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ARRL Entry Level License Committee Report July 2017

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by NN4RH, Aug 2, 2017.

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  1. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I know that, you know that, and yet the claim still gets repeated that the ARRL is gaming the system to get quantity over quality. How do we resolve this perception problem?

    Have you read the question pool? Using the commercial question pool could solve the perception problem of the ARRL making the tests too easy, it forces hams to look at how "the other side" does things. We're not seeing boats crash into piers and planes fall from the sky so the commercial radio operators must know what they are doing.

    Again, have you read the GROL question pool? I see a lot of overlap. They are not, obviously, interchangeable since there is a lot of reference to non-ham operation but on technical matters, and good on air practice, they are necessarily identical.

    I'm not saying licensed amateurs take ONLY the commercial testing, only that there's enough of an overlap that it would not hurt to consider using commercial testing pools as a portion of the amateur testing. It would remove the perception problem. Who knows, maybe the commercial radio operators would like the idea.
  2. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Give an example of a question from the commercial pool that you think would be good on the amateur test.
    KK5JY likes this.
  3. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    As you correctly point out the pilot certification is not a failure because it achieves the stated goals of training safe pilots for the equipment they are permitted to operate. What pilot certification does not claim to be is an "incentive" licensing system, where operating privileges are denied arbitrarily as an "incentive" to get a higher rating.

    It is a failure if people are "happy" (for lack of a better word) living in their arbitrarily shrunken band privileges for decades when the whole point of withholding those privileges, and the ONLY stated reason for withholding those privileges, is to incentivize an upgrade. If there is no incentive, and that is readily demonstrable now, then it has ceased to be an incentive license system.

    If incentive licensing ever served a purpose that purpose has been lost in time. It should have been trash canned a long time ago. The longer it continues the more outdated it becomes.

    I could argue that the incentive license system is in opposition to the Amateur Radio Service stated purpose of providing emergency communications and providing international goodwill. We need people that aren't hesitant to scan the entire band for emergency traffic and to communicate freely with hams in other nations with more sane license systems.
  4. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can't fix willful ignorance. People who won't read the existing rules won't care what you do to "fix" the existing system.
    No, not really. Out of the five commercial elements I passed, none of the technical questions were more difficult than the Extra, and most were at the General and Technician levels.
    And the overlap is also in difficulty. In fact, it seemed to me that the question pools being used by the COLEMs appeared to "borrow" a lot of material from the ham tests. But again, the distribution of difficulty in the commercial elements is no different than among the Amateur elements.
  5. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Agreed. That is also true in ham circles. There is no "arbitrary denial" of privileges. Privileges were divided by FCC into segments whose size was such that it provided an incentive for the licensee to learn more stuff so they could pass a nominally more difficult test battery in order to achieve those privileges.

    It isn't about training to use the privileges. It's about learning more technical skills in general, and in return, they are granted more privileges. This is a core federal goal in continuing the Amateur service. This is where the licensing goals of the Amateur service differ significantly from the commercial services.
    NK2U likes this.
  6. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    It would be easier to give examples of ones that do not. Examples that would not fit are those referencing specific channels, use of emergency locator beacons, and commercial license requirements.

    What would be a good fit is the proper way to send a distress call. Testing on (and standardizing between services) proper radio protocol such as use of "clear", "over", "wilco", and especially the proper use and distinction between "mayday", "pan pan", and "security" code words. There's nothing wrong with being a bit "informal" when talking on the local repeater with your buddies but when speaking on a weather net, or overseas, it would help if everyone understood the same protocol. That's not saying current amateur testing does not do this but if amateur radio has the stated purpose of providing a pool of trained communicators in a time of national emergency then keeping amateur and commercial operators on the same page would naturally follow from having them take some of the same testing for a license.

