The Extra Test

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by KA5ROW, Jan 13, 2010.

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  1. W4PG

    W4PG Super Moderator Lifetime Member 279 Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    This is the Elmer's Corner. It is meant to be a place where folks can ask questions and obtain helpful responses that will further their understanding of ham radio.

    Regardless of whether the testing system today is "dumbed down" from the past, it is what it is. A brand new ham has nothing to compare it to other than that which he learns at the moment. Sure, I walked to and from school uphill in the snow both ways when I started, but that was then and this is now.

    If others feel the current process by the FCC is wrong, then please take it up with them. We will *NOT* tolerate "ridicule" in any way, shape, form or fashion in these forums.

    A simple rule to live by is if you would *NOT* make the comment in person, don't make it here. I'm not saying you have done this, I am setting the standard *required* to post here. Helpful responses are what we're looking for. Ridicule will get you banned.

    This applies to *EVERYONE* here. Be forewarned.

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  2. W0DV

    W0DV Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's just a hobby regardless. I don't care how hard it was 30 years ago. If someone wants to be a ham, they will be one..period. Everyone has the capability to be an Amateur Radio operator...even in 1970. It's just a matter of how bad they want it. Unless you have some sort of mental disability, you will be a ham if you choose to be.
    Even the Unibomber in his crazed, schizophrenic state had enough wisdom to understand that anyone can learn a technical skill.
    How anyone passes the Extra exam today means nothing to me. It isn't my walk, it is theirs. If they stopped testing all together, I couldn't care less. It will have zero effect on my interest in the hobby. I will still enjoy it, and practice it.

    As for ridicule....
    I need to state my opinion on this. I have been posting for a relatively short period of time on QRZ. From my chair I see thread after thread after thread, containing ridicule towards newer hams. Same subjects, same insults. Are they getting banned? Few and far between, if any. I think it is far more likely that the person who rocks the boat concerning this issue will be banned before the people who are putting down new hams are.

    Just my observation.
  3. W4PG

    W4PG Super Moderator Lifetime Member 279 Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I couldn't agree with you more. The hobby is quite diverse and one can find any number of aspects of the hobby to enjoy, whether that is pursuing advanced homebrewing and experimenting or simply ragchewing. We should encourage folks to enter the hobby and help them all we can. That's what we need to do here as well.

  4. W6ONV

    W6ONV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll go against the grain here and provide my insight. I am drawing on previous experience as I was going though flight training in the 90's. I had signed up for a weekend course, not so much to learn the material, but learn the answers for the exam. My flight instructor at the time told me to "pass the exam and worry about theory and reasoning after the exam." I thought this good advice, which I took. I passed the exam and then through further study with my instructor and on my own I learned the material from which the test was drawn.

    When it comes to ham radio, I took the same principal and applied it to the FCC exams. I concentrated on passing the exam. That meant using a guide book (I used the ARRL prep book) and learned the answers. Along the way I did learn some formulas and theories that made some of the answer obvious, but for the most part it was strictly memorization.

    I know many hams think this is wrong, but I did not want any added distraction when taking the exam. I wanted to pass the exam and then go back and learn the hobby along the way. To me an amateur radio license is a "lifetime license to learn." Since passing Element 3 and Element 4, while learning CW I have made great strides personally. I have met many experienced hams along the way that have provided me insight and information that has only helped me.

    What gets frustrating, and I am sure I was guilty of this, is after passing E3 or E4 and coming on here and posting a basic question that you should have the answer to or at least know how to research and resolve yourself. The "how do you solder a PL-259?" comes to mind.
  5. AE5JU

    AE5JU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am a W5YI CEV. We are supplied software that generates tests and their accompanying answer key, drawing the questions nearly at random from the published question pool. I say nearly, as the test requires so many questions from this category, so many from that, and the software does this.

    A CEV can make up his own test, his own choice of questions, but I chose to use the provided software.

    I have tests printed for the next session. Every time I hit Print in the software, it generates a new numbered test, answer sheet, and answer key, all with matching numbers. If I Print 10 times, I get 10 different tests to pass out. The test you take will be different from the test of the applicants on each side of you.

    Now, the other things alluded to, not asked by the OP... the code requirement was dropped by the FCC, bringing US license requirements into line with those of the rest of the world. I personally agree, there are many modes to chose from, and many facets to this hobby. It is difficult to see the code requirement as anything but a roadblock. Why not require knowledge of configuring a computer to use it for PSK31?

    Most questions are common sense, or basic electrical/electronic knowledge. There are some questions that the answers must be memorized. Personally, I think the question pools are simply too large to think that someone with no previous electronic experience can simply memorize the answers.

    Whether the tests are "dumbed down" is not my concern. I simply wish to give the tests as per FCC requirements, following the guidelines of my VEC, fairly. I want to make new hams.
  6. K6JJH

    K6JJH Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's exactly how I'm looking at it. I used the Gordon West book to pass my Tech exam 2 weeks ago, and basically memorized the answers. But now that I have SOME sort of data in my head, as I learn and go along, things fall into place faster (for me at least). I personally like the "A-HA!" moments when I realize "that's the reason for question XXX". It helps me be a better operator and a more thoroughly rounded HAM. I'm now doing the same thing for the General test.

    I couldn't agree more with the "license to learn" philosophy.

    Now, having said that, there are people out there who will simply learn the test and then learn no more. But what are you gonna do??? I can't speak about the HAM bands of 20 years ago, but as long as they don't degenerate into CB channels, I'm happy.

  7. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    I don’t ridicule. The point came up that the fellow didn’t like being ridiculed and he sort of accused me of demeaