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  #121 (permalink)  
Old 06-11-2014, 8:34 PM
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Originally Posted by k6cpo View Post
I think this whole argument about the Extra Class license (and no-code) stems from outright jealousy and disappointment from older hams that current hams didn't have to jump through the same hoops to get their licenses. Well, boys and girls, the system is here to stay and it isn't going to change. My suggestion: Get over it...
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  #122 (permalink)  
Old 06-12-2014, 6:19 AM
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Here here! Very good point!

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  #123 (permalink)  
Old 06-12-2014, 1:26 PM
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Ya know, it will change. But it's not going to change BACK. I was still in high school when I got my extra. I was talking to a guy who was 90 years old (back then). He said he had to draw schematics for circuits he learned. I was not only impressed, I thought to myself that I wasn't capable of doing that. I suppose I could have studied, but he did a good amount of work to earn his. Way more than me. I still spent a lot of effort in earning mine, albeit in a different era. My daughter got her no-code extra when she was 14. She's in her early 20s now. She spent a lot of time studying. The old timer who is certainly no longer with us, me, and my daughter are all extras and we each put considerable effort into earning the certification, and we each did what was asked of us. Thing is that the service changes along with time. I can diminish neither the old-timer's nor my daughter's experiences, nor can they diminish mine. We all entered the hobby at times where there was considerable change in between.
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  #124 (permalink)  
Old 06-14-2014, 3:09 PM
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I was first licensed as a ham operator in 2011 as an amateur extra. I took all three tests the same day passing each test with relative ease. After receiving my ticket I promptly joined a local club. I quickly found that many (most) elmers in the club had an issue with the way I got my license. It mattered not that I took electronics technology my jr. and sr. years in high school 35+ years ago. Nor that I went on to get my BSEE and MSEE degrees and have been in engineering for almost 30 years, including 6 years in communications systems, with a patent to boot. I have wire wrapped, soldered, troubleshot, written software and designed more hardware than I care to remember in the last 30 or so years. It seems that I will always be regarded as one of those guys that doesn't do code and cheated his way through - memorizing test questions. I guess no amount of prior related experience is a substitute in their view. If you didn't get it the way they did, then its not credible.
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Old 06-15-2014, 1:04 AM
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I guess no amount of prior related experience is a substitute in their view. If you didn't get it the way they did, then its not credible.
How much of this attiude, not just towards the extra license, but towards the newer people in general has helped to lead to the dowafall of new HAMs
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Kirk View Post
…Please don't require people to be an electronics engineer or have a graduate degree to get into ham radio.
Exactly. The goal should be to attract more people into the hobby, as many of them (it is hoped) pursue a career in electrical/RF engineering.

This is a hobby; if we return to the "old days" and scare people away, we will not have this hobby in twenty years or so. Considering the average age of ham operators is approximately the same as that of Buick owners, we need to entice more young people into the hobby.
Am I missing something here or have people lost track of what is being discussed?

We are not talking about “getting into” ham radio. We are talking about what is, in theory, the highest currently tested and offered license class in the hobby. The license class that is supposed to mean the holder has deeper and more detailed knowledge of the hobby than the holder of other classes of Amateur license. The license class that, on the surface, is supposed to mean the holder is more-or-less an expert in the hobby.

We are not talking about people just getting into the hobby. We are not talking about entry class requirements. We are not talking about anything that should drive the average new user away.

I am one of the people who say that if we are going to bother to have a class based licensing system and separate license class testing then make the testing mean something. I have NO issue at all with the no-code Tech and that license having the same (in fact improved) privileges as the former Novice and Tech licenses. This is generally the license that brings people in the door and should be as enticing and easy as realistically possible. If they understand the rules and safety issues that is about all that should be required, in my opinion.

