eHam

eHam Forums => Licensing => Topic started by: W4JJA on June 15, 2012, 06:18:25 PM



Title: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: W4JJA on June 15, 2012, 06:18:25 PM
When will we be grandfathered?  When I got my General in 1961 I had all the operating privileges.  In several years later I didn't have them.  Or will this never happen?
Jack


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: AA4PB on June 15, 2012, 06:41:42 PM
Why wait to be grandfathered (which isn't likely to happen)? Just take the Extra test.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: K2OWK on June 15, 2012, 08:27:35 PM
When I got my General in 1955. I had all the Ham band privileges including the 11 meter ham band (gone now). More then 50 years later I took the Extra class license and passed. It is much easier now then back when (no code) very easy questions. Don't wait for Grandfathering in. It won't happen. Just study for a short time and take the Extra. It is much easier then waiting for something that won't happen.

73 K2OWK


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: WW3QB on June 15, 2012, 09:12:51 PM
This has been beaten to death in this thread: http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,75408.0.html

Bottom line: Not going to happen.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: WN2C on June 16, 2012, 09:46:35 AM
When will we be grandfathered?  When I got my General in 1961 I had all the operating privileges.  In several years later I didn't have them.  Or will this never happen?
Jack

You have been licensed since 61'?  What are you waiting for?


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: WD5GWY on June 16, 2012, 12:57:13 PM
Been an Advanced for lots of years now. But, I do want the Extra.
And for that, gotta study. It's really not that hard. I passed the Extra
written test years ago, and failed the CW test. (could take 25wpm in
my head but, could not write that fast and get answers) Anyway, now
that the code test is not a requirement, I'm going for the Extra again.
If the code test still existed, I would have a tough time. I have Tinnitus
real bad and some CW signals are tough to hear correctly.
  As a friend of mine told me, just go and do it and don't make excuses
anymore!! Get that "extra" band space. Especially if you like DX'ing.(I do)
james
WD5GWY
Advanced since the 1980's.



Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: AA4PB on June 17, 2012, 08:35:27 AM
Even in the later years of the code test you didn't have to write everything down - just take a few notes like you would in a real QSO. You know the kind of questions they are going to ask: what was the ops name, what kind of antenna did he have, where was he located, etc.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 17, 2012, 04:56:44 PM
When will we be grandfathered?

Not any time soon.


  When I got my General in 1961 I had all the operating privileges.  In several years later I didn't have them.  Or will this never happen?

Generals only had full privs from Feb 1953 until Nov 1968.

The FCC has repeatedly turned down all sorts of free-upgrade proposals. The Extra exam today is 50 multiple-choice questions from a published pool. Passing grade is 37 right. There are practice exams right here on eham.

What are you waiting for?

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 18, 2012, 05:52:02 AM
In various online forums (including this one) related to Amateur Radio, I continually see posts asking the question as to when Advanced Class licensees in the USA will be "grandfathered" to Extra Class.

As I've noted in previous postings in these and other forums, there is virtually no difference between the operational privileges granted to any of our license classes that grant HF access in the USA (i.e General, Advanced and Extra).  

Rather, those differences are all based on granting more and more artificially walled-off slices of radio spectrum to those who "achieve" the so-called higher classes of license (Advanced and Extra).  But, even though the FCC eliminated all testing for the Advanced Class license nearly a decade ago, those who still hold an Advanced Class license can continue to renew it indefinitely.  

As I see it, there are several reasons why the FCC has been reluctant to "grandfather" Advanced Class licensees to Extra Class and, short of a GAO audit or class action lawsuit, are not about to do so in the near future.  

First (and foremost) such an action would completely undermine their so-called "incentive licensing" nonsense that was put in place in the USA's amateur licensing system over 50 years ago and which still forms the basic regulatory underpinnings of the entire Amateur Radio licensing structure in the USA.  Indeed, to now grant Advance Class licensees privileges for which they did not "earn" would be blasphemous to those Extra Class operators over the years who jumped through all the FCC's stupid "incentive" hoops in order to "upgrade".  

That action, in turn, would create unwanted controversy in the form of reams of letters to (and investigations from) various Congresspersons about why the licenses of or more of their constituents are being "cheapened" in such a way.

And if it's one thing risk-averse US Government bureaucrats (including those at the FCC) wish to avoid at all costs, it's Congressional investigations.

Second, as there are virtually no differences between the operational privileges granted to Generals, Advanced and Extras (other than access to artificially walled-off slices of spectrum), then if Advanced and Extras are granted equal privileges, why not Generals?  That, in turn, would call the regulatory underpinnings of their entire "incentive" nonsense into question.  For, if all three of these HF-based license classes are granted equal privileges, where's the regulatory need for three of them?  

Unfortunately, to correct THAT issue would then necessitate a complete re-write of the "educational" basis and intent of the Amateur Service as now promulgated in in Part 97.1(c)...an intent, by the way, that has absolutely no regulatory basis whatsoever in the International Telecommunication Rules (ITU) that govern our Service internationally.

Clearly, the FCC is loath to "grandfather" Generals and/or Advanced Class licensees to Extra unless higher authority (or a legal class action lawsuit) forces them into it. For, in their bureaucratic minds, is far better to simply let "sleeping dogs lie".  

Or, more to the point, it's far better to let "sleeping dogs DIE" as those who hold Advanced Class licenses are now dying in ever increasing numbers, anyway.

Indeed, if the risk-averse bureaucrats at the FCC wait long enough, this "problem" will eventually take care of itself.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: AA4PB on June 18, 2012, 07:03:20 AM
Indeed, if the risk-averse bureaucrats at the FCC wait long enough, this "problem" will eventually take care of itself.

And.. it's only a problem for those who refuse to expend the effort to upgrade to Extra. It really doesn't take much effort to do that today.



Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 18, 2012, 07:22:33 AM
And.. it's only a problem for those who refuse to expend the effort to upgrade to Extra. It really doesn't take much effort to do that today.

Perhaps.

But that still begs the obvious question as to what overriding, international regulatory NEED (based on safety and/or non-interference concerns) is fulfilled by people having to do so?

That is, what are the specific additional operational knowledges and skills that must be demonstrated for an amateur to safely and courteously operate his or her station at 14.024 MHz versus 14.026 Mhz?

Clearly, the inconvenient truth that nobody at the FCC (or elsewhere) want to now admit is that, operationally, our three so-called "advanced" licenses (General, Advanced and Extra) grant virtually identical operating privileges.  The only differences between them are based solely on granting access to artificially walled-off slices of virtually identical radio spectrum.  So, once again, beyond stroking people's egos, where's the regulatory NEED for such differentiation?

Unfortunately, unlike the late 1950s when all this "incentive" foolishness was first hatched, simply stroking egos no longer legally cuts it as a firm basis for a US Government regulatory requirement...like the need for a so-called "Extra" class license to operate with the exact same emission modes in virtually the exact same parts of the HF radio spectrum.

I have written extensively about these and other regulatory issues now facing our Service on my ongoing Amateur Radio Bog.  I invite you all to point your browsers to kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca) to read my (admittedly controversial) thoughts and opinions on these and other issues facing our Service in the 21st Century.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: W5DQ on June 18, 2012, 05:22:38 PM
Jack,

Better hurry and take that test if you have been studying as I hear the test question pool is set to change on July 1st .... only 13 days away.

But if you've been licensed since 1961 and not worried to take it by now, you're probably not in big hurry so take your time. The new question pool is good until 2016 and you should be ready before then.  ;D

Gene W5DQ


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: K9SRV on June 18, 2012, 06:57:05 PM
I studied for the Extra, after getting Tech in November and General in March.
Yesterday, I passed the Extra @ a Hamfest in Wheaton, Il.
If I can pass it, ANYONE who is on this website can pass it.
No Lie!
John,
KB9ICO


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 18, 2012, 07:22:10 PM
Keith old boy,

1) It's "Advanced" class. Not "Advance".

2) The licensing system is being converted to three license classes by attrition. Been going on for 12 years now.

3) We are now at the point where only about 1 in 10 US hams is not either a Technician, General or Extra.

4) "Incentive licensing" took effect in the late 1960s. I was a ham then. The first bandwidth restrictions took effect November 22, 1968 - 44 years ago.

5) The Extra just isn't that hard.

