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RAC recommends Morse dropped, new exams.

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by WV2J, Oct 29, 2003.

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  1. N3TTN

    N3TTN Ham Member QRZ Page

    All of this debate is probably moot anyway. The FCC seems determined to drop code testing and possibly merge license classes down to two, in the name of "streamlining". Some information I have read around the net, and heard on the air suggests this could happen sometime in the spring of 2004. I know that historically, the FCC usually takes up to two years to implement rulemaking, but in this case the consensus seems to be that they want this to happen sooner rather than later. The writing is on the wall it would seem, and any techs who want to upgrade should start preparing for the general exam. Personally, I'm headed all the way to extra when the time comes.


    73, N3TTN
     
  2. AG4RQ

    AG4RQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    [​IMG]9--></span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (N3TTN @ Nov. 17 2003,08[​IMG]9)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">All of this debate is probably moot anyway. The FCC seems determined to drop code testing and possibly merge license classes down to two, in the name of "streamlining". Some information I have read around the net, and heard on the air suggests this could happen sometime in the spring of 2004. I know that historically, the FCC usually takes up to two years to implement rulemaking, but in this case the consensus seems to be that they want this to happen sooner rather than later. The writing is on the wall it would seem, and any techs who want to upgrade should start preparing for the general exam. Personally, I'm headed all the way to extra when the time comes.


    73, N3TTN[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    You are absolutely correct. The FCC doesn't pay attention to these boards. The only thing they do look at is the comments made to the RM proposals. I commented on all 13. I personally hope that you're wrong about code testing being dropped by next year. I hope they weigh and measure all the comments and come to an equitable common sense decision that most of us can live with. The Extra license right now is hardly worth the paper it is printed on. A codeless Extra license would be worth about as much as a CB license was in 1978. I learned 5 wpm code for my General. When I upgraded to Extra, I just had to take the written exam. There was no further code test necessary. I feel like I got a cheap Extra. I don't feel like I earned it. I did more to earn the General. Today, the highest level of license is a joke. Removing the code requirement will make it a Cracker Jack give-away.
     
  3. AG4RQ

    AG4RQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (wa9svd @ Nov. 16 2003,21:09)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">AG4RQ:
    Mark, I mostly agree. But I can't ever imagine the FCC going to a HIGHER Morse speed, even for EXTRA. They as much as said they only kept the 5 WPM exam to satisfy the Int'l treaty, which is now gone. I sort of liked a suggestion by W1RFI: General and Extra listen to the same 5 minutes of Morse. The Extra pass the Morse portion as it currently exists; seperate from the rest of the exam; the Generals answer questions on their written exan with the same weight as the other questions on the exam.
    Again, I'm looking at the practical side, what the FCC will do for their own benefit and ease of operation, and compatibility with the Amateur Regulations of other countries.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Larry,
    Although I would rather have the Element 1 requirements remain intact for General and Extra, I could live with what Ed Hare suggested. As for compatibility with the Amateur Regulations of other countries, it will never come to pass for the reasons I stated in my last post to you. The communist countries and former communist countries will never drop their code requirements. Also, unlike our country which only trains special forces in the use of Morse code, those countries see the value in training all military personnel in Morse code, and highly encourages the civilian population to learn it.
     
  4. N3TTN

    N3TTN Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">You are absolutely correct. The FCC doesn't pay attention to these boards. The only thing they do look at is the comments made to the RM proposals. I commented on all 13. I personally hope that you're wrong about code testing being dropped by next year. I hope they weigh and measure all the comments and come to an equitable common sense decision that most of us can live with. The Extra license right now is hardly worth the paper it is printed on. A codeless Extra license would be worth about as much as a CB license was in 1978. I learned 5 wpm code for my General. When I upgraded to Extra, I just had to take the written exam. There was no further code test necessary. I feel like I got a cheap Extra. I don't feel like I earned it. I did more to earn the General. Today, the highest level of license is a joke. Removing the code requirement will make it a Cracker Jack give-away. [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>


    OK, fair enough. I can respect anyones opinion so long as it is presented in a calm, rational manner such as yours. One addendum to my previous comments: The only reason that the FCC takes "petitions" on issues like this is because they are required to by law, otherwise they would be telling us all to kiss their grits, they will do what they damn well please with THEIR radio spectrum, and make no mistake about it, it is THEIR spectrum, and we only use it at their pleasure. The FCC could care less what a bunch of "hobbyists" thinks or wants.
     
