HamRadioNow: That ARRL Entry Level License Survey

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KN4AQ, Mar 2, 2017.

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  1. AB4D

    AB4D Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    I agree, radio is a dominant part of their lives, as it pertains to consumer grade electronics, none that requires an amateur radio license. However, I was speaking in the traditional sense, as amateur radio stands today, what new licensees will experience when they turn on a radio, to listen and operate. You're advocating, the current path for entry into amateur radio is a hindrance to growth. What is the basis of that line of reasoning?

    We have thousands of people that have already entered amateur radio thorough the current licensing structure as technicians. The technician license is very easy to pass. Yet, many of them let the license lapse after 10 years, and go no further in the service. How is changing the licensing structure going to address the retention problem? Furthermore, changing the license structure is not going to make amateur radio any more interesting, or make anyone more active once they have the license, if they don't find it interesting. What is the main selling point, a no test license vs the current structure?

    Hypothetically, say a new license is created, and the FCC just hands people a license for the asking. How do you suppose to keep those people engaged? What will they gain by having an amateur radio license, that can't already be addressed by another service?

    I am all for bringing more people into the service, especially young people, if they have a genuine interest in amateur radio. However, on the other hand, it should not be all about just trying to increase the numbers with a no test license. Trying to drag people into amateur radio with a no test license, is simply a waste of time if they have no interest in what we do.

    Jim, AB4D
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    KB0FKT and KK5JY like this.
  2. ZS6BV

    ZS6BV Ham Member QRZ Page

    To AB2YC

    "and see how many hams act that's pretty much the final straw"

    That sentence puts it in a nutshell.
  3. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    We have one already. It's called "General," and the FCC says it is "easy." That makes it a de facto entry-level license. Any beginner can do it. Many beginners just go for Extra because it is also easy.

    You know, it's funny, as long as we're talking about "upgrading" ham radio for the 21st century... why is it that VHF/UHF are so inactive these days? In the LMR world, VHF+ is "where it's at..." Many/most of the public service users have abandoned VHF, both "high" and "low," as well as HF, and are moving into UHF or microwave, using trunking, digital, etc. HF users are running from those bands in droves, broadcasters included. Even the military (at least in the US) doesn't care much for HF anymore -- the HFGCS [wikipedia.org] is in poor repair, and you can hear it if you listen on those frequencies with any regularity. GMDSS [wikipedia.org] has moved largely to satellite systems, and has dropped watches on many HF frequencies.

    How is it that nearly every other service that needs reliable communications has found the VHF+ bands (and UHF+ in particular) to be so much more useful and desirable, and yet there are hams here who are strenuously arguing that the future of ham radio is HF only? ...and that newcomers have to start with HF or they'll never get interested? Why is nobody asking why VHF+ isn't getting it done for amateur radio? It sure is for everybody else.

    Without understanding what is wrong, there is no hope of making changes that will actually fix "the problem," assuming that one exists at all.
  4. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

  5. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is actually the core of the issue. Not licensing, not privileges, not public relations.

    It wasn't that long ago when radio was an art. Now it's an appliance. Kind of like a lot of things in life. Back when only skilled radio professionals could communicate reliably, amateur radio had more ability to generate curiosity. Kind of like airplanes prior to the 2nd world war. Now, both are appliances. You turn the key, the machine does what it is supposed to, it does it well, and it does it reliably. Most people don't see the "awe" in RF anymore. That's normal. It's OK. It won't end the world.
    AB4D likes this.
  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Jim,

    The Tech license has failed as a tool to form a 'pool of skilled operators ...to enhance the radio art'. Most Techs--almost all Techs-- are either not on the air, or perceive their HT's as prepper or (occasional) amateur public service tools, and stand-alone devices. There is virtually no experimentation, percentage wise for example, within the Tech pool. IOW the Tech license is targeted for an interesting--and many would argue important--cadre of people who want to use radios in a very specific and very limited way.

    Opening up another (entry) license class is likely to be a catch all for those who have an interest but do not fall within the cadre of people who are Techs.

    We need both.

    Chip W1YW
    KB0FKT likes this.
  7. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why do you assume that it is the license class that has failed? Maybe people just don't care anymore? I see that at work constantly -- and that's among the highly-skilled folks who write software or build circuits.

    I just don't see why the license is seen as a tool to improve anything... either in the past or in the future. People care or they don't.

    If we introduce a 21st-century driver's license, is that going to cause people to stop posting on Facebook or Twitter while they drive??
    AB4D likes this.
  8. AB4D

    AB4D Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Chip,

    I suppose, we will just have to agree to disagree. I just don't see your point, how a no test license will increase the pool of skilled operators and/or electronics experts, that will remain ACTIVE within the amateur radio service. Simply, I don't see the correlation between a no test vs. tested license, and how that will make a significant difference into recruiting young people AND keeping them active. It may provide an easier path for those who may have an initial interest, but keeping them active, will certainly always be a challenge.

    73, Jim AB4D
  9. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I make no assumption. I presented the facts. IMO the Tech has become something not in line with the original intention, and as --the (only)-- entry level, ends up with an interesting but specific cadre of radio amateurs. It tends to exclude those with curiosity and exploration and experimentation.
  10. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page


    No one said anything about a 'no test license'. Where did you get that?

    I certainly didnt say it. I don't even know what that means.

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