I have essentially NO issue with the current General license. At a personal level I would like to see more technical information tested, but I realize that this would keep some non-technical people from maybe getting into the hobby, so for the good of the hobby a simpler HF voice privilege license, like the current General, is fine. Again, rules, safety, why HF propagation is somewhat different from VHF/UHF, and some moderate technical stuff (as at HF you more often end up building things, like antennas).

But if we are going to have this thing called “Extra”, supposedly the licensing pinnacle of the hobby, then the testing should make some attempt to actually confirm that person has the knowledge delta that is implied. Not just electronics knowledge, in fact maybe downplay that a bit as fewer people today build their gear, but rather operational, theoretical, and practical knowledge. If we are not going to bother to actually test for relative knowledge then why not call it License Class A, B, and C, each with a different fee structure, and you get the license (and bandwidth) you pay for.

You can call my thoughts on the subject “elitist” if you want, but the very fact that we have different classes of license with different, and improved as you advance, capabilities, power levels, and bandwidths is, in itself, elitist. Everybody is not the same, all the tests are not the same, everyone’s privileges are not the same, and certainly everyone’s capabilities are not the same. That will, without a doubt, result in some people rising to the top, and other not being able to. This “everyone who participates gets a trophy” mentality should not drive the boat…any boat.

T!
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  #127 (permalink)  
Old 06-15-2014, 1:03 PM
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Here, I fixed it for you!

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Originally Posted by Plum47 View Post
I guess no amount of prior related experience is a substitute in their view. If you didn't get it the way they did, then its their problem, not yours.
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  #128 (permalink)  
Old 06-15-2014, 1:43 PM
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I think a major part of the problem here perception vs reality.

The various license classes as they exist today (and what existed 50 years ago is irrelevant) are designed to reward increased electronics and radio knowledge with increased bandwidth. There is nothing in them that purports to say that the Amateur Extra is some sort of super ham - that is purely a fantasy that exists in far too many people's minds these days.

Does the Amateur Extra technically have more knowledge than the technician? Yes. Regardless of how they obtained their license they were, at the very least, EXPOSED to that knowledge.

Ham's have been griping about the licensing system since the first licenses were issued, and will continue to do so ad infinitum.

To this day the biggest complaint revolves around code. Frankly, transmitting code is dirt simple. Configuring and using a modern ham data station is far more complex. I could argue that the person that can send code at 50+ WPM but cannot configure a data station is not a real ham because data is such an integral part of ham radio today. Of course my argument would be invalid, but several hams would jump on my bandwagon and agree with me. The ham that sends code at 50+ WPM would argue that data is not real ham radio and therefor it doesn't matter if he can configure a data station. His argument of course would be invalid, but several hams would jump on his bandwagon and agree with him.

I, like several hams, am an engineer that works in the RF field. Based upon pure, rote knowledge, I am far more qualified to hold an Amateur Extra class license than most that hold it. Does that make me a better ham? Of course not. It means I know some things that others do not. There are hams that hold the Amateur Extra class license that are construction workers, or store owners, or doctors, or mechanics, that know far more about ham radio than I ever will. Does that make them better than me? Of course not. It means they know things that others do not.

Another analogy. When a person graduates from medical school with their MD degree, some become surgeons or researchers or general practitioners. The surgeon will spend many, many years perfecting the art of surgery, whereas the general practitioner will begin his practice while that surgeon is still completing his residency. Is the surgeon a better MD than the general practitioner because he spent more years in training? Of course not, he knows things that the general practitioner does not. If you need surgery the surgeon is your best bet, but if you need an generalized ache or a disease diagnosed the general practitioner is your best bet. They are both fully licensed MD's.

What I am getting at is that the letters and licenses at the end of our names really mean nothing. Both men are fully qualified MD's by virtue of completing the required testing regimen. Many doctors have been born out to be total quacks and have killed people because of it. This in spite of spending an average of 12 years preparing for their profession. HOW they got their MD license is irrelevant.