73 de jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 18, 2012, 08:06:57 PM
Keith old boy, It's "Advanced" class. Not "Advance".

Jim, old boy....it's a typo.  

I know the difference.  

Quote
2) The licensing system is being converted to three license classes by attrition. Been going on for 12 years now.

Perhaps.  

But the "graying" of our Service has been going on for a heck of a lot longer than that.  Indeed, unless we quickly find some new blood, "attrition" is going to eventually prove to be our Service's undoing.

As I said, the FCC is not about to "gandfather" anyone, for to do so would be an admission that their stupid "incentive" nonsense is no longer legal...let alone relevant.  And THAT admission, in turn, would then require them to actually get up off their bureaucratic finals to implement long-needed structural reforms to Part 97.

The bottom line here remains that the ONLY way these FCC bureaucrats will now act on these issues is if they are financially FORCED into acting on them..."from above".  For, as the syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell once so eloquently noted while writing about such things, “You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that, for bureaucrats, procedure is everything and outcomes mean nothing.”

Quote
3) We are now at the point where only about 1 in 10 US hams is not either a Technician, General or Extra.


But what you (conveniently?) fail to mention is that only about 18 Percent have been "incentivized" enough to become Extras.  

On the other hand, nearly 50% of currently licensed US Hams remain "lowly" Technicians.  If these two facts aren't an absolutely stinging indictment (not to mention clear and incontrovertible evidence) of the total failure of "incentive licensing" I don't know what is.

Indeed, in any other "educational" endeavor, a 18 percent success rate to the "top rung" of the ladder (an Extra Class license) would be considered a dismal failure.  Everywhere else, that is, but with the ARRL's and FCC's myopic attempts to turn the Amateur Radio Service in the United States of America into the "No Budding RF Engineer Left Behind" Radio Service.  

Quote
4) "Incentive licensing" took effect in the late 1960s. I was a ham then. The first bandwidth restrictions took effect November 22, 1968 - 44 years ago.

But the ARRL and FCC were kicking around the idea for several years prior to its implementation.  

What's more, besides our increasingly arcane Part 97, what other US Government regulations do you know of that have not undergone sweeping structural reforms since the 1960s?

Quote
5) The Extra just isn't that hard.

Perhaps not for someone with a BSEE.  

But, even so, I fail to see why it STILL takes mastery of a 600+ page Extra Class license manual just to be able to operate my station at 14.024 MHz rather than 14.026 Mhz.  

Again, I ask:  Where's the regulatory NEED in any of that?

Quote
'73 de jim, N2EY

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 19, 2012, 02:00:18 PM
it's a typo.  

I know the difference.  


Then I suspect you did it as a trap...

But the "graying" of our Service has been going on for a heck of a lot longer than that.  Indeed, unless we quickly find some new blood, "attrition" is going to eventually prove to be our Service's undoing.

Since 2007, the number of US hams has grown by more than 50,000. And that doesn't include licenses in the grace period.


As I said, the FCC is not about to "gandfather" anyone, for to do so would be an admission that their stupid "incentive" nonsense is no longer legal...let alone relevant.  And THAT admission, in turn, would then require them to actually get up off their bureaucratic finals to implement long-needed structural reforms to Part 97.

The bottom line here remains that the ONLY way these FCC bureaucrats will now act on these issues is if they are financially FORCED into acting on them..."from above".  For, as the syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell once so eloquently noted while writing about such things, “You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that, for bureaucrats, procedure is everything and outcomes mean nothing.”

Just the opposite. The current system is working as it should. Without lifting an administrative finger, the Novice and Advanced classes will eventually disappear, as licensees upgrade or drop out. Why bother to change a system that works?


But what you (conveniently?) fail to mention is that only about 18 Percent have been "incentivized" enough to become Extras.  

Why is that a bad thing? The percentage of hams with Extras continues to grow. When I got mine, we were less than 3% of US hams.


On the other hand, nearly 50% of currently licensed US Hams remain "lowly" Technicians.

Actually, the percentage of US hams with Technician licenses has dropped in recent years. From a high of 49.5%, it is now down to 48.7%.

The growth in US amateur radio is in the General and Extra classes, not the Technician. Look back to 2000 or 2007 and see.


 If these two facts aren't an absolutely stinging indictment (not to mention clear and incontrovertible evidence) of the total failure of "incentive licensing" I don't know what is.

They're not proof of that at all.

Indeed, in any other "educational" endeavor, a 18 percent success rate to the "top rung" of the ladder (an Extra Class license) would be considered a dismal failure.

No, it wouldn't.

What percentage of high school graduates get bachelor's degrees?

What percentage of those with bachelor's degrees get master's degrees?

What percentage of those with master's degrees get PhDs?

Not that any US amateur license compares with even a high school diploma...

Quote
5) The Extra just isn't that hard.

Perhaps not for someone with a BSEE.

I got my Extra between 10th and 11th grades, in 1970. That was nowhere near a record in its time. The current youngest Extra earned the license at the age of 7 years.

A bright young person, to be sure. But there's nothing in the Extra that a reasonably smart and dedicated middle-schooler can't learn.


But, even so, I fail to see why it STILL takes mastery of a 600+ page Extra Class license manual just to be able to operate my station at 14.024 MHz rather than 14.026 Mhz.  

It doesn't require any such "mastery".

All it takes is 37 or more right questions on a multiple-choice test.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 19, 2012, 08:38:55 PM
Since 2007, the number of US hams has grown by more than 50,000. And that doesn't include licenses in the grace period.

But, how many of those 50,000 are actually on the air?  Once again, you are aggregating numbers and offering sweeping generalities to make your case.  

The REST of the story, Jim, is that, according to statistics compiled and released at the 2012 Dayton Hamvention by the ARRL, the number of newly licensed hams in the USA actually PEAKED in 2009 (at 30,144) and has been headed downward ever since.  Specifically, In 2010 that number was down to 27,528 and in 2011 it was down to 24,072.  Any way you cut it, Jim, the "newly licensed ham" trend in the USA is clearly downward.  

What's more, because our FCC licenses are all on a 10 year renewal cycle, all of the FCC's licensing statistics for our Service were only completely accurate in 2002...TEN YEARS AGO.  We have absolutely NO idea how many more hams have died (or walked away from the hobby never to return) since then who aren't being accounted for in the license totals that you and others like to continually hold up as "proof" that all is well in our hobby.

Clearly, if the the "graying" of attendees at ham radio gatherings, the increasing silence on our bands, and the increasing numbers of "Silent Keys" now being shown month after month in QST are any indication, I say we are now (or soon will be) on the cusp of a steep decline in our numbers.  Or, to put it another way, everything I see, read and hear these days tells me that the number of newcomers to ham radio in the USA isn't growing as fast as the rest of us are now (or soon will be) dying off.

And, once again, I've offered my opinions and made my points on this subject.

Furthermore, I'm not about to get into yet another extended "Urinary Olympiad" with you over these issues.  That's because I have far better things to do with my time (such as writing articles about Amateur Radio for real money) than to continually waste it here writing endless responses to "bait" that does nothing but further stroke someone's already over-inflated ego.

However, for those who still may wish to learn more about where I'm coming from on these (admittedly controversial) issues, I again invite you to cruise by my Ham Radio Blog at: kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca) and read my continuing thoughts on these and other subjects...subjects that I believe are of vital import to the future of our Service in the United States.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KG4NEL on June 20, 2012, 07:33:28 AM
Quote
Again, I ask:  Where's the regulatory NEED in any of that?

Trying to come up with a regulatory justification for a bureaucratic agency is a can of worms that goes well beyond anything we can come up with in amateur radio  :P


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 20, 2012, 09:10:33 AM
Since 2007, the number of US hams has grown by more than 50,000. And that doesn't include licenses in the grace period.

But, how many of those 50,000 are actually on the air?

I don't know - and neither do you.

So what's your point? How does the current license structure affect how many newcomers are on the air?

 Once again, you are aggregating numbers and offering sweeping generalities to make your case.

Nope. I'm just presenting relevant facts. Our numbers continue to grow, as evidenced by the license counts presented in another thread here.

