured it is only viable for two things now:

Emergency Comms for extremely isolated situation and....

...Contests.

There was a time when 6 meter AM was bustling with activity in the summer months. The "Magic Band", what most Tech's back in the day called it and really enjoyed is now just a vast wasteland, like 2 meters.

The only time I hear any activity in the Boston area on CW, SSB or AM is during a contest. People can do what they want but too bad all this good equipment and time is going to plaques on someone's wall.

With this level of activity I can't justify new equipment - especially large antennas on towers.

If this is what the ARRL had in mind, it's clearly not sustainable.

....WA1RNE
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K4DPK on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe folks who don’t know how to install a coax fitting or measure out a working wire antenna should not be called “Technician”. A good name might be New Guy, Beginner or (Oh, here’s one) “Novice”. One of the incentives we had in the old days was to get away from the title, and get one with a little more prestige. To do that, we had to learn stuff.

I don’t remember ever seeing any flash cards or magic recipes. We had the ARRL License Manual and, if we were lucky, Uncle George from the US Army Signal Corps to teach us CW the GI way. Nobody ever advised us to just memorize the correct answer, and never mind the question. Boy, am I ever glad of that.

When I was fifteen, I got a pink slip from FCC for having key clicks. On top of my being scared to death of FCC, my Father threatened to throw out all my gear and disown me for “getting the family in trouble with the government”. That was in 1955.

But for over a year now I’ve been checking calls for license class when I hear them on HF, especially on the low band edges. I hope you’d be as astonished as I was, to see how many Techs have been operating in the HF phone bands already. One of them, after catching him on ca. 3640 SSB the second time, explained it to me. He said, “I’m not doing anything that you’re not doing”. In a society where everyone deserves a trophy, I guess this is an acceptable frame of mind.

I believe the entry level license should be non-renewable. This would encourage the new ham to learn both the technical and legal aspects of ham radio. He would then have an investment, and the license would become a valued possession. He might even also find the knowledge of some benefit in his profession. In this way, the owning of a ham license might even re-acquire some of the respect with which it was once regarded, by outsiders as well as hams themselves.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
7MF,
"We have thread after thread about this stuff. I think Frodo said it well..."We have met the enemy and he is us".
I think it was Pogo, back in the late 60's or early 70's.
I dropped out of amateur radio in 92 and returned 2016. My station is 2 qrp rigs that don't cover more than 40, 30 and 15 meters. Maybe in time 6 will be in there too, but not yet. (Busting my butt getting back up to the 20+ wpm of the "old days") Hi
I respect your feelings, to each his own.
Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KF4HR on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Would you get offended if these new techs asked you why you think Morse Code proficiency should get you more phone bandwidth? Hard to justify, right?

Nope, I certainly wouldn't. Back then obtaining more operational bandwidth (phone or CW) required the applicant be proficient in both the Code AND stages of advanced electronic theory, which (if successfully passed) yielded the additional bandwidth benefits. And (at the time) knowing faster speed CW provided the benefit of handling faster CW traffic, perhaps emergency CW traffic.

The Code vs No-Code argument has gone on for years and probably will continue until the last old timer turns a SK. One thing passing the CW tests proved was, the amateur applicant cared enough to learn a communications method that didn't just involve memorizing well published questions and answers. Unfortunately that's what we have now.

I'm all for periodic renewal testing, but only if the exact questions and answers are "not" published. This would force the applicant to actually study and learn.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KJ4DGE on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Best comment I have heard so far. Stop berating and start relating! Start operating on the bands you gave up years ago cause they have newbies there and maybe they might scare you into elmering. Get up and just make the hobby something to enjoy for all not a wasteland of us versus them and code versus no code, what a waste of your experiences you could be passing on to those who really want to learn.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by PBJOK on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
TOO BAD YOU CAN'T USE LARGER FONTS BUT THANK DOG WE CAN TYPE IN ALL CAPS!!!
 
The Tech License  
by W5IDX on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
When getting a license took a large amount of effort on the candidates part. Researching about ham radio, learning the process of getting a license, finding study material, etc. etc. Finding another ham to give you the test, Because of the effort required, you naturally only had serious individuals taking the test and studying and buying radios.

Now since the licensing process is pretty much a give away compared to years ago you have many individuals getting licensed on whims or getting licensed for no specific reason. We still have a small amount of serious new hams coming into the hobby.

There are many arguments why the licenses and efforts required were dumbed down. But as always if you follow the money trail you will find the answer.

As an avid operator we now have the responsibility on our shoulders. The responsibility to mentor the new hams and to take them into the fold and to show them what the hobby and ham community has to offer.

It's sadly a society nowadays of instant gratification. The licensing process has now evolved to fit that scenario.

No doubt, The constant in the universe is change. In time this will all change again as the newer society dictates.

Find a new ham, make a new friend,
W5IDX
 
RE: The Tech License  
by W3DBB on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
The real problems are regulation that is out of touch with reality and the corresponding lack of amateur enforcement. My premise is additional privileges for Techs wouldn't do a thing for amateur radio.

The proliferation of QRM from switching power supplies and data lines is a real and serious problem and it is growing. It won't do any good to be legally-permitted to install an outside antenna in a HOA-controlled neighborhood if all that can be heard is noise. All this appears to be ignored- WHY???

The lack of meaningful Amateur Enforcement coupled with the ease of obtaining a ham ticket has been a nightmare for ham radio. It's almost as if the FCC wants to destroy AR so they can walk away from it. Ham radio today is largely high-power CB and that is a criminal shame.

Think about what ham radio was like decades ago. It had it's problems then too but there was much more decorum and interesting technical discussions. It could stimulate interest, particularly among young people, to make the long-term investment in learning how to set up an effective amateur station. This COULD lead to pursuing further education in science, technology, engineering. or mathematics.

There is not nearly as much of that now as HR degenerated into just another plug-and-play hobby. With all of the blather from the government and the education establishment about STEM one would think the FCC would be forced by its overseers in the U.S. House of Representatives to get with the times and re-engineer the ARS as a gateway to a STEM career.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K9MHZ on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"by KB2RJH on July 2, 2018
I’m a Tech class and have no desire to upgrade to many snobs who think they are better than everyone else who are to good to talk to anyone but there own little click. Don’t get me wrong I’ve talked to some nice hams on 10 meters who aren’t snobs and talk to us so called lower class people"

So, let me see if I understand this. You're a KB2 call, which is from the 1980s or so, still a Technician, and whining about: "to (it's "too", BTW) many snobs" who have "there (how about "their") own little click ("clique")."

So, rather than showing the slightest amount of initiative, you prefer to complain about a perceived problem, one that I NEVER encounter myself. Wow.

BTW, you forgot to blame the ARRL.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N3HEE on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I don't see a need for Tech and General anymore. Why not make the Extra class the entry level license ? Then we are all equal and everyone can dig in and enjoy the hobby. I don't think we would see much of a change though.
 
The Tech License KG4RUL- we are already living it  
by N0AH on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
We are already in the mess you have predicted-
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AD4U on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
N3HEE - What you proposed was exactly when we had before 1968(?). Back then anybody who had a General license had full use of each and every ham frequency. The advance and extra license gave no additional frequencies. They were just status symbols.

Then in 1968 the ARRL (and others) came up with the tier license system that we have today. Back then everybody who had a general license lost about half of their frequencies. Most general licensees were livid. In order to regain the lost frequencies they had to "upgrade" to advance and / or extra.

All of us old timers remember this well. Most of the new hams have no idea that this happened.

Dick AD4U
 
RE: The Tech License  
by WB8LBZ on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I have seen several types of hams in my few years of being licensed. A new Tech that is not active and probably won't ever. An older Tech that had to learn CW for his license and has no interest in HF. The older Tech could easily do a paper upgrade to get HF access and has no desire to do so.

So what do we do? You can lead a horse to water BUT...

There is Elmering and leading by example. I have gotten involved in Traffic Handling and have received-delivered messages welcoming new hams to the hobby. Some of these I have passed to the new ham over a local VHF/UHF repeater during a local net. I give them a hard copy later when I meet them at a club meeting. How much can the average ham do? How much is the average ham willing to do?

I have built many of my antennas and have helped with antennas for those hams that physically can't. I am active with the local club and try to assist/mentor newer hams with their station building. I am net control for a local net that has been going for over 30 years. If it is worth doing it might not be easy to do. Look around, maybe there is something that is in need to start that is not currently being done. Be radio active.

73, Larry WB8LBZ
El Paso, TX
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"What you proposed was exactly when we had before 1968(?). Back then anybody who had a General license had full use of each and every ham frequency. The advance and extra license gave no additional frequencies. They were just status symbols."

That's why we busted our humps to get the General!! The Holy Grail was that ticket! Coming back to the hobby today we are faced with "starting all over" to get back what we EARNED/WON back then.

Bitter?? No. Maybe a bit discouraged, though. … sigh …

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KB2RJH on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Butt Hurting extra class nits one at a time. Let me get you a crying towel.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KB2RJH on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
WB8LBZ I tried leading my Donkey to water but the ass wouldn't move :)
 
RE: The Tech License  
by SWMAN on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
WOW !! That's all, Just WOW !!
 
RE: The Tech License  
by W1RC on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I am tired of reading how useless Techs are. That is BS. Many guys got the Tech license back in the 50s and 60s because they had no interest in HF. They are responsible for developing VHF and UHF repeaters and other forms of communications that are in common use today.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K6AER on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Whenever I encounter a ham operating out of his licensed band I ask them if they would like to move to the proper band to continue the QSO.

90% do. If they don't want to move I end the QSO.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by W4AJA on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"New" tech since 2009.

I enjoyed volunteering for radio ops at a local triathlon, but that event changed and no longer needs us.

I enjoyed going to quarterly club meetings, which included preparing for Field Day each year. The people drama eventually killed it for me. Was looking for simple comradery and no interest in navigating who gets along with who and who doesn't.

I live in an HOA and am one of those people who's reluctant to hack up their house. Yes I know that's my problem.

I have little time, interest or skills for casual rag chew. My observation on the generations after me is that they don't spend much time talking to one another either. It's brief messages and photos back and forth.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N8FNR on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
So if the ARRL went away who else would lobby for us in Congress? Wayne Green?

