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Incentive Licensing Retrospective

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K3UD, Dec 21, 2005.

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  1. KA0SAB

    KA0SAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you stop and look at what we are faced with, it all come's down too being afriad that the FCC will not be able to enforce the rules and regs, and it will turn into another CB band or bands.

    The reason my wife hated my radios was because of the listening to the garbage that the cb bands turned into years ago.
    After being raised in a house hold of Ham Radio and my Father being lic. back in the early thirtys and still a Ham,
    KJ6HS and his first lic. was a 9 call from Nebraska, before it became a 0 call.
    I learned early about the need for Ham Radio.
    I finally Lic. in 1980 at the age of 30.
    To think of getting rid of code all together , I don't like it.
    Now as for Computers, I still build my own from parts.
    If we were to get hit like we did in NY. and the phone lines go down or Micro Wave get hit, then the computer systems would be usless.
    Then it would be nice to have at least 5 wpm or a laptop hooked to a radio in a mobile rig so if voice did not get through then rtty would.
    Remember you need power for Comp, in your house for radio to work.
    Everyone says how high cost of Radio gear is, it is hard to buy anything.
    Well remember to run portable you need a Vec. with gas to
    to charge the Batterys and run your gear, and for the home you will need a Gen.
    So you may need to run low power to save Batt. power and that is when low power CW would get through. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I am not against lowering the standards, just worried that Ham Radio may turn into another CB because the FCC will not have the man power to enforce the rules and Regs.
    Not only that, but it takes about 4 years to build a case against anyone who wants to breaks the rules, just to get them a citation.
    So lets figure a way to make our enforcement work and then
    we can lower the standard for the kind of people that are used to getting things with out having to work for it.
    Face it we are in a world of people now who think everything should be able to be bought not worked for.
    So we have to learn how to cope with it.\
    And it has nothing to do with Liberals or right winged Rep.
    All I hear anymore is right wing for Rep. or Liberals for Dem.
    I know alot of Liberal Rep. So let work on the problem instead of acting like we have too hand it over to someone elese to take care of.
    Write the ARRL and tell them what needs to happen.
    NO Iam not a Dem. Nor a Rep. I am independent and vote for all partys. Call that what you will.
    I believe in half of what I hear and read and then figure it out for myself and not what a radio show host tells me there sponser wants me to beleive.
    EVERYONE have a Merry Christmas.
     
  2. K5SOH

    K5SOH Ham Member QRZ Page

    The ARRL and the FCC dont care what the majority of amateurs think and never have. They have allways had their own agenda. Now updated to cover political correctness. Dont try to confuse them with facts their minds ? are made up. And dont forget 1985 when FCC dumbed down commercial licenses First and second class radiotelephone are now General Radiotelephone
    The only license they havent jacked with too much is the 1st and 2nd class Telegraph license except to do away with the certificate and issue small Toilet paper
    size and texture permits.(But rest assured the AX is being sharpened.) The next time a oceanliner sinks just hope the satellite is working Remember Galaxy IV
    When the majority of pagers in the world went dead for a week or two. Satellites go up Satellites come down or with stars wars era are shot down.
     
  3. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    No my main station isn't home brew. But because I did home brew, I understand every bit of circuitry in my commercial rigs.  From RF amp to speaker.  I have been doing this hobby since the seventies, and built a Knight Kit SW receiver when I was seven, and have never ever had to send one piece of electronics in for repair.

    Most folks couldn't design something to the level of a Collins back in the 60's, but that didn't stop folks that wanted to learn and build.

    If you don't want to build, then fine, but don't tell me and others how ham radio is different now, and how we need to build something to the level of an Icom 7800 or we are wasting our time.

    I wonder how many hams out there understand what a mixer is, or could design a simple VFO.  

    You most likely don't realize, that with components available today, it is much easier to home brew a transceiver then it was in the 60's.

    And, you can design a single conversion receiver that will work very well.  It won't have DSP, but it will do the job well enough to work any location on the planet.

    You seem to feel that radio advancement is somehow related to speed and memory advancement on PC's.