The REST of the story, Jim, is that, according to statistics compiled and released at the 2012 Dayton Hamvention by the ARRL, the number of newly licensed hams in the USA actually PEAKED in 2009 (at 30,144) and has been headed downward ever since.  Specifically, In 2010 that number was down to 27,528 and in 2011 it was down to 24,072.  Any way you cut it, Jim, the "newly licensed ham" trend in the USA is clearly downward.

So - what's your point?


What's more, because our FCC licenses are all on a 10 year renewal cycle, all of the FCC's licensing statistics for our Service were only completely accurate in 2002...TEN YEARS AGO.

Why?

The license renewal rules haven't really changed since 1983, when the term went to 10 years. Why would the totals be accurate in 2002 but not accurate today?

There is NO logic behind your assertion. None.

 We have absolutely NO idea how many more hams have died (or walked away from the hobby never to return) since then who aren't being accounted for in the license totals that you and others like to continually hold up as "proof" that all is well in our hobby.

And we had no idea how many had done so in 2002.

The license totals have ALWAYS included SKs, inactives, etc. 2002 was no different on that score than 2012.

Clearly, if the the "graying" of attendees at ham radio gatherings, the increasing silence on our bands, and the increasing numbers of "Silent Keys" now being shown month after month in QST are any indication, I say we are now (or soon will be) on the cusp of a steep decline in our numbers.  Or, to put it another way, everything I see, read and hear these days tells me that the number of newcomers to ham radio in the USA isn't growing as fast as the rest of us are now (or soon will be) dying off.

You've been saying that for a very long time - but our numbers keep on growing. You keep giving us the same "Chicken Little" predictions of doom and gloom, but the numbers keep climbing.

Amateur "gatherings" are not a reliable sample of US amateur radio, for all sorts of reasons. "Graying" is purely subjective - how "gray" was ham radio 10, 20, 30 years ago, compared to today? You don't really know; the FCC hasn't required birthdate data for a long time now.

Here's a fun fact: For many hams, the online universe has become the club meeting and hamfest of the past. And in some cases the magazine and library as well. That simple fact profoundly changes who you see at "ham gatherings" compared to 10 or 20 years ago.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: W5DQ on June 20, 2012, 11:42:42 AM
"Graying" is purely subjective - how "gray" was ham radio 10, 20, 30 years ago, compared to today? You don't really know; the FCC hasn't required birthdate data for a long time now.


I'm a lot more grey than I was 30, 20, even 5 years ago. I guess a 17 yo stepdaughter tends to do that to an old guy like me  ;D

While both of you guys have valid pints, I fail to see the need for this level of intense discussion in an amateur forum. Just agree to disagree and let's all go work some new QSO's. That is what ham radio is all about ...... communincating with other HAMS.

Gene W5DQ


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 21, 2012, 05:00:39 AM
The license totals have ALWAYS included SKs, inactives, etc. 2002 was no different on that score than 2012.

Agreed.

But when you toss in the fact that, according to the ARRL, the average age of even our newcomers is now over 50, and the average age of the rest of us was already pushing 60 the last time the FCC publicly released such statistics, it seems to me it's only a matter of time before our death rate outpaces our newcomer rate.

And it's THAT element that is present today in the statistics I'm citing that wasn't there when you and I were first licensed.  

Nobody lives forever, Jim.  

Not even you...or me.

Quote
You've been saying that for a very long time - but our numbers keep on growing. You keep giving us the same "Chicken Little" predictions of doom and gloom, but the numbers keep climbing.

Yes, our "numbers keep on climbing"....for now.  

However, the latest overall stats I've been looking at (particularly those for newly licensed hams and "upgrades) indicate that even our aggregate "growth" rate may very well have peaked.  

And, as I've said before, I hope I'm absolutely, dead wrong on all of these "Chicken Little" predictions.  But, on the other hand, this myopic "all is well" attitude that sweeping regulatory changes to our arcane licensing structure are not needed so as to attract (and keep) many more youthful newcomers than we are now doing may very well prove to be our undoing.

Only time will tell.

'Nuff said.

73,

Keith
KB1SF /  VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 21, 2012, 05:09:17 AM
I'm a lot more grey than I was 30, 20, even 5 years ago. I guess a 17 yo stepdaughter tends to do that to an old guy like me  ;D

I have a 20-year old daughter that's done the same thing to me!  They say insanity is hereditary...you get it from your children!

Quote
While both of you guys have valid pints, I fail to see the need for this level of intense discussion in an amateur forum. Just agree to disagree and let's all go work some new QSO's. That is what ham radio is all about ...... communincating with other HAMS.

Gene W5DQ

Agreed!

Which is one of the reasons that, unlike some other folks who regularly post here,  I don't spend my days, weeks and months "camped out" in forums like these.

But, every now and then, I still like to "stir the pot". ::)

73,

Keith
KB1SF /  VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)



Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 21, 2012, 06:03:30 AM
While both of you guys have valid pints, I fail to see the need for this level of intense discussion in an amateur forum.

What valid points does KB1SF have in his posts? I don't really see any.

The whole purpose of forums like this one is intense discussion. What wrong with getting to the facts?

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 21, 2012, 06:12:40 AM
The license totals have ALWAYS included SKs, inactives, etc. 2002 was no different on that score than 2012.

Agreed.

So your claim that the totals in 2002 were accurate is just plain WRONG.

But when you toss in the fact that, according to the ARRL, the average age of even our newcomers is now over 50, and the average age of the rest of us was already pushing 60 the last time the FCC publicly released such statistics, it seems to me it's only a matter of time before our death rate outpaces our newcomer rate.

Nope. If that were the case, the numbers would be falling. But they're not.

The truth is that nobody really knows the "average age" nor the "death rate" or anything like that. And we haven't known for many years, because FCC stopped asking for birthdate info.

On top of that, Americans are living longer and, more important, staying active longer than ever before. The 55-year-old empty-nester who gets into ham radio may have 30+ years of hamming ahead of him/her.

And it's THAT element that is present today in the statistics I'm citing that wasn't there when you and I were first licensed.  

How do you know for sure? Do you have age statistics for 1967?


Nobody lives forever, Jim.  

Not even you...or me.

Quote
You've been saying that for a very long time - but our numbers keep on growing. You keep giving us the same "Chicken Little" predictions of doom and gloom, but the numbers keep climbing.

Yes, our "numbers keep on climbing"....for now.  

However, the latest overall stats I've been looking at (particularly those for newly licensed hams and "upgrades) indicate that even our aggregate "growth" rate may very well have peaked.  

And, as I've said before, I hope I'm absolutely, dead wrong on all of these "Chicken Little" predictions.  But, on the other hand, this myopic "all is well" attitude that sweeping regulatory changes to our arcane licensing structure are not needed so as to attract (and keep) many more youthful newcomers than we are now doing may very well prove to be our undoing.

Our "arcane licensing structure" is actually very simple and straightforward. The license requirements are basic and a motivated middle-schooler can earn an Extra. Access to tests and information is easier than ever before.

The growth-limiting factor isn't the license. It's other things, which are much harder to fix.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N3DF on June 21, 2012, 07:15:48 AM

Quote
5) The Extra just isn't that hard.

Perhaps not for someone with a BSEE.  

[/quote]

The Amateur Extra operator license is within the grasp of a motivated high school student.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 21, 2012, 07:31:03 AM
The truth is that nobody really knows the "average age" nor the "death rate" or anything like that. And we haven't known for many years, because FCC stopped asking for birthdate info.

They don't need to. 

Everyone applying for a new, renewed, or upgraded FCC-issued Amateur Radio license these days must list their SSAN (or their FRN number that's originally based on their SSAN) on their NCVEC Form 605s.  And the US Government's SSAN database contains one's birth date.

So they know....and so do the VECs.

When was the last time you looked at an application form, Jim?

Quote
On top of that, Americans are living longer and, more important, staying active longer than ever before. The 55-year-old empty-nester who gets into ham radio may have 30+ years of hamming ahead of him/her.

Perhaps.

And as long as we continue to have "55-year-old empty-nesters" entering the "pipeline", all might be well. 

But, then again, how many youngsters today have even HEARD of amateur radio, let alone tried to jump through all of our systemically discriminatory 1950s-era "hazing rituals" just to get a license that grants them full HF privileges?

And do you HONESTLY believe that by the time those same youngsters turn 50 that their attitude about all that systemically discriminatory nonsense will somehow miraculously change? 