Zack N8FNR
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K0UA on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I don't have all the answers. (yeah it is hard to believe, but it's true)

But I do think there are things we can do to make the situation better. You would have to be a fool not to notice the lack of understanding about basic technical subject, like how to make a dipole, and even how to operate over the years. Yes some of our new hams need help with these basic things. So why don't we stop complaining about it and do something about it? How about haveing programs at club meetings (and yes invite every new ham you can find) to come and learn some basic antenna and power supply theory and some basic "how to operate" tips. Yes many have no idea how operate an HF radio even if they had one. Lets all jump in and lend a hand. How about an antenna commitee willing to come to a new hams house and get his antenna situation squared away even if it is an attic dipole. And help him solve his RFI problems too. Lets take our "old fart" skills and share them with the younger generation before we SK? Just a thought.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by ALPHONSE on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
“One thing passing the CW tests proved was, the amateur applicant cared enough to learn a communications method that didn't just involve memorizing ...”

This has always been the very most funny thing I have ever read over the years.

I don’t know how it is possible to learn CW without memorization.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N9AOP on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
If the techs are not getting on 2M with all the cheap stuff available, why are we to think they will spend lots more for an HF rig if they were given privileges
on those bands. And there is no use in ragging about the dumbing down of the exams and the bullshit of ham in a day because that us here to stay.
Art
 
The Tech License  
by WA1MOW on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
After reading many of the responses here it's obvious that the Tech license, as well as the General, and Extra tests are too easy, or testing for the wrong knowledge.

Here is an idea...Lets only have two levels of licenses. Take the Tech license and make it more like the General. Make it so you can't teach to the test in the morning, and pass the exam in the afternoon. Make it more knowledge based so that the people who are taking it are interested in Amateur Radio, not just preppers, and 1st Responders. (I am an EMT-P by the way.) Give them everything that the Techs have now, but give them very limited HF privileges on all bands.

The second class would be a combination of General and Extra. Lets face it, being an extra today is not as hard as it used to be. Why test for something that people are going to learn and never use to just pass a test. We need to realize that the old ways of doing things are not necessarly the best ways any longer. Give this license full HF privileges.

We now live in the 21st Century, things are not the same anymore. Very few people build their own rigs, a few experiment, and a few will build simple projects. Let's have license classes that make sense, and not turn out amateurs just to build up the license counts. Making the tests harder is not the answer, modernizing them is the correct answer for sensible growth.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
RJH & RC; I'm not ragging on the techs, as several of my 1960 General and Conditional buddies got into ham tv and lots of uhf experimenting. I was more interested in home-brewing and repairing to follow suit. There's lots of credit to be given to vhf & uhf hams experimenters, without which, where would high technology be today?

I would like to see the techs of today becoming excited in the electronics involved in our hobby and not just in talking on 2 or 6 meters. The thrill in hearing a "signal" coming from a set we've repaired or built is something not soon forgotten. (And remembered till sk time. Hi.) Perhaps, in time that'll be the case. I hope so.

Charlie, K3UIM


 
RE: The Tech License  
by W1RC on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Many countries have two levels. When I was first licensed in Canada we sat for the amateur radio proficiency certificate which was quite difficult. We could only operate CW on HF and had to wait a full year to try for the Amateur Advanced certificate. We had to bring proof, like our logbook and QSL cards, to show that we had operated our stations in order to write the Advanced. Once you passed the Advanced test you had all privileges.

 
RE: The Tech License  
by K8QV on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Just brainstorming...... if the Ham In A Day emergency guys had a fairly easy test that got them some HF privileges as well as access to the ubiquitous emergency nets on 2 meters, but it was only good for a year and then they had to upgrade or stop playing with their HTs altogether..... maybe.......
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AA4PB on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Young people today grew up with cell phones that can talk, text, and send pictures all over the world. It's no wonder that few of them are impressed with the technology of an H.T. that talks through a repeater 20 miles away.

 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
PB: Makes one wonder of the future of ham radio. Looks bad.
Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by WB4M on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Why would an EMT, fireman, etc bother with a 2-meter HT when they better and more sophisticated equipment? My stepson is an EMT and they have P25. Preppers? They have GMRS, FRS, etc. ATV'ers just bootleg.

The tech-in-a-day results in people who forget it all the next day. Read "the doctor is in" in QST and laugh at the Extras asking what is a BNC connector.
This is not the technical hobby of the past, and we must realize it. Ham radio is glorified CB for the most part. Don't deny it because there is too much evidence of it. And yes I can blame the ARRL because they pushed EMComm and orange vests for years and years. Its' all about numbers and there is no denying it. Now that isn't enough, give away more, sell more HF rigs.

Let's just do away will all testing, all license classes, and be like GMRS. Buy a one-year license, get a callsign. Renew each year or it lapses. Technology has not only caught up with ham radio but passed it by.
 
The Tech License  
by N4SRN on July 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Give Tech licensees advice without flogging them for not being EEs, or 40yr experienced with HAM. I still get “why would you want to do that” and “ why would you want to buy that” in reply to almost every post on any forum. Yeah, who would be fool enough to buy a radio from those idiots, or want to work Digital instead of CW? If people who scare away new HAMs outnumber those who want to help, it’s pretty much a wash.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KF4HR on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
ALPHONSE - There's a big difference between memorizing CW and learning to effectively communicate in this mode, compared to memorizing that the answer to some Question labeled T1F03, will always be the letter D. 10-4 good buddy?
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
SRN: It makes one wonder what can be done to help. I feel a bit frustrated realizing that I'm 84 and totally powerless to do a thing to improve the mess we're obviously in. It looks like it all depends on the amount of actual interest the "newbies" can/will muster up to improve the situation.

In "the old days" the challenge of building a workable kit, or finding all the necessary parts to assemble a schematic we found in a ham magazine, putting it together and applying the voltage to see it function the way intended brought the thrill of success that encouraged one to delve even deeper into the mystery called ham radio. Can we ever go back to those exciting days again or will technology push us into the back seat to sit and see what happens next? ((Only the shadow knows!)) Hi.

Darn!! I miss the magic it was for me in the early 60's. … sigh …

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KC7MF on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!

"WB4M: This is not the technical hobby of the past, and we must realize it. Ham radio is glorified CB for the most part. Don't deny it because there is too much evidence of it."

I most certainly do deny it. Go back 40 years and the hobby was positively primitive compared to now. The rigs were all analog. Slow Scan TV was state of the art. There were no digital modes allowing good communications under conditions that would have stymied even the best 1980 equipment. A ham then would have had no idea what a computer was and could never have imagined something like Echo Link. And on that cell phone you seem to revile? Remote operation? Right. Like we knew about that in 1978.

Ham radio is, in many ways, much more technical now than ever before. People are designing equipment and operating systems that most old time hams could not imagine then. Nor can the majority of them understand how these systems work today. You claim that new hams are not technical. OK. Here is your homework. You write the code for Ham Radio Deluxe. You write the program that runs a new digital mode. You design the internet that allows me to operate a remote station in Maine and Hawaii in the same night. You do that.

You don't solder computers. You program them. And that technology, which only a few older hams truly understand in the same way they understood vacuum tubes, is at the heart of everything we do these days. I still have my HW-101 and can explain how it works. I can fix it. After your code exam, tell me where on those famous circuit diagrams there was one for DSP.

Tell you what though. The other day I worked a guy who wrote code for Microsoft. He was a new general. And if we were completely honest we old-timers would have to admit that he knows far more about how modern ham radios really work than we do.

Bonus question. How many of us could pass a technical test on what is really going on while our Icom 7600 is booting up?

Some of us are quite knowledgeable about computers and things digital. Most of us are not. Any objective observer designing a new Extra Class test of state-of-the-art ham radio would have to include as much or more of this kind of knowledge than the basic analog circuitry of the past.

I am not trying to put down older hams. I am one. Nor am I disrespecting their hard won knowledge. I am trying to get them to admit that they do not know it all and that just maybe, if they would get off their code-induced high horse and listen to some younger hams, they would become the ones being Elmered.

Young people who get into amateur radio do not do it because of or despite of what cell phones can do. They do it for the same reasons we did. I am currently talking to the entire world on this keyboard of mine. Today I got a video call (facetime) from France on my cell phone. I can pick up the phone and call my good friend in Kirghistan pretty much any time I want to. None of that diminishes the fact that I very much enjoyed speaking to Russia last night and having a wonderful technical conversation on antennas with a ham in Florida.

I wish a few of my fellow geezers would actually spend a few minutes talking with new hams. They just might learn how much in common they have.

 
The Tech License  
by KB1ZHF on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I am tired of hearing that Techs are not real hams do to not having to do cw, and that they just memorize the test answers.
I have tried off and on for 40 plus years to get the hang of cw. Started with reading my dads old WW2 vintage Navy Blue jacket manual. Went on to buy a Heathkit Novice course kit with cassette tapes, when they had a store locally.
Then having wife and kids detoured things,and a Radio Shack kit try in there somewhere.
Then came the 21st century, an ARRL manual and much time spent STUDYING and doing the practice exams on eHam. Once I was able to correctly answer questions by having learned the material I took the test and passed. I really wanted to learn the the ways of ham-hood. There is no way I could memorize all of the test questions and answers.
Studying for General now.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K6AER on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
In Japan there is a 5 watt license, A 100 Watt License and a 1000 watt license. All the licenses have the same band plan privileges. Only the output wattage is different.

I like the idea.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
ZHF: Hang in there buddy! That's what it took "back then" and also today.

Granted, there's no comparison as far as the technology goes, but the desire, the willingness, etc is there and that's what is sorely needed. I hope that an "ht owner" can be bitten by the bug that makes him/her wonder about the workings of the hobby enough to look further.

If a crystal set can cause me to ponder how in the world "no voltage runs this thing", then maybe the ht owner ...? But I dream on. Hi.

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
AER; As a qrp operator, I too like the idea, but look out for the objections, death threats, etc that are bound to come our way! Hi!
Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K6CRC on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
All depends on what the 'hobby' wants. Most Techs I have met were young people who got a license because of a community service project. Met some during CERT training. A couple of more were Boy Scouts.
Most never did anything else after getting a license and maybe making a few contacts or operating at an event.
Such is the nature of this and most hobbies now. Ham Radio isn't so different. Robotics, coin collecting, car projects, etc. all have people come and go. A $50 cell phone does more than a $5K rig, if you are just considering bang for the buck. A $20 board computer and free Unix based software is a lot more fun and creative if you are into electronics.

