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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-19-2014, 5:34 PM
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Originally Posted by pinballwiz86 View Post
Like that is a bad thing.."Extra class" is just additional bandwidth. You can be just as clueless in the General class portion of the band. It's called trial by fire.
Maybe you misunderstood what I said.

Your statement is part of the issue. If Extra is truly just extra bandwidth than why require a different test for it at all? Why not just one test that results in one license class, and everyone has it all. Supposedly, by virtue of extra testing, an Extra class licensee has demonstrated “more” knowledge and understanding of ham radio than a Technician or a General. In the past it also meant he/she had more experience. If this is not the case (license classes based on knowledge) then why not just have different license classes cost different fees, and then you can just “buy” the access you want without bothering to take a test?

A clueless operator is a problem, no matter what his class. Of course, it is reasonably expected for “new” operators (in the past lower class licensees, which was my point), but a holder of the highest class license should have some concept of what they are expected to do, or why bother to have classes at all? This is why the Technician has such a small segment of the HF spectrum, and a power limitation (both features inherited from the original newbie license, the Novice), so that he/she can build HF experience with the least probability of disrupting the bands, other than the immediate spectrum around them. VHF and UHF have almost always been harder to mess up on (generally appliance type operations), with more localized results if you do, and so make a very good learning ground.

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Originally Posted by pinballwiz86 View Post
^^^ I agree with that poster. For example, just look at the increase in ranks when the code requirement was dropped. This hobby is an old man's game nowadays. If younger people don't get interested then it dies with you.
This hobby has always been an “old man’s” game as you put it. The “old men” of today (probably should include myself in that) often remember and talk about getting into the hobby young, but their Elmers were generally “old”, and they themselves (todays old hams) were then the minority in the hobby. Sure, there was fresh blood in it, driven by things like radio clubs in schools and Scouts, but the majority of the hams have always been post school, mostly middle class with disposable income. The key players have always been on the older side of the spectrum. Today the fresh blood is harder to draw, but that is mostly because it is hard for ham radio to compete with the internet, PS4, and Xbox. Schools today generally can’t afford such clubs (even though costs were quite small in the past, often with donated equipment), they can’t afford clean bathrooms in many cases.

You seem to have missed what I was saying. I never said make testing harder at all, and I thoroughly believe code is not required today. What I said was make the testing, and resultant privileges, representative of the persons knowledge level, instead of representative of their ability to remember the correct answers, regardless of if they know what the answers mean. And no, I have no idea how to do that. But until you do then the naming convention, and the “classes” of license, are meaningless.

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Old 03-19-2014, 5:36 PM
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I think one of the reasons why there's so much butt-hurt from old timers like me (and even older than me) is that at one time being an Extra Class meant something special. It meant that you had made it to the top, you were very knowledgeable and experienced, you were looked up to by newly licensed Novices and Techs, you had taken/passed 3 Morse code tests and 5 written exams.
I gave up on that delusion the first time I heard an Extra class ham reveal on the air on a wide-area repeater that he was holding an N connector in his hand and didn't know what it was. And, this was over 20 years ago when you had to pass 3 code tests and 5 written tests to get to Extra. The guy was a VE, too. I was a freshly-minted codeless-Technician at the time and I could tell from his on-air description that he had an N connector.

While there may be a perception that it's easier to get an Extra license these days the reality is that you could get to Extra 20 years ago and still not know everything. Or even know basic things...like how to identify an N connector.

It would be great if Extra class hams could walk on water. But, they can't and I don't. My feet go right through water every time.
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Old 03-19-2014, 6:59 PM
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If Extra is truly just extra bandwidth than why require a different test for it at all? Why not just one test that results in one license class, and everyone has it all.
Funny, prior to the ARRL's push for their "Incentive licensing" plan, the majority of hams had the exact same privileges (General/Conditional class and above). There wasn't any additional privileges granted when you upgraded to Advanced or Extra (see below for the exception to this generalization), you only had "bragging rights" and the knowledge that your class license was higher than the majority of hams.

