1. A few decades ago, I had to pass the elements (Morse code element and written element) required to get a NOVICE ticket. Then, before I was able to get the Technician, I had to be a "coded" Technician and pass the elements needed to have HF privileges assigned to Tech Plus license holders. In each of those cases, the written test elements were shared publicly, just as they are now. Someone could memorize them. That fact has not changed throughout the years since I had to know Morse code in order to have HF privileges. It was just as easy then, as it is now, to memorize the answers. Some people do choose to understand the theory behind the questions and answers. The only difference, in all reality, is that back then, the Morse code element was required. If anything, that weeded out those who did not have enough interest to push though the difficulty of learning Morse code. There were even waivers for those who had a medical reason for not being able to pass the Morse code element(s). 2. Saying that it should be more difficult to pass the elements required for a license class, now, is like me saying that it should be more difficult for QRZ forum participants, before they may post new message and reply to forum threads in these forums. I could say that there should be a demonstration of one's ability to form proper grammatical structures, like a basic sentence, complete with correct punctuation. Of course, that's ridiculous. If such a requirement were put into place, here in these forums, you would not yet be able to write a response. Is that a reasonable expectation, a reasonable standard? 3. A "real ham" by legal definition is someone who has been authorized by the governmental agency to which such licensing authority resides, such as the FCC, in the United States of America. I know, you meant, "a ham of higher standards" rather than "a ham that exists in reality." So, in your estimation, what are the minimum requirements that should be held by a prospective ham radio operator? And, how would you test for that? Should prospective hams also be tested on their ability to select proper ham equipment? For instance, should the prospective ham prove that they know about spectrum purity and what is a transmission spur? Should prospective hams demonstrated that they can ascertain what kind of equipment on the current market violates FCC rules, or barely reaches that technical purity (think: Baofeng)? Should all prospective ham radio operators be forced to build their first ham equipment, to test that they know how?