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Author Topic: SHOULD THE TEST BE HARD  (Read 5334 times)
K7MEM
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« Reply #45 on: October 16, 2018, 08:03:24 AM »

You only put Then give the license away with a 25 dollar fee.  The text below is ...

Again, I only quote a small portion of your post. If anyone wants to read the rest, your original post is still there. Plus, you seem to be pretty good a re-posting your own material.

I didn't post on the"OO" stuff because, for me, it is just hearsay and rumor.
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Martin - K7MEM
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JAZZMAN
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« Reply #46 on: October 17, 2018, 04:38:44 PM »

Well you all made some really great points and it certainly made me think and I appreciate that thank you.  I think maybe the best thing is to keep everything like it is and maybe open up some space for the Techs at least.  Thanks again.   
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N2EY
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« Reply #47 on: November 10, 2018, 02:44:47 PM »

The tests were never "hard" if someone knew the material.

Look back to any period in US amateur radio history, and you'll find middle-schoolers and younger with full-privilege or near-full-privilege licenses.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KM1H
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« Reply #48 on: November 10, 2018, 02:58:44 PM »

Young minds often did very well on those type of tests with some help from a mentor.

In the 50'-60's it was common for 12-15 year olds to become a Novice without any help/prodding from non ham parents and many schools had a ham club with a licensed teacher to help. The parochial HS I went to in Brooklyn and the public one out on Long Island both had established clubs with decent stations and antennas.

Younger hams featured in QST, etc often had immediate family that were hams but finding same age peers were not common. That makes me wonder what percentage made it to General?

Carl
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N2EY
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« Reply #49 on: November 10, 2018, 03:49:45 PM »

The tests were never "hard" if someone knew the material.

Look back to any period in US amateur radio history, and you'll find middle-schoolers and younger with full-privilege or near-full-privilege licenses.

Here's proof:

1) In 1948, W3OVV (SK) earned her Class B license - FCC examiner, 13 wpm sending and receiving, "blue book" written test, the works.....at the age of 9. There was no Novice then; that license would not appear until 1951.

2) In the late 1990s, KB0VVT upgraded to Extra - at the age of 8, while in the thrid grade. Had passed all 5 written tests then in use, plus all three code tests (5, 13 and 20 wpm.

3) In 1967, yours truly earned the Novice license at the age of 13.

Less than a year later, age 14, I upgraded to Technician and then Advanced. (I was at the FCC office for the General, but the examiner suggested I try Advanced, so I did - and passed, even though I hadn't studied for it.) A few weeks later I started high school.

Two years later, almost to the day, I earned the Extra. Would have done it sooner but back then there was a 2 year experience requirement for Extra, and time as a Novice or Technician didn't count. That was the summer between 10th and 11th grade.

I didn't find any of the tests to be particularly "hard" - because I knew the material. Some folks claim to have "aced" the exams, and maybe they did, but back then, in the Philadelphia FCC office, all they told you was whether you passed or failed.

Nobody in my family was a ham. None of my neighbors was, either. Nor did anyone know any local hams. The parental units could not understand my fascination with Radio and did not support it at all.

There was a local radio club but they were mostly interested in 6 meter AM, and not so much in helping a newcomer.

I did get some help, though. The first ham I ever met was Sam, K3RTR (SK) who I located by the vertical in his side yard. He was big into Navy MARS RTTY, but pointed me to Jim, K3NYT, who gave me the Novice tests.

I write this not to say that I was anything special....many others did what I did, or more - and many today do as well. I simply give these examples (there are many more) which show that the tests were not all that "hard" in the past.

What has changed, though, is this: In the bad old days, the tests covered only a few subjects, but covered them in some depth. Over time, that has evolved into covering many subjects, but not in very much depth.

I have the old License Manuals from 1948, 1954, 1962 and 1971. They're not the actual tests, but they show what was and wasn't on the actual tests. If someone knew the material presented in the License Manual study guides, they could pass the tests easily - because it only took a 74 grade to pass.

The study guide for the 1962 General written test consists of 108 questions and answers, which take up only 14 pages of the License Manual. Some have diagrams, a few have calculations.

The questions are almost entirely about transmitters, power supplies and filters of various kinds, and regulations. The only modes involved are AM voice and CW radiotelegraphy. (There is exactly one sentence about SSB, and all it says is that an SSB signal is about half the bandwidth of the equivalent AM signal). Everything is tubes, even though transistors had been around for at least 14 years in 1962.