    You should find someone with a "designed in the 50's", Collins R-390 receiver, and compare it with "newer radios" you mention.

    The R-390 will pickup signals, that only the highest priced "newer radios" will.

    You see, I don't "need to learn to change or get out of the hobby".  As a matter of fact, the only change I see, are some newcomers that feel pressing a mic PPT is the high part of the hobby.

    You can pass the tests, and fill your shack after a visit to HRO.  They even have the connectors on the coax, so you can avoid buying a soldering iron.  That's fine with me.  But don't tell me I am some relic of Ham radio past, because I choose to actualy learn how it all works, rather them have a sales person at HRO tell me what to buy, and how to hook it all up.

    Sorry, but I don't think you have a leg to stand on, and if you beleive that folks that home brew, are just old fools wasting their time, I don't think you have as clear an understanding of this hobby as some of us may.

    So for all of the folks of the "new ham radio", don't throw your mic away when it stops working, as you can find one of us old farts that can solder a new cable on it for you.

    And by the way, when I disagree with the FCC or ARRL, and 80% agree, you have a point.  When I see 80% that don't agree, then don't tell me they know whats best for Ham radio.  

    73 - W6NJ
     
  4. NM7R

    NM7R Ham Member QRZ Page

    History is certainly the foundation of the Amateur Radio hobby. But let's look at the hobby as it is and, in the light of present reality, decide what our strengths are.

    Ham radio is, above all, fun. If it were otherwise, nobody would bother. The world is divided into those who like to play with radios and those who don't. As far as recruitment goes, the best we can hope for is to expose the first group to an occasional demonstration and encourage and assist those who step forward. Trying to get someone from the latter group interested in the hobby is about as easy as teaching a pig to sing.

    I agree that the mention of pools of "trained technicians" and "skilled operators" are simply boilerplate left over from a former age (mostly). I will say that I know many skilled technicians and operators (including myself) that got there by playing with radio as much or more than through any formal training I received. But, the point needs to be made that just having a situation where this can take place is valuable in and of itself.

    I see the greatest strength of Ham radio to be emergency communications. As far as I can see the best thing we can all do for our hobby is to work in that direction. Most folks, even those in emergency preparedness, are all too dependant on cell phones and email. When the lines go down they haven't a clue. As I see the situation, all our casual operation, all our nets, all our repeater network construction and maintenance is all for that one chance to serve the Public in time of need.

    It takes surprisingly little to knock out our common carrier communications these days. One backhoe cuts one fiber optic line and suddenly whole communities are cut off. Having trained, skilled operators with their own equipment dispersed throughout the population is the best way to ensure that vital communications can still get through.

    It's the one strong card we bring to the table and it needs to be used well.

    As far as revamping the licensing system every 2.2 years as has seemed to be the case, I think the general idea of incentive licencing has some validity. If you expect a person to know it all before they can get a license of any kind, the bar is just too high for the reality we live in. If you lower the bar, then folks don't have a reason to learn more. Having several steps maintains interest in the hobby.

    I find the present license structure hard to teach and hard to understand. The idea of putting a little of everything on the entry level plate seems illogical. I think it would make much more practical sense to have an entry level Tech license that granted full privileges above 30 MHz, and a General that granted HF privileges. There are a great operational difference between the line-of-sight and sky wave modes. With the greater range and more restricted band space of HF it is logical to have a specialty category. I can hear the critics now, "what about the person who just wants HF and can no longer enter throught he Novice route?" Tough. First you walk and then you run. First you learn how to work effectively on the air, this side of the horizon. Then you worry about DX.

    The Technician test would cover general theory, especially as it relates to line-of-sight propogation and include a large portion of operating practices, rules and regs. The General test would cover rules and operating practices that pertain to HF and international operation, and appropriate theory. I see 30 MHz as the big dividing line that Nature set for us, and the license structure aught to reflect that.

