uk still has code test to get a ham licence

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by G3ZHI, May 12, 2019.

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  1. WA4KCN

    WA4KCN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am a member of The Radio Society of Great Britain, and I really enjoy my membership. One impression I have regarding British hams is they have a greater interest in all things vintage radio as compared to Americans. The British people led by the great man Winston Churchill during the 2nd war years looked upon invasion of the island as a very real possibility resulting in an impact on the British people that lasts today.

    I believe this interest in radio history stems from the war. RadCom has articles concerning radio during the war years in nearly every issue. There are books published and advertised for sale where the story surrounds radios and the war. It is most likely the interest in keeping all matters related to the war years (including radio) explains the reason hams wanted to officially keep Morse code in the minds of British new comers to ham radio.
    WD4IGX and K3KIC like this.
  2. WA4KCN

    WA4KCN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    In 1977 I graduated from Hamilton High School, and I was a general class amateur radio operator. I studied the topics on the test in the traditional method of trying to understand the how and the why of the technical matter. There was no memorization of test answers. There were many different books that I was studying. When I was unable to grasp a topic, I would go to a different book and try to understand the topic while presented in a different way. I dug! At the time when the light finally came on, there was a time of celebration. As anyone knows who has studied basic radio electronics you in many cases cannot advance in understanding when one of the building blocks is not fully understood. This is the problem with knowing the test answers. When I took the test I knew the material math and all. Now I am 60 and still study amateur radio in the same way.

    Just before graduation it was announced every graduating senior would be required to take an aptitude test administered by the military. Hamilton High School focused on trades. Many of the students did not plan on college. I took the test and noticed during the test there was a very large section on electronics much related to radio. Because of my study for the general, I breezed through all the questions. I don't believe I missed a single answer, and there were 100 or so questions on electronics.

    Shortly afterwards I began getting calls from military recruiters. These calls continued for months and amounted to 3 or 4 calls a week. In each case it was explained the military needed me to join because I had scored one of the highest scores every recordered in electronics in their particular region. They continued to explain during the calls that becasue of my great strength in electronics, I would be placed in a special advanced electronic training center and that I would be fast tracked within the electronics field in the military.

    This is an example where the knowledge gained from study of radio technology in the world of ham radio would have I believe opened a significant door for me. As you say the knowledge learned from ham radio had value to the outside world.

    On Saturday I sat in on a VE testing session where 4 people took and passed the general. This is not a criticism of the new licensees because I know them and they are very good people and friends. A married couple took the test both passing. I dare say if the military has such a test for modern times, the four who passed the general would score little better than a person off the street. Why - the manner of study used to pass the current exam. There is less value from the study of ham radio today to the outside world than in 1977.
  3. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can attest if you "figure things out" and "problem solve" you are an asset. It is the devices of short term memory that cheat knowledge and experience.

    My Technician Class license was a "two-day wonder" course, actually utilizing proven methods of rapidly acquiring knowledge and it worked.

    It worked, if you worked it.

    However, some class participants preferred strictly using short term memory only. The concepts were there, but considered unimportant.

    ..passing the exams was the only criteria.

    The General Class license, I was told "study" only the correct answers, do not even look at the wrong answers, use short term memory tricks, and when you can pass the online exam three times, and get the VE exam within 30-days and you will pass.

    I "shared" a Technician Plus license, years ago. It "allowed" building stuff, and we did.

    It had all the "figure things out" and "problem solve" that trains brain muscle.

    In my coursework in school, college, university, institute throughout I applied that way of going about getting an education.

    It is "short term memory" that cheats us.

    Here it is: push what we need to pass exams into "long term memory" (20-minutes working with the concepts minimum) and do some "problem solving" with the fund of information acquired to work on "figuring things out".

    Radio amateurs did this in greater numbers, than today, and were a great resource in "figuring stuff out" and "getting stuff done".

    Many of us, still are.

    I was told: if cub scouts build a bird house a bird will inhabit, those kits will have know achievement and accomplishment.