There were no - ZERO! - questions at all about receivers, transceivers, repeaters, satellites, RTTY or any data mode, SSTV or any image mode, solid state of any kind, frequency synthesizers, VHF/UHF, RF exposure, pi-networks, SWR, or antenna tuners. There was exactly one question involving transmission lines and antennas - it was part of a draw-a-diagram question, and all that was involved was showing a two-wire balanced line feeding a Hertzian dipole.

Out of those 108 questions and answers, exactly 4 require the use of a formula - three of them involve figuring out frequency accuracy, and one is an Ohm's Law problem. There is no trigonometry at all - no sines, cosines, phase angles, etc. There are some questions asking for a formula, but they don't require that you actually solve any problems with it.

In fact, much if not most of the material is pure memorization - diagrams, formulas, regulations, Q signals, band edges, power limits, definitions, etc. Also some basic concepts, such as why a triode RF amplifier needs to be neutralized.

And in 1962, the General had full privileges!

Some say that young people are best adapted for learning - maybe they are. But I think what happens to many people as they get older is that they get out of the habit of learning new things, and so it becomes more difficult for them.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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KM1H
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« Reply #50 on: November 17, 2018, 04:22:53 PM »

Quote
Some say that young people are best adapted for learning - maybe they are. But I think what happens to many people as they get older is that they get out of the habit of learning new things, and so it becomes more difficult for them.

Get back in the learning habit or go away. There are plenty of seniors on here who have returned to ham radio without whining about it or looking for dumbed down tests.

If someone wants something bad enough then make the effort dammit.

Carl
Ham since 1955
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N1KK
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #51 on: December 06, 2018, 10:01:36 AM »

Ok we virtually have no effective enforcement.  That's what I think I'm missing here.  it's not about the test it's about enforcement of the rules.  Good point N2EY.  Thank you. 

I have to agree with this statement.  There isn't much fear of the FCC like when I first got into the hobby.
Getting a notice from an official Observer was terrifying back in the 60's and early 70's.
I would have no problem with a fee for renewal like it used to be many years ago if it would be used
for enforcement.

What seems to happen today if the majority of hams continue to do something wrong, like for example operate transmit
with a wider bandwidth then allowed it becomes the norm.  Just like what happened to CB. More wrong becomes a right.
If we had a little enforcement of the laws and clearly stated it more effectively in the study guides with example of legal cases,
it might help.

Today, Most Hams are just operators.  Very little work needed to earn new privileges. The lack of tech required in my opinion, started with
the actual questions being offered for study. Its odd how someone can remember the answers to hundreds of questions but not know how to make
a simple dipole or even understand how antennas work.   But today, unless your interested in building why would you need to know
ohms law or why antennas resonate at certain frequencies.

You could say when you have to earn something you respect it more.  Instead of question on ohms law, or how an oscillator works
we might want an entry level class that requires the new ham to go to a few classes on operating a station, operating
accessories, building kits, something than more than just talking on a radio.  I can remember taking classes in college
wondering why would I ever need this subject only to find later on I became interested and glad I had some background.

It wouldn't hurt the hobby to require some Technical knowledge and this could be linked to accessories used in the hobby.
I got my start in Electronics from Ham Radio.  I hope the hobby today still offers the same excitement for young to continue
with electronics/programming, design, for their future.  Might even be good for the Country..

Ken


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W4SJZ
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« Reply #52 on: December 08, 2018, 09:07:12 AM »

The test isn't supposed to be "hard" or "easy," but is supposed to match the minimum skills and knowledge a ham of that license class should possess.  If the test doesn't do that, it's worthless.

The question then becomes what are those minimum skills and knowledge?  Whether the tests (e.g., question pools) of today are objective or subjective is the issue.  Which brings us back to what are the duties and tasks which apply specifically to each license class?

Tests are not supposed to be a contest between the tester and testee.  Tests are also not supposed to be an "initiation rite" equivalent to a fraternity hazing.  So, if the tests of today can be manipulated to be "hard" or "soft," then any testing problem is due to the subjectivity of the test administrator.  The fact there are "question pools" is how the FCC tries to mitigate any "hard/easy" subjectivity among volunteer examiners.

The real question is, in this no-code requirement world what are the actual skills/knowledge differences between the license classes, and why?
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KM1H
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« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2018, 09:32:45 AM »

Maybe introduce a 10 wpm CW requirement for 10-15-20-40-80 Extra segment on those bands and require current holders to test when renewing.

Set goals to distinguish Extra from the rest of the others...it is called Extra CLASS after all.
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AF7JA
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« Reply #54 on: December 10, 2018, 01:00:05 PM »

Maybe introduce a 10 wpm CW requirement for 10-15-20-40-80 Extra segment on those bands and require current holders to test when renewing.