  5. AG4RQ

    AG4RQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (G8RLD @ Nov. 16 2003,19:13)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">I have a respect for much of what Mark suggests and have no problem in granting additional frequency and/or power privilges to those that want to "go the extra mile" for an Extra. Seems very fair to me. What I have a problem with is to prevent very competent operators from experiencing HF operation. The knowledge of morse code should not be a pre-requisite for operation on HF, it should be technical knowledge and a sound knowledge of operating technique. This argument is getting far too emotional and although I fully appreciate (and possibly I would think in the same way) why people that studied and obtained their morse qualification should think "I had to, why shouldn't they have to" but time moves on. If you want to "filter" people onto HF then make it a sensible reason - education and technical knowledge. As far as the socialist-leaning Western European counties, one hopes that you are not referring to Great Britain, their decisions are based on a less bureaucratic system and I have to say that they have generally high operating standards generally. A listen on 75m here and 80m in the UK will reveal the difference. 80m does not normally sound like 27MHz. I live on both sides of the Atlantic so I do know what I am talking about.
    When I obtained my licence back in 1978, it wasn't an option to choose from multiple answers, you actually had to know how to answer the questions. I built my own equipment back in the '80's and I don't have morse code, but operate satellite, 6m and various digital modes.
    Let's just get this argument out of the way and move forward to more serious issues![/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    I am not proposing to exclude codeless hams from HF. See my previous posts. As for GB, I'd like to know how hams that did learn code for their HF privileges feel about the no-coders being put on an equal plane with them with no further test and no further work. I'm willing to bet they are just as outraged as we Americans are at the thought of that happening here. I'd also like to know how hams that learned code for HF privileges in the other countries that dropped their code requirements feel about codeless hams being granted equal privileges with them, also with no further test or work. I've seen what one Irish ham posted. He wasn't too happy. The WRC's decision last July opened up a can of worms that is causing divisions in ham radio worldwide.
     
  6. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    AG4RQ,
    Mark, I feel (fear?) the FCC does what it wants. While they may take some note in the petitions and comments, which are of primary importance to we Amateur Operators, those petitions, etc. are but a small part of their agenda, even if required by law. (Some of the people on this forum don't understand that Amateur Radio is NOT the most important, TOP PRIORITY of the FCC! Sad, but true. Amateur Radio is but a small part of the FCC's total responsibility.)
    With that in mind, the FCC will do whatever is in THEIR best interest, (i.e. less paperwork, etc.) in keeping with International agreements. Since there are NO Amateur Radio Operators on the current Commission, I fear we are at a further disadvantage in regards to rule making. But we can't second guess any decisions that will be made. I just hope they choose wisely when they finally make a ruling. (And there will eventually be other rulings on the code made in the future.)
    I hope to meet you on the air sometime. Best regards.

    Larry WA9SVD
     
  7. AG4RQ

    AG4RQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (wa9svd @ Nov. 17 2003,10:45)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">AG4RQ,
    Mark, I feel (fear?) the FCC does what it wants. While they may take some note in the petitions and comments, which are of primary importance to we Amateur Operators, those petitions, etc. are but a small part of their agenda, even if required by law. (Some of the people on this forum don't understand that Amateur Radio is NOT the most important, TOP PRIORITY of the FCC! Sad, but true. Amateur Radio is but a small part of the FCC's total responsibility.)
    With that in mind, the FCC will do whatever is in THEIR best interest, (i.e. less paperwork, etc.) in keeping with International agreements. Since there are NO Amateur Radio Operators on the current Commission, I fear we are at a further disadvantage in regards to rule making. But we can't second guess any decisions that will be made. I just hope they choose wisely when they finally make a ruling. (And there will eventually be other rulings on the code made in the future.)
    I hope to meet you on the air sometime. Best regards.

    Larry WA9SVD[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Larry, you are absolutely right about the FCC. The trend that they've been following for more than two decades is ironclad proof of that. I only hope that amateur radio doesn't see the same kind of deregulation that the Citizen's Radio Service has seen. The reason for this trend is the good old bottom line. That's what all the trimming has been about. Obviously, the FCC's needs aren't important enough to warrant the kind of budget they need. Hence, close field offices, give testing over to volunteers, streamline licensing, virtually eliminate enforcement, and on and on. Where does it stop? Why not just give all the non-commercial wireless services and the administration of them over to NTIA? Probably due to budget constraints there also. Regarding future changes in the Amateur Radio Service, I also hope the path of common sense is followed. I did what I had to do by commenting on all the petitions. There’s nothing left for me to do. The rest is up to the decision-makers in Gettysburg.