This discussion will end up with arguments on 'no-coders', comments on how 'tough' it was way back when, or how 'lazy' kids are today. THAT drives away more young people than anything else. No one wants to be insulted by old guys.

Likely, license standards will have to loosen to attract the 'numbers' needed by the ARRL and wanted by the equipment makers to continue to service the hobby. While the old timers see that as heresy, without an ARRL or equivalent, and new hams to buy equipment, the hobby will be dead in 10-20 years.
I just try to enjoy it. Fool around with antennas, read up on technologies, catch the odd DXpedition. I realize that what I like will not be what my kids like or what their kids like. So be it.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N4KC on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I wonder when the first time was that somebody declared, "The hobby is not really growing!" When somebody else said, "These newcomers...they just don't have the right spirit. It's too easy to get in. They'll drift away." Or when another ham offered, "It's the kids nowadays. They'll never be interested in what this hobby is really all about and it will all be over when we go SK."

I'd guess that would have been all the chatter on the web and in online forums around 1915 or so.

Mentor, evangelize, enjoy what you enjoy in the hobby and let others see not only why you enjoy it so much but let them know about all the other aspects of ham radio that you don't necessarily love. It just might be their cup o' tea.

The hobby's going to be just fine. It's better than ever. And it'll be around and in great shape after all of us are trying to get the Pearly Gates added as a DXCC entity.

73,

Don Keith N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com



 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"The hobby's going to be just fine. It's better than ever. And it'll be around and in great shape after all of us are trying to get the Pearly Gates added as a DXCC entity."

Well put, KC. As is the case with all the loves that come into our lives, whether it be romantic or hobby. We enjoy it as it was at first; new, exciting, different and very pleasing. Then as it ages it gets deeper and problems arrive. We have to "overlook the flaws" and somehow contend or adapt our feelings to it or it becomes a pain that can only grow with time.

The real problem is in how we handle it. Do we let it go, hoping that in time it'll heal itself? Or do we do our best to help solve the problem? And how?? And how??

I've learned that sometimes the best result comes from just saying, "Yes, dear." (The trouble being, how many "Yes, dears" do we have in us? Hi.)

I agree with you in realizing that it's been a problem since Adam heard an elephant beat out "CQ" on a tree stump and he went to the elephant to seek the meaning, thus making it the first "Elmer" and him being the first addict to the hobby. (Slightly paraphrased.)

Let's wait and see how it works out. Who knows? Maybe the next generation will be totally computer related, (cw less), as it is with this generation with their "thumb exercising". ...sigh...

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AA4PB on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, I think we tend to remember things the way we wished they were rather than how they really were. In the 1950's I don't recall kids (or anyone else for that matter) lining up to get into ham radio. In my high school I only knew of one other ham. In the radio club that I went to (the Michigan Six Meter Club) I was the only one younger than about 30. One of the differences, as I remember it, was that the majority of those hams I met in person offered encouragement and assistance.
 
The Tech License  
by WA3SKN on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Not much here.
" They oughta..."
"We need to..." etc. etc.

There ain't no "We". You said your club has new hams. Pick one out. Help him. Have him pass it on.
'Nuff said.

-Mike.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
AA4: I had my start with radio repair. Every "job" was a challenge and it carried over into ham radio. I was always excited (enthralled??) to figure out the problem. I would wake up in the middle of the night to jump out of bed to go fix the latest problem. (I've always been a serious case of ADD! Hi.) I would sometimes go to high school with bags under my eyes from lack of sleep. (Poor mom!)

While in the army in 1951 she sent me a clipping of a cartoon of a kid being dragged away from his radio with headphones, screaming, "But I heard something! I heard something!"

That was how I was, all the time. Too deeply engrossed in whatever it was I may have been working on. You can imaging how enthralled I became with cw! Oy vey! Hi.
I was running 20+ wpm when I took a "vacation-or-else!" (Family had to come before all else.)… sigh …

Charlie, K3UIM

 
The Tech License  
by WE6C on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Clubs could have ten meter nets so if someone wants to get their feet wet on HF, they're among friends. New op's are more likely to get on HF if they're talking to friends.

Although, I agree with the statement above, "you can lead a horse to water......"
 
RE: The Tech License  
by W1RKW on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Each band allocated to us amateurs has its operating nuances. So which one is right? Evidently, all of them. There's no logic in restricting entry level to one or more segments of the RF spectrum. As long as the new ham is knowledgeable with the legal aspects of being a ham, knows the rules and regulations and operates and knows how to operate within the confines of FCC rules and regulations then this discussion is has no merit.
 
The Tech License  
by K1LI on July 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I believe THE TEST is the problem. The ARRL's petition reviews how we got here and begins the process of repairing the damage done by the FCC.

Studying for the test should be the initial phase of preparing entry-level licensees to reap the myriad benefits our wonderful hobby offers. It should NOT be a test of character to see whether you're willing to survive the ordeal of stuffing your head with lots of useless facts.

Like so many commenters on this thread, I started as a Novice. The original Novice class "study guide" was four pages long, three pages of which were the 26 question "pool." I'm pretty sure the 10-year old me would have turned and run from the nearly 300 pages of today's license manual with its pool of over 400 questions, too many of which require advanced skills in language and logic to answer correctly.

An old adage reminds us, "You get what you measure." With today's rigs having more computing horsepower than the Space Shuttle, new hams need to know how to make sense of the user's manual, not remember off the tops of their heads that you can't run 1.2 jigawatts in the FT8.3.52 segment of the 6.328nm band.

The entry-level exam should prepare new hams to safely and competently assemble and operate their first station, whether it's an HF transceiver and dipole or a shack-on-a-belt. Everything else is just a barrier that makes us seem like an elitist group of sticks in the mud.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"The entry-level exam should prepare new hams to safely and competently assemble and operate their first station, whether it's an HF transceiver and dipole or a shack-on-a-belt. Everything else is just a barrier that makes us seem like an elitist group of sticks in the mud."
LI: I think that's what I've been saying. The greatest thrill is creating, repairing, or modifying a piece of ham gear and seeing it work. Then to actually make a contact as a ham with another ham, finding that, by golly, you CAN do it!

A terrific sense of accomplishment that will instill in you the willingness, no, the realization that you've made it! You are truly a member of the brotherhood, not just an observer of a hobby.

I believe most of us have, at one time or another, achieved that highly desired goal. ie: The first out-of-state cq contact, the first kiss, the first time reaching third base. etc. Hi. I could go on, but … sigh …

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by W4KVW on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!


"QUOTE",N8FNR on July 3, 2018
So if the ARRL went away who else would lobby for us in Congress? Wayne Green?

Zack N8FNR

When was the last time the ARRL lobbied for anything worth while? They have been a useless money hungry group of out of touch clowns for so long there is no need for them.If they are all we have it's worse than a bad joke.They suck on their best day & it's why the percentage of members vs numbers of licensed hams in the USA is so low.It does not take a genius to figure out they are looking for more membership dollars from the Tech Class by pushing for more band space for them.If they want HF band space they can simply upgrade their license like the rest of us.The best thing that could happen is if everyone stopped being a member of the useless organization & we watched the whole bunch fade into the sunset.The sooner the better.

Clayton
W4KVW
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!

"QUOTE",N8FNR on July 3, 2018
So if the ARRL went away who else would lobby for us in Congress? Wayne Green?

Memories! The "Drumm" submarine, I believe! I miss "73", "CQ" and "Ham Radio Magazine"! (The home-brewer's group!) I bought the CD version of all three and with it all the great memories associated with them.

Wayne got a lil vocal(?) at times and didn't care much for the ARRL. Or so I remember. Hi.

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AA4PB on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"When was the last time the ARRL lobbied for anything worth while?"

Oh, lets see. How about WARC bands, 60M, long wave, stopping broadband over power lines, PRB-1, or preventing HOAs from having a blanket prohibition against ham antennas?


 
RE: The Tech License  
by K9MHZ on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>The best thing that could happen is if everyone stopped being a member of the useless organization & we watched the whole bunch fade into the sunset.The sooner the better.
Clayton
W4KVW<<<<

Clayton, this would be a disaster. This is a day of political muscle, and that means numbers. (“Muscle” and hams, yeah there’s a joke there somewhere...) No code, easy licensing, new HF privileges for Techs.... pffft, nobody on K Street in Washington cares. We’re all a bunch of dorks to them. A lobbyist claiming to represent the interests of almost 800,000 Americans, residing in every political district coast to coast, now they’ll be interested.

It’s just the reality of numbers, plain and simple.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by WB8LBZ on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
60 Meters? That is a horse I won't be riding. If I wanted to operate on channels with limited power I would have bought a CB.

Old timers, lead by example. Mentor the new hams. Be inclusive and offer your assistance. There are enough people running around with their hair on fire over something trivial, don't be one of them.

73, Larry WB8LBZ
El Paso, TX
 
The Tech License  
by VE3UUH on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Is this posting another closet bashing of newcomers? If you go back over 25 years and look at who got tickets you might get a big suprise! The majority were in my age group and with Extra, Advanced class licenses. These people should have known better. Next I can not stand the term "operator", we should be beyond the classification " Operator". Get on the air once and a while and lead by example instead of belly aching, and lamenting about the good ole days.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
VE3UUH "Get on the air once in a while and lead by example instead of belly aching, and lamenting about the good ole days."

Not belly aching, reminiscing, fondly remembering, thinking back to the "glory days" of hamming. One of the benefits, or curses, of old age is the memories, So many things we should have done, or didn't do, etc.

I regret not going for my Extra, but I was having too much fun home-brewing, modifying and repairing to do it. Alas. At 84 years of age I find it difficult remembering what I told the wife yesterday that I'd do for her today. (Until she scolds me and tells. Hi.)

I can't really say I'd do anything differently, but I know that it probably wouldn't change the way technology has increased in the last 20 or 30 years. It is truly amazing, just looking at the radical change in thinking, shifting from tubes to transistors!. From 500 volts high voltage for the plates and screen grids to the 6 volts low voltage for transistors. Wow! Who would have guessed it was possible?

I, for one, am thankful for the memories I accumulated delving into the electronic marvels (miracles) of hamming when I did. Much as Henry Ford surely must have in the days before he passed away. We weep for the "days of yore". Hi.

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N4KC on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!