HOW someone got their amateur radio license is irrelevant as well. There are plenty of 50 WPM+ hams out there that are terrible operators. There are plenty of brand new no code hams out there that are superb operators.

What we need to be working towards, TOGETHER, is getting all hams to share their knowledge freely and without judgment for what another ham does or does not know.

Personally I could care less what license class a person holds. I never ask. If they ask for my help I give it freely and without judgment. When an amateur extra class license holder pops on the radio asking a simple antenna question that was covered in the technician or general test many hams go into convulsions. I offer to answer their question, and then follow up to see if they need any more assistance. That is how we grow the hobby.

Because you see, ham radio is a hobby, and it should also be a fellowship. I am not here to brag about my license or knowledge or station setup or how many awards I have, I am here to have fun and help others to have fun. When you get hung up on what license another person has or when/how they got it, you have stopped recognizing them as a person, and are trying to pigeon hole them based upon a piece of paper. That is a truly pathetic station in life.
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  #129 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2014, 2:01 PM
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I think the bigger issue with the current tests is not so much the difficulty, but the content.

None of the tests teach you how to be a good operator on the air. You can pass these tests and have poor operating manners.

I hear this over and over again on our local repeaters - people with newer callsigns who are generals or even extras but have NO idea how to operate on the air and have little practical knowledge:
  • Saying "over" after every transmission, especially on repeaters with courtesy tones.
  • Buying the Baofeng HT and then complaining that they can't make it into a repeater 35 miles away when they're sitting in their living room.
  • Thinking that repeaters are a public utility (someone has to build and maintain them).
  • Breaking into a roundtable discussion and bringing up an entirely different topic (or at least not contributing to the current conversation).
  • Thinking that they know everything about the hobby because they passed the test(s).
  • IDing way too often or at the beginning and end of each transmission.
  • etc.

We were all there once.

Part of the solution to this is better elmering. When I encounter a new ham on the air doing something like the above, if it's a complete newbie mistake, I'll politely correct them on the air, something more involved, I'll find their email address and shoot a quick (but positive) email, or talk to them in person off-air. Many of the hams I know (especially the older ones) will complain about this stuff, but then they won't try to engage and elmer these people - but elmering is a huge part of this hobby, I hope we don't lose it.

Maybe another part of the solution would be to have more questions about on-air etiquette.

Now, I don't claim to have perfect on-air etiquette, and I've only been a ham for about a year and a half. Tech, then General six months later. The amount of knowledge I don't have about the hobby is staggering, but I'm still learning. I'm also very lucky - I've been able to socialize with and learn from some VERY experienced and knowledgeable people. I would still be a complete idiot on the air today if it weren't for them.

Just my $0.02
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Old 06-16-2014, 2:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dandrzejewski View Post
I think the bigger issue with the current tests is not so much the difficulty, but the content.

None of the tests teach you how to be a good operator on the air. You can pass these tests and have poor operating manners.

I hear this over and over again on our local repeaters - people with newer callsigns who are generals or even extras but have NO idea how to operate on the air and have little practical knowledge:
  • Saying "over" after every transmission, especially on repeaters with courtesy tones.
  • Buying the Baofeng HT and then complaining that they can't make it into a repeater 35 miles away when they're sitting in their living room.
  • Thinking that repeaters are a public utility (someone has to build and maintain them).
  • Breaking into a roundtable discussion and bringing up an entirely different topic (or at least not contributing to the current conversation).
  • Thinking that they know everything about the hobby because they passed the test(s).
  • IDing way too often or at the beginning and end of each transmission.
  • etc.

We were all there once.

Part of the solution to this is better elmering. When I encounter a new ham on the air doing something like the above, if it's a complete newbie mistake, I'll politely correct them on the air, something more involved, I'll find their email address and shoot a quick (but positive) email, or talk to them in person off-air. Many of the hams I know (especially the older ones) will complain about this stuff, but then they won't try to engage and elmer these people - but elmering is a huge part of this hobby, I hope we don't lose it.