Set goals to distinguish Extra from the rest of the others...it is called Extra CLASS after all.

Along the same line of thought, they should also require the applicant, and renewal operator, to demonstrate knowledge of the ASCII table by requiring them to reproduce the entire table freehand. It isn't that it will be particularly useful, it is to:
Quote
distinguish Extra from the rest of the others...it is called Extra CLASS after all.

Let's hear from some others! What other useless, but somehow justifiable, thing could we throw in? remember, the purpose is to make the test hard, not to improve the quality of the operators.

I just thought of another one. The applicant is to be locked in a cell with only standard prison issue materials. They will be given three days to construct a radio and use it to request their release. There are a lot of useless hurdles that could be put in front of applicants, some of them might even be fun (at least more fun than a prison cell).
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 01:06:12 PM by AF7JA » Logged
NK7Z
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« Reply #55 on: December 11, 2018, 08:28:56 AM »

To illustrate KM1H's point...  A few months ago, I heard two extra class ops discussing signal strength and quality of reception on the local repeater...  One was asking the other why he was scratchy but still over S9, with no changes in signal strength... 

Nuff said...
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Thanks,
Dave
Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...
https://www.nk7z.net
N2EY
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Posts: 5024




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« Reply #56 on: December 11, 2018, 11:50:50 AM »

The test isn't supposed to be "hard" or "easy," but is supposed to match the minimum skills and knowledge a ham of that license class should possess.  If the test doesn't do that, it's worthless.

Not worthless, just inadequate and in need of improvement.

The main point is that "hard" and "easy" are NOT the issue!

The question then becomes what are those minimum skills and knowledge?  Whether the tests (e.g., question pools) of today are objective or subjective is the issue.  Which brings us back to what are the duties and tasks which apply specifically to each license class?

Tests are not supposed to be a contest between the tester and testee.  Tests are also not supposed to be an "initiation rite" equivalent to a fraternity hazing.  So, if the tests of today can be manipulated to be "hard" or "soft," then any testing problem is due to the subjectivity of the test administrator.  The fact there are "question pools" is how the FCC tries to mitigate any "hard/easy" subjectivity among volunteer examiners.

The real question is, in this no-code requirement world what are the actual skills/knowledge differences between the license classes, and why?


Exactly!

It should be remembered that, starting in 1960-61, FCC phased out the old "blue-book" exams and converted to all-multiple-choice. This reduced FCC's workload because anyone with an answer key could grade a test. More importantly, it eliminated subjective grading.

The changeover took time because they used up the old materials before starting to use the new ones. By 1967, all the tests were changed over because of the new incentive licensing regulations.

IMHO, the tests should test for the following:

1) Regulations in Part 97 and elsewhere.

2) Safety

3) Operating procedures

4) Basic radio propagation

5) Basic radio technology, including antennas, transmission lines, power supplies, grounding, radio components and circuits.

6) Basic radio concepts (frequency, bandwidth, modulation, encoding/decoding)

7) Practical aspects of putting it all together.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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KX4OM
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« Reply #57 on: December 11, 2018, 05:51:46 PM »

About that question that "Extras" won't know the answer to...the answer is emitter degeneration by a properly sized emitter resistor. Jeez, they taught that in Navy ET A school in the '60s. It isn't exactly Extra-level knowledge.

Ted, KX4OM
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W4KYR
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« Reply #58 on: December 12, 2018, 03:05:54 PM »

Maybe introduce a 10 wpm CW requirement for 10-15-20-40-80 Extra segment on those bands and require current holders to test when renewing.

Set goals to distinguish Extra from the rest of the others...it is called Extra CLASS after all.

I agree, they should have left a Morse Code requirement for the CW portion of the extra class segments. But the FCC isn't interested in the least in bringing back some sort of a code requirement. Then again that shouldn't stop anyone from learning Morse Code on their own and operating at 10 wpm (or better) if they wish.

There could be some sort of an optional code proficiency test (for an extra fee) for those that want it . Of course it wouldn't have any legal standing except other than allowing amateur radio operators to take a code test if they wish in an actual ham exam session. 

I know the ARRL gives code proficiency awards for copying W1AW,  but it isn't the same as getting tested in front of an examiner. It is a kind of personal challenge when it's done in person at an exam site. Who knows, maybe someone will conduct such exams in the future. If so, make it for 5, 13 and 20 wpm just like the good old days. Again, it would be entirely voluntary and would carry no legal weight.

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KX4OM
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« Reply #59 on: December 12, 2018, 04:11:27 PM »

Raise taxes and bring back the FCC exams. No more volunteers. I might join the FCC. Yeah, that will work.

Ted, KX4OM
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