Basically the Novice license gave you HF privileges on very limited band segments, limited power transmitters, morse code only, and the transmitters must be crystal controlled (no VFO use allowed). The Novice class license was good for only 1 year (later extended to 2 years) and could not be renewed. The written exam was pretty basic and you also need to pass a 5 WPM code test.

The Technician license provided you the ability to have voice communications, but no HF privileges (10 meters was added later). The written test was the same as the General class, but the code test was at the Novice's 5 WPM level. There was a period when a ham could have both a Novice and Technician class license active at the same time.

The General class license gave you full amateur privileges and required the General class written exam and a 13 WPM code test.

If you wished, you could upgrade to an Advanced Class license by taking a very tough written exam. This gave you no additional operating privileges.

If you wanted to have the top level ham license, you could upgrade from Advanced by taking a relatively easy (compared to the Advanced test) and a 20 WPM code test and get an Extra class license. While there were no extra operating privileges, the Extra was the only class authorized to run a repeater, remote base, and a few other specialty tasks. Most radio clubs required an extra class licensee be their trustee (although it wasn't an FCC requirement) since the club license would otherwise prevent these specialty tasks from running under the club license.

Last edited by n5ims; 03-19-2014 at 7:07 PM..
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Old 03-19-2014, 8:47 PM
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I do not know about the Extra being too easy, I found it to be fairly hard for myself. I studied -- not just the answers -- but did the "book work" with my trusty ole ARRL Study Manual (my father on the other hand, exclusively used the Gordon West CD/Book). I found it to be hard -- especially when it came to the math. When I was in [middle] school I had pre-algebra, and that was the extent of it (and that was thirty some odd years ago). I went to a [private] high school I took business math, but none of the upper math, so I admit when it comes to all those formulas, polar coordinates, calculating impedances, phase angles, and everything else, well I admit -- is over my head. I studied for close to a year for my Extra, and I was starting to quite frankly getting burned out. I perhaps could have used another month or so of study, but I was afraid if I kept going I would simply give up. When I did take my test -- the first time -- I missed it by one. They allowed me to take it again, and I made it by two -- basically by the skin of my teeth. I admit, I am a little jealous though last month we had a guy come in and take his Extra, (where I am a VE) and he missed only one question.

So it is too easy? It all depends on the person. I personally I found it hard -- hard enough I almost gave up in trying to understand it. But I persevered, work hard for it, and I earned this 2X2 call that I have. (However I still do not understand the math, and to be honest, who ever really uses it?)
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:16 PM
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In the two years since I passed my Extra and became a VE, I've seen a number of people fail the extra exam and fail it horribly. I've also seen a number of people come back time after time before they finally passed.

I've also seem people come in and take and pass all three examinations on the same day. Invariably, these people have a background in electronics or electrical engineering.

To fully understand why some people pass easily and others have difficulty, you have to loo0k at how the examinations are put together. There are ten sub-elements in the 702 question Extra pool. Each subelement has a number of groups in it. To make up the 50 question test, one question from each group is selected. There are a varying number of questions in each group.

For instance, Sub-element E9, Antennas, has 8 groups. Group E9A deals with the following topics: "Isotropic and gain antennas: definitions; uses; radiation patterns; Basic antenna parameters: radiation resistance and reactance, gain, beamwidth, efficiency." There are 15 questions in this group, only one of which will appear on the examination. And so on through the entire question pool.

Since the exams are computer generated, it would stand to reason that some tests would be less difficult than others.

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Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
I gave up on that delusion the first time I heard an Extra class ham reveal on the air on a wide-area repeater that he was holding an N connector in his hand and didn't know what it was. And, this was over 20 years ago when you had to pass 3 code tests and 5 written tests to get to Extra. The guy was a VE, too. I was a freshly-minted codeless-Technician at the time and I could tell from his on-air description that he had an N connector.

While there may be a perception that it's easier to get an Extra license these days the reality is that you could get to Extra 20 years ago and still not know everything. Or even know basic things...like how to identify an N connector.