Quote
The growth-limiting factor isn't the license. It's other things, which are much harder to fix.

...in your opinion.

However, in MY opinion, continually putting "needless regulatory barriers" (to use the FCC's own legal term) in front of people... licensing barriers to advancement in our Service that are not in any way based on safety or non-interference concerns...most certainly remains a contributing cause.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 21, 2012, 08:03:27 AM

The Amateur Extra operator license is within the grasp of a motivated high school student.

The issue is not "easiness" or "hardness", Neil....it's relevance.

I find it interesting that the term "education" is not mentioned  anywhere in the rules and regulations that govern our Amateur Radio Service internationally.  And any professional educator worth their degree will tell you that there is a vast difference between the content and comprehensiveness of the teaching-learning processes involved in "training" versus "education".

What's more, there is a huge difference in measuring academic achievement (which requires a far deeper working knowledge of the material examined) than simply testing to insure that someone is merely competent to perform a skill or a function.

Unfortunately, right now, by obsessively maintiaing their stupid "incentive licensing" nonsense in our Service the FCC is still trying to do the former and the latter.  And, in my humble opinion, they aren't doing a very good job of either.

That's probably because the FCC has traditionally been staffed with a bunch of engineers and lawyers, not educators.  Indeed, my hunch is that most FCC staffers wouldn't have the slightest clue about the basics of human measurement theory and practice...or what's a legally fair and relevant (versus a legally unfair and/or irrelevant) exam if it hit them between the eyes.

But, regardless, the bottom line remains that the FCC's charter from the ITU and the US Congress is to effectively and efficiently put an examination and licensing system in place for our Service that simply provides a reasonable assurance that we are minimally competent to safely and courteously operate our stations with the privileges granted.  Period.

Their job is absolutely NOT (and never has been) to turn us all into budding RF engineers.

Yet, somehow, training people to a minimum standard (consistent with safety and non-interference) in our so-called "Amateur" Radio Service in the United States of America has long since morphed into being "not good enough" according to some of the aging "crusty curmudgeons" in our ranks.

As I've said in previous posts, clearly, the exam for our Tech license needs to be far more comprehensive that it is now.  However, there is simply no regulatory need for the Extra Class license to even be in the mix.

Zip...nada...none.

Now, I suppose if you are already a graduate electrical engineer, the Extra Class license material would be a "snap".  But, once again, it's not the "easiness" or the "hardness" of the test material that matters in determining a US Government examination's legal validity.  It's the relevance and relationship of what's on that test to the (additional) privileges it grants that determines that examination's legality.

And, any way you cut it, friends, it simply does not require a working knowledge of a 600+ page Extra Class license manual (and the successful completion of yet another 50-question exam over material largely related to operating privileges that have already been granted to lower class licensees in the US system) to be found uniquely qualified and therefore competent to, for example, operate one's station at 14.024 MHz versus 14.026 MHz.

Unfortunately, for most of us, once we jump through all the FCC's stupid "Extra Class" hoops ourselves, there's no longer a felt need for us to want to change the system for the next poor slob who has to endure the same absolutely baseless, FCC-imposed, Extra Class "hazing rituals" that we all did.

If anything, human nature being what it is, strong feelings of "I did it and so should you" take over and the end result is that absolutely nothing changes.

In fact, I remain convinced that it's this "I've got mine" social phenomenon that is one of the principal reasons why our Service has now devolved into the sociological and technological backwater that we have since become.

73,

Keith
KB1SF /  VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 22, 2012, 05:17:52 AM
As I've said in previous posts, clearly, the exam for our Tech license needs to be far more comprehensive that it is now.  However, there is simply no regulatory need for the Extra Class license to even be in the mix.

Zip...nada...none.

Then write up a proposal to change things.

Now, I suppose if you are already a graduate electrical engineer, the Extra Class license material would be a "snap".

It should be. Because the Extra exam is far below EE level. It's about middle-school level, really.
Nothing all that difficult in it at all.

If anything, the Extra and General need to be much more comprehensive too.

Look around this and other forums, and you'll see hams with Generals and Extras asking extremely basic "how do I make a dipole?" questions. This doesn't mean they're dumb; it means they just don't know. Often they don't even know the right questions to ask!

Eliminating the Extra won't fix that. It will only make the problem worse.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KU2US on June 22, 2012, 08:50:27 AM
The Advanced class license test I took in 1980 was harder than the extra class test of today! At least thats the way I see it. I have both study guides. Granted, the content is different today because of the addition of digital modes et.et.. I like my 2x2, I will stay where I am..


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 22, 2012, 10:35:12 AM
Look around this and other forums, and you'll see hams with Generals and Extras asking extremely basic "how do I make a dipole?" questions. This doesn't mean they're dumb; it means they just don't know. Often they don't even know the right questions to ask!

Eliminating the Extra won't fix that. It will only make the problem worse.

What "problem"?

Since when has someone asking another Ham a question about the operational aspects of our hobby been a "problem" that needs "fixing"?  

Did YOU know everything there was to know about Ham Radio right after your got your first license?  

And what the heck ever happened to our age-old concept of "Elmering"?  

Unfortunately, such comments are yet another classic example of us "oldsters" requiring our newcomers to look, think and act EXACTLY as we did when we were all first licensed.  

Indeed, back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, there WERE no "online forums" where people could ask such "ignorant" questions.  You either pulled the answers out of a book, asked your "Elmer" (usually in a face-to-face conversation) or else you (quickly) learned on your own what happens when you stick your fingers across the RF output of your transmitter with the key down.  

Or, to put it another way, most of our "learning" (and our "ignorant" questioning) back then was done in private and largely out of the public eye because there was no other way to do it.

And all the while we keep looking down our elitist, upturned noses at newcomers who use today's social media and the Internet as their primary sources of information about our Service, the more we will keep turning them "off"...and away...from our hobby.

Keith
KB1SF /  VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 22, 2012, 11:12:27 AM
The Advanced class license test I took in 1980 was harder than the extra class test of today! At least thats the way I see it. I have both study guides.

Of course it should seem that way - you've had 32 years of learning since then!

I like my 2x2, I will stay where I am..

There is no requirement to change callsigns when upgrading. In fact, the only way to change your current callsign would be to request a vanity call (or let your license lapse).

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 22, 2012, 11:19:05 AM
Look around this and other forums, and you'll see hams with Generals and Extras asking extremely basic "how do I make a dipole?" questions. This doesn't mean they're dumb; it means they just don't know. Often they don't even know the right questions to ask!

Eliminating the Extra won't fix that. It will only make the problem worse.

What "problem"?

The problem that we have amateurs with General and Extra licenses who don't know the BASICS of practical ham radio. Such as how to make a simple wire dipole. Stuff that used to be common knowledge for Novices.

That's a problem.

Since when has someone asking another Ham a question about the operational aspects of our hobby been a "problem" that needs "fixing"?  

Did YOU know everything there was to know about Ham Radio right after your got your first license?  

I knew enough to put a station on the air without having to ask such basic questions. And I started out as a Novice, not a General or Extra.

And what the heck ever happened to our age-old concept of "Elmering"?  

It's alive and well. Nothing wrong with it.

But, IMHO, a ham with an Extra should not have to ask such basic questions as are common here and elsewhere.

Again, that's not the fault of the ham who doesn't know! It's a fault of the process.

What you seem to be saying is that tasks such as making a simple wire dipole are so complex that even Extras need their hands held in order to do them. I say that's nonsense.


73 de Jim, N2EY



Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: AA4PB on June 22, 2012, 03:05:21 PM
Part of the solution may be going back to the minimum operating experience for Extra - say 2 years of on-air HF operation in a log book.

KB1SF is right about one thing: we all had dumb questions when we started out but they didn't get posted on e-ham for all the world to look at  ;D  With google and other search engines it is far easier to look up answers today than it was getting from a book years ago. However, it appears that many find it easier to ask someone than to look it up.



Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on June 22, 2012, 03:35:43 PM
What you seem to be saying is that tasks such as making a simple wire dipole are so complex that even Extras need their hands held in order to do them. I say that's nonsense.

What's "nonsense" is the myopic expectation that our licensing system is (or should be) the sole source of learning in our Service.  

