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USA exams system endorsed by ACMA

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Sep 27, 2019.

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  1. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The number of people who used Tech to obtain VK Adv was small, the number i heard thrown about was 10. 10 out of 10,000 licenses is not statistically significant. And as soon as ACMA was made aware of this, they reviewed it and made tech the equal of foundation. At the time, you had to travel to the USA and sit the exams there as there were no VK US exams. So someone spend upwards of 5 grand to backdoor a license that costs what $300 to do and sit here. Only the truly desperate would go to such extreme lengths to cheat a system that for the most part is not all that hard.

    What is missing in the VK system are the online study tools to allow people to study in their own time at their own pace. Oh there are some books that I found are as good as useless and that is about it unless you have the time to sit in a class at a club. Something many people dont. Most of my study and research time is done after 9pm at night while im lying in bed. Something no club can cater for LOL. Hobbies fit in and around my life, I have no desire to change my life just to suit my hobby. I am not the kind of guy who is going to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow with no shoes.

    I hope you get well soon OM.
  2. VK3KTT

    VK3KTT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My problem with the current system is that you dont find out whether you passed or not on the day and have to wait 2 weeks for the result, plus if you find out you failed on the day yo can just pay another $22 not $99 and resit on the same day i obtained my advanced licences via the the reciprical licence with my us extra the other reason for going this way was they study materials for the US system are much more comprehensive i was able to study using the app which drilled me in each and every question avaliable it also provided the back up to technically understand what i was learning. it also showed me where my strengths and weaknesses were unlike the current and former vk licencing methods which run some short courses and expect you to read and understand the material and guess which questions will be answered. I have no intention of opening up my radio to fix it or to build home brew gear.
    Putting so much negativity is to one method of assessment creates barriers for people to join and enjoy this great hobby. I'm about getting people licenced and on the air thats what we should all be striving for. If we look like a group of squabbling school children the ACMA wont take us seriously and will continue to take bands away from us.
    I think this is great win for our hobby i have many people in my local area who will get licensed through this method but would never consider going to the other way as it was too hard.
    we need to look to the future of this hobby not at the past.
  3. KM4FVI

    KM4FVI Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Interesting, I received my VK5 reciprocal license while living in Woomera several years ago. I held that call sign for two years. All I did was sent a current copy of my Advanced US FCC license in and within two weeks had my reciprocal ticket. I loved living in Australia and I appreciated the quick efforts to allow me to have a station I’m in Woomera, SA.

    VK3KTT likes this.
  4. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    One thing to consider is that in the USA, the percentage of hams in the general population is around .23%, which isn't all that high. But if the numbers being mentioned for hams in Australia are correct, then there are only 10,000 hams in the entire country. With a population of 24.6 million people, that puts the percent of hams at .04%, or around 1/6 of the percentage that we have here. That seems pretty low to me, it has never been that low in the USA for over 60 years or more, AFAIK.

    Granted, the US system makes it easy to study for the test, and take the exam, but that doesn't account for the wide discrepancy of the numbers, for two countries that are similar in very many ways. Is license testing all that difficult, or are there other barriers to people getting licensed?
    VK4HAT and N0TZU like this.
  5. VK3VM

    VK3VM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your numbers are relatively accurate (The WIA told me 18) - but that's 10 too many ! Numbers are immaterial; that is "10" people who have "loopholed" recognised competency.

    That is "10" people who have diminished and set back the ENTIRE Amateur Radio Community - and not just Australian Amateurs are we are an International Community.

    The issue was reported time and time and time again over the last 15 years by MANY Assessors.

    Clearly efforts to close loopholes have been "stymied" or just hit brick walls when reported to The ACMA. And why is this? This is not the place to make allegation.

    Yet that is what can happen or be perceived to happen when you have a political body (rather than an independent body as we have now) managing administrative affairs of regulated activities.

    Every known "loophole" exploited drags us down and diminishes and disrespects the hard work that many others have had to go through - those that have worked their butt off and have genuinely met standards via intended pathways.

    Yet the ACMA chooses to grandfather in rather than regulate. The ACMA claims that it does not have "powers" - but that is completely garbage.