It would be great if Extra class hams could walk on water. But, they can't and I don't. My feet go right through water every time.
With computers and internet connections in virtually every household there should be no excuse for someone not knowing what a particular component is. When I started thinking about becoming licensed and even after I acquired my Extra, the internet has been one of my biggest resources for gaining knowledge about amateur radio. Even before the internet became so pervasive, there were resources. I think a lot of the ignorance we hear coming from other hams is due to laziness more than anything else.

Instead of taking the time to research something for themselves, they take the easy way out and ask. The problem is that they don't learn anything when they do this. If the individual mentioned above had taken the time to research that connector for himself, the lesson would have stuck in his mind and he might have learned about other connectors in the process.
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Old 03-20-2014, 1:51 PM
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I'm still wondering how I would describe an N-connector over the radio to someone who didn't know what it was....

Me: "It looks kinda like a TNC connector, but bigger."
Other guy: "What's a TNC connector?"
Me: "It looks kinda like a BNC connector, but threaded."
Other guy: "What's a BNC connector?"
Me: *rubs microphone on shirt to make scratchy noises* "I'm breaking up, gotta go clear. 73"
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Old 03-20-2014, 2:22 PM
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Default Just good memorization and your an extra

Back in the early days of the VEC testing program I knew for fact that for a small fee you could buy your ticket. I knew guys that upgraded that way. I knew guys wives who hated hamfests and the radio thing that suddenly got there general class ticket. That was then.

Now you just need to be good at reading and memorization. And no comprehension.
So you upgrade cause you can. Great.

The best one I have heard is that they upgraded because its cool to have the bragging rites that hey, I'm an extra. With no plans to get an HF setup. Just a 2 meter radio in the car and that's it.
Clueless about any other aspect of the hobby.

I know guys with there extra ticket who are clueless about the theory that they memorized. I have heard them on the repeaters stating that and even asking what is that stuff really mean. It was hard to remember for the test.

I know extras that have no clue on basic troubleshooting USING A VOM and what is that for! Seriously.

I know extras that can not solder a PL-259 on. BNC and SMA connectors now that was trip to explain to em. I had to show em how! Come on now.

I know extras that can't trim an antenna for proper resonance and were clueless about swr readings. I actually had a guy ask me isn't higher numbers on the meter better! Do I know some one who can come over and get his antenna on the air.

I worked a electronics supply shop and I was absolutely amazed at the hams that would come in a were totally clueless about basic theory. About RF connectors and that thick antenna wire, do I need it to be so big.


They would actually bring in there equipment and ask if someone could show them what all the knobs and functions were. Simple handhelds so they can talk to someone on the repeaters.

The list would go on and on. The other people at the shop I worked at had such a low opinion of hams because of there pompous I know it all attitude when they in reality were so wrong, so clueless. 9 out 10 times hams would come in the store a immediately tell us I'm a ( put license class here) ham and I want this...
Oh, and they would whine about the prices and want a discount on the cheaper PL-259's because I'm a ham.

I've seen it all and heard it all. SIMPLE things that being a ham should have knowledge of. More often than not nothing. Someone else can do it for em.

The best one was teaching many how to solder. That was a funny thing.
I had guys that were just putting WIRE ENDS PLUGS ON THE WIRE without solder.

I had a lot of those types of things. I was embarrassed to be in the same hobby. We would have many a head shaking and biting my lip to not laugh out loud.

Yes, to each his own. Whatever floats your boat.

There is no real challenge any more. Just memorize, test and your an extra. Very few any more really know what they should know for the license class they hold. But, just what do you really know.

I am happy to be a general as my interests are specific and a license upgrade would have no value to my hobby needs.

