MEANINGFUL ENTRY-LEVEL LICENSE PRIVILEGES

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AA7BQ, Nov 5, 2005.

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  1. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder Administrator QRZ Page

    The ARRL again has urged the FCC to provide meaningful operating privileges
    to entry-level Amateur Radio licensees, including access to HF, even if the
    Commission doesn't want to create a new license class. Commenting in
    response to the FCC's July 9 Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order
    (NPRM&O) in WT Docket 05-235, the League also stood by its stance that the
    Commission retain the 5 WPM Morse code requirement for Amateur Extra
    applicants, but do away with it for General applicants.

    "Retaining Morse telegraphy as a requirement for only the Amateur Extra
    class license, in ARRL's view, places Morse telegraphy in a proper, balanced
    perspective," the League told the Commission October 31, the deadline to
    comment in the proceeding. Reply comments are due November 14.

    The FCC's NPRM&O proposed eliminating the 5 WPM Morse code requirement for
    all Amateur Radio license classes but denied requests to create a new
    entry-level license class with limited HF privileges. The League said the
    FCC needs to finish the job of license restructuring it began in 1998 by
    reviewing operating privileges for all classes--especially at the first rung
    of the licensing ladder.

    "The elimination of Morse telegraphy, absent a more thorough review of
    operating privileges in the Amateur Service, will not address the
    ascertained flaws in the only entry-level license class," the ARRL asserted,
    referring to the Technician license. "That license class is not attracting
    or keeping newcomers in its present configuration, and it needs fixing right
    now."

    The ARRL argued that if the FCC will not create a new Novice class license
    as the League had suggested in its earlier Petition for Rule Making
    (RM-10867) in the proceeding, it should modify Technician operating
    privileges instead. The present licensing regime limits Technicians to VHF
    bands and above, "leaving newcomers to the Amateur Service isolated from
    their peers holding higher class licenses," the ARRL said. "The Technician
    class is, for too many, a 'dead end' to what might otherwise be an active,
    progressive interest in Amateur Radio, technical self-training and
    incentive-based educational progress in the many facets of the avocation."

    The ARRL reminded the FCC that its restructuring plan enjoyed the support of
    the two Amateur Radio licensees in Congress--Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR)
    and Rep Mike Ross, WD5DVR (D-AR).

    Eliminating the Morse requirement for General class applicants "creates an
    anomaly with respect to the Technician class license," the ARRL noted. "If
    the telegraphy requirement for the General class license is eliminated, the
    distinction between the Technician class licensee and the Technician Plus
    class licensee will have disappeared completely." Therefore, the League
    contends, there is a logical basis for affording Technician licensees
    entry-level HF privileges.

    Under the ARRL plan, Technicians would have telegraphy and data privileges
    on 3.55-3.7 MHz, 7.05-7.125 MHz and 21.05-21.20 MHz at 100 W output and on
    28.05-28.3 MHz at 50 W output. The League wants the FCC to provide HF phone
    and image privileges to Technicians on 3.9-4.0 MHz, 7.2-7.3 MHz and
    21.35-21.45 MHz at 100 W output, and on 28.3-28.5 MHz at 50 W.

    These recommended privileges take into account the FCC's proposal to adopt
    the ARRL's so-called "Novice refarming" plan in WT Docket 04-140. The ARRL
    had earlier proposed the same privileges for a reconstituted Novice license.

    The time is right to take a look at the operating privileges of Amateur
    Radio license classes, the ARRL said in its filing, "because the entry-level
    license class is demonstrably neither attractive to newcomers nor
    encouraging in terms of retaining the interest of license holders."

    To back up its assertions, the League pointed to surveys it conducted in
    1992 and 2003. Nearly half of the licensees responding in the latter poll
    indicated that they were not currently active in Amateur Radio--up 30
    percent from the earlier survey. "The number of inactive Technician class
    licensees is 46 percent," the ARRL noted, adding that more than a quarter of
    Technicians responding in 2003 said they'd never even been on the air.

    The League pointed out that the FCC's proposed across-the-board elimination
    of the Morse requirement eliminates a simple mechanism for current
    Technician licensees to obtain HF operating privileges--passing the 5 WPM
    code exam.

    If the FCC does nothing other than eliminate the Morse requirement for the
    General license, the ARRL commented, it would make no sense to continue to
    deprive Technician licensees the HF operating privileges that Tech Plus
    licensees now enjoy.

    "To do otherwise is to draw a distinction that is entirely arbitrary," the
    League concluded.

    Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
    in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to
    The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.
     