    I never really found CW easy, but neither was it particularly insurmountable. It just took practice, practice, practice. I got a 5 wpm Novice license, upgraded two weeks later to Tech (the old style), then two years later to 13 wpm Advanced, two more years down the road to 20 wpm Extra (and later commercial radiotelegraph). I got the Extra mainly to be a VE when that program started. The one positive thing I have observed about learning CW is that it forces you to focus your attention on what you are hearing. That skill carries over to SSB and FM. But if CW's time has passed, then so be it. As much as I like the idea of retaining it at some level, it's hard to justify requiring any mode.

    Let's make emergency communications the centerpiece of ham radio. People can understand and respect that. It's something we still do well. It would give us a reason to hang onto our increasingly valuable spectrum. It might attract folks who are less inclined to play radio per-se, but want a way to serve their community.

    73, Frank Wolfe, NM7R
     
  5. K5MYJ

    K5MYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I learned radio technology in the 50's while in the USAF. I also got my original ham ticket when I was a USAF NCO in 1957. Those were the days of tube technology.

    After leaving the USAF my ham radio knowledge helped me find employment as a telemerty engineer with NASA and the DOD. I spent about 15 years in that segmet.

    Then I made the choice to move to the computer business. I learned to design interfaces for minicomputers and also to program them. These were boxes made by DEC and DG. In 1975 I was requested to design a controller using Intel's ne 8080 microprocessor. There were no established data busses at the time. We invented our own.

    I went on to spent the part of 25 yeard in the computer industry designing interfaces for both the ISA and PCI systems. I also wrote firmware for embedded controllers.

    I spent most of my last 5 years in the industry designing custom chips using FPGA and CPLD technology.

    I can still design devices using microprocessor or DSP technology.

    But most of my ham radios are BOAT ANCHORS! I do have 3 2M FM RICEBOXES, but I prefer my old tube type 2M and 6M AM rigs.

    But I don't do surface mount assembly. I cannot see well enough to work with resistors the size of an ant.

    My point is that someone with the knowledge and desire can still build a radio these days. And it can be a complex uP/DSP bases uint if the person so desires. It just takes the knowledge. And there are still a lot of peole from my generation around with the knowledge to do it.

    And my name is on scientific papers in both the Smithsonian (MIT) and National Archives.

    Bob Macklin
    K5MYJ
    Seattle, Wa.
     
  6. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Emergency communications should be the centerpiece of ham radio.

    I question where we are going with emergency communications.  Does a station requiring Pc's, pactor boxes, and radios, plus the required inter-connection make a good emergency station?  Outside of an emergency zone maybe yes, in the emergency zone, maybe not.

    Want mode requires the least complexity and the least power?  CW.  Yet many argue that it is outdated.

    Would the military still use CW if they didn't have a few billion dollars worth of satellites? You bet they would.

    Does Ham radio have a few billion dollars worth of satellites to use? No. Yet we use the military argument over and over again to condemn CW to the grave.

    When I go into the Rockies, where the cellphones and HT's don't work, I have an FT-817 or Elecraft K1 with me.

    My next radio will be an Elecraft KX1. I don't even bother trying SSB much with 5 watts into a portable antenna. It will work sometimes, but not like CW.

    Argue all you want about CW, but I know that if I get trapped in a storm, that little K1 may just save my life.

    If Yellowstone does erupt in our lifetime, which is your choice, after you have a roof collapse from the ash and you have to find new shelter.

    1. Carry rig, laptop, pactor box, gelcells, generator, and gasoline tank.

    2. Elecraft K1, iambic paddles, AA batteries, and wire for antenna in your backpack.

    Gee, maybe CW isn't so outdated after all. I know that it could save my life someday, and maybe yours too.

    But you have to decide if hype or reality is more important. Think about worst case, and CW wins hands down. You chose what you think is best, as it's your life, and not mine.

    As for my life and my families life, the choice is easy.

    73 - W6NJ
     
  7. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actualy, I think cars are easier to fix today then earlier. Those modules are expensive, but much more reliable then condensers and points in the distributer. Other then the electrical, the rest is the same, though better tolerance.