    The ACMA is too scared to use its reassessment power that it has in The Radiocommunications Act (1992) . It can reassess any Licence - Amateur or otherwise - at ANY TIME and for ANY/WITHOUT REASON. That is one of the conditions that ANY licence is granted under in this country. The word "reassess" is a broad and powerful term.

    This power can be used to "fix" perceptions of competency issues - as well as fixing those to be perceived as recalcitrant among us. i.e. The behavioral problems or those that violate terms and conditions can have licenses suspended until a successful reassessment is completed through the administrative provider's processes. And this provides both inconvenience and cost. That is how people learn to behave.

    The power has been there since 1992 but has been seldom if ever used. Why does it not use it to keep our spectrum regulated - especially when most prosecutorial efforts with regards to those with licenses have failed?

    Legal prosecution can then be used to deal with those that do not have rights (i.e. licenses) that are clearly unable to challenge legally if found to be contravening laws.

    Likewise these people that have exploited loopholes could be subject, and effectively without reason, to reassessment in order to respect all the hard work that the clear vast majority have gone through to obtain their rights and privileges.

    The ACMA rulings last week clearly and definitively close-off these "international licensing" anomalies and with simplicity (that some elements appear to be trying to hijack - see the lead story). So well done on this front ACMA - but its been far too long/late in coming! From comments that John VK3DQ has posted they still have more work to do I suggest.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  6. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There is a sum total of ZERO promotion of the hobby here to the non ham community. In the USA, you pretty much cannot go to a gun show, sheep show, prepper convention without there being some visible presence of ham radio. Australia suffers from a WE ARE HERE, YOU COME TO US mentality to the promotion of hobbies.

    My previous hobby was the same. We are here, come to us. I joined and within 12 months by my own zealous promotion I had doubled the number of participants, which upset the old guys who could no longer win so they set out to destroy everything i built up, so people would quit and they could go back to being number one again. Ham radio is like that also, plenty of small men who have build their little empires of self importance so they can discourage others and hold on to their power.

    At electronics and makers fairs there is no ham radio stand. Open day at UNI's no ham radio stand. As a hobby we are insular and gaze at our own navels. Clubs are old and grey and bald and all male. The options here are go to a club and get a licence and that is it, assuming you have one near you that is worth spit. If you want to get a license having already done the work yourself, you have to home some examiner will accommodate you, or will even take the time to reply to your emails and let you know when they are sitting an exam.

    The other problem, is when looking to improve things, the people who are consulted are guys who have been in the hobby 30+ years. Experience counts for a lot, but that experience means spit when it comes to understanding the newbie experience. Sure they want people to go to their clubs, but many people do not want to do that or have time. After my club experience in my previous hobby, where I was on the State Executive, I vowed to never go near a club again. So people like myself already to not fit the system. And that makes things difficult, because the only options here are fit the system or tough luck.
  7. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is there a cost involved with amateur licenses (either in acquiring one, or retaining one) in Australia? In the USA, it can be virtually no cost to test and receive a license. You can renew a license at no cost, and get a vanity call sign at no cost. IOW, there are no costs from the government to get or keep a license. The only cost that might be involved is a testing fee, which is under $20, but not all VEC's even charge that fee.
  8. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Total cost is if you sat all the exams, Foundation, Standard, Advanced plus practical and regulations is about $320 + the licence fee of $56 per year, and another $60 fee if you want to select your call sign. The cost certainly does not represent value for money here.

    Compared to $22 USD and a 10 year license.

    So last year the examination system was up for tender, the WIA put forward a proposal that would have taken us much more like the US system with lower costs and online study tools. But there has been a lot of butthurts infighting with the wia and their work lead to the acma going a with a different provider, supported in part by the butthurts that costs more and is slower. It can take 6 to 8 weeks from sitting the exam to getting a license, compared to 2 weeks in the USA.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  9. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    That seems like a lot, and is probably the reason the numbers are so small. If you told people in the USA that a test for a hobby was going to be $320, there would be riots in the street. $56 a year for a license seems high, too. Our ten year licenses would cost $560. Add on the test fee and the vanity fee, and you are looking at close to $1000 over a ten year period.

    This may be one reason people are looking at the US licenses.
    YB9BWN likes this.
  10. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    In part that was what promoted some to upgrade their license that way. $22 usd to sit all 3 exams, then $100 Aud to RPL and get the VK license is much cheaper than sitting the vk exams.

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