It's the absolutely baseless belief that seems to now run rampant in our Service (particularly among our "regulatory fundamentalists") that, once a person successfully passes an Extra Class exam, there's should be absolutely no need for them to learn anything else...or to (gasp!) ask "dumb" questions in online forums. Such people should have already "arrived" at the pinnacle of achievement.

Unfortunately, this whole idea is ludicrous on its face.  And it always has been.

For, if the material that's examined on the Extra Class exam is so absolutely ESSENTIAL for safe and courteous operation in our Service, why, then, are some 83 percent of all US licensed hams allowed to self-select themselves OUT of taking it?  

Or, to put it another way, if that so-called "Extra Class" material is so essential to maintaining good order and discipline in our Service, then it seems to me that only about 17 Percent of all US hams have now demonstrated their mastery of it because only about 17 percent now hold Extra Class licenses.  

So, once again, it seems I've exposed yet another glaring (I say fatal) deficiency in our so-called "incentive" licensing structure.

The bottom line here is that the Extra Class exam is nothing more than an "achievement" test vice an exam to determine one's mastery of essential competencies.  That fact, in turn, makes the whole Extra Class nonsense an "unnecessary regulatory barrier" (to use the FCC's legal terminology) to full access to otherwise already qualified (i.e. General Class) applicants to the PUBLIC airwaves that are the Amateur Radio bands.

And it's THAT inconvenient truth, Jim, that now makes the Extra Class exam systemically discriminatory (and therefore patently illegal to maintain and administer) under a whole plethora of 1990s-era US equal access laws.

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 23, 2012, 03:39:34 AM
Part of the solution may be going back to the minimum operating experience for Extra - say 2 years of on-air HF operation in a log book.

Maybe. But such a requirement would be an uphill go because it would add some admin work for FCC.

More important, there never was a minimum operating exoerience requirement for Extra. All that existed was a requirement that you hold a Conditional, General or Advanced for at least 2 years before taking the Extra tests. What you actually did with the license didn't matter - youi could spend the entire time on VHF/UHF or not use the license at all; FCC didn't care.

KB1SF is right about one thing: we all had dumb questions when we started out but they didn't get posted on e-ham for all the world to look at  ;D  With google and other search engines it is far easier to look up answers today than it was getting from a book years ago. However, it appears that many find it easier to ask someone than to look it up.

So is the Extra-who-can't-make-a-dipole a problem or not?


73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N9FB on June 24, 2012, 08:04:43 AM
Change is almost always resisted, but why not go the way of the rest of the world on this and make using more than 200 watts only legal for those who hold an Extra class license?  We could grandfather/grandmother current hams to an interim phase of 1 year for them to learn all the Extra material if they feel it necessary to run high power... We could also have an honor system where new ham Extras would be limited to 200 watts for their first 90 days...

It would mean hams running high power would more likely be aware of safety.

It would also solve peripheral problems like how non Extras have only about 6 kHz available for standard CW on 40 meters in practice (7025-7031) and also DXpeditions which do not originate from the US and so don't necessarily realize most US hams cannot work them on 15, 20, 40, and 80 meters if they don't go up 25KHz from the band edge. It would also mean hams who do not know how to put up a dipole cannot legally utilize high power.  It would incentivize the Extra class for all those hams who think if you don't run 1000 watts you have no business on 75 meters.  It might even help them learn that a good antenna is more important than a linear...

What would be other advantages -- and the disadvantage(s) -- to such a change?
 


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 24, 2012, 10:47:34 AM
Change is almost always resisted, but why not go the way of the rest of the world on this and make using more than 200 watts only legal for those who hold an Extra class license? 

Because it would take privileges away from hundreds of thousands of US hams.

That's a deal-killer right there. Even though the majority of US hams with Technician, General or Advanced licenses probably don't run over 200 watts, losing the privileges is a very hard sell. The big question they will ask is:

"I've been a ham for X years and never had a problem. Why should I lose those privileges now?

This same issue (losing existing privileges) is what caused such a ruckus about incentive licensing. 

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N9FB on June 24, 2012, 02:45:49 PM
So are you saying you support it for all future US licensees but that current license holders should be grandmothered (aka: grandfathered)?


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on June 24, 2012, 02:53:25 PM
So are you saying you support it for all future US licensees but that current license holders should be grandmothered (aka: grandfathered)?

I'm saying that any proposal which takes significant privileges away from already-licensed hams isn't going to get very far. Hams will oppose it, amateur groups will oppose it, (ARRL, NCVEC, equipment makers, clubs, etc.) and FCC will ask why it is so necessary.

If the rules are set up so that only Techs and Generals licensed after a certain date are affected, how do you tell who has the privileges and who doesn't?

73 de Jim, N2EY

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N9FB on June 24, 2012, 03:08:04 PM
Let's say the law goes into effect 1/1/2013...  anyone licensed after that without an Extra class would be limited to 200 watts.
Nothing really can stop people from breaking rules except people themselves  (though there are probably some sorry hams running more than 2 kW this instant)

your only gripe with it seems to be logistics of enforcement?


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: AA4PB on June 24, 2012, 03:45:51 PM
The logistics of enforcement is an issue. You would have to look up a call in the FCC database to determine the class of license and the initial issue date to determine what power level he was authorized to use.

In order to prevent downgrading privileges for existing hams you would have to permit those licensed before the effective date to continue to renew over the years and keep their high power privilege.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N9FB on June 24, 2012, 04:08:27 PM
yeah, I acknowledge that.  But if the power privileges make more sense, it is probably worth the trouble. 

I still think giving present licensees an interim phase of 1 year to upgrade to Extra or lose high power privileges is fair enough to warrant giving the critics a deaf ear. When I complain that as an Advanced I don't have access to CW portions of bands even though I passed a 13wpm FCC-proctored code exam, it is suggested I should just take and pass the Extra.  The same tough love could be given to people who complain about losing access to high power


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1BZR on June 24, 2012, 11:42:49 PM
Those Generals sure got the ----   .. no ?

I recall such. Was a Novice..then


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: K7KBN on June 25, 2012, 07:16:18 AM
Those Generals sure got the ----   .. no ?
I recall such. Was a Novice..then

Yeah, it was just terrible.  So two weeks later my folks drove me to the Los Angeles FCC Office and I passed the Extra.  I didn't see what the big problem was and I still don't almost 50 years later.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N6JSX on June 27, 2012, 02:53:01 PM
I gave up on the FCC doing anything that requires common-sense or not requiring white envelopes to each Commissioner (remember they are all either lawyers or from academia as WH political hacks).  ???

I took the damn Extra test 10/2007, acing it - FCC NEVER again. I'm one of the many HAMs that had to take 4 written tests (170 questions) plus two code tests, while the newbies only take three tests (110 questions) to acquire all.  >:(   

The assassin-nine argument that Extra testing is needed to insure the VE system remains pure is !@#$%^&*bogus, Advanced were VE's too. The Extra test had maybe one or two VE questions where my 1993 Advanced test had more. :o

Now after +40yrs HAM'ing I am a 'real' Advanced & 'CB' Extra!  ::)

Kuby, N6JSX /8, MS-EET


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: W0DV on June 27, 2012, 03:53:12 PM
Same tired, old topic. Advanced hams will never be grandfathered to Extra. The ones who will not take the exam either can't pass it or they are just being stubborn. I doubt any will admit to the former.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: AA4PB on June 27, 2012, 05:45:42 PM
Those Generals sure got the ----   .. no ?

I recall such. Was a Novice..then

Not a big problem. The key was to upgrade early, before everyone else did, then you had some nice QRM free frequencies to use  ;D

The long drive to be at the FCC field office at 8AM for the test was an incentive to study and make sure you passed so you didn't have to make the trip again. Doors opened at 8AM and closed just a few minutes later. If you didn't make it in time then you just had to come back again next month.



Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: WB6DGN on June 30, 2012, 09:45:14 PM
Quote
As I said, the FCC is not about to "gandfather" anyone, for to do so would be an admission that their stupid "incentive" nonsense is no longer legal...