W4KVW,

Clayton, I don't know who at ARRL peed in your Cheerios, but your continued rants against the League are totally out-of-whack and illogical. As my recent article here on eHam noted, I am not totally in favor of all the League does or how they do it, but I certainly recognize their stellar work on behalf of the hobby we all love and just how much we need such a powerful force. And that is just one reason why I proudly and enthusiastically continue to be a member.

That, and since I am a member and have a vote and a voice, I can do more to shape the future of the organization and our wonderful hobby than you ever will by spewing baseless diatribes on some website.

73,

Don Keith N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com


 
the real truth  
by SSBER on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Too many uptight conservatives in this hobby, they ruin everything that is fun.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by ALPHONSE on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
KF4HR said, “10-4 good buddy?”

You are the first CB’er to ever stop by to say hi to me.
 
The Tech License  
by KK6HUY on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"The overwhelming majority of techs didn't take the test to become amateur radio operators. They did it because they're preppers and CERT types. Their only skin in the game was taking an easy test and purchasing a $35 HT from Amazon."

How is a prepper or CERT user not an amateur radio operator?

I glommed onto this quote because it was pretty much me, minus the prepper part. Run a group of offroaders into the desert, CB doesn't cut it. Get into a mess out there, well, the people who can help aren't listening to GMRS or FRS, now are they? You need the range, and for that you need the license.

So yeah, there's a lot of us who have no use for repeaters or ragchewing - but we do have a use for amateur radio and our licenses. Some of you should read the offroad trucking forums for a look into how a lot of these new licensees are using their radios.

Now, I decided it was neat and since I'm a computer nerd, FT8, PSK, packet radio, slow-scan TV and all that fun stuff was up my alley and I got my general and an HF radio and am busy plunging into that abyss. Am I using my rig for the same stuff you are? Some of you. Not a lot of you, by the contents of this thread. But please don't mistake our utter disinterest in QSO's, ragchewing, contests, building our own transceivers and antennas, and using repeaters (and I do know how to program for them, but what on earth would I use one for under most circumstances?) for a disinterest in ham radio. But guys like me are just using it in a very different way than most of you seem to be. In a sense, we aren't really hobbyists at all. We have specific uses for the gear and bands. Not commercial uses, but uses nonetheless.

I would agree there's no point in giving Tech licensees HF privileges. They wouldn't use it anyway.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AA4PB on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I think the ARRL's thought is that if you give Techs more HF privileges then they will invest in some HF gear and develop an interest in working DX, contesting, and rag chewing, thus becoming more active. In my opinion some will but probably many will not. Techs are still licensed amateur radio operators, regardless of whether they got involved for the "traditional" reasons or because they wanted an HT for emergency communications.

 
RE: The Tech License  
by K4EJQ on July 5, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Hey, the stench of dead horse is getting the attention of PETA , ASPCA and local LEO's for the mutilation of a corpse. Bury it and move on-PLEASE . Bunky, K4EJQ
 
RE: The Tech License  
by W4AJA on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I posted a reply here a few days ago and am enjoying the comments. In some ways it gives me more insight into what amateur radio is or could be. I think this hobby is somewhat unique because it defies definition. Try explaining the hobby to a non-Ham and you might see what I mean. Two Hams would probably have different explanations as well. For me the hobby looks like this:

You build equipment
-or-
You buy equipment
-and-
You make contacts (with other licensed Hams, which you yourself need a license to do legally.)

(I know this is an over-simplification.)

To me, a technician class person who hasn’t done much with the hobby for 9 years, the equipment part is fun but my hang-up is “making contacts.” For example, I much prefer a forum like this where I can post and read comments at my leisure when I have time. I have no desire to sit in front of a radio, try to find someone to connect with and carry on a conversation. Maybe that’s an immature behavior but I’m almost 60 and I’ve always been this way. There are many other ways to communicate with people that don’t require so much seat time. There are some special rules that apply to real-time voice communication that don’t apply with other forms. For example, I may have 15 free minutes to play on the radio but if I can’t find a polite way to end a conversation I’ll continue, and be less than happy about it. Young people appear to have even less contiguous time and their communication skills are built around text messages and social media apps. I think it’ll always be difficult to get these future generations to sit down in front of a radio to make voice contacts. They don’t even talk on their phones – they message one another. Yes there are digital modes and if you could make them work more like the smart phone they already carry there might be more interest. The smart phone is way ahead.
 
The Tech License  
by W9YW on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Whenever eham.net needs to prod their visitors into becoming active, they'll add a licensing thread to boost pageviews. Works every time.

If the ARRL was interested in getting members, they could change how they operate. Open up their pages on their own website. Make new hams automatic 1yr members, then not waste postage on getting them to sign up because: the rest of the planet now uses email and texts to communicate.

I have a lot of frustrations with the ARRL. The best step they could make for testing Techs would be to eliminate sufficient questions so that the test cannot be memorized by its questions for a passing grade.

Yes: Make people think, and that includes the VEs that would administer the test. Sure, you could still sell test guide books for the Gordon Wests of the world, but it would require people to think to get a license.

Can't think? Don't pass. That's how you improve operators, across the license grades.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K9MHZ on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I may be wrong, but I think question banks are the law now, government-wide. Not disagreeing with you, though.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K9MHZ on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
^^^^Trying to remember, might be an outflow from the FOIA, supposedly level playing field for all test-takers, etc. Like you mentioned, a sufficiently large pool, covering many topics, would still qualify.
 
The Tech License  
by AA4MB on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Qualifier(s): I'm 59 years old, 100% CW operator and I have about 10-12 QSOs per week. I don't vote party lines, I'm fiscally conservative and very mildly socially liberal.

Here's a couple of thoughts that, when woven together with other comments, will definitely form a type of whip with which the equine subject may definitely be struck some more:

1. When I got into ham radio (I'm a relative newcomer who's only been licensed 44 years), I was impressed by how you could communicate all over the world with something connected to a wire antenna. Come on - I could actually TALK to someone in another country without incurring massive long distance telephone charges! This was cool.

2. I was further impressed by this thing I encountered immediately after beginning the Novice classes (plural). (I believe it was two nights per week, for 6 weeks. That covered learning 5 wpm code, and all the theory we could stomach) There was this really cool thing called an 'autopatch' and these cats could make a phone call from their car! For FREE. They could report an accident, call their wife and see if anything was needed on the way home from work, etc. REALLY an impressive thing.

3. It was a 'safe' hobby. It didn't involve drag racing, getting drunk at bars or anything detrimental other than the occasional soldering iron or RF burn

4. It taught some pretty valuable life skills: electrical/electronic theory, basic mechanics (how to properly guy your tower so it didn't fall in a big windstorm), etc.

Most of all, it was the wonder and the allure of doing something that a non-ham just couldn't easily do. AA4PB wrote, "Young people today grew up with cell phones that can talk, text, and send pictures all over the world. It's no wonder that few of them are impressed with the technology of an H.T. that talks through a repeater 20 miles away." Yes, yes, 1,000 times YES! What we do or can do is no longer impressive to anyone - unless and until we provide communications in a disaster. Even then, how many people know that ham radio is there helping out? If we do get the publicity after/during the event, do most of the younger generations even know what ham radio really IS? Remember, we're talking about generations now who have never NOT known a remote control for a TV, a full generation who have never been without email and have never seen the one telephone in the household hung on the wall outside of the kitchen. How many of us have the guts to walk up to a teenager and try to impress them with a monologue with respect to why they ought to take up ham radio as a hobby? Precious few, because deep down YOU know that they won't be impressed, either. They chat all over the world (without QRM) in chat rooms, send email whenever and wherever they want and they do this without metered, by the minute long distance charges or fees. They cannot possibly conceive life without these things and for the most part are hardly impressed when someone offers to show them how to learn how to do this by investing a lot of time and money in something that doesn't guarantee you a success at making a contact 100% of the time. I repeat: they cannot conceive of the infrastructure which makes their daily 'routine' communications possible to the extent of it being taken for granted.

So many of us want the hobby back to the way it was.
I want that too. I choose to remove the blinders that allows me to see that it ain't ever going to happen. That ship has sailed and the paradigm shift has already taken place. For example, those who demand that CW testing be brought back, harder questions, etc., in order to 'save' the hobby are at best naive and misinformed as to the result if that happened. I'm with Don Keith - the ARRL not a perfect organization. Some of the things they push ... I look at and go, "Huh??" Keep in mind they are trying to do several things at once. Retaining their member base and selling magazines is certainly included among them. Yes, to a great extent they are almost like a self-perpetuating government bureaucracy. But if we'd still had a 5 wpm requirement for Technician and 13 wpm for General, the ham bands would be even less populated than they are today - AND we wouldn't have the numbers of licensed individuals that we do in order to hope for any sort of clout when it comes to saving our spectrum from commercial interests. I do agree with those who say that we need to be more mentoring, more engaging and more friendly in order to move newly licensed folks to the level of 'operator.' I cringe inwardly when I hear phrases which mention the hundreds of thousands of licensed amateur radio operators there are. Go to your local club meetings some time and pay close attention. Many folks in those clubs are what I call 'joiners' - they will join any organization for fraternal purposes. That doesn't make them 'operators' if they never key a microphone. It also doesn't make them less valuable than those of us who do - there is room for them in the hobby as well. Yes, we need to make sure they can also use the unoccupied repeaters we somehow still maintain, in the event of an emergency. That's on everyone - whether you are a 'them,' an 'us,' or somewhere in between.

Many of us came along after incentive licensing had taken root. It's all we ever knew. I got my Novice ticket and was absolutely petrified of NOT being able to renew it in the two year mandatory period of time, so I studied my butt off for General. I kind of liked the word 'Advanced' so I took that test and passed it, too. It took hearing a Spanish station on 40 meter CW early one evening, calling CQ repeatedly on 7015 KHz with nobody answering him, to realize that all I needed to do was go on one more level and I'd have it all. It made sense to me. Mind you, if I'd been a General and had a bunch of it taken away from me by Incentive Licensing, I'd still have a case of the red butt. (many STILL do - I respect that)

I also believe that there is not one single, magical solution which will ensure the continued existence of the hobby in the US. It will take a tweak here and there, the ARRL getting realistic about some things, efforts by local clubs and individuals to make newcomers feel welcome, etc. Most of all, we need to admit to ourselves and be honest - if WE were young and in our late teens and early 20s right now, would WE want to put forth the time and effort to be licensed and become an *operator? I know the answer in my case ... and it's not 'yes.'
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AA4MB on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
K3UIM said, "Memories! The "Drumm" submarine, I believe! I miss "73", "CQ" and "Ham Radio Magazine"! (The home-brewer's group!) I bought the CD version of all three and with it all the great memories associated with them."

