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Legislation or Marketing...

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KU4X, Nov 27, 2018.

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  1. KU4X

    KU4X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Instead of taking an administrative change approach, let’s look at a marketing change. There are current threads that discuss the history and issues with attempting to implement change though regulation change that involves the FCC. Another approach that has had little or no discussion is a change in the Amateur Radio marketing process.

    The major amateur radio organizations could aggressively promote the General license as the entry point for amateur radio. This would allow all facets of the hobby to be available to the new operator, instead of the limits now imposed by the Technician license.

    The major players could make this attractive by bundling their license prep material into a combination package. As an example, if the Technician and General books cost $10.00 each, a bundle of the two could be be sold for $16.00. As two exams would be required, VECs would be encouraged to price the exams on a “two-for-one” basis - those coming in to take both Element 2 and Element 3 would be charged for only exam if they successfully pass both. Clubs that provide license prep classes would focus on Elements 2 & 3. (Although this might put a serious dent in the 1-day cram sessions!)

    The Technician exam would be promoted for exactly what it is…a specialized license that has limited privileges and does not provide an all-encompassing entrance into Amateur Radio. It does provide access to those with need for a license to participate in certain activities, such as R/C models, maker-movement activities, and telemetry collection.

    This approach does not require any action/changes by the FCC. (As an aside, I would like to the meat-cooking power levels currently allowed with the Technician license dropped to 25-50 watts.)

    If the major players in Amateur Radio grasp this with the same vigor as they did EMCOMM, there is a high probability of success. But as with all things that are large, overcoming inertia is a problem…;)

    I purposely left out all of the details...I just wanted to float the overarching idea for discussion.

    N0NB, K7TRF, KK5JY and 2 others like this.
  2. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes it is a marketing issue and the ARRL is paid by dues to do it. There are many things that could be done to not only promote AR but retain amateurs.
    KU4X likes this.
  3. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another solution looking for a problem
    W4NNF, K1VSK and K3XR like this.
  4. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    You are ignoring the segment of potential users only interested in using ham radio as a tool. No different to them than a hammer. Search and Rescue organizations are a good example.

    How many Search and Rescue volunteers are going to pass your General test to operate their $25 Boefang? Or do you consider them not worthy to use the Amateur Service?

    They do a lot of training to save lives. That does not include radio and electrical theory. Should they go away and let people die just to keep radio pure enough for you?
    KA0HCP and WU8Y like this.
  5. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The marketing strategy is to support efforts to make all hams able to operate HF, grandfathering in current Techs. That's it. It might take a little longer, but it costs the companies little, and would increase sales exponentially. Their costs are the ads they place in QST and other publications. They'll gladly help the ARRL with the cost of lobbying congress and the FCC if it will benefit them.

    As an added bonus, I'd say they're also counting on new HF operators with no knowledge of operating an HF rig to buy an entry-level model only to find out a year later that they really wanted an antenna tuner or DSP or 6 meters, etc, so they will go out and buy another rig. Or even more likely, a new operator doesn't know how to use RF Gain, or Shift/Width/Notch, so they think their radio is inferior and want to upgrade. It's really genius. :) Let's see how it plays out.
  6. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    As mentioned elsewhere - GREAT IDEA!

    And one that can be implemented immediately, both formally and informally.

    73 de jim, N2EY
    N0NB likes this.
  7. W5TTP

    W5TTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    We could start by promoting the current General, rather than the Technician license, as the preferred entry level to study for. Those promoting classes, or those simply interested in getting into the hobby, can de-emphasize the current thinking. This current thinking is akin to selling a three wheeled car. "Someday", the buyer may want that fourth wheel. Those who have minimal, or specific reasons to, could still just stop at the Tech level. No muss, no fuss.
    N0NB, N2EY and WC5P like this.
  8. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This part is already done. The ARRL VEC charges a single fee per session, and that fee allows a candidate to take one, two, or all three exams. There is no requirement for a passing grade to be eligible for the three-for-one deal. I'm not sure how much of this is mandated by rules vs. policy of the individual VEC, but I think the other VECs have similar fee structures, if they charge fees at all (some don't ever charge any fee).
    WA4BCS and N2EY like this.
  9. KC9YGN

    KC9YGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Most of this is already in place. Most of the VEs (at least around here) permit you to take the Tech and General at the same session for a single fee.

    Everyone already knows the technician license is limited and only the General gives you full (almost) access to the HF portions of the amateur radio spectrum.

    Bundling the teaching materials? I suppose there might be some interest in that, but frankly not much. You can bundle all you want but it isn't going to make someone who is only interested in the tech license get the general as well.
  10. KD8SLQ

    KD8SLQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I could see this being something that would actually scare some people off of the hobby. UHF and VHS are easy and cheap for a new ham to get into. It allows them to get their feet wet and used to things before they shell out the expense of setting up on HF. If you push everyone to HF to start, the higher price tag could easy scare off people who would be willing to go for a tech. If you are trying to attract younger people, sticker shock may turn a lot of kids and young adults off before they even get into things.

    To look at it from a sales perspective, you put your cheaper options out front to get people in the door and get them hooked before you show them the high dollar stuff.

    The big question is do you want to define ham radio as HF operation? Is that where you want the hobby to be focused in the next, say, 50 or 100 years? The world is moving away from HF, does the hobby want to keep up with everyone else?

    To me, that seems very short sighted. You are basically ignoring what amounts to half of the bands out there, if we ignore the higher frequency bands, is ham radio basically painting itself into a corner development wise while the rest of the world take up more and more UHF and microwave bandwidth. In a few decades that could be closed off to AR. Almost like the 160M thing of old. The commercial world didn't see a need anything past 160 and gave it to AR to play with. When AR found the use for it, then came the commercial users. Here, AR is throwing all their eggs in the HF basket and ignoring higher frequencies while everyone else moves in.

    One way to possible fight that would be to move most or all of the bands above 70 cm from the Tech license to the General. So if you want to experiment with Microwave, (BOAR, etc) you need to upgrade. You could use the reasoning that microwave have special safety concerns, so it should had additional testing to cover that.
    WU8Y likes this.

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