YOMV

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Old 03-20-2014, 6:31 PM
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Just my personal two cents, but I'd like to see the ham tests move a bit away from electronic theory and concentrate on propagation and operator best practices. As the years go by, the radios will do more and more as far as being on frequency, antenna tuners will get more precise in tuning an antenna for optimum performance on a given frequency. The glaring variable is human operation. Plus the Amateur community is shrinking, and if we want a new generation to take up the hobby, the tests need to reflect the reality of current tech available. Test the hell out of knowing how to get on frequency, call CQ, keep within the band, proper repeater etiquette, etc. At some point, linear amps will know how to keep from spilling over to adjacent bands, antenna tuners will give unbelievable SWR's and so on. Keep the tests/requirements in line with current, available technology and I think the rest will fall in line.
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Old 03-20-2014, 6:34 PM
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I think the biggest mistake is when they cancelled the Advance Class exam/class. That was the hardest amateur exam by far IMHO. It closely mirrored the GROL and others like myself took both within a sort time period between the two.
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Old 03-20-2014, 6:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
Back in the early days of the VEC testing program I knew for fact that for a small fee you could buy your ticket. I knew guys that upgraded that way. I knew guys wives who hated hamfests and the radio thing that suddenly got there general class ticket. That was then.

Now you just need to be good at reading and memorization. And no comprehension.
So you upgrade cause you can. Great.

The best one I have heard is that they upgraded because its cool to have the bragging rites that hey, I'm an extra. With no plans to get an HF setup. Just a 2 meter radio in the car and that's it.
Clueless about any other aspect of the hobby.

I know guys with there extra ticket who are clueless about the theory that they memorized. I have heard them on the repeaters stating that and even asking what is that stuff really mean. It was hard to remember for the test.

I know extras that have no clue on basic troubleshooting USING A VOM and what is that for! Seriously.

I know extras that can not solder a PL-259 on. BNC and SMA connectors now that was trip to explain to em. I had to show em how! Come on now.

I know extras that can't trim an antenna for proper resonance and were clueless about swr readings. I actually had a guy ask me isn't higher numbers on the meter better! Do I know some one who can come over and get his antenna on the air.

I worked a electronics supply shop and I was absolutely amazed at the hams that would come in a were totally clueless about basic theory. About RF connectors and that thick antenna wire, do I need it to be so big.


They would actually bring in there equipment and ask if someone could show them what all the knobs and functions were. Simple handhelds so they can talk to someone on the repeaters.

The list would go on and on. The other people at the shop I worked at had such a low opinion of hams because of there pompous I know it all attitude when they in reality were so wrong, so clueless. 9 out 10 times hams would come in the store a immediately tell us I'm a ( put license class here) ham and I want this...
Oh, and they would whine about the prices and want a discount on the cheaper PL-259's because I'm a ham.

I've seen it all and heard it all. SIMPLE things that being a ham should have knowledge of. More often than not nothing. Someone else can do it for em.

The best one was teaching many how to solder. That was a funny thing.
I had guys that were just putting WIRE ENDS PLUGS ON THE WIRE without solder.

I had a lot of those types of things. I was embarrassed to be in the same hobby. We would have many a head shaking and biting my lip to not laugh out loud.

Yes, to each his own. Whatever floats your boat.

There is no real challenge any more. Just memorize, test and your an extra. Very few any more really know what they should know for the license class they hold. But, just what do you really know.

I am happy to be a general as my interests are specific and a license upgrade would have no value to my hobby needs.

YOMV

Instead of whining about these people, why not set an example and give them assistance they need? In fact, I think ham radio even has a word for it. It's called "Elmering..."

I wonder how many hams have been driven away from the hobby because some crotchety old fart treated them derisively when they were new?
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Old 03-20-2014, 9:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
Back in the early days of the VEC testing program I knew for fact that for a small fee you could buy your ticket. I knew guys that upgraded that way. I knew guys wives who hated hamfests and the radio thing that suddenly got there general class ticket. That was then.

Now you just need to be good at reading and memorization. And no comprehension.
So you upgrade cause you can. Great.

The best one I have heard is that they upgraded because its cool to have the bragging rites that hey, I'm an extra. With no plans to get an HF setup. Just a 2 meter radio in the car and that's it.
Clueless about any other aspect of the hobby.