I miss '73' and 'Ham Radio Magazine' as well. However, I can still buy CQ at my local Barnes and Noble. You can still subscribe. I just checked - the issues are freshly published and not some decades old stuff some shysters are sending me. :))
 
The Tech License  
by KK6HUY on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
@AA4MB: That's possibly the best post I have ever read on the issues with licensing, and far more to the point, with ham radio itself.

It's going to take a brave reader to read it and accept that what you're saying is the case. And many won't. But you've laid out the reality of the situation, and the choice is stark: keep living in a dream world or accept that this is how it is and deal with that.

A few years back, after I got my ticket and put up my VHF/UHF antenna, the neighbor teens (I actually have a couple, unusual these days) asked what it was for. So I showed them. They like and respect me a great deal and were trying to be nice about it, but I have always pushed them to be honest (great kids) and they confessed that they just thought it was an insane waste of time. I could not marshal much of a counterargument. The did appreciate the emergency prep aspect of it, but being young and living in a place where we don't get infrastructure-destroying natural disasters very often, they didn't see the need.

Their main emergency concern has always been getting shot at school, and I had to admit that shortwave isn't going to help them with that.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N4KC on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!

Of course, CQ is still published each month and is a very good magazine with a broad range of interesting articles.

And the USS Drum, W2NSD/1's submarine on which he served in WWII, is still around, too. She is a museum ship, open to visitors, remarkably well-restored, alongside the WWII battleship USS Alabama in Mobile Bay, Mobile, Alabama. She's even on the air on the ham bands for special events and Museum Ship Weekend each year.

CQ is worth reading. Drum is worth visiting.

73,

Don Keith N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com


 
RE: The Tech License  
by W4AJA on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Yes! AA4MB's comment is right on target.
 
The Tech License  
by N8RAT on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"Now the league wants to give Techs more HF bands..."

Yep. As if the General is really that difficult. Don't believe me? Check out KK4BFK. She was 8 years old when she passed her General then the Extra soon after.

The "participation trophy" crowd at work promoting that idea.

Sad.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K9MHZ on July 6, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
It’s all about the numbers, folks. No amount of long, esoteric analysis and opinions on what’s fair will be a match for the drive to get our numbers up. That’s just life today.

 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 7, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
MHZ; I believe you've hit the nail right on the head. Sad, but true. I'll go to my grave with fond memories of a time unduplicated, and I'm afraid, unduplicatable ever again with the same intensity. Unforgettably!

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KJ4DGE on July 7, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
AA4MB, I stand with you on the comments made. If you ever decide to run for office in VA you have my vote. I am 61 years old and every time the topic of this comes around I get older reading about it. When will the world of us versus them end? This is not my Dad's world of commercial broadcasting in the 1960's or my world of analog scanning in the 70's and 80's. You either change with the times and deal with the present or live in the past and gather dust and rust. Learning is about what others have done before you but you are never too old to learn from those younger and perhaps more in tune with the present ways of thinking. Makes you a bit younger perhaps. There is always alternatives, some just forget to look for them.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KC7MF on July 7, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
What I see over and over in these arguments is too much about some difficult initiation and too little about a fun hobby.

Ham radio is first and foremost a backup for our communications grid. That is the thing that protects our spectrum from invasion for profit. It is our "excuse" for existing. That excuse is fulfilled at the tech level of knowledge. (Or perhaps a bit less actually. Once could argue that some of the electronic theory questions are not necessary for good operating practices and emergency communications.) An extra class licensee is not necessarily a better emergency operator than a well trained Technician.


The other classes are mostly about fun. But if you read the above many want these licenses to take on a gravitas they do not have or really need. There once was a time when the national security was enhanced by trained amateur electronics repairmen and Morse code operators. Not any more. Yet I see so many here arguing for testing that was relevant in its day but not any longer.

Perhaps old men have done this forever. Perhaps they find their relevancy challenged by modernity. My personal choice is not to do that. I do not see my self-worth as what I once did. For example I do not wear my army rank on my hat. I see my self worth as what I will do today and tomorrow right until I finally achieve room temperature.

Maybe we old men ought to use our experience to see what we can do to make the hobby more fun for ourselves and those who will follow us. We could just decide to be mean, unwelcoming and elitist. That would not be my choice.

You want more code? You will get your wish far faster by slowing down and having a few QSOs with new guys trying to puzzle it out at 4 wpm than you will posting a few hundred words here about how hard it was back in the day. Trust me. Anyone trying to learn code today, already knows.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 7, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
MF: "I do not see my self-worth as what I once did. For example I do not wear my army rank on my hat. I see my self worth as what I will do today and tomorrow right until I finally achieve room temperature."

Well put, my friend. At my age, I cannot see a chance of accomplishing very much more, but I revel in all that I have already done. Ham radio being one of the things I'll always be proud of, my 4 year stint in the army? … Well, most of it I like, but losing my Cpl stripes is a totally different, untellable story. (I was just a fun loving youngster. Hi.)

There's nostalgia involved in both cases, but achieving the ham tickets will always be the number one example in my memories, or very close to it.

Charlie, K3UIM
 
The Tech License  
by KT4EP on July 8, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Licensed in 1992. Off the air from 1995 to 2010 due to work and family reasons ( never move your mother in law into your house ). Back on the air about 2011. Almost zero 2m activity in the Memphis area. Now in 2018, it's even more sparse. I tried 2m but most of the activity was a bunch of guys/CB ops on a simplex freq. So... I delved into HF digital -- after hearing all the garbage talk on 40/80 at night. I now make lots of ""contacts"" on psk31 jt65 & FT8. I receive QSL cards from Stateside and DX stations. I don't have to listen to guys talk about their amplifiers, ask questions about the length of a dipole, hear nonsense talk about grounding (many don't know the difference from RF and lightning grounding), or "how does this microphone sound". There is something for everyone in ham radio. If you want to tap a key for CW, go for it. If you want to blast away on HF phone, go for it. Want digital, do it. Etc etc etc. Just don't denigrate those who don't elect to operate the way you do.
KT4EP
 
The Tech License  
by KB9ZB on July 8, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I am a firm believer that a lot of the new technician class people are nothing more than reflection of our own selves. Look at most any repeater in the country, how many people will answer a call? Now many and most times you can call on a repeater and get no answer. Yet if you call in simplex you will have a 1000% better chance of having someone come back to you.
A new license holder will listen a long time before they actually transmit. If they listen for a few hours and hear nothing, they believe that A: they have their equipment set up wrong or B; the repeater is broke or C; there is no one on the system anymore. In any case you lose a lot of new hams, after all they got the license to use it, if they can’t talk to anyone then they just never come back, they will just forget about it
There is also the group that got the license and will never use it, but that is a small group. We need to lead they way and not just sit back. If we want this to succeed we need lead, not follow.
 
The Tech License  
by KE0RYF on July 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
As a newly licensed (General) operator, I’ll jump in. I got my Tech in May ‘18, and my General in June. I have acquired two HTs, as a means to get started, and now a FT-897, for more serious operating. Built a copper J-Pole, which doesn’t work, and a 6-meter dipole, which does. The 6-meter is constructed of PVC, 12-gauge household copper wire, and has an SWR of 1.1:1. I’m eager to get a multi-band antenna which I can erect at the house, so I can hopefully DX. I’m 66 yrs of age, and love the challenge of learning something new, and finding ways to make it useful. My professional background is as a health-care provider, first responder, and retired military. I’m glad to be part of a new community, and look forward to making new friends, and finding new ways to serve.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
RYF: Welcome to the ranks (no pun intended Hi.) of ham radio. Don't let the rest of us old farts discourage you by the way we might sound at times. Our hobby (addiction?? Hi) is the greatest experience obtainable in this lifetime! Granted, it has changed drastically in the last 50 years, but still, it is something all too few have, or will, ever enjoy.

An amateur photographer, back in time, totally enjoyed his home-made "pin hole" box camera just as much as today's digital Canon owner. It's how much you love the hobby as to how far you want (or can afford) to get involved. To some it's an enjoyment, but to others it's a love affair that can cost home and family if allowed to outgrow the wallet. Thank God for a loving wife with a very stern look!!) Hi.

Again, welcome and enjoy the ride!

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by PA0LPS on July 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Perhaps the name of this site should be changed from eham.net to oldham.net.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K5NOK on July 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
oldham.net.
I like it.

/grin

But...to join Oldham.net there are a few requirements.

1). You have to travel to a far away city to a government building a take an entrance test.
2). You get to draw a schematic of a Colpitts oscillator.
3). You will have a console tube TV in front of you from which you will build a working transmitter and antenna.
4). Send and receive cw at 20 wpm from the transmitter you just made.
5). Take an extra class test from 1967 with no practise tests or published question pool.

With these 5 easy steps you will be a member of oldham.net
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AA4MB on July 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
> Perhaps the name of this site should be changed from eham.net to oldham.net

PA0LPS - I actually did laugh out loud when I read that. Thanks for the chuckle. Unfortunately, that's getting to be the exception rather than the rule. When I'm on HF, I'd be making a safe bet saying that at 59, I'm younger than at least 95% of the folks I speak with. It's not necessarily 'sad' ... but it is sobering.

KT4EP: I wasn't 'off the air,' but I went a number of years without getting on VHF very often at all. I was shocked at the current dearth of activity in the Memphis area as well, particularly 2 meters. In my 20's and early 30's when I traveled on business, we had a regular bunch of guys on the local machines and I have fond memories of anticipating getting back in the car to see what the rest of the guys were talking about. Tis no more.

Someone further up the thread talked about how it was the Technician class which was responsible for building out repeater systems, etc. This was very true for a lot of areas. If the Techs had not been there with their support, sweat equity and resources, VHF hamming wouldn't have enjoyed the popularity it once had.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
LPS, NOK and MB: This 84 year old ham laughed so hard that, sad to say, I had to wipe the drool off my chin. Oy Vey!! Hi.

It is sad that we "almost pioneers" of ham radio get such a poor reception when we mention "back when". Hi.

Some day, when the new 25 volt, sub-atomic, lifetime single cells" are loudly touted about, the youngsters of today will fondly remember the days when a "D" cell lasted all of 20 hours in the radios they had "back then". … sigh … Hi.

