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HamRadioNow: That ARRL Entry Level License Survey

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K4AAQ, Mar 2, 2017.

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  1. K4AAQ

    K4AAQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    HRN 308 License Class Survey POSTER 250.jpg

    The ARRL has launched a survey of members asking about maybe asking the FCC for a new Entry Level License.

    This lively bull session brings together a Pundit Panel of Podcasters (aka Herding Cats) to kick the ideas around. If Gary KN4AQ thought he had a plan for the show (and he sort of did), it fell before the onslaught of Neal Rapp WB9VPG (HamTalkLive), Sterling Coffey N0SSC and Marty Sullaway KC1CWF (PhasingLine Podcast), and co-host David Goldenberg W0DHG.

    Gary and Neil both began their ham careers as Novices. Sterling, Marty and David came along well after the Novice was just a legacy with a few holdover licensees (apparently old license classes never die).

    Many words... but probably still not the Last Word!

    Another long show? Of course!
    Download/Listen to Audio here
    or subscribe to the audio podcast
    YO4FKO, IX1FIT and WB9VPG like this.
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately there is no participation here from those who actually spent many,many hours thinking this through; coming up with options; and tracing the historical trends in licensing since the early 1950's. I am not one of them, but they put a LOT of work into it and came up with some surprising answers.

    The bottom line is we HAD something simple,that worked, 50+ years ago, that didn't seem like SCHOOL WORK to young people, and with a small question pool, they could enter and LEARN BY DOING: by getting on the air.

    With the CB craze, 40+ years ago,we lost the young people with a license manual that got to be gusto gordo and that became essentially a text book-- a huge turn off. SCHOOL WORK.

    Preppers are fine. Amateur public safety is fine too. Techs are FB. But if you want young people you have to go back to having an --additional-- simple option.

    I mean, think about it: there are hundreds of thousands of OLD hams (I are one) who would like NOTHING BETTER than to be on the air Elmers to a nouveau class of entry level young people--on HF. What could be better?

    There--some talking points.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    WA7AXT, N5WLS, K3HDG and 10 others like this.
  3. KB2SMS

    KB2SMS Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is no reason to create a new class. Stop messing with this stuff already. The Tech class offers PLENTY of privileges.
    Kids today are a different breed. They're too busy with their face stuck in their "smart" phones like freaking zombies.

    Are there still electricity and electronics classes in high school? If so do kids take them today? Target those

    Ham radio has to targeting schools. The ARRL and similar world wide organizations have to start advertising on TV and
    radio and newspapers and start targeting the kids. Stop dumbing everything down, it's getting ridiculous.
    KB0FKT, KF4ZKU, K7JBL and 16 others like this.
  4. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Seems to me that we used to have something called a novice license, lol HI HI.
    When I first got mine, it was 1 year non renewable 75 watts crystal controled. It was later expanded to two years and renewable. Currently a group in California is proposing to the FCC for a Makers license , it would expand some every privileges for technicians as well.
    Whatever happens I say we call it a " Novice license" to keep the tradition alive, there may still be a few novices on the books. So it's not really anything new, just changing frequencies allocations and mode.
    The idea that the California group has is to it take Middle School students and get them interested in the technology side of the hobby by doing Hands-On experimentation and building. Which is what we really need to do with all new hams, to get them on the air Wilson practical understanding RF and propagation. It also opens the world of HF up to them and shows them how magical it still is, to talk to stations around the globe without being connected to the internet.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    N4GST, AC7S, K5DBW and 1 other person like this.
  5. WB9VPG

    WB9VPG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Most electronics courses have been gone for many, many years unfortunately.
    WA7AXT and KF4ZKU like this.
  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know where this 'dumbing down' myth comes from.

    The FIRST novice test had a question pool of about 3 dozen questions. If it was put in front of you today, you would undoubtedly find it the most moronic license pool and truly dumb.

    But the reality is that those who STARTED with that 'dumb' question pool are the renowned engineers, scientists, tech entrepreneurs, and others who came of age 50 years ago.And have shaped your world over the last decades.

    Not dumbin down....instead defining a new entry barrier.
    NZ5F, WA7AXT, K3HDG and 5 others like this.
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Check out for a rare but valuable counterexample:)
    WB9VPG likes this.
  8. AB4D

    AB4D QRZ Lifetime Member #415 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Seems to me, someone is trying to fix a problem, where none exists, at least not one that can be fixed by changing the licensing structure. How much easier can they make it to obtain an amateur radio license? I agree with KB2SMS, most kids these days have no interest in radio. They were not born or raised in the radio age, so why should they.

    Yes, there will always be an exception to the rule, and some families may be able to cultivate their kids into the Amateur Radio Service for a limited period of time. One certain family has done that, who have become the current "poster children" for the youth movement. However, if history repeats itself, most if not all of those kids will probably lose interest as they grow older, the same as many of their predecessors who have already graced the pages of QST.

    Recruiting people and getting them licensed has never been a problem. It's keeping them interested is the issue. There are many technician licenses that expire without being renewed. Many of those are families that were licensed together, though the scouts or various other groups, but did not have much interest beyond that "family activity". I have a family near me that Dad, Mom, and the kids are all licensed. Only one of the kids, who is a teen, has upgraded and is active. I asked the father, why wasn't he active? His answer, "It's just something we did with the scouts for the boys".

    IMO, the enjoyment and interest in radio is something that is in your blood, you either love it or you don't. They need to ask the people that are letting their licenses lapse, why they did not stay with it. However, I believe the ultimate answer will be, "a lack of interest".

    Jim AB4D
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    NZ5F, KB0FKT, KF4ZKU and 7 others like this.
  9. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just make the exam for all license classes voluntary. New guys can take the test or not--their choice. But the new guy gets a license just for showing up at the testing session. Let the applicant choose which class the new guy wants: Technician, General, and Extrra--his or her choice.

    As a nod to old timers or guys who had to pass element 1 at some point in their "ham years," re-institute the code requirement, but to pass the code exam, either one [(a) or (b) ] of the requirements listed below shall be met.

    (a) Properly spell the word "Morse" in standard English.

    (B) Identify one Morse code "symbol," using "dits" and/or "dahs." The symbol shall be tthe choice of the applicant. Do-overs are allowed.

    However, anyone mis-using the abbreviation "Hi Hi" shall be refused a license, and if already licensed, that license shall be revoked immediately,

    73 de Wa7du
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    W5TTP and NK2U like this.
  10. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    We need to make a additional license class that is analogous to buying an Arduino kit. Running the hugevolume of Tech pool questions past young people is an instant turnoff.

    It turns self exploration into school work.
    KF4ZKU and WA7WJR like this.
  11. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page


    The 'radio' age is about to explode into the 'IoT age'. Same waves. Different name. These kids can't imagine life before 'wireless' is a DOMINANT part of their lives.

    How many H1-Bs am I supposed to support because I don't have access to a 'pool skilled in the art' or wireless/radio here in the USA?

    Think H-A-M .

    Chip W1YW
    NZ5F, W0GPR and WU8Y like this.
  12. W6TDX

    W6TDX Ham Member QRZ Page

    School work is so hard!
  13. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    ARRL states that they have about 170K members... about 20% of the total US ham population. It would make sense to survey ALL hams.
    KB0FKT, WW3JR and NK2U like this.
  14. KD4LT

    KD4LT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well that well be it for me , I well drop out of the ARRL . It was fun for the last 37 years but the ARRL is going to sell me out .
    N3AB and NK2U like this.
  15. KD3WB

    KD3WB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, I don't think there is anything to stop non-members or even unlicensed individuals from participating.


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