I know guys with there extra ticket who are clueless about the theory that they memorized. I have heard them on the repeaters stating that and even asking what is that stuff really mean. It was hard to remember for the test.

I know extras that have no clue on basic troubleshooting USING A VOM and what is that for! Seriously.

I know extras that can not solder a PL-259 on. BNC and SMA connectors now that was trip to explain to em. I had to show em how! Come on now.

I know extras that can't trim an antenna for proper resonance and were clueless about swr readings. I actually had a guy ask me isn't higher numbers on the meter better! Do I know some one who can come over and get his antenna on the air.

I worked a electronics supply shop and I was absolutely amazed at the hams that would come in a were totally clueless about basic theory. About RF connectors and that thick antenna wire, do I need it to be so big.


They would actually bring in there equipment and ask if someone could show them what all the knobs and functions were. Simple handhelds so they can talk to someone on the repeaters.

The list would go on and on. The other people at the shop I worked at had such a low opinion of hams because of there pompous I know it all attitude when they in reality were so wrong, so clueless. 9 out 10 times hams would come in the store a immediately tell us I'm a ( put license class here) ham and I want this...
Oh, and they would whine about the prices and want a discount on the cheaper PL-259's because I'm a ham.

I've seen it all and heard it all. SIMPLE things that being a ham should have knowledge of. More often than not nothing. Someone else can do it for em.

The best one was teaching many how to solder. That was a funny thing.
I had guys that were just putting WIRE ENDS PLUGS ON THE WIRE without solder.

I had a lot of those types of things. I was embarrassed to be in the same hobby. We would have many a head shaking and biting my lip to not laugh out loud.

Yes, to each his own. Whatever floats your boat.

There is no real challenge any more. Just memorize, test and your an extra. Very few any more really know what they should know for the license class they hold. But, just what do you really know.

I am happy to be a general as my interests are specific and a license upgrade would have no value to my hobby needs.

YOMV

Yeah. You started off knowing how to solder some connectors on? No. At some point you had the same "stupid" questions. I'm glad I didn't go to your store when I started out. Making fun of me behind my back no doubt.

We should try to teach new hams how it is done or at least tell them where to learn it. Instead we "bite our lips to keep from laughing."...
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 03-20-2014, 10:05 PM
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Default An Elmer is great. But expecting free service from a business..no.

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Originally Posted by k6cpo View Post
Instead of whining about these people, why not set an example and give them assistance they need? In fact, I think ham radio even has a word for it. It's called "Elmering..."

I wonder how many hams have been driven away from the hobby because some crotchety old fart treated them derisively when they were new?
Yeah, there are the crotchety hams. I dealt with 40 years ago and there there today.. When I first joined a club the few of us using 2 meters back then were looked down called CBers. No one would deal with us. Not even a year latter and wow, they discovered 2 meters. There are those types today, *****ing about digital voice DMR, D-STAR and so on. Can't deal with change, experimentation and advancement.


They got THE HELP, okay. They also got to PAY for the help. We weren't a charity operation. Hams were less than 1 % of our business. But when they came in it was more often than not an event of there making.
It's something that they SHOULD have clue about if they are a "ham".
Again, it's the lack of knowledge and experience.
You just do the MEMORIZATION and bing bam boom your a HAM.
Who knows absolutely NOTHING about the technical aspects of the hobby.
I love teaching people. But, when you openly brag about the license class you hold and KNOW nothing that you should know. The basics. What's wrong with that picture.
You walk in our shop and expect free support for something we didn't sell you and want me to take me away from our regular commercial clients and teach you how to use your stuff and how to solder connectors on that antenna wire. NOT coax but the big antenna wire. Oh, what antenna wire connectors do I need for what I have at home with NO CLUE with what they have. In one case it turned out he ws trying to use RG11 as a feed line for his dual band radio...... All this and then get pissed when I explain I am going to have to charge for my time and I get critized and called uncaring...I don't think so.

