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The Two 'Entry-Level' Petitions Now Accepting Comments Are Very Different:

from The ARRL Letter on March 21, 2019
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The Two 'Entry-Level' Petitions Now Accepting Comments Are Very Different:

The FCC recently invited public comment on ARRL's 2018 Technician Enhancement Petition for Rule Making (RM-11828 It asks the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. It does not seek to create a new Amateur Radio license class.

Specifically, ARRL proposes to provide present and future Technicians with phone privileges at 3.900 to 4.000 MHz, 7.225 to 7.300 MHz, and 21.350 to 21.450 MHz, and with RTTY and digital privileges in current Technician allocations on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters.

The FCC has also invited public comment on an entirely unrelated Petition for Rule Making (RM-11829, filed in 2017 by ARRL member Gary A. Hampton, AD0WU, of Longmont, Colorado. Hampton has asked the FCC to create a new "Tyro" entry-level license class, which would require a minimal online examination as well as mentoring by an Amateur Radio licensee of Technician class or higher. Tyro licensees would have to be at least 11 years old and would earn operating privileges on 99 channels in a 70-centimeter segment that Hampton calls a "TyroSubBand." It would offer no HF privileges.

These are not competing petitions. Members of the Amateur Radio community should evaluate both proposals on their own merits and comment if they desire. ARRL has provided a summary of the Technician Enhancement proposals and explained their advantages.

Interested parties have 30 days to comment on both proposals. For information on how to file comments, visit "How to Comment on FCC Proceedings"


The ARRL Letter

Member Comments:
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The Two 'Entry-Level' Petitions Now Accepting Comments Are V  
by G8FXC on March 22, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
It's hard to see the justification of the "Tyro" licence - 70cm is a pretty restrictive band, particularly without access to repeaters. Our (English) PMR446 or your (US) FRS already offer access to frequencies close to 70cm with no licence requirement at all.
The Two 'Entry-Level' Petitions Now Accepting Comments Are V  
by N8RAT on March 25, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Neither of these proposals should be approved.

As far as the proposed “Tyro” entry-level license class, the current so-called Technician class license examination is far from challenging. The average person should be able to pass it with a couple of week’s worth of effort studying in the evenings.

In regards to the ARRL proposal, the General license test isn't that much more difficult. I know of two pre-teen girls who passed it and the Extra a few years ago.

Again, put forth some effort and don’t expect things to be given to you just because you want it. Work for it!

The Two 'Entry-Level' Petitions Now Accepting Comments Are V  
by K1CJS on March 26, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Agreed about both of there proposals being not needed. It is easy enough to get a technician license, and the additional privileges should be left to the general and extra licensees. That would give the technician licensee an incentive to upgrade.

The general test isn't that much harder than the technician. It just requires more than minimal electronics knowledge, something that anyone serious enough about ham radio should have anyway.
RE: The Two 'Entry-Level' Petitions Now Accepting Comments A  
by KA4GFY on March 26, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
The “Tyro” license proposal is a non-starter.

As has been pointed out many times over, the current Technician exam is well within reach of most people with minimal effort. We do not need to lower the bar any farther, period. The idea of an “on-line” license exam with a “few” more questions than applying for a GMRS license proctored by any one amateur (not required to be a Volunteer Examiner) is an invitation to fraud. This is a blatant attempt by some Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) groups to get around the licensing process to use amateur radio. If they really need communications for the masses, there are other radio services they can use.

As an Extra Class licensee, license instructor, Volunteer Examiner (VE) and Assistant ARES Emergency Coordinator licensed over 40 years, I do not see any benefit in creating another class of license, particularly one aimed directly at CERT members. As an instructor and VE, I have seen children as young as six years old obtain their Technician Class Amateur Radio licenses, so the material is not that difficult. Anybody with minimal effort can pass the “Tech in a Day” or “Tech in a Weekend” program.

It has been my impression as an instructor and VE that the vast majority of CERT members have absolutely NO interest in amateur radio other than “checking the box” to say they have one for CERT purposes. This is reflected in the fact they buy the most inexpensive radios they can find and have no interaction with any of the local amateur community other than the testing session. I have seen this firsthand. These operators do not become active amateurs and the radio sits unused for weeks and months at a time. The only time they get on the air is for the occasional CERT drill or emergency. And it shows when they do get on the air. The problem with that mindset is when they are needed most, they are unable to communicate effectively and many are unable to use their radio. They become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

So, these people would show up at a disaster location, sit down at a computer, take the online “exam,” and instantly be licensed to operate on one of the busiest amateur bands we have, with absolutely no training whatsoever. There would be no mentoring as the proposal mentions and these people would go home never to use it again. We don’t need yet another license class where the vast majority of licensees don’t use their license.

Rich, KA4GFY

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