    I add: they can "figure stuff out" and "see a project thru".

    ..even if it is a team project.

    In some cases, that can be even better.
  4. K6CPO

    K6CPO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, right...
  5. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Morse code requirement wasn’t supposed to be a test of character.
  6. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not so much a presumption, as this is the argument that is often put forward as a reason why a code test is still a good idea and why code was a part of the license along with improved standards of examination. Don't get me wrong here, I am all in favour of having improved standards for obtaining a license. But those standards need to be relevant to the needs of hams today and the skills required to operate today along with skills that cross over into what industry might require today. Code does not achieve anything in that regard other than a means of limiting who might get a license, because no one wants CW operators so there is no reason to learn it other than for personal reasons like keeping history alive.

    I should also not that the US extra class certainly does a much better job at being relevant in the information it tests on compared to the VK equivalent, which still has stupid things in it like resistor colour codes, which might have been important 40 years ago or before DMM were ubiquitous and being colour blind like 30% of the male population its a useless skill to have to learn it helps me exactly 0% achieve anything, colpits and hartly oscillator circuits etc. I homebrew and I have never used a crystal oscillator in any of my projects. We have these things today called DDS and PLL Synthesizers, Micro controllers and the like.
    KU4X, WU8Y and AC0GT like this.
  7. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The reason why licenses are easy is precisely this... Those of you obsessed with this CW metric need to wake up. Though I won't argue that requiring code helps keep idiots out, that day has passed. It won't be returning. Period. Get over it...


    If we don't have operators using bandwidth, everyone will lose it -- or a chunk of it. I suspect we'll be seeing portions of the CW band adjusted for digital modes, in the near future, anyway. Perhaps we should require a digital mode section to the test? It would be infinitely more useful, in this day and age.
  8. KH8AC

    KH8AC Ham Member QRZ Page

    CW has no place in today's society because it is not used or 15 billion other things.

    Why all the excuses trying to explain why there is no sense to learning it ?

    Why not simply say it is a better mode for weak signal communication vs. AM FM SSB etc. Why not ridicule AM FM SSB ? AM in 2019 ? FM in 2019 ? SSB in 2019 ? Get rid of those and keep CW until everybody converts to other digital modes they do not have to understand.
  9. KH8AC

    KH8AC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ahhhh... Just to try to make my thoughts a little clearer....

    Has anything been bashed more than CW ? It should be banned !!! Nobody on earth uses it anymore !!!!

    For things like weak signal communications in amateur radio what if there was never anything called CW ? In 2019 some wizard figured out a few long and short tones did so much better than common modes used like AM SSB FM and this wizard became the scorn of the earth.

    I recall dx'ing 160 meters for example. There were an awful lot of communications that would not have been possible without CW.

    Now new modes are showing up like FT8 that puts CW to shame but to me is a short exchange of info beyond our ears fun ? Very interesting but ----

    -BUT the very fact that CW is still being used baffles many as they try to rid it from their mind.

    The old CW bafflement ? I never had much of a problem. It was fun. Some can simply not digest it. To me for example I could never never get into music as far as creating or composing, etc. I'm just too dumb. Foreign languages ? grrrrrrr I sure could use Spanish ability as the majority of USA no longer speaks English. Music many variables as to tones ? How many variables as to a language ? (unlimited?) CW has some long and short tones for the alphabet and numbers, etc. Seems less a monster than music or learning a language.

    CW requirement ? What is trying to connect with weak signal communications on this earth 2019 ? A hobby. Not some new digital mode that has a patent and you have to buy a special receiver or.....

    Does a machine/computer need CW ? One oddity with the hobby ever notice how to be a REAL radio operator you have to have or be seen with a microphone ?

    Just some rambling thoughts.............................................
  10. N4GKS

    N4GKS Ham Member QRZ Page

    zzzzzzzzz....huh? Oh, ....zzzzzzzzzz
    AJ4GQ likes this.

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