We were a electronic supply business, not a ham or cb shop.

Amazing when we started telling these guys we charge to put on connectors and we charge for training you on how to use your equipment, especially VOM's.
Yeah, we are the bad guys. Cold, cruel and uncaring..

Go to a ham club and find an Elmer there. Someone who can explain to them
just what they should KNOW for the class of license they memorized the answers for. Maybe they will read the owners manual to them for the new radio they bought.
Hold there hand and setup there station, put up and tune there antennas and connectors. I think that should be required by ham clubs that have these memorization classes, assign a helper to take care of there every need.
As I say MEMORIZE and bang your a ham. NO REAL EXPERIENCE, NO REAL KNOWLEDGE. Just a piece of paper from the FCC saying your now an EXTRA or whatever.

AND I am NOT indicting EVERY new ham, as many who come in and really knows there stuff.
I just see more and more all you have to do is memorize it and that's it...INSTANT HAM. Start the bragging.

I've seen a lot of CBers that have more tech knowledge than a lot of hams I've dealt with.

Again, been there seen that.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:39 AM
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Back in the early days of the VEC testing program I knew for fact that for a small fee you could buy your ticket...
...
Now you just need to be good at reading and memorization. And no comprehension.
So you upgrade cause you can.


Seems to me that there have been people who memorized answers way back before the VEC program ever started. I suspect that human nature doesn't ever really change. There are cheats, lazy people, and people who are actually interested and learn the material. And there always have been.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
The best one I have heard is that they upgraded because its cool to have the bragging rites that hey, I'm an extra. With no plans to get an HF setup. Just a 2 meter radio in the car and that's it.
Clueless about any other aspect of the hobby.
I will admit that no-clue Extras are an annoyance to me as well. Is it elitism that cause me to avoid those people? I don't know, nor do I care. But maybe I should.

I'm an Extra, have been for quite a while, and was an Advanced for several decades before that. So:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
I know extras that have no clue on basic troubleshooting USING A VOM...
And I have a home RF lab that would rival a well appointed commercial lab. But I was a beginner once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
I know extras that can not solder a PL-259 on...
And I design and build my own surface mount boards. But I was a beginner once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
I know extras that can't trim an antenna for proper resonance...
And I've built antennas that can hear the black body radiation off the moon. But I was a beginner once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
I worked a electronics supply shop and I was absolutely amazed at the hams that would come in a were totally clueless about basic theory.
And I was the chief engineer on a large microwave network. But I was a beginner once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
They would actually bring in there equipment and ask if someone could show them what all the knobs and functions were. Simple handhelds so they can talk to someone on the repeaters.
I remember when repeaters were "new" and I struggled to calculate the required crystal frequencies so I could order them. Oh, happy day when the postman arrived with a package from ICM! I had no clue how to adjust the oscillators to get them on frequency. I was a beginner, but I learned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSan View Post
The list would go on and on...
Indeed it could.

Yes, the people who memorize the test questions and get an Extra class licence without any knowledge can indeed be annoying, but remember... they're still just beginners. Maybe we (collectively, us hams), should be a bit less condescending and a bit more helpful answering the "stupid" questions. The hobby we save could be our own.
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Old 03-21-2014, 8:19 AM
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Bravo zz0468.