    I also would like to talk with you on the air. You seem to be a levelheaded rational type guy that one can have an intelligent conversation with.

    73,
    Mark
    AG4RQ
     
  8. AG4RQ

    AG4RQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (N3TTN @ Nov. 17 2003,09:53)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"></span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">You are absolutely correct. The FCC doesn't pay attention to these boards. The only thing they do look at is the comments made to the RM proposals. I commented on all 13. I personally hope that you're wrong about code testing being dropped by next year. I hope they weigh and measure all the comments and come to an equitable common sense decision that most of us can live with. The Extra license right now is hardly worth the paper it is printed on. A codeless Extra license would be worth about as much as a CB license was in 1978. I learned 5 wpm code for my General. When I upgraded to Extra, I just had to take the written exam. There was no further code test necessary. I feel like I got a cheap Extra. I don't feel like I earned it. I did more to earn the General. Today, the highest level of license is a joke. Removing the code requirement will make it a Cracker Jack give-away. [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>


    OK, fair enough. I can respect anyones opinion so long as it is presented in a calm, rational manner such as yours. One addendum to my previous comments: The only reason that the FCC takes "petitions" on issues like this is because they are required to by law, otherwise they would be telling us all to kiss their grits, they will do what they damn well please with THEIR radio spectrum, and make no mistake about it, it is THEIR spectrum, and we only use it at their pleasure. The FCC could care less what a bunch of "hobbyists" thinks or wants.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    I did what I felt I had to do with the thirteen petitions. If it was in vain, I can't help that. But, at least I could say I tried. I did the same thing with the BPL NOI. Those who leave the legwork to others, while doing nothing themselves have no right to complain when something isn't to their liking. Unless more code-related petitions pop up, my task is finished. All I have left to do is wait and see what the end result will be. That is all any of us can do. The decision lies with Gettysburg. Whatever that decision is, I can say that my conscience is clear.

    One thing that perplexes me is:
    You've been licensed since 1994, one year longer than I have been licensed. If you want HF privileges as bad as you do (obviously you do, as your goal is Extra), why haven't you learned enough code to pass the test? By the time the code requirement was lowered to 5 wpm for General and Extra, I had no excuse. I got my General on 4/15/2000, the very date that license restructuring went into effect.
     
  9. N3TTN

    N3TTN Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">One thing that perplexes me is:
    You've been licensed since 1994, one year longer than I have been licensed. If you want HF privileges as bad as you do (obviously you do, as your goal is Extra), why haven't you learned enough code to pass the test? By the time the code requirement was lowered to 5 wpm for General and Extra, I had no excuse. I got my General on 4/15/2000, the very date that license restructuring went into effect.
    [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>


    Here's the deal, after I got my ticket in 94' (as you noted) I was pretty active for about a year. Thereafter, the demands of family and career took precedence, and amateur radio was put pretty much on the back burner until just recently. The fact is I have not even owned a radio since about mid 96', until about two months ago when I decided to get back into hamming as much as my time permits. I make no apologies for my operating history, and up to this point my tech ticket has afforded me all the ham radio opportunities I needed, wanted, or had the time for. As I approach retirement from a long career in government service, and my kids approach college age, I can see the time in the not too distant future where I will want to devote more time and energy to the hobby. All of this is still a few years down the road mind you, and when I'm ready I will upgrade my ticket regardless of whether the code requirement is still in place or not. That being said, I have always found the code (yes, even 5wpm) terribly elusive, but have always had a natural affinity for the theory and technical aspects, so if the code should be dropped in the future, I would find no shame in advancing up the ladder with tests that did not include element 1 as a requirement. I hope you can respect my position on this, and it has nothing to do with any lack of respect for those that came before me that had to learn the code. I hope this helps to explain my situation to you a little more clearly. BTW Mark, congratulations to you on making General and then Extra, my hat is off to you and I hope to join you someday.