    As far as appliances, I have an infamous Maytag Neptune washer. One day three years ago, the spin cycle stops working. I call Maytag repair, and I am told $350 for the control board plus labor. I search on google for "neptune spin cycle problem". Second hit gave me "See if R11 is burnt, if so it was caused by shorted transistor". They even have a picture with the location of the part.

    I pull the board, see burnt R11, take DVOM, measure short on transistor.

    I then go to Ford electronics and spend $1.87 for resistor and transistor, then install and have happy XYL. It's been spinning for 3 years now.

    I don't know if you feel that a 756pro or a Mark-V is a boat anchor, but I have no problem working on mine.

    Yes, surface mount stuff is hard to deal with, if you don't have the right soldering jigs. You may have to replace a board, but it is still less expensive then some "hack" butchering your rig.

    New technology is not magic, but it is better, and takes some new learning to deal with. It isn't really more complex, but just consists of more building blocks of basic technology.

    A service manual, a DVOM, and good Tektronics oscilloscope is all you need to deal with most problems.

    Add RF and audio signal generators and you can align that rig to perfection. And, unlike the seventies, you can get superior test equipment for a fraction of the cost.

    What you are saying, is exactly what I heard from techs, when the transistor hit the masses.  If they couldn't find bad tubes with a tube tester, they were lost.

    Transistor circuits weren't any more complicated then transistor circuits, actualy less complex.

    The fact was, that these so called techs weren't techs at all, as their basic skill set was testing tubes. When the new tube didn't work, they went to the senior tech, that found the shorted cap, out of spec resistor, or shorted coil that was causing the problem.

    Trust me I know, as my grandfather had an appliance business, and at 12 I had to help those poor souls, that didn't know a resister from a raisin. Ever see color codes on your raisin bread?

    The funny thing was, that the first RCA transistor radios that he got in the store, had the transistors in sockets. Trouble was, they wouldn't fit in the tube tester, and with the low voltages, the sockets caused almost all of the problems.

    In reality, transistors were a wonderful improvement. Without the high voltages and heat, all of the caps, resistors, and coils lasted much longer. The coils stayed aligned much longer.

    Those semi-techs that decided to learn electronics, discovered how to use a VOM, even though it didn't have a BAD-FAIR-GOOD meter on it.

    I have a motto, that if a man made it, then I sure as hell can fix it. I may run into something that I don't have the proper equipment, to deal with it, but don't tell me that I can't understand it.

    Don't take it the wrong way, but I would just as soon do it myself. How many multiple trips have you read about,  where the same rig keeps going back to Yaesu?

    I know I have done all of the mods on both my Mark-V and FT-100D. And guess what, some of the mods came from Hams first, and not from Yaesu.

    That's right, Hams that fixed the design defects, that the commercial box maker didn't find. Too hear some talk, that would seem a fairy tale. Technology has left us poor hams behind! REALLY???

    This is a big hobby, and I enjoy everyone's involvement, but how about not selling us all short.

    There is no shame in not wanting to repair your own rig, but at the same time, I take issue with the opinion that it is too complex today. To each their own.

    There is no requirement other then passing those tests, and that is fine, but please don't suggest that some of us are idiots that just stare at our 500Z triodes, wondering why they light up like they do.

    Sorry, but talk of technology being too complex, is just an excuse, just like the tube testing tech back in the 60's that couldn't deal with PNP vs NPN, when they didn't know a triode from a pentode, and only knew that a tube was bad if it didn't glow, or the needle pointed to BAD.  

    You can fix any tube rig with a VOM and oscilloscope. No more tube testers at the drug store, so it is lucky that there are other methods to find bad tubes. The tube tester was a crutch, that created a generation of clueless TV repairmen.

    Fact is, if I burn an IF coil on my "boat anchor" Drake (won't be the first time), I will be pulling it out of the can and re-winding it (won't be the first time).

    If some static on my antenna takes out the first RF transistor on the Mark-V, I will get on the net and order a new transistor.

    Which is easier, rebuilding a part or buying a new part?  

    Newer gear is much more stable, and easier to put into spec, then those glowing tube, space heaters.

    New rigs have protection, and your snow covered balun won't catch fire as you tune up.