  2. W6GMT

    W6GMT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I always felt that the ARRL plan was flawed with the auto upgrades. But the underlying plan was sound. An entry class License with both VHF and HF makes good sense. There are some questions in my mind about the phone privileges I would feel better if they eliminated the 40 and 80 meter privileges. The 40 meter Band is small and often very busy. A better plan would give the Technicians full privileges on the 10 meter Band and 21.35-21.45 on the 15 meter phone band. The power out put is about right.
    73
    Brock
     
  3. KG4RUL

    KG4RUL Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK ARRL,

    Please, don't muddy the waters at this late date. Let this process take it's natural course.

    Dennis [​IMG]

    P.S. I am an ARRL member and have been even before I got my ticket.
     
  4. NF0A

    NF0A Ham Member QRZ Page

    [​IMG] Sounds peachy to me....
     
  5. AI4ME

    AI4ME Ham Member

    I can agree and also disagree with the ARRL proposal. I feel the ARRL hit it right on the money with the proposal and reasoning of leaving the 5WPM requirement for Extra.

    However, the restructuring of HF privileges for Technicians I can disagree on. For one, it would cloud the whole incentive for upgrading to General, and in essence completely void the General Class license. Giving small increments of added band does not provide incentive in itself to achieve the next level. For many the whole incentive for General is access to HF.

    What is wrong with simply removing the requirement for 5WPM at General level? This opens the door to those who either have great difficulty in learning Morse or have absolutely no interest in the Morse mode of operating.

    Also, if people wish to upgrade from the entry level Technician, the General exam ensures that the potential upgrade has the additional knowledge of essential HF skills needed to "move up".

    I also disagree with the ARRL's finding that a majority of Technicians do not upgrade due to the stumbling block of Morse. Of most Technicians I know, a majority of their interest lies in communications above 50 MHz. Since Amateur Radio has so many facets, and there is something for everyone, this doesn't mean all amateurs are interested in HF communications. I know many who only are in to Amateur Radio because they really enjoy 2M, 440, APRS, Airmail, Satellite, 1.2 GHz and other such communication techniques found above 50 MHz.

    I also know many General and Extra's that spend a majority of their time in the HF bands because that is the facet of Amateur Radio that fascinate and attract them.

    I feel that the Tech/General line is more of a border than a barrier, and has more to do with preference than ability.
     
  6. K6FAF

    K6FAF Guest

    " Sounds peachy to me......."
    So it does to me....
    They need to have something to earn the first HF spurs.
    Then they can go forward or let the new-bought HF-rig get dusty on the shelf....who would want to do that, anyway.
    Pity we are at the minimum of the sunspot-cycle, they will have to really chase the DX on 10 and 15.
    Will that make them stop or go on?
    I hope they all catch the bug!
    73 de Hans
     
  7. KC9EOG

    KC9EOG Ham Member QRZ Page

    In July 2003 I walked in with no ticket and passed the tech and general test. We have an entry level license for HF and it is sadly enough the general class. It is easy to get and will be even easier with the end of code, not that 5 WPM is any challenge.
     
  8. NC5S

    NC5S Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Technician license will revert to its original intent if the code requirement is dropped.  it will, once again, become a license for those who wish to experiment with radio 50Mhz and above.  

    Now, how many of you think that the current, and future, crop of techinicians will now begin to complain that the General test is just "too hard" and is a barrier to them enjoying HF privileges, raise your hands.

    Let's see,  1, 2,  3, 4, 5.................
     
  9. K4LEM

    K4LEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    [​IMG] I learned morse at age 12 and first ham license at 13. Passed 20 wpm and second class radio telegraph commerical at age 20. But, as with all things, time rolls only forward and technology changes.

    I certainly do NOT oppose the elimination of CW. It might be good in real hard situations where you're in a life boat and the mike won't work. Beyond that its hard to imagine cw at five wpm being useful for anything.

    I did understand the FCC was thinking about extending the US phone bands, especially on 80 meters and on 40. What ever happened to that idea? If the ham of the future at the elite extra class level need only demo a five WPM code speed, of what use is the extensive band allocations for cw only?

    Cheers and Beers.
    W1IT/4
     
  10. W5HTW

    W5HTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Something like this?

    CW only privileges on narrow segments of 80, 40, and 15 meters. Power limitation, 75 watts. No VFO. This allows them to test the HF waters and make contact with some more experienced hams.

    Limited voice privileges on 2 meters. Fixed frequency control and 75 watts power maximum.



    Ed
     
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