Maybe another part of the solution would be to have more questions about on-air etiquette.

Now, I don't claim to have perfect on-air etiquette, and I've only been a ham for about a year and a half. Tech, then General six months later. The amount of knowledge I don't have about the hobby is staggering, but I'm still learning. I'm also very lucky - I've been able to socialize with and learn from some VERY experienced and knowledgeable people. I would still be a complete idiot on the air today if it weren't for them.

Just my $0.02
There's nothing wrong with new hams making mistakes. Part of the fun of any hobby is growing to be proficient at it. I think there's too many cranky hams in your area if they get their panties in a twist over that list of faults.
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  #131 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2014, 2:22 PM
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There's nothing wrong with new hams making mistakes. Part of the fun of any hobby is growing to be proficient at it.
I completely agree with that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with newbies making mistakes - I did not want to give that impression. I certainly have made plenty.

What I was trying to say is that I think there could be content in the tests to nip some of these mistakes in the bud.
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  #132 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2014, 2:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kd7eir View Post
I think a major part of the problem here perception vs reality.

The various license classes as they exist today (and what existed 50 years ago is irrelevant) are designed to reward increased electronics and radio knowledge with increased bandwidth. There is nothing in them that purports to say that the Amateur Extra is some sort of super ham - that is purely a fantasy that exists in far too many people's minds these days.

Does the Amateur Extra technically have more knowledge than the technician? Yes. Regardless of how they obtained their license they were, at the very least, EXPOSED to that knowledge.

Ham's have been griping about the licensing system since the first licenses were issued, and will continue to do so ad infinitum.

To this day the biggest complaint revolves around code. Frankly, transmitting code is dirt simple. Configuring and using a modern ham data station is far more complex. I could argue that the person that can send code at 50+ WPM but cannot configure a data station is not a real ham because data is such an integral part of ham radio today. Of course my argument would be invalid, but several hams would jump on my bandwagon and agree with me. The ham that sends code at 50+ WPM would argue that data is not real ham radio and therefor it doesn't matter if he can configure a data station. His argument of course would be invalid, but several hams would jump on his bandwagon and agree with him.

I, like several hams, am an engineer that works in the RF field. Based upon pure, rote knowledge, I am far more qualified to hold an Amateur Extra class license than most that hold it. Does that make me a better ham? Of course not. It means I know some things that others do not. There are hams that hold the Amateur Extra class license that are construction workers, or store owners, or doctors, or mechanics, that know far more about ham radio than I ever will. Does that make them better than me? Of course not. It means they know things that others do not.

Another analogy. When a person graduates from medical school with their MD degree, some become surgeons or researchers or general practitioners. The surgeon will spend many, many years perfecting the art of surgery, whereas the general practitioner will begin his practice while that surgeon is still completing his residency. Is the surgeon a better MD than the general practitioner because he spent more years in training? Of course not, he knows things that the general practitioner does not. If you need surgery the surgeon is your best bet, but if you need an generalized ache or a disease diagnosed the general practitioner is your best bet. They are both fully licensed MD's.

What I am getting at is that the letters and licenses at the end of our names really mean nothing. Both men are fully qualified MD's by virtue of completing the required testing regimen. Many doctors have been born out to be total quacks and have killed people because of it. This in spite of spending an average of 12 years preparing for their profession. HOW they got their MD license is irrelevant.

HOW someone got their amateur radio license is irrelevant as well. There are plenty of 50 WPM+ hams out there that are terrible operators. There are plenty of brand new no code hams out there that are superb operators.

What we need to be working towards, TOGETHER, is getting all hams to share their knowledge freely and without judgment for what another ham does or does not know.

Personally I could care less what license class a person holds. I never ask. If they ask for my help I give it freely and without judgment. When an amateur extra class license holder pops on the radio asking a simple antenna question that was covered in the technician or general test many hams go into convulsions. I offer to answer their question, and then follow up to see if they need any more assistance. That is how we grow the hobby.