    73, N3TTN
     
  10. G8RLD

    G8RLD Guest

    Well, I have no desire to draw comparisons between the UK and here but I do qualify to comment as I live on both sides of the Atlantic. I have to say that almost without exception, there has not been anything but positive comment following the elimination of morse code as a requirement for HF in the UK. Most welcome the new recruits to HF with a positive attitude and any passing comment is no more that the comments made when the theory examination was changed to multiple answer testing some years ago! By the same token, there isn't a reduction in interest for morse and the RSGB is about to start morse code competence testing in December for those with an interest in learning morse code - because they want to, not because they have to.
    Australia ends the morse code requirement on the 1st Jan 2004 and word has it that Sweden is also about to make the change.
    For goodness sake, let's get on with other much more important issues and welcome new recruits to HF in a positive way.
     
  11. KG4VLQ

    KG4VLQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (KD7WHQ @ Oct. 30 2003,21:47)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Hobbiests, true enough, but...
    RACES and all it's downline hardly fit that description.
    Backup, and fill-in emergency communications, and comm from community centers, hospitals, and even some security in places.  We can be places the public service agencies can't, as they would be spread too thin, and pass messages they can't, as they are either interservice, or personal.
    Find an ACS/ARES/RACES group in your area, and check it out on the air when they have a drill.  A dual band rig is real handy.  HF in addition is a plus, as they are on HF, 2m and 70cm out here.  2m local coordination plus some simplex EOC-EOC communications, 70cm, Medical, and other EOC-EOC comm.  HF for out of area comm.

    It's a hobby, until it comes down to the wire, and then the mode shifts.
    It isn't a hobby anymore, it's a service.

    BTW, ACS etc have scheduled nets.  Visitor checkins are more than welcome..

    Almost forgot to return this to the thread [​IMG]

    Morse operators would be needed in adverse operating conditions which many disasters might create.
    VHF/UHF is great for local comm, but HF is what gets out, and a number of scenarios make HF completely useless for voice.

    Just the facts as I see 'em.. [​IMG][/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    KD7WHQ,

    Loved your reply! No, it isn't just a "hobby" anymore. It hasn't been for many years. I'd love some time to try to see how many "professional" changes to modern radio were made by keen-minded Hams with an idea and a new twist. Mr. Inoue of ICOM graduated from High School and said in his interview that he learned everything he knew about Radio from the Amateur Service. He runs quite a large company and they make good equipment, imo, though sometimes lacking, as all brands are at times, no doubt.

    A good friend of mine who passed away some time ago, Carl Schoneman was an EE. We used to talk about Ham and the Amateur Service and he tought highly of Hams. He's the one who persuaded me to go for it and I did about a year after he passed away. No, so-called Amateurs do some incredible things.

    73
    frank
    KG4VLQ
     
  12. AG4RQ

    AG4RQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (N3TTN @ Nov. 17 2003,17:46)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"></span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">One thing that perplexes me is:
    You've been licensed since 1994, one year longer than I have been licensed. If you want HF privileges as bad as you do (obviously you do, as your goal is Extra), why haven't you learned enough code to pass the test? By the time the code requirement was lowered to 5 wpm for General and Extra, I had no excuse. I got my General on 4/15/2000, the very date that license restructuring went into effect.
    [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>


    Here's the deal, after I got my ticket in 94' (as you noted) I was pretty active for about a year. Thereafter, the demands of family and career took precedence, and amateur radio was put pretty much on the back burner until just recently. The fact is I have not even owned a radio since about mid 96', until about two months ago when I decided to get back into hamming as much as my time permits. I make no apologies for my operating history, and up to this point my tech ticket has afforded me all the ham radio opportunities I needed, wanted, or had the time for. As I approach retirement from a long career in government service, and my kids approach college age, I can see the time in the not too distant future where I will want to devote more time and energy to the hobby. All of this is still a few years down the road mind you, and when I'm ready I will upgrade my ticket regardless of whether the code requirement is still in place or not. That being said, I have always found the code (yes, even 5wpm) terribly elusive, but have always had a natural affinity for the theory and technical aspects, so if the code should be dropped in the future, I would find no shame in advancing up the ladder with tests that did not include element 1 as a requirement. I hope you can respect my position on this, and it has nothing to do with any lack of respect for those that came before me that had to learn the code. I hope this helps to explain my situation to you a little more clearly. BTW Mark, congratulations to you on making General and then Extra, my hat is off to you and I hope to join you someday.