We all have lasting memories of our first CQ being answered from somewhere in America. Or the first DX contact! And, we'll all wonder what happened to all the years between then and now. And how we admired the old timers with 30, 40, or 50 years in the hobby, wondering how or why they became enamored in the joy of that outdated thing they used to call "CW", so unnecessary in "today's" market. Hi.

Alas, where I am, you too shall be and where you are now, I once was. (smiley)

God Bless,

Charlie, K3UIM

 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Just a passing thought:

How many of us can remember the "B" battery and what voltage was it and for what was it used???? And, what if it was one of the questions on the General test today?? I would know; would you? Hi.

Of course, it's totally irrelevant! But, what if? HI.

Charlie,K3UIM
 
The Tech License  
by WD8DK on July 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Dude didn't add in the old Advanced Class in his count.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 9, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
DK: I forgot it. The macho way to go when Hector was a pup was Novice, then within a year the General or Conditional then, within a year the Extra. Several of the locals did or tried it. I didn't want to stop building and home-brewing long enough to do it. (Sad!)

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AA4MB on July 10, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
K3UIM: You're so right. My first DX contact was with HC1PZ who was running phone in the 15 meter Novice segment. All of my local Novice friends and I QSOed him and it almost felt 'wrong' talking with a phone station in the CW segment ... but oh, so awesome at the same time. DX at last!! The funniest was my very first QSO, which was with another Novice station in Lexington, Kentucky ... and when he came back to me, the first thing he sent was "solid copy ..." I read it as, "So, lid copy..." LOL

I was ashamed and almost turned off the HW-16, wondering what in the world I'd done that violated operating principles or etiquette, thus making me a 'lid.' I kept up with the QSO at the blistering 4 - 5 wpm pace and when I was all done, I read the copy and then the light bulb came on! I wasn't a lid after all. (maybe not with that first QSO, anyway)

In late 1974, I can remember being frustrated with my hand key. I was speaking with a WB8 in West Virginia and lamenting the fact that I was CW speed limited by the hand key I was using. We had a great conversation. Right before we said our goodbyes, I remember him saying, "I predict that your CW sending will become easier very, very soon." Yeah sure, I thought. A week later, I had a package delivered by UPS. In it was Heath HD-10 keyer - well used, but in perfect working order. My world of CW was changed forever, thanks to the giving spirit of my new WB8 friend.

THAT is what hamming (and friendship) is all about. You can do it by elmering someone or by giving away your old 'stuff' to a newbie instead of leaving it laying around for your spouse to toss out when you're gone. Doesn't matter, but pay it forward.

Cheers,
Matt
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 10, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Matt,

Back in the late 60's, on 40 CW, I made a bit of an "off-colored" comment and in closing, he said "LOL" about it.

After the QSO ended my conscience really bothered me. I usually try to "keep it clean" and I was ashamed of myself. Since you can't un-ring a bell, it bothered me for the longest time, until I found that "LOL" doesn't mean "Lots Of Luck" but "Laughing Out Loud".

Judas Priest! Life would be so much easier if we were free of our consciences.(Doggoned Baptist upbringing! Hi.)

Prior to getting my novice ticket, I sent a CQ and signed off as "W3BGL". I got an answer and immediately shut the station down. For the next week or so I kept watching for FCC vehicles. I WAS PETRIFIED!! After the license finally arrived I worried that someone would confront me on being "W3BGL". Again, with that blasted conscience thing! Hi.

Charlie
 
The Tech License  
by N2RJ on July 11, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
We've lost the art of in person elmering. I want to bring that fully back. That is what kept me going in ham radio - having a good and trusted mentor I could rely on.

I think there needs some sort of mentoring and incentive program for mentors to teach new people. It's probably sad that we have to do this as "ham spirit" should encourage everyone to mentor but reality is that ham radio has become very impersonal these days with the advent of the Internet and less interaction online.

Hamfest attendance is a function of that - people are going online to get their advicerather than talking in person to someone.
 
The Tech License  
by N2AYM on July 11, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
All ham testing should be changed such that quick memorization is not usable to get a proper answer. This was the beginning of the bottom dwellers (bottom of the barrel). If a test is made too easy to pass then the results will automaticly be what we have now which is a revolting situation - a bunch of monkeys on the ham bands!
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KF7NCD on July 12, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
KC7MF -

"A club had a display at a local street fair to introduce people to Amateur Radio. And what did they do? Put a code guy right up front. I watched for 20 minutes and not a single person walking up to their display was handed a microphone."

--

I attended a 6-week Tech class when I was 16 years. The instructor was friendly and provided lots of information but he never asked any questions.

When assessing a person's ideas or thoughts these days, I pay less attention to "what is said" versus "what is NOT said".

Looking back on that class, we talked about the band plan, we talked about types of antennas and their propagation patterns. We discussed a lot of things but we never actually did anything. The course was taught at a rural volunteer fire station with a huge gravel lot surrounded by trees. There were several repeaters nearby. The situation was perfect to experiment making antennas, throwing a wire in a tree, adjusting wattage on an HT to hit repeaters, or just standing outside playing with the mobile in the instructors car. (I remember it was an IC-7000 with a corkscrew antenna in the hitch.) Best of all, there were only two students in the class. Two students and one instructor. There was no reason in the world not to stick a mic in our hands for half that class.

After I passed the Tech exam, I laid dormant for four years. My uncle, a ham since age 14, gave me an IC-2200 mobile hand-me-down but did not offer or suggest we install it together in my car or set it on my desk.

Eventually, I got more assertive in my life and do not wait for others, anymore. If I am in a new or foreign environment, I ask questions and don't sit awaiting others to aid. Most of the time, they don't come.

I remember very well how uncomfortable I was those first few years. I was excited to have a license and have a radio but had no idea how to operate it or who to ask. I was scare of doing something wrong and getting in trouble and hearing from the FCC.

I wonder what those first few years would have been like if I had a radio in my hand. My first contact was out of desperation. My car broke down and it was miles to the nearest phone (I was late the cell-phone world). I relayed a message to home via a kind Ham with a landline, but this is not how it should be.

This would increase the costs, but what if each person in a Tech class was given a cheap HT as part of their fees? Charge $40 a class and get a radio. Require at least a few supervised "contacts" before taking the test? Maybe host fundraisers or ask for donations to reduce the cost of a cheap-o HT to get started?

KC7MF, thank you for your post. I am usually the "youngin" of every Ham group and enjoy reading others' opinions and thoughts on their longer histories of the hobby. Your post inspired a lot of thought in me and my history. The thoughts inspired the above ideas - ideas I will pitch to my local-ish club and see what sticks. Your post inspired new ideas that might domino down the line to better quality, more involved Techs.

Thank you, and everyone else in this thread.

- Jeremy KF7NCD
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KC8HQX on July 12, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
K6CRC "This discussion will end up with arguments on 'no-coders', comments on how 'tough' it was way back when, or how 'lazy' kids are today. THAT drives away more young people than anything else. No one wants to be insulted by old guys."

You hit the nail on the head. I wanted to be a ham at the age of 10 or so. Shortwave listening was my gateway. I tried like mad to learn code but it just never clicked. Similarly, I just barely scraped by in Spanish class in high school.

When I was older, on my own with a bit of disposable income, there was still this in-group mentality in QST,newsgroups, etc. that people who didn't know or like code were lazy, stupid, etc. I swore off amateur radio out of principle. Why would I give anyone who would question my technical skill, intelligence, dedication on the basis of knowing Morse code the time of day? My attitude was and remains that those folks can go pound sand.

I can guarantee that this ancient legacy that operators who didn't learn code aren't "real hams" absolutely drives people away. Knowing code proves nothing beyond that you know code. I want to see the same curmudgeons berating no-code Techs try to use a single board PC as an APRS gateway or autonomous weather station or program and Arduino to do something useful.

I'm sure I can be a real pain in the @ss at times, but I try to take the time to Elmer, explain WHY things the way they are to anyone who asks.

I've become less patient as I age, but hopefully in a positive way. If you experienced operators can't be bothered to pay it forward and help the new hams or otherwise resist berating people, please keep your trap shut - you're giving us all a bad name.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by AA1UY on July 13, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
@KC8HQC - You said: "I can guarantee that this ancient legacy that operators who didn't learn code aren't "real hams" absolutely drives people away. Knowing code proves nothing beyond that you know code. I want to see the same curmudgeons berating no-code Techs try to use a single board PC as an APRS gateway or autonomous weather station or program and Arduino to do something useful"

No, the unwillingness to stick to something until it's mastered is what drove you away. Knowing *anything* proves nothing beyond that you know it. As for the single board PC, APRS, weather stations and Arduino, that's not ham radio, that's playing computers with a radio replacing the wires in between.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 13, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
UY;

I broke away in 92 before getting in as deep as I'd like at the time, so I can't really comment on what you are saying. My love in the hobby was 40 CW, building, repairing and just plain experimenting with transistors and IC's.

A span of 25 very long years brought me back, only to discover that I'd forgotten so much of the theory behind vacuum tubes, etc, that I would probably benefit from studying for the Novice ticket again. I am shocked at the level technology has risen to. I still love the hobby, but with a more healthy respect for all phases of it today.

There are so many areas one can delve into that you begin to think that an EE in todays' market has to have genius genes coagulating in his overly crammed cranium. Hi.

I'll more than likely never find myself sending code via my computer, but I'll simply be encouraged by whatever knowledge and experience I can get while waiting to join the SK group. If I were 20 or 30 years younger perhaps I too would be checking out that K8(???) version of hamming. (Not sure of its' actual nomenclature. < sigh > ) Hi. It just isn't my cup of tea, but I'll not bad-mouth those that enjoy it, whether or not it's considered "Hamming".

Whatever strikes your fancy in this great hobby, give it your best. Others will build on your work and in a few years, who knows the results. Someone, some day will find themselves in my "totally at a loss" shoes. Hi!

Charlie,K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 14, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
NOK, (Brian),
What say, OM? "Oldham" net??? At my age I wouldn't bet I get up in the AM, but you "younger" hams could toss it around a bit as a new thread on e-ham.????
Sounds like something that might draw some interest. I know I'd be interested in adding pieces to the group on occasion. I foresee long nostalgic questions, statements and memorial rigs being brought up, ie: your Hot Water rig. Nice lil piece of gear.Heh-heh.
Any takers?? What say??
Charlie, K3UIM
PS. This can be added to the "Misc. Thread since I'm getting off track.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KC8HQX on July 15, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
AA1UY

"No, the unwillingness to stick to something until it's mastered is what drove you away"

Yours is the bullshit sentiment I was talking about. You completely ignored the rest of my post and the ideas contained within.