    I don't mean to say that packing it up and sending it for repair is bad. But saying to a new ham that is reading these posts, that "new technology" is just too complex for us, is sending the wrong message, and an incorrect message. It isn't too complex, it is what you desire from the hobby.

    Any level of desire is fine, but you have to accept the fact that you are at a certain technical level because of choice, and not because it is too complex.

    If there is anything that I see different in this hobby, it is the lack of desire to dig in, and become as proficient as possible in the art of radio. And downloading some new software, doesn't count in my book.

    New modes are fine, but no matter what you feed into the audio input, everything after that is "THE RADIO".

    And "THE RADIO" is still the most important part of the system.

    To me, continued learning is important. To others it is not.

    Everyone is welcome at all levels, just don't suggest that the quest for technical knowledge is an old unimportant part of the hobby, or that it is too complex for any of us to understand. Neither is true.

    Go back a few pages and read the comments from my "poster child" Chad. Bet he will be buying a "not so old" hf rig that has seen better days, and when he's done, that rig will sing.

    Ham radio is alive and well, and you can find as much technical fun, as you could in 1960.  Doesn't matter who built it. Learn it, and understand every part of that radio.

    Tune it, and if needed, modify what the designer didn't perfect, and you will find that it is just as good now as it was way back then. Actualy better, as we have an internet full of CyberElmer websites. Seek and you shall find. Tell yourself it is impossible, and you have created your own reality.

    It's all about desire.

    73 - Bob W6NJ /0 Colorado
     
  8. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey Bob,

    Bet you know what a Collins R-390 is?

    Your post is a good example of how the fifties were not so different then today.

    Even then, you could argue, "why home brew?" when you could buy a commercial rig that is better.

    Even though the R-390 was a secret government radio for a while, there were lots of other rigs that were very good.

    I really believe that this is a matter of personal choice as opposed to a technology issue. You could buy a  commercial rig then just like now. So what is different?

    Beyond the Ham radio example, this seems to indicate that as a whole, the US population wants to consume, and not create anymore.

    We buy throw-away junk, and have no desire to spend a little extra for something that will last.

    Just like in ham radio, the marketing people have us convinced that the old stuff is so outdated, that it isn't even usable anymore, even though it may be. Even if it isn't much better, just charge it, and live the good life.

    You may have a good cd player, but all they need to say, is that the new model has "64 gigabit Digital Bass Boost", and we grab our wallets, with drool running down our chins.

    If we keep buying from the offshore pot, and don't put anything into our own pot, we may find that the demise of ham radio is the least of our problems.

    I am starting to think that the "New Ham Radio" has little to do with Ham Radio, and everything to do with the "New Society" that takes junk from that offshore pot, and refills that junk pot, with our hearts, souls, and gold.

    Soon that pot will be full of our gold, and it will be our master.

    Because, even when the price to take from that pot is too much to bear, there will be no other choice, as our pot will have no contents, other then old dreams from old dreamers.

    73 - W6NJ /0
     
  9. kd4mxe

    kd4mxe QRZ Member QRZ Page

    w6nj-hello Bob hope you had a good christmas out that way , Been Reading your post and you seem to Be up to date on all this electronic Repair stuff , I could use some good pointers here on a swan 350 it Recives am loud and clear ,But ssB it dose not clear them up , I have checked the (Product detector) all seames to Be fine with it, unless I missed something I dont know about ,I check the voltage on the 12ax7a and checked the Resistors , it Recieves cw Real good to I am trying to get that stuff down , and I am useing it on 40m and 80m to Recieve some of the code there , any pointers you could send my way it would Be welcomed ,73 good luck happy new year ,Bill
     
  10. K4JF

    K4JF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    MANY of us can fix our own cars. That is not unusual. Proof: Auto Zone, Advance Auto Parts and others are fast-growing businesses.

    Me? I have built several pieces of ham gear, and now am trying to decide what ham gear to put in the 65 Mustang that I have completely rebuilt (including upgrading to all the modern electronics - EFI engine, etc.). And I'm hardly rare in that respect.
     
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