OH! GOOOD GRIEF!!!  NOW we got "No ham left behind"; or is it no ham's behind...OH NEVER MIND!  What the hell's wrong with a little (and I DO mean LITTLE) mental challenge for a little extra "atta boy"?  The ham test isn't rocket science; hell, it isn't even "paper airplane science" any more.  If you can force yourself to sit down at your computer for an hour or so for two or three nights, you've got it done with not even as much effort as these silly posts.  As the saying goes, "JUST DO IT!"
Tom


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: M0HCN on July 01, 2012, 07:28:49 AM
As for the regulatory need for the extra, there actually kind of is one!

For a license to be acceptable for the CEPT agreements allowing reciprocal licensing, the license must cover defined subject matter set by international agreements, therefore short of changing the requirements for a license to be acceptable for the purposes of reciprocal licensing (Not trivial, requires international agreement), something that looks very much like the extra class license is required.

Now the whole incentive licensing thing can be argued about endlessly (As can power limits (UK incentive) Vs frequency limits (US incentive), but the need for the top level license to have a test at more or less the level it is (including all those EE questions) is actually set by international treaty.

Regards, Dan.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 02, 2012, 06:29:22 AM
As the saying goes, "JUST DO IT!"
Tom

Hmmmmmm....

Tom, I wonder if you's be singing this same tune if all our licenses to drive our private automobiles were based on us having to demonstrate how windshield washers and wipers are controlled and constructed, how the fuel injectors work, or required us to answer questions about a schematic that depicts how our headlights and taillights are wired up.  

That is, I wonder how many of us would roll over and "just do it" (as you suggest) as a result of THAT nonsense?

For that matter, who has ever heard of requiring an "Extra Class" driver's license just to, for example, drive one's private automobile farther away from home?  Granted, there are commercial requirements that must be met if one is driving one's vehicle "for hire".  But NOTHING of the sort is levied on us just to drive our own, privately owned conveyances anywhere we might wish.

And why is it that every other government-required license that I carry in my pocket these days (including my FAA Private Pilot's license) all require that I simply demonstrate basic competencies rather than "achievement"?  Lord knows, I can do FAR more damage to life and limb flying my airplane if I don't know what I'm doing than anything I could possibly do with a ham radio transmitter.

As I've said in other posts, most other countries never bought into the FCC's "incentive licensing" foolishness…including it's hierarchy of ever more difficult written and Morse tests.  As a result, nowhere else in the world are our bands as carved up (with regulated sub-bands (and even sub-sub bands)) by license class and (largely1950s era dominated) operating modes as they are here in the United States.

Elsewhere, the Amateur Service is regulated almost exclusively by bandwidth, not by license class or operating mode. And the differences between license classes in those countries have FAR more to do with safety (such as limiting the power output of lower tiered licensee's transmitters and prohibiting them from building those transmitters "from scratch") or regulatory matters (not allowing them to give exams or be the licensee of a club or repeater station) rather than an ego-stroking scheme to "reward" so-called “exclusive” frequency spectrum in exchange for regurgitating enough correct (but increasingly irrelevant) answers on ever-more-comprehensive, government mandated, multiple-choice exams.

This is probably also why most other countries in the world that have chosen to do so were easily able to drop their Morse testing requirements (or make them optional as the Canadians did) without skipping a beat.  The “earned” (spelled: "stroked-ego-based") element was (and remains) all but absent under those other licensing systems.

Unfortunately, the FCC unknowingly dug itself into a deep legal "hole" back in the 1950s and 1960s when they hatched their "incentive licensing" farce.  That's because a multitude of equal opportunity and equal access laws (most notably the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act just to name a few) that have since been passed into law made such blatantly discriminatory requirements (like passing ever more difficult Morse tests (and still largely irrelevant written tests like the Extra Class exam) in order to gain full access to federally administered services like Amateur Radio patently illegal.

Yet, even as late as 2003, the FCC still wasn't able to entirely eliminate their blatantly discriminatory Morse testing requirement for access to the HF bands in our Service because that same requirement had not (yet) been eliminated internationally under Article 25 of the ITU radio regulations.  

In fact, my guess is that the FCC arrived at the inescapable conclusion that Morse tests in the Amateur Service were no longer serving any useful purpose soon after all those US equal access laws started to come on the books. That's probably why they chose to eliminate the 13 WPM and 20 WPM tests twelve years ago (in 2000) and then dropped the remaining Morse test back to 5 WPM for all license classes...the absolute minimum required to make it a credible test and still meet the international treaty requirement for a Morse test spelled out in Article 25 of the ITU regulations still in force at the time.  

The FCC's action to drop Morse testing entirely has also defused (but not eliminated) a large part of their systemic discrimination exposure under US equal-access law because the FCC could then ALSO ditch all the doctor-certified code waiver gobbledygook for those higher speed tests…procedures that were also a class action lawsuit simply waiting to happen.

Morse testing in the Amateur Radio Service in the United States is now history.  And it's only a matter of time before someone, somewhere successfully challenges the REST of the FCC's systemically discriminatory incentive licensing system in Federal court before it, too, goes the way of the dinosaur.

In fact, I have it on competent authority (from a retired FCC staffer) that increasing pressure to avoid costly (not to mention embarrassing) class-action litigation IS now at least partly responsible for driving the FCC's overall strategy to largely deregulate our Service going forward.

So, unless the FCC is hauled into court on it sooner, I think we will continue to witness a gradual dismantling of all the trappings of incentive licensing that still remain.... including all the regulated sub-band (and sub-sub band) foolishness based on license class and operating mode that go along with it.

In that sense, the FCC's decision to drop ALL forms of Morse testing was only the latest chapter in their overall strategy to largely de-regulate our Service and to start placing far more of that regulatory responsibility (i.e. what mode goes where) back on the shoulders of licensees.... which is where it should have been all along.  

The bottom line here is that; in the United States (and despite the howls of protest from the "incentive licensing forever" crowd) the FCC has finally realized that becoming certified as an Amateur Radio Operator SHOULD simply require a forward-looking license to learn.  The criteria for those licenses should be based on the MINIMUM technical and/or operational skills and knowledges required to assure the safety of oneself and/or one's neighbors as well as to instill operational courtesy while preventing interference to other licensed Hams or other Services.  

Period.  

Or, to put it another way, it is absolutely crystal clear from their actions to date that the FCC has finally realized that such certifications can no longer be legally based on a series of backward looking, 1950s-era achievement-based and psychomotor tests that hand out frequency and mode-based "rewards" to licensees for successfully completing ever more irrelevant (not to mention blatantly discriminatory) "hazing rituals".  

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: AA4PB on July 02, 2012, 07:05:59 AM
"I wonder if you's be singing this same tune if all our licenses to drive our private automobiles were based on us having to demonstrate how windshield washers and wipers are controlled and constructed, how the fuel injectors work, or required us to answer questions about a schematic that depicts how our headlights and taillights are wired up. "
----------------------------------------------------------------

One major difference is that hams are not suppost to be simply "drivers" of radio transmitters. They are responsible for the "technical" control of their stations and that requires a basic technical knowledge. In commercial applications where the equipment operators don't have technical knowledge, there is a requirement to have the equipment serviced and maintained by a qualified outside person.

If you want to eliminate all the technical stuff from the exams then you need to add a requirement for an annual station inspection by someone qualified - just like you have to have an annual safety inspecion on your vehicle. Heck, you could even require that transmitters broadcast a special signal each time it is keyed indicating if the radio is overdue for the inspection. Or, require licenses to be renewed every year at a cost of $50 and maintain a database that must be updated by inspection personnel before you can obtain your license renewal if you really want it to be like vehicles. Maybe the license renewal fee should be based on the transmitter's maximum power output capability.  ;D




Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 02, 2012, 07:14:18 AM
As for the regulatory need for the extra, there actually kind of is one!

For a license to be acceptable for the CEPT agreements allowing reciprocal licensing, the license must cover defined subject matter set by international agreements, therefore short of changing the requirements for a license to be acceptable for the purposes of reciprocal licensing (Not trivial, requires international agreement), something that looks very much like the extra class license is required.

Well, not quite.

The CEPT is NOT a "treaty" requirement, as it has absolutely nothing to do with the ITU regulations.  

Rather, it's a separate agreement among several (primarily European) countries to recognize each other's licensing systems for the Amateur Radio Service.  As a result, a CEPT permit must, by design, default to the most stringent of the lot…including those that still require a Morse test for access to the HF bands.