Please explain why learning code has any more relevance to a person's technical aptitude or interest in the radio art than any other mode. Or why you think I'm unable or unwilling to "stick with" things? I've spent more on test gear to learn about and repair my old rigs than a brand new one would cost. Most everything I'm good at in life, I taught myself.

Claiming computers, Arduinos, etc. have nothing to do with Ham radio is like claiming transistors have nothing to do with it. A world of digital modes, remote automation,rig control, etc. are available with these. People are hacking Raspberry Pi's to transmit directly off of the GPIO ports. Are you trying to claim APRS isn't part of Ham radio? Digital modes? Home brewing?

It appears you're unwilling to master semi-modern technology to an extent necessary to understand how it fits into Amateur Radio.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N4KC on July 15, 2018 Mail this to a friend!

"Claiming computers, Arduinos, etc. have nothing to do with Ham radio is like claiming transistors have nothing to do with it."

Could I hear an amen?

Resistance to and fear of change is a natural human reaction. But claiming that new digital modes, computer/radio interfaces, and SDR "ain't ham radio" is like saying the internal combustion engine brought an end to transportation.

One of the beauties of our hobby is that it encompasses such a broad range of potential experiences. If you want to work CW all day and night (I did...yesterday and last night) then work CW to your heart's content. There are plenty of folks to communicate with. And if you want to program Arduino code to make your radio do what you want it to do, then knock yourself out. Why must new and older technology be mutually exclusive? I love it all!

Oh, and tolerance of other's likes and opinions might be a trait some of you curmudgeons would want to adapt. If I want to yell, "Five-nine, five-nine!" all day and all night (which I did a few weekends ago), how does that affect you one way or the other?

Contests are popular. Many of us consider them a test of operating skills and of our stations, and just plain fun. If you don't, nobody's forcing you to participate. And don't give me that old saw about how they take over the ham bands and you have to go fishing. We had a major contest for 24 hours this weekend and there was plenty of band available throughout the spectrum for whatever it is that you like to do on the air.

Okay, some guy may be set up yelling, "CQ test," on that frequency where you and the boys are about to crank up your daily roundtable. Might be a good time to see if your VFO dial still works. Or someone who doesn't hear your net fires up on your frequency. But no real contester wants to try to do a run on a net already in progress. He or she wants a clear frequency. And I have never heard a contester refuse to QSY if politely asked to do so if the frequency is already in use or if a net is about to begin.

Take a deep breath and calm down. Technological change is inevitable (I blog on the subject at https://n4kc.blogspot.com/) and, in my opinion, that change is one of the aspects that keeps ours such a diverse and dynamic hobby. It's not your grandaddy's ham radio. It shouldn't be. But it still can be if that is your preference.

Like it or not, the hobby belongs to the future but the past does not have to be forgotten.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com

 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 15, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"It's not your grandaddy's ham radio. It shouldn't be. But it still can be if that is your preference. Like it or not, the hobby belongs to the future but the past does not have to be forgotten."

Don: Those of us that fought the code until it won are the ones that grew a very special love for the dits and dahs we work with today. Like a fine brandy, a taste is slowly but surely created, and once imbedded in our memory banks, it stays. In time it may get a lil rusty, but it stays, waiting for us to get out the polishing cloths!! (Yes! Even waiting 25 years, in my case.) Viva la CW!! Hi.

We won't be scrounging around for a Morton's Salt box to wind our pi net final on, but we can fondly remember the distractions that occurred while trying to keep track of how many turns we had already finished. HI.

Comparing the music and/or the hamming of my generation to today's youngsters, what will they remember? Frankly, I find I cannot even whistle today's Rock like I'm able to with my eras R&R. Hi.

Thank God for memories.

Charlie, K3UIM
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KC8HQX on July 16, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
You know, I don't have an HF rig that was built this century. Well, except the X1M which is a toy.

My most prized rig is the TS-830S. I don't expect anyone to understand that nor would I think of lording it over anyone as a "real rig". It's just a pleasure to operate. It's "sick" at the moment - I refuse to send it out. I *will* figure out the problem and fix it myself. Preferably w/o being smacked by 800V. Yet people have the gall to say I'm lazy because I just don't care for code.

What to do about Techs? Be a patient Elmer even when the questions make you want to pull your hair out.

 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 16, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,
"What to do about Techs? Be a patient Elmer even when the questions make you want to pull your hair out."

I taught many radio classes, crystal set and Novice, in my day and it would surprise you the questions I got! Hi. Many's the time I quoted that well worn quotation: "There's no such thing as a dumb question! They're all worthy of an answer!"

Our ham radio philosophies concerning hamming (spending our time) agree.

Charlie, K3UIM
 
The Tech License  
by SWLCHRIS on July 17, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I have to say as a SWL that listened for a long time that the idea of giving more privileges to a beginner defeats the very purpose of the license method.
When I studied for my Technicians class this past time having failed the Novice back in the 90's thanks to poor CW skills, it took me three tries to pass the Technicians exam. I was so happy I could get on the air with just a Technicians license. I got all my gear ordered .I got a HF rig used,a new HT, a new power supply ,a new mag mount antenna and went out one Saturday after taking the exam to take my kid skating and promptly broke both my tibia and fibula.
I was laid up for awhile. MY XYL brought my HT to the hospital so I could play with it but she wasn't a ham operator by any means since she left the rubber duckie antenna at the house.
MY experience as a Technician class operator was what propelled me to try to upgrade. I got on my HF rig with the crappy antenna I could put up limping around and was hearing lots of things on the lower bands but not much on 10 meters. One day I got on 10 meters and heard YV5ENI Lou out of Venezuela and he came back to my call. I was excited I got my very first DX contact and that's what made me want to upgrade even more. I studied for my General and passed on my first try on Field Day 2017 and as a result I got to work a lot of stations especially with the IARU contest that came up right after I upgraded.Hearing all the exotic locations on the Extra band made me want to upgrade yet again and I did so in March of this year.
I know this is long but I wanted to explain from a new ham perspective how important it is to keep that incentive going for the hobby.I think just saying to a new ham here you go work the world on any band any frequency is not the best way to go. I have to agree that privileges are just that,privileges, when I hear a lot of operators on the bands not know how to call for a clear frequency or tune up on the very frequency of the DX station they immediately start calling incessantly even after the DX station is clearly working someone else.
Leave the Teshnicians with some HF...... exactly the amount they have now, so they can learn how to operate without blowing up the entire HF spectrum.

KC3SWL
 
The Tech License  
by AA4MB on July 18, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"Claiming computers, Arduinos, etc. have nothing to do with Ham radio is like claiming transistors have nothing to do with it."

VFOs are for weenies, too. When I started as a Novice, I had three (3)crystals for my HW-16 and I loved it. None of this zero beating the calling station so they could hear me. I MADE them be better operators by having to tune around, doggone it. And I used to call them all the time, without getting a response from the lazy so and so's ... and I LOVED it. I also walked 14 miles to school, one way, over broken glass, barefooted, through ice and snow in the winter. It made me a much more productive member of society.

Crystal control forever! Why, if the good Lord had intended for us to change frequency on a transmitter by means other than plugging and unplugging crystals for each frequency, we would have been born with a knob sticking out of our collective foreheads.

Get off of my lawn, kid!
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on July 19, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
MB: Loved it! I would guess you got your ticket in the early 60's. I remember those crystal grinding days!! If I remember correctly, one of the locals sent for 10 or 15 of them, all one frequency! I had to grind mine to change from the "local" freq to get away from the neighborhood pile-up! And me with the patience of a tipsy gnat!! That's what finally forced me to build my own Hartly (I think) VFO. Hi.
Charlie, K3UIM
 
The Tech License  
by KC5JPZ on July 19, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
If you use repeaters more then the newbies will use the repeaters more. I like it when people use our local repeaters and I try to use repeaters often. I guess that the DMR repeater that I try to use when I can is not something that the new operators will hear but I believe that if we use repeaters of any kind then others will join in.

James
AJ5AE
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N4NIV on July 24, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"When was the last time the ARRL lobbied for anything worth while?"

“AA4PB&#12288;&#65293;&#12288;Oh, lets see. How about WARC bands, 60M, long wave, stopping broadband over power lines, PRB-1, or preventing HOAs from having a blanket prohibition against ham antennas?”

Well put AA4PB.

 
RE: The Tech License  
by AA4MB on July 25, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
K3UIM: That was mostly tongue-in-cheek. I did have an HW-16 with three crystals ... but I also had the companion HG-10B VFO. It made the HW-16 bearable; a really basic rig with no AGC, but that little jewel had the best QSK ever I ever had - only equaled in my shack by my K3 (my Ten Tec Omni VI+ even clickity-clacks a bit when running QSK).

BTW, I'm a young pup at age 59, with 44 years of hamming under my belt. Licensed in 1974, after the incentive licensing bruhaha. In the CW sub bands, they call me, "That young whippersnapper."