Last edited by W9BU; 03-21-2014 at 9:21 AM.. Reason: Personal attack deleted.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:26 AM
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I think we've all 'been there, done that' at one time or another, that's about as 'normal' as it gets. I typically don't 'pick on', 'bad mouth', tease people I don't know well. But those that I do know well had better watch out! I think that's about 'normal'.
Lately, I've noticed a lot of hams (all classes) that seem not to know some of the 'simple' things that all hams 'should' know. That's probably because I've been around for a while and those 'things seem second nature at this point. I had to learn then too, so it's more a matter of me not thinking about them, just assuming 'everybody knows that!', you know? And then there are those few that I really wonder about, can't pour it out of a boot?... sort of? Oh well, 'radio' isn't the only place you find people like that, big deal.
I am one of those 'crotchety old ba*****s'! Or I certainly can be at times. Don't like it? I can't say I blame you... 99.9% of it is done with a smile, I hope it's taken that way...
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Old 03-21-2014, 5:11 PM
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Sometimes, us old farts forget the stupid things WE did, or forgot to do properly and the OF's
of that age were equally critical of us. After all, they walked ten miles uphill (both ways and during a June Blizzard) to take their test from a grouchy, stogey smoking FCC guy who gave them the evil eye during the code test. I felt that my blood level was a quart low when I crawled out under the door of the testing room as a fourteen year old taking his general.
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Old 03-21-2014, 7:20 PM
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JP San speaks the truth like it or not. Hams by nature are the most cheapest people on the planet.
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Old 03-21-2014, 8:17 PM
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This is a great thread...last summer my radio club did a event at a submarine museum. I met a guy in our club up in age but man oh man all day I was at school. He tried to get a antenna to resinate off the end of a old pt boat very kewl stuff that day. I try to get very close to guys with years of experience so I can learn in the field as much as I can!!
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Old 03-22-2014, 8:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob1956 View Post
Plus the Amateur community is shrinking...
Really?

While this may be a common misconception spread by people who believe rumors but don't actually check for themselves, it is factually incorrect!

Amateur Radio Station Statistics

According to FCC statistics, the period between February 14 and March 16 2014 is the first time and a long time that the US license count has gone down. Overall, the amateur population has declined by 1625. The count may go down from one period to another, but the overall population has been steadily increasing. If the numbers start declining by a significant amount over a period of years, only then might it be time to take a look at exploring the reasons, but until then, there is nothing to worry about.

The Amateur Extra Class has gone down by 182. Although there are probably some who have become inactive and let their license lapse, the most likely cause is that people are dying and not being replaced by the existing ham population.

The Advanced Class has declined by 437. This can be also be attributed to the death of the existing ham population but also to those who finally upgraded to Extra. Personally, I tend to think it is due to a dying population because anecdotal evidence shows that those who still hold an Advanced Class license do so by choice because it is the only existing license class that proves you passed a 13 wpm CW proficiency test at one time. I know I passed all three CW proficiency tests and don't have to prove it to anyone! But regardless of the cause, the shrinking Advanced Class is not a reflection on the overall health of amateur radio since this number can never go up.

The Novice Class has shrunk by a whopping 97. And like the Advanced Class, there may be a few die hard Novices who have chosen not to upgrade for some reason, it is most likely due to a dying population. And also like the Advanced Class, this class can only get smaller over time.

The Technician Class has shrunk by 482 which is actually a little surprising. This could be attributed to Techs who have upgraded, a dying population (although not as likely) or by those who got into amateur radio 12 years ago and never really became active and let their license lapse.

The General Class has shrunk by 427. Like the Technician Class, this could be due to a variety of reasons.

To all of this I say, "So what?" The bottom line is that one month out of 100+ years of a minuscule declining population is no indication that amateur radio is dying or is even remotely sick. There is absolutely nothing that indicates that the existing testing program needs to be changed.
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Old 03-22-2014, 9:18 AM
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Not for nothing,why try and keep people from joining the hobby,if someone is that interested that they went and studied to pass the extra class then well then good for them.Not everyone is an electronics engineer,I could pass the tests too but will I be an engineer if I pass?No. Its not about that at all ,its a love for the hobby,the electronics,and the comradship!It pisses me off when other hams get stuffy about one thing a person says.When someone here doesnt know what search or scan is should we all gang up on that person or help them?Nobody knows everything not me,not you.So the guy doesnt know what an N connector is,will the world end?As long as they WANT to learn,hey look at Fuzy .....
Can't deal with change, experimentation and advancement.<<<<whoever said this Kudos!
The FCC is going to take away your beloved spectrum if we dont get more hams! Look at it like that..
And if you dont think they wont,you better wake up.
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