    73, N3TTN[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Your circumstances with shelfing ham radio for a time is fully understandable and of course no apologies are necessary. You are obviously not one of the no-coders that has been waiting for a decade for the code requirement to be dropped in order to gain HF privileges. I fully respect your position and your outlook on things in the future. No one need be ashamed of how they got their ticket they are doing what the FCC requirements currently are, except those who are deliberately waiting for the code requirement to be dropped. I know that you are not one of them, but they do exist. Some have been waiting since the codeless Tech ticket was established in 1991. Those who become hams after a license restructuring can't help what the requirements are at the time they take a test. Your circumstances sort of put you in that category. I said what I said about myself because I am in a whole different set of circumstances. I have an electronics background. I went to school for electronics and received a commercial license from the FCC. Taking a mere written exam for Extra with no further code exam was no challenge for me. Under my circumstances, I don't feel like I earned it.

    Seeking to upgrade your ticket regardless of whether the code requirement is still in place or not is a good healthy attitude and is admirable. I wish you the best in your endeavors and I hope to catch you on HF in the near future. I'll make a note of your callsign and I'll be listening for you down the road.

    BTW, thanks for taking the time to make the detailed explanation in answer to my question.

    73 de Mark
    AG4RQ
     
  13. N3TTN

    N3TTN Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"> Seeking to upgrade your ticket regardless of whether the code requirement is still in place or not is a good healthy attitude and is admirable. I wish you the best in your endeavors and I hope to catch you on HF in the near future. I'll make a note of your callsign and I'll be listening for you down the road.

    BTW, thanks for taking the time to make the detailed explanation in answer to my question.

    73 de Mark
    AG4RQ
    [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>



    No problem Mark, it is always a pleasure to have a calm, rational discussion with someone like you. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to look at me as an individual, and not lump me in with some group. Sometimes, I think people tend to forget that there is a real person behind the name and callsign, with their own unique set of circumstances. I look forward to making your acquaintance on the air someday.


    73, N3TTN
     
  14. AG4RQ

    AG4RQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    [​IMG]0--></span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (N3TTN @ Nov. 18 2003,06[​IMG]0)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"></span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"> Seeking to upgrade your ticket regardless of whether the code requirement is still in place or not is a good healthy attitude and is admirable. I wish you the best in your endeavors and I hope to catch you on HF in the near future. I'll make a note of your callsign and I'll be listening for you down the road.

    BTW, thanks for taking the time to make the detailed explanation in answer to my question.

    73 de Mark
    AG4RQ
    [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>



    No problem Mark, it is always a pleasure to have a calm, rational discussion with someone like you. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to look at me as an individual, and not lump me in with some group. Sometimes, I think people tend to forget that there is a real person behind the name and callsign, with their own unique set of circumstances. I look forward to making your acquaintance on the air someday.


    73, N3TTN[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    There are many hams that take a hiatus from this hobby for one reason or another, whether it is lack of interest (boredom), too busy with work or family, study, a long-standing crisis or anything that demands a person's spare time once spent on hobby. Fortunately you weren't away from ham radio long enough to let your license expire. Some other hams did, and had to start from the beginning, taking the tests all over again.

    Unlike some other pro-code hams, it is not the no-coders that I have a problem with. It's the attitude that many of them take. I have no problem with the no-coder who never upgrades, as long as they are content with privileges above 30 MHz and don't complain that they want HF access without taking a code test. Many of us entered this hobby as no-code Techs. Some were content with their privileges above 30 MHz and never upgraded. That's fine. No problem with that. Many more were not content with privileges above 30 MHz. They wanted HF and did what they had to do to get it without complaining about it. I am one of them. Then, there are those who stubbornly refuse to learn code. While they obnoxiously complain about the code requirement, they wait for its abolition. Like I said, some have been waiting since 1991. I remember reading a post from one such no-coder who outright made the statement that he knows he can learn code if he wanted to, but will never learn code because he doesn't want to. He, and others like him seethe with hatred and anger at the code requirement, while waiting for its abolition. The third group is the ones that don't think they could ever learn code. This group is unfortunate. They sell themselves short. They are of the mindset that they are actually incapable of learning code. They claim to have a hearing disability or a learning disability. They also complain to have the code requirement removed.