What's more, I don' t think the CEPT consortium's "non-recognition" of some of our US licenses is related so much to the number of exams we have in our "incentive" system, as much as it has to do with their relevance (or lack thereof) and/or comparability to most of the rest of the world's licensing systems for our Service.  As I've said, most other licensing systems in the world specifically withhold operating privileges from lower class licensees based primarily on safety and non-interference considerations rather than on rewarding "exclusive" slices of artificially walled-off sub-spectrum to higher class licensees.  

Indeed, what I've been advocating in these forums and threads is that we in the USA need to stop focusing our licensing system on creating budding RF Engineers and, instead, make the questions on our exams actually match the operating privileges those licenses grant.  Right now, that isn't happening.

And if this approach leads to a more technically comprehensive (i.e. "harder") exam "up front", then SO BE IT!  

In fact, that's exactly what Canada does right now with their Basic exam...an exam that ALL Canadian hams must now pass in order to get ANY license for our Service in that country.... even for VHF and UHF operation.

I know from my own personal experience (from administering them) that the 100-question Canadian Basic exam is a whopper of a test that not everyone passes the first time...or the second...or the third…or even the fourth!  You actually have to "know your stuff" to pass it.  And, with 100 questions pulled out of a 900-item question bank, I've also found that it is extremely hard (if not impossible) for candidates to simply "memorize the test". That's probably because the Canadian Basic exam is roughly equivalent in content and comprehensiveness to our US Tech and General exams put together.

But, even so, there's still a difference.  

That is, rather than focusing on testing obscure parts of our hobby that few (if any of us) will ever need to know about (let alone use!) that Basic exam focuses specifically on examining only those skills and knowledges that hams will absolutely "need to know" in order to keep themselves (and their neighbors) safe and/or from causing harmful interference to other hams or other services.  

What's more, unlike our current US Tech license (based on successfully completing a horrifically un-comprehensive, 35-question exam) that grants high power operating and transmitter construction privileges from day one, holders of the Canadian Basic certificate are STILL limited to running only 250 watts of power.  Basics also cannot build transmitters "from scratch" (kits are OK) and they can't hold the license of an in-band repeater or club station, or give exams. To do those things, they need to pass yet another, 50-question exam over much more technically oriented subject matter.

That is, unlike our General and Extra Class exams that simply ask more obscure questions about subject matter relating to operating privileges that have (in most cases) already been granted to lower-class licensees in the US system, the Canadian Advanced exam is anything but yet another "achievement test".   To put it bluntly, it's a big-time toughie over a whole lot of new material!

However, even though it is a much more comprehensive and technically oriented exam, it still focuses on examining only those added technical knowledges and skills that Advanced certificate holders absolutely need to know to keep themselves and their neighbors safe (and themselves from causing harmful interference) while exercising those newly granted (high power and repeater-enabled) privileges.

The bottom line here is that candidates for licenses in our Service in Canada are examined NOT based on their "achievements" or with an aim to "educate" them into becoming budding RF engineers.  Rather, Canadian licensed candidates are examined on what they absolutely need to know to do certain things in our Service based primarily on safety and non-interference concerns…and nothing more.    

And before some in our ranks once again accuse me of trying to breed "mediocrity" in our Service, please understand that I am NOT advocating that we "water down" our exam structure any further!  

To the contrary, what I AM advocating is that we need to "front end load" our examination requirements and then subsequently examine only those things that we all know (from our own experiences) are specifically required keep ourselves and others safe while also helping to prevent us all from becoming a nuisance to other hams or other services.  Such an approach would, indeed, make an "Extra Class" license totally irrelevant, and therefore absolutely unnecessary.  Which, in my mind, it already is.

This approach gets the FCC out of the "education" business (where they absolutely don't belong and where their "incentive" system has proven to be a dismal failure in that regard) and back into simply examining us for basic (and advanced) technical and regulatory competencies that are specifically relevant to what we actually do…on the air…as modern hams.  

Or, to put it another way, this approach gets our examination system back into the business of examining skills and knowleges based on "need" rather than for some obscure modicum of educational "achievement".  

That's not advocating "mediocrity" in our Service (or creating a "no ham left behind" Radio Service)!  Rather, it's called examining for the right set of needed technical and regulatory skills at the right times in our ham radio "careers".

73,

Keith
KB1SF  / VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on July 02, 2012, 08:41:03 AM
One major difference is that hams are not suppost to be simply "drivers" of radio transmitters. They are responsible for the "technical" control of their stations and that requires a basic technical knowledge. In commercial applications where the equipment operators don't have technical knowledge, there is a requirement to have the equipment serviced and maintained by a qualified outside person.

If you want to eliminate all the technical stuff from the exams then you need to add a requirement for an annual station inspection by someone qualified - just like you have to have an annual safety inspecion on your vehicle. Heck, you could even require that transmitters broadcast a special signal each time it is keyed indicating if the radio is overdue for the inspection. Or, require licenses to be renewed every year at a cost of $50 and maintain a database that must be updated by inspection personnel before you can obtain your license renewal if you really want it to be like vehicles. Maybe the license renewal fee should be based on the transmitter's maximum power output capability.  ;D

All true - and there's more!

In many states, (if not all), the inspection is for more than safety items (brakes, tires, lights, wipers, etc.) There are also emission inspections that verify that what comes out of the tailpipe meets regulations.

Also, a motor vehicle must be insured, titled and registered, not just inspected. If you want to build your own car, it must go through an inspection process before it can be licensed.

We hams have an enormous amount of freedom to design, build, modify, repair, align, and operate transmitters, using a wide variety of frequencies, modes and power levels. All on our own recognizance, as it were.

And all we need do is show a little basic radio knowledge on a multiple-choice written test(s). Nothing on any of those tests is anywhere near EE levels, nor was it ever, yet FCC deems them adequate.

Seems like a good deal to me.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 02, 2012, 09:17:22 AM
In many states, (if not all), the inspection is for more than safety items (brakes, tires, lights, wipers, etc.) There are also emission inspections that verify that what comes out of the tailpipe meets regulations. Also, a motor vehicle must be insured, titled and registered, not just inspected. If you want to build your own car, it must go through an inspection process before it can be licensed.

All of which deals with the VEHICLE meeting regulations, Jim, not about what knowledge the licensee must possess in order to simply drive one.

Quote
We hams have an enormous amount of freedom to design, build, modify, repair, align, and operate transmitters, using a wide variety of frequencies, modes and power levels. All on our own recognizance, as it were.

Indeed.  And, as I've pointed out in my previous post, perhaps we have TOO much freedom to do all that, particularly at the Technician level.  

That is, does it REALLY make sense to give a "wet behind the ears" Technician full KW operating privileges...at sometimes eye-blinding VHF and UHF frequencies no less.....after passing a simple, 35-question test that does little more than caution them NOT to stick their tongue in a light socket?

Quote
And all we need do is show a little basic radio knowledge on a multiple-choice written test(s). Nothing on any of those tests is anywhere near EE levels, nor was it ever, yet FCC deems them adequate. Seems like a good deal to me.

Giving Technicians full KW operating privileges may sound like a "good deal" to you (and perhaps to the "wet behind the ears" Technician who has yet to demonstrate they actually know how to handle such power levels without killing themselves and/or permanently blinding themselves or their neighbors).  However, to me, such regulatory malfeasance sounds like a safety hazard waiting to happen.

And once again I ask the question that you apparently STILL don't want to answer:  Does it REALLY require a working knowledge of a 600-page license manual (and the successful completion of yet another, 50 question, so-called "Extra Class" exam) in order to safely and courteously operate our ham radio stations in virtually the SAME parts of the HF sub-spectrum as General licensees can already do?  

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: W5DQ on July 02, 2012, 09:23:55 AM
...... us having to demonstrate how windshield washers and wipers are controlled and constructed, how the fuel injectors work, or required us to answer questions about a schematic that depicts how our headlights and taillights are wired up. ......


Too bad it doesn't. There would probably be less idiots on the roads as there are now if those that could not (or most like WOULD NOT) take the time to LEARN something didn't get a license to drive. BTW I'm no mechanic but I could do all this and more related to a car before I could afford to own one myself. I do the MAJORITY of my own maintenance (except where expensive analzyer computers are needed) and much of this knowledge is directly attributable to LEARNING things as a ham and to pass the Amatuer tests.