:)
 
The Tech License  
by VK3MEG on July 26, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Having passed the tech and general tests and about to sit the extra. i can look at this from the outside i'm from vk (Australia) i have my standard license same as general. the one thing that shocked me with the tech and general license was there was no practical part of the exam. he in vk our foundation (tech license) the ones with the 4 letter suffix vk3fact etc when they pass their test they have to do a practical exam. which involves station set up wiring rig swr meter and connecting power leads and antenna one vhf qso and one hf qso. this is great cause they have had their first qso. and i goes along way to helping them get their second and third. It doesn't rely on the ht which i think is part of our hobbies problem. even cb'ers have shacks and rigs etc. the other thing is people think the hobby is cheap most of us know differently but that ok. we have a declining ham population over here 20 million people 10 000 hams may be 3000 active at some point through the year may be 3-500 dx'ers. we have expensive testing and license renewals. and we have silent repeaters at times. Making testing cheap and licensing free is great and it works. But show them how to set up a station and how to operate get them down to the club to operate the club station put them in the chair at contest time or field day.. have antenna construction days. we need to work hard to retain the people we have and to help create the magic we all feel when we are on the radio.
cheers
de vk3meg/ki7zrb
 
The Tech License  
by KI4DLK on July 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I got my Tech License when I was 13, I am 28 now and still a Tech.
You assume Techs don’t know anything because the test didn’t have the questions you want them too, but have you ever thought that some of us did our own research anyway? I learned Morse to get my General, but my family had fallen into a financial problem and my father and me sold just about all our radios but a few Handhelds and VHF/UHF Mobiles. Then some years later, we started to build it back up and I got very interested in 2m SSB, 6 Meter and 10 Meter, etc as 6m and 10m were challenging bands to work on which made it more interesting, especially as I was more into doing this with a mobile setup even if I just sat in my parents car parked in the driveway. But once again another financial hardship hit and sold the expensive radios again. I haven’t been on a ham radio until a few years ago, and here VHF/UHF is in the Digital world so I started learning that, and while it’s neat and fun at times, I want to get back to Analog, and get my General, The “Magic Bands” aka 6m and 10m used to require constant Solar Activity finding which was very time consuming as when I worked them at age 13-18 there were no Smart Phones with apps, only some Websites that took time to learn. When I listened to HF, most (Including old timers that said “No lids no kids” worked 20/40 meters which wasn't exactly a challenge.
But yes, there are new users that do not want to learn for themselves like some of us but don’t lump us into one category as I did not let those random old timers who were rude to new users especially young Techs into stopping me from working bands I was allowed too, and didn’t even give me the idea of creating Articles like this saying they were the reason Ham Radio is dissapearing. It is good to clear things up though even in this kind of way.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by W6VZV on July 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I would like to see the Technician license eliminated. We should have two license classes only--General and Extra. The General license should focus a lot on operating procedures, forcing new Generals to have a rudimentary knowledge of how to operate a station. The problem with the Tech license is that it tends to trap folks in the VHF band and they don't learn about the fun and advantages of HF. That is not a good thing.

Perhaps for some limited period we should have a test to graduate current Techs to General -- perhaps a test that only focused on HF-specific topics as well as operating procedures. The idea would be to move most Techs to General while ensuring that they have some idea as to how to operate on HF. But we don't want to lose these folks; in my experience most all of them are good people we want to keep and get onto HF.
de Roger W6VZV
 
The Tech License  
by W1ADE on July 28, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
ELMER ELMER ELMER


if you can get their noses out of the digi-stuff long enough.

Video killed the Radio star.

The pop song from 80's--insert your own devil for "Video". Here I choose "Digital" others may say ARRL or etc.

Digi modes are neat and functional, but lack personality. They cannot have personality. Takes Voice or a Fist for that. I prefer personality so long as we're on "non-emergency mode".

And then there's the proprietary thing. WRONG. Humanity will advance faster with OPEN SOURCE than ever with proprietary thinking. Look into the Linus Torvalds story. Indeed.

But as it is now, this radio won't talk to that radio through this system or that...totally screwed the pooch on that one!

Look at uBITX in contrast: made to be hacked-modify the code to your hearts content. MAKE it do what you want done and nothing else. That's what Open-Source can do. Crack all the codes, hack and create and don't be slave to some think-tank of programmers at XYZ Big Radio Corp.

Oh and that horrible FM audio out there today--SO very many of those cheap radios and bad mics... please folks learn and help each other.

Advanced Class forever, because there are zero no-code Advanced Licensees. Now, back to my soldering...I've three antennas and a 2 rigs to finish!
 
The Tech License  
by W2FKN on July 28, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I've been a ham for 62 years and it clearly was because that I desired this and still do. I think many so-called start up hams appear to need something more than "watering down" or "dumming down" the ability to get the license. I'd hate to think we are moving in the direction of 11 meters, citizen band, and then lord knows what! Trying to get more masses into ham radio by some easier route with changes to frequency allocation, etc. does not seem to be the answer. The classes going from cramming and testing might be "hey, I got a ham license, but it was only to see if I could do it!" How many really want to become a ham and are willing to learn something? Need to look at this from understanding licensing and desire to "get on the air." Hey, I'm a bit slow since my next step is to upgrade to extra class, but love of the hobby will go until I'm an SK.
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KC5JPZ on July 28, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Advanced class licensees ARE no code licensees. You might have been licensed after taking a telegraph exam but you did not need it to renew. The telegraph exam is not necessary just as a PSK31 or JT9 exam is not necessary.
 
The Tech License  
by KI7RPM on August 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
i first got my novice licence in 75 then life happened
i graduated joined the military and raised a family.
and i had let my licence lapse by some 30 plus years but i still retained what i had learned all those years ago
last November i tested and passed my tech and general licence in the same night the reason i tested to general on the same night is because i wanted to have more operating privileges
and now i am studying for my extra because i want more operating privileges. i dont want to be given them i want to earn them.
the technician licence is a stepping stone just like the novice class licence was and every technician licencee in my opinion should strive for and earn more privileges.
not have them given to them
just my opinion
 
RE: The Tech License  
by K3UIM on August 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
RPM: Amen to that!
Charlie, K3UIM
 
The Tech License  
by W3NUS on August 3, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Part of the problem is that the landscape of radio has changed. The bunch who say they can communicate with the world with a cell phone don't even belong in ham radio anyway. Don't encourage them! Since the code has been left in the dust and repeaters are, for the moment, out of fashion you have to give the techs something to get a grip on. The proposed small voice spectrum on HF is a good idea! The focus of ham radio should be education, and not so much emergency communication. The reason other countries in the world are thriving and we are waning is that ham radio is a required part of the education curriculum elsewhere in the world with or without a license. Here is another thought. When ham radio began it was a very small part of the general population. It has since grown to a sizable number compared to the population. The people who truly want to be hams will find their way and seek out the proper avenues and "Elmers" to learn. The avenues to success haven't changed, there are just more of them. Why does everyone (especially young people) have to be spoon fed these days?
 
RE: The Tech License  
by KD6UBX on August 10, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Funny thought.

As a tech, the only difference in my communications on HF are longer wires and larger antennas.

The same guys talk on 10 as in the lower bands.

These lower bands seem to be the "holy grail" to be earned, as if they are some utopia of radio.

Fact is, HF is only unique because of the skip of the signal.

Fun, but it is not enough of a toy to interest anyone I have known in the last 20 something years as a ham.

These bands are slowly becoming archaic to each passing generation and changes must be made to interest the average youth.

Converting CBers is dying off too, so my point of view is give folks more, not play hard to get with them.

My 857d can make a great tool to convert folks if, out of the box, they can use most of HF as a "new convert" to ham.

Just my humble opinion though.

 
The Tech License  
by K5DH on August 10, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Gawd, I get tired of this same rehash.

Experienced hams: the following rant is aimed squarely at YOU.

Instead of griping about how worthless the testing process is and how little these newcomers know once they pass their exam, how about getting off your lazy butt and Elmering them? When I entered the hobby in the 1970s, I didn't know much, either. Yeah, I had to learn the code (and I still love it!) and I had to actually learn the written exam material rather than memorizing the question pool. But taking a Morse test and a "real" written exam is not what made me a good ham. That honor belongs to my Elmers. They took me under their wing and taught me what I needed to know to actually be a Radio Amateur. They taught me the do's and don't's. They taught me what to say and how to say it. They taught me how to build a dipole and install a PL-259 on a piece of coax. Elmering, people! It worked then. It'll work now. And it's not just something we should do in person. It's an on the air thing, too. When we hear the newcomers struggling to have a chat on the air, whether it's on 2 meters or 20 meters, we need to welcome them, talk with them (not AT them), and help them to open up and to overcome their microphone fright. When they have a question, even if it's something mundane to us, we must give them a friendly and truthful answer and teach them what they need to know. Just like our Elmers did for us. Clubs can be helpful, but there's no substitute for having one or two Elmers who can provide one-on-one instruction and leadership.

So, Ol' Timers: How many new hams have you helped lately?
 
RE: The Tech License  
by N4KC on August 10, 2018 Mail this to a friend!

K5DH:

Amen! Well said. And I feel your frustration, brother.

I still wonder how many of the ones pontificating about how ridiculously easy the test is nowadays and who bemoan the code test's demise could even pass one of today's General or Extra exams themselves. Or copy Morse at 13 WPM.

OK, maybe these Serial Complainers can solder a PL259 without injury, but do they know a satellite from a saltine, or could they change the PL tone in their HT, with or without software? I don't care if they can or not, but they should not judge today's crop of licensees based on what the hobby was 30 years ago.

I like to say the license test was much easier when I took it because AC had not been invented yet!

A HAM LICENSE IS A LICENSE TO CONTINUE TO LEARN...shouting intended! None of us--including those who decry the "cereal-box licenses"--know it all. As K5DH put it so well, quit your griping and politely help newcomers learn all they want to learn.

Welcome new folks with open arms...whether they went through the "exam-and-CW hazing" you did or not.

Don N4KC
www.donkeith.com
www.n4kc.com


 
RE: The Tech License  
by N9LCD on August 13, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
As a businessman (retired), I see one problem with all of the proposals for attracting and/or keeping new hams: they're structured to the seller's (ARRL's)needs, not the buyers' (new hams') needs.

If the ARRL wants to attract and retain new hams, they need to have an independent/outside marketing consultant research what new hams want in the hobby and develop proposals for restructuring the hobby to meet the buyers' (hams') needs, not the seller's (ARRL'S) need.

IF YOU DON'T SATISFY YOUR MARKET'S NEEDS, YOU EVENTUALLY GO OUT OF BUSINESS -- NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE IS!!!

Somebody has to DEGLAMORIZE the hobby, strip-away DXCC, WAS, GRID SQUARES, SAT COM, EMCOM etc. and let new hams know the hobby is going to be a lot of sitting, listening and calling. Use sports as an example: what percentage of college football or basketball players ever GET EVEN CLOSE TO THE NFL OR NBA???

There's a pressing need for a complete low-cost NEW station for new hams. IMO, the transceivers out of India are a start. Maybe they can be restructured as modular units; IF & WHEN you want more bands or more modes, you buy the appropriate plug-in board.

The proposed transceiver should include (or provide for) a built-in AUTOMATIC antenna tuner. An end-fed antenna compatible with the tuner and a small power supply should be included.

GET THEM ON THE AIR AND GET THEM AND KEEP THEM TALKING. AND THEY'LL LEARN BY DOING.
 
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