Because you see, ham radio is a hobby, and it should also be a fellowship. I am not here to brag about my license or knowledge or station setup or how many awards I have, I am here to have fun and help others to have fun. When you get hung up on what license another person has or when/how they got it, you have stopped recognizing them as a person, and are trying to pigeon hole them based upon a piece of paper. That is a truly pathetic station in life.
The low power chimom hand held are reading havoc on our emergency practice nets. net control goes 5 extra minutes per station re checking and telling them to move to a better location.
no one but me tells them that they are not going to hit the repeater on a rubber duck sub 5 watts.

When they argue I switch to my hand held and show them. not the newbies fault. they buy the advertising and think they are ready to go with ac $30 radio.

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  #133 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2014, 3:57 PM
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The low power chimom hand held are reading havoc on our emergency practice nets. net control goes 5 extra minutes per station re checking and telling them to move to a better location.
This is one of the bigger challenges that new hams face. I applaud you for telling them the truth. New hams don't realize that these aren't cell phones where there's always a site close by. Your Baofeng with the stock antenna isn't going to hit that repeater 35 miles away when you're sitting in your living room.
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  #134 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-2014, 9:32 AM
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Talking Extra Class License Too Easy

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Originally Posted by dandrzejewski View Post

What I was trying to say is that I think there could be content in the tests to nip some of these mistakes in the bud.

Thank you!!!!!!!!! I wish I knew where this "over" habit is coming from. It seems to be a very recent thing that a lot of newbies are adopting the minute they hit the air. I try and correct that when I can, so that it does not spread. Besides being unnecessary and annoying, it makes them sound incredibly "green".
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Old 07-01-2014, 9:46 AM
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But - at the same time, I think more experienced hams should also be jumping in to elmer these people and help them develop better habits.
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Old 07-01-2014, 1:23 PM
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Thank you!!!!!!!!! I wish I knew where this "over" habit is coming from. It seems to be a very recent thing that a lot of newbies are adopting the minute they hit the air. I try and correct that when I can, so that it does not spread. Besides being unnecessary and annoying, it makes them sound incredibly "green".
Around here the "Over" or "Back to you" etc has to do with repeater usage. Yes, of course there's a courtesy beep/tone when you un-key. However, the repeaters have a timeout setting whereby you have to let the carrier drop so that you don't get timed out. So people will unkey the mic to reset the timer and then key up again and start talking. Most will say something like "Let me let it drop for a second." or "Let me reset the timer" or something to that effect to show you're going to re-key and continue. But not everyone does this and people will double since both users are transmitting at the same time. The first guy comes back in with his continuation; meanwhile the second guy thought he was done and started his response. The "Over/back to you" signifies that you're actually done transmitting and then expect a response.

Also when you have more than one other person it can get complicated, so when you finish transmitting, you'll say, "Pick it up John and then go to Bill..." or something like that. So maybe it's annoying when someone says "over" at each exchange (like in TV/the movies) but often it actually serves a purpose; they just don't know the proper thing to say or what the exact exchange should be on that particular system.

This comes directly from some local repeater trustees who once a month or so get on and do their tutorial/training to be sure their machines are used correctly (no time-outs, no quick keying, etc).
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Old 07-01-2014, 1:39 PM
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However, the repeaters have a timeout setting whereby you have to let the carrier drop so that you don't get timed out. So people will unkey the mic to reset the timer and then key up again and start talking.
Most of the repeaters around me have 3-minute or longer timeout timers. I have fallen into this trap, but if you're talking long enough to time out one of those repeaters, you're probably talking too much... Granted, on a rag chew (as opposed to a directed net), it doesn't really matter if you take up repeater time and keep the finals warm. I try to keep my timeout timers on my radios set to 60 seconds if they support it.
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