All your pissing and moaning about 'Why doesn't the FCC just put my grandfathered Extra license in my Cracker Jack box' is getting a bit old and tiresome. Just grow up and let it go. Face it, you're nobody special and the FCC is NOT going to change the rules to suit you so you can have 'something for nothing'. So get over it and either go take the damn Extra test and get the additional priviledges, stay where you are and use what you got or get bent over, sell out and go collect stamps. We're tired of listening to your bellyaching!!!!!!!!


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N3DF on July 02, 2012, 11:01:52 AM
The concept of requiring a demonstration of more advanced CW skill and knowledge in exchange for more Amateur Radio operating privileges originated with the Commerce Department in the 1920s.  It was continued by the FRC and the FCC in the 1930s and 1940s.  Incentive Licensing in the 1960s was a return to that general concept. 


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 02, 2012, 01:45:47 PM
The concept of requiring a demonstration of more advanced CW skill and knowledge in exchange for more Amateur Radio operating privileges originated with the Commerce Department in the 1920s.  It was continued by the FRC and the FCC in the 1930s and 1940s.  Incentive Licensing in the 1960s was a return to that general concept.  

....and the 1960s was over FIFTY YEARS AGO!

What other aspects of our government-regulated lives haven't FUNDAMENTALLY and completely CHANGED since that time?  

For example, how many of us now build our own transmitters "from scratch" these days?  My hunch that number is frightfully small...and getting smaller by the day.

So, why do ALL OF US still have to prove that we can do so?

Keith
KB1SF /  VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KB1SF on July 02, 2012, 01:56:14 PM
All your pissing and moaning about 'Why doesn't the FCC just put my grandfathered Extra license in my Cracker Jack box' is getting a bit old and tiresome. Just grow up and let it go. Face it, you're nobody special and the FCC is NOT going to change the rules to suit you so you can have 'something for nothing'.

Obviously, you haven't been reading the full content of my posts.

If anything, I'm suggesting that our exam structure be made MORE comprehensive (particularly at the Technician level), not less.

Quote
So get over it and either go take the damn Extra test and get the additional priviledges, stay where you are and use what you got or get bent over, sell out and go collect stamps. We're tired of listening to your bellyaching!!!!!!!!

Landon, I already HAVE a US Extra Class license!  And nobody is forcing you to read what I post.  

Or, to put it another way, if what I have to say is so upsetting to you, may I humbly suggest you simply refrain from reading it?

Keith
KB1SF /  VA3KSF
kb1sf.blogspot.ca (http://kb1sf.blogspot.ca)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on July 03, 2012, 06:09:10 AM
The concept of requiring a demonstration of more advanced CW skill and knowledge in exchange for more Amateur Radio operating privileges originated with the Commerce Department in the 1920s.  It was continued by the FRC and the FCC in the 1930s and 1940s.  Incentive Licensing in the 1960s was a return to that general concept. 

Actually there's a lot more to it.

When US amateur radio was reopened after WW1, there was one license class. It required 10 wpm code and a written exam on theory and regulations.

Then the "Amateur Extra First Class" was added. For a few years in the 1920s, that license allowed some additional privileges. But few amateurs bothered to get one, and it soon disappeared.

About 1929 or so the "ABC system" developed. This was a two-level system because B and C were the same license except that B was by FCC exam and C was "by mail" exam.

All ABC licenses had full-power access to all amateur frequencies. All required the same code tests (10 wpm until 1936, 13 wpm after 1936) and all required the same written test.

What made Class A different was that it required an additional written test (but no additional code test). Class A also required 1 year experience as a ham and that all tests be FCC administered.

What Class A got you was the ability to use voice modes on the ham bands between 2.5 and 25 MHz. Class B and C voice was limited to 160 and the bands above 25 MHz.

The ABC system was replaced by the Novice/Technician/General/Conditional/Advanced/Extra system in 1951. Class A became Advanced, Class B became General, Class C became Conditional.

Only Advanceds and Extras could use voice modes on the ham bands between 2.5 and 25 MHz. Also, no new Advanceds would be issued after the end of 1952.

But in December 1952 FCC announced that effective February 1953, all Generals and Conditionals would have all amateur privileges. So what you had was a system where all US hams except Novices and Technicians had full privileges.

That system lasted until November 1968, when the changes known as "incentive licensing" took effect. It was actually a return to the earlier concepts.

Note, however, that it wasn't until 1968 that more code skill was needed to get full privileges.

73 de Jim, N2EY



 

 


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N3DF on July 03, 2012, 09:06:52 AM
Jim,

1.  There were two grades after WWI.  The lower class was mail -order (like the later Class C/Conditional.

2.  Class A was a replacement for the earlier "Unlimited Radiotelephone Endorsement," that allowed you to use phone without the need to qualify for the Amateur Extra First Class.  It required a written exam only. 

Neil N3DF


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on July 03, 2012, 10:07:36 AM
Jim,

1.  There were two grades after WWI.  The lower class was mail -order (like the later Class C/Conditional.

Did they both give the same privileges?

If so, would it be fair to say that there was essentially one level of license, but two classes? And that they evolved into the Class B/General and Class C/Conditional?


2.  Class A was a replacement for the earlier "Unlimited Radiotelephone Endorsement," that allowed you to use phone without the need to qualify for the Amateur Extra First Class.  It required a written exam only.  

OK - good info!

In any event, your point is proved: Multiple license classes based on level of tests passed goes way, way back in US amateur radio. The concept behind "incentive licensing" wasn't new in 1968. Or even 1951.

And it's still valid today.

73 de Jim, N2EY



Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: K7LA on July 04, 2012, 07:58:42 AM
Just take the exam.   ::)


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KCJ9091 on July 04, 2012, 12:33:17 PM
That is what I did.


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: KASSY on July 05, 2012, 07:41:08 AM
I can't believe someone who's been licensed since 1961 can't just go sit for the Extra and pass it.  If you've been active the whole time, then you've acquired the knowledge just by hanging around other hams.

My degrees are in creative writing, psychology and accounting.  I took a one-afternoon review class and sat for the Extra.  It's not that hard.

- k


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: WB6DGN on July 05, 2012, 11:13:58 PM
Quote
I can't believe someone who's been licensed since 1961 can't just go sit for the Extra and pass it.  If you've been active the whole time, then you've acquired the knowledge just by hanging around other hams.

My thought exactly.  I'll bet he CAN pass it.  He just lacks confidence to go for it.  I've always thought of the Advanced exam as being the most difficult one there was in the amateur service.  If he passed that, the current Extra will seem like a cake walk.
Tom


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on July 06, 2012, 08:20:55 AM
Quote
I can't believe someone who's been licensed since 1961 can't just go sit for the Extra and pass it.  If you've been active the whole time, then you've acquired the knowledge just by hanging around other hams.

My thought exactly.  I'll bet he CAN pass it.  He just lacks confidence to go for it.

Maybe. Or perhaps there's a different issue.

From February 1953 to November 1968, all US hams except Novices and Technicians had full amateur operating priviliges. There was no difference in what bands, modes or powers Generals, Conditionals, Advanceds or Extras could use.

That all changed November 22, 1968, and again November 22, 1969, when subbands-by-license-class went into effect. I was an Advanced in late 1968, and I remember it well.

My response, and that of many others, was simply to upgrade to Extra.

But there were a number of hams who thought that they should have been "grandfathered" and not lost any privileges.

Over the years there have been various proposals and comments to somehow do just that. Some years back, QCWA proposed formally to FCC that any General or Advanced who could prove they'd been a General, Conditional or Advanced before November 22, 1968 should get full privileges.

But for more than 40 years, FCC has said no.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: AA4PB on July 06, 2012, 08:30:25 AM
"But for more than 40 years, FCC has said no."

So for more than 40 years he's been without his lost privileges. Now that there is stubborn.  ;D


Title: RE: Grandfathering Advanced Hams to Extra Class
Post by: N2EY on July 06, 2012, 11:49:29 AM
"But for more than 40 years, FCC has said no."

So for more than 40 years he's been without his lost privileges. Now that there is stubborn.  ;D


Sort of.

In 1961, the Advanced wasn't available to new issues. It reopened in 1967.

So somewhere between 1967 and 2000, he upgraded to Advanced.

73 de Jim, N2EY