"The Big Tent of Amateur Radio - Let's find a better way!"

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W5DNT, May 15, 2018.

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  1. KI7AAR

    KI7AAR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Obviously, telling the ARRL to go go screw themselves was a figurative form of expressing my opinion. I think I made my points and I feel no reason to further defend them. In my opinion the ARRL is acting on their own behalf with no regard for the majority of the membership. Quite frankly, I find the ARRL policies and services antiquated and the organization in general as self serving. I seriously need to reconsider before renewing my membership.

    By the way I used to be an NRA member. I still own guns. I want to preserve my rights to bear arms but, I found the NRA to be just another self self serving organization that wants to express their own opinions and use me as a number and a cash resource to obtain their goals that really don't align that well with those of the average gun owner.

    If we are going to succeed as an organization then major changes should be put to vote before the "ARRL" acts on their own behalf.

    Ki7AAR, Dave
  2. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Consider that it doesn't come across that way to the person on the receiving end.

    What do you think "the majority of the membership" actually wants?

    Do you think the existing license structure is the best we can do, and that there are no changes which could improve it?
  3. WD3N

    WD3N Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I vote ...status Quo and No...
  4. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I vote -it's only a hobby. If something about it bothers you that much, it's probably time for a new hobby.
    WD3N likes this.
  5. WD3N

    WD3N Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    thanks for voting:)
  6. KD8EDC

    KD8EDC Ham Member QRZ Page

    LOL. As a CFII, I have taken a LOT of them.....and I know what you mean!
  7. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm sure others have pointed out that the proposal doesn't offer the "entire" CW/data spectrum. It provides no access to 30, 20, 17, and 12 meters. And it's only slightly more spectrum than I was given as a novice in 1974. And they already have that spectrum--this proposal merely allows more modes.

    It is quite true that current technicians can get these privileges by upgrading to general, and that the test is quite easy. The problem is that they don't want to use these privileges, because they are unaware of the possibilities. This is because we've been using the Technician class as an entry level license, even though that license doesn't easily allow the holders to do anything interesting with their license.

    Frankly, one good solution would be to abolish the Technician class entirely, and have everyone start with a combination of the technician/general tests. Another option is contained in this proposal, namely, giving new technicians some meaningful privileges where they can do something interesting the first day. Once they've tried something like PSK31 or FT8, they will want to upgrade.

    When I was licensed in 1974, I was required to pass a test that is MUCH simpler than the current technician test. I was then authorized to get on the air and start QRM'ing Radio Moscow, which is exactly what I did.

    New hams today should be able to do the modern equivalent of what I did then, namely, get on HF with an inexpensive radio using the currently most popular mode and start making contacts. If they do that, many will upgrade, or at least remain active. On the other hand, if we continue handing them Baofengs and explaining that they need to take a test to start doing something that's actually interesting, they're not going to stick around.

    For those who like the long verbose version, I have it at my blog:

  8. WE4B

    WE4B Subscriber QRZ Page

    Uh... Technicians can't do anything interesting? Really? Before my daughter upgraded to General she had many DX entries and a VUCC on VHF/UHF. Is bouncing signals off the moon not considered interesting? Meteor scatter? Occasional 10m openings.

    Frankly, I don't see what the appeal of PSK31 or FT8 and I don't think you can make a blanket statement that if a person tries those two modes they will want to upgrade.
  9. WE4B

    WE4B Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have any Technicians posted in the thread and asked for more bandwidth? If they have, I must have overlooked those postings.
    WZ7U likes this.
  10. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I believe I said that they can't easily do anything interesting. First of all, if your daughter did any EME QSO's, I'm quite impressed. But I suspect that was a special case, since she probably had a lot of guidance (and equipment loans) from you. To a lesser extent, that's also true of weak signal VHF.

    The one thing that newbies can do with a technician license without a lot of outside guidance is satellite QSO's, and I encourage them to do so. But there are a couple of disadvantages compared to when I got my novice ticket in 1974. First of all, there is a bit of a learning curve about putting the antenna together, etc., although I suppose a motivated person could figure that out.

    But the main limiting factor is that LEO satellite QSO's can't be done at any random time. You need to plan for when the satellite is in sight. Again, that's not an insurmountable problem, and if I knew someone with a technician license, that's what I would encourage them to do.

    When I was 12 years old, without a parent who knew very much about radio, I did most of the figuring out of things by myself, and getting on HF was possible with very limited outside guidance. Also, I could get on at any time of day or night and almost always find someone to work.

    The "appeal of PSK or FT8" is about the same as the appeal of CW was for me. I basically had no interest in CW for its own sake. It was just a means to an end, namely, to be able to have my RF get picked up by stations far away from me. And even though I had been told that I would be able to make contacts all around the country (and around the world, when I discovered 15 meters), I didn't really believe it until I tried it. I honestly believed that I'd be lucky to be heard in the next state, and that to work DX required an extremely complicated station. When the patient guy in Pennsylvania finally worked me, I was actually a little bit shocked that this thing actually worked.

    The best way to duplicate that today is with digital modes. Presumably, the new ham already owns a computer. And for just over $100, he or she can get a radio that plugs into the computer and will allow communication with far away places such as Pennsylvania. Only a minimal antenna (33 feet of wire zig-zagging around the back yard) is required. And with very minimal outside guidance, they can start doing that right away, at any hour of day or night.

    If this proposal is adopted, it will be a lot easier to start doing that. And I've come to the conclusion that if this proposal is not adopted, it's probably not worth the effort to get people their technician license except, as with your daughter, there's someone around to give them close guidance about how to use their existing privileges.

    In most cases, for the people who seem to have an interest in radio, I think the better approach will be to stop telling them that they have to pass one simple test. Instead, we should start telling them that they have to pass two simple tests, and get them licensed with a general license from the beginning.

    Yes, any technician is allowed to start making EME QSO's the first day they get their license. But I know that my twelve year old self wouldn't have remotely been able to accomplish that, and I suspect most kids these days wouldn't be able to do it on their own. If, like your daughter, they have a support structure to help them do that, that's great. But we also have to recognize that for most kids, that's not going to be the case. But on the other hand, I'm sure most 12 year olds could easily plug in a PSK Warbler and start making contacts the first day.

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