    Maybe this is why pilots of all kinds seem to get along so much better than radio operators across services, they all speak the same "lingo". Do commercial operators use old Morse Code pro-signs on voice and RTTY like hams do? I mean the use of ending a conversation with "73" seems unique to ham radio. After my radio training in the Army I refuse to do that any more. CB radio operators get mocked for using "ten codes" on the air, and I believe speaking Morse Code prosigns on the air is equally eye roll inducing.
  7. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    First you say its not arbitrary and then you basically gave the definition of arbitrary in why it was done.

    Again, try to explain this to a 12 year old that wants to talk on the radio, or to a Canadian ham visiting the USA on why they can operate on all amateur frequencies (using their Canada license in the USA under reciprocal rules) but the FCC licensed ham sitting next to them cannot.
    N4AAB likes this.
  8. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't have to -- kids younger than that get their Extra all the time. The licensing structure isn't an obstacle to anybody, not even grade school kids. The only problem here is the one in your mind.

    "Arbitrary" suggests there was no thought given to how the division was done. FCC wasn't arbitrary. They had good reason, and they explained it in substantial detail in the document I linked many pages back, and which you obviously haven't read.
  9. N4AAB

    N4AAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The clubs local to me have a cram class for Technician with the test given right afterwards. And I have found the club I belong to very helpful.

    Thats the attitude that has to change, some/many clubs and individual hams simply wont help new folks with questions.

    And I fully agree on stop claiming that no code and other things are the problem, its some folks having an elitist attitude that is the Big Problem.
  10. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Let's look at that General question pool -

    Groups G1 and G2 contribute 10 of the 35 questions that will appear on the test and cover FCC rules and Operating Practices. This material is almost identical to the same sections of the Tech exam, but with the General frequency and power limits. G3 covers Propagation, and there will be 3 exam questions. Again, the material is nearly identical to that on the Tech, with very few new concepts. I cover this pretty thoroughly in my Tech class. G4 covers Amateur Radio Practices and contributes 5 questions to the test. The only new things here that are not on the Tech are two tone tests (does anybody, anywhere even possess the equipment to do this in reality?), and mobile and portable operations. So I think that's up to 21 questions with only about 3 that someone who really knew the Tech material couldn't answer.

    Now we come to G5 - Electrical Principles - and here is where the General starts to actually diverge from the Tech. We add discussion of impedance matching to the discussion of reactance that we had for the Tech - although here again, I cover this in my Tech class as well. We add RMS and PEP to the discussion on measurements from the Tech (Techs already should know PEP for their test). I'd say a well trained Tech should be able to guess two out of three, but we'll only say 1. We're up to 22 questions.

    Then, there's G6 - Circuit components - Guess what, we covered 80% of this on the Tech! I'll give my prospect another gimme - we're up to 23 questions a Tech should pass.

    G7 - Practical Circuits - there is a lot of new material here, but it only comprises three test questions. This is the section I tell my Tech students that want to try the General to concentrate on, because it is the 'hardest' part. Zero gimmes here.

    G8 - Signals and Emissions - 2 questions - very little new here, I think at least one gimme bringing us up to 24 a Tech should get right.

    G9 - Antennas and Feed Lines - 4 questions - again, very little new here over what was covered for the Tech. I'd be ashamed if my Tech students missed more than one, but I'll only grant 2 gimmes, bringing us to 26 questions a Tech ought to be able to guess right. 26 is the number needed to pass the General test!

    G0 - Electrical and RF Safety - 2 questions, and this is again the same stuff we cover on the Tech, verbatim. So I think that brings us to 28 of the 35 questions that a Tech should be able to guess with no additional study if they learned what they were supposed to know for the Tech.

    This explains why so many of my Tech students pass or come within one or two questions of passing the General with little or no added study. Generally if they study the G7 information and the General frequencies, they can pass it.

    So, yes, I think this is an argument for two things - either recombining the Tech and General and making it one license class again - or granting Techs more HF privileges because they have already learned enough (or should have) to pass the General test.

    Maybe we should do it like Canada does - if you pass the written at 70%, you get the lowest level license. If you pass the written with 85% or better, you get the higher license. Combine the two question pools and make it a 50 question test. (Canadians have a 100 question test).
    N0TZU and K7JEM like this.

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