    The absolute truth is that anyone can learn code. Some take to code like a duck takes to water. For others it takes a lot longer. But, anyone can learn code. It didn't come easy to me, but I did it. One's ability to learn Morse code is directly proportional to that person's desire to learn code. If a person has no desire to learn code and outright hates it, that person will not be able to learn code. As with anything, if you want it bad enough you will learn it. Another reason why people are of the mindset that they can't learn code is they give up too easily. When you feel that it is hopeless, that there's no possible way you can learn this stuff, that all the characters seem to sound the same and you're getting nowhere, you must not get frustrated and throw in the towel. It is at that point that you must keep going, keep persisting and keep enduring. The more you subject yourself to hearing the characters, the more familiar they will be to you. After some time, it will all start to click.

    When I took my tech test in June 1995, I aced the exam. The VE told me to try the General. I didn't want to try. I said I didn't study for the General. He said, "What do you have to lose? You're here already and it won't cost you anything extra, just your time". So I took the General written exam. I passed it. I left the test session with a CSCE for the General written exam. The VE told me that I had a year to pass a 13 wpm code test to obtain my General. I bought the Gordon West code tapes and got started right away. In the beginning, it seemed easy. After learning several characters, they all seemed to sound the same and I got very confused and very frustrated. I shelfed it. I said, "I'll never be able to do this". That was in 7/95. Later in the year, I picked up the code tapes again and the exact same thing happened. That was the last time I tried to learn code that year. As the expiration date for the CSCE came near, I knew I would not have a General. It wasn't until 1997 that I tried again, this time with computer software. The same thing that happened with the tapes happened with the software. For the third time, I got frustrated and threw in the towel. I again tried unsuccessfully in 1998 with the software.

    At the close of 1999, it came to light that the proposed license restructuring which was spoken about earlier in the year was going to become a reality on 4/15/2000. That meant only 5 wpm to get a General or Extra. In past years I had my focus on 13 wpm. Now, it would be only 5. I figured I could learn 5 wpm code. It took me about a month. The same thing happened as before with the confusion and frustration, but this time I didn't let it get the better of me. I kept pushing until I learned it. Finally, the desire was there. An attainable goal (5 wpm) was in sight. On the evening of Wed. 3/8/2000, I passed my code test and the General written exam. I walked out of the test session a Tech Plus. I was told to come to a special upgrade session on Sat. 4/15/2000 with my CSCE and my license. I walked out of the 4/15/2000 administrative session a General. The Extra would come 2 years later, purely because of procrastination. At the time, I was content with my General privileges.

    The moral of my lengthily story is that in order to successfully do something, the desire must be there. Also an attainable goal must be set. Of course I couldn't go from 0 to 13 wpm. Anyone with the desire can learn 5 wpm. Speed comes later. Four years ago, I learned 5 wpm code purely for HF privileges. I had no intention of using it. This past summer, I decided to relearn code because I wanted to start using it on the air. At present, I can do 10-12 wpm. How far is that from 13? Could I have done it for my General under the old system? Sure, with enough work and enough practice I'm sure I could have, as long as I would have done it in steps, if I would have gone for the Tech Plus first, and then the General. My goal is to be able to hold my own in the CW portions of the bands at 20-25 wpm or higher. Can I do it? With enough work and enough practice, I'm sure I can.

    Some day we will talk. I'm looking forward to it.

    73,
    Mark
    AG4RQ
     
  15. N3TTN

    N3TTN Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">AG4RQ Wrote: When I took my tech test in June 1995, I aced the exam. The VE told me to try the General. I didn't want to try. I said I didn't study for the General. He said, "What do you have to lose? You're here already and it won't cost you anything extra, just your time". So I took the General written exam. I passed it. I left the test session with a CSCE for the General written exam. The VE told me that I had a year to pass a 13 wpm code test to obtain my General.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>






    Some of your experiences sound remarkably similar to my own. When I took the tech test in 94' I missed only one question. I am planning to sit for the general written in early December, and my goal is to ace it. I'm very confident that I can achieve this because as I stated previously, I have always had a natural talent for the theory and technical aspects of amateur radio. I look at the one year "grace" period that the general written is good for, as an incentive to get going with the code. Like you, my initial experiences with learning code were frustrating to say the least, I guess I'm not one of those that take to it "like a duck to water" as you said. At any rate, there is a code tutor known as "code quick" that uses a novel technique for associating the charachters with "sound alikes", and I am considering giving this a try, as it sounds (no pun intended) like it might work for me. It has been a pleasure exchanging views and ideas with you Mark, and I wish you all the best in the future.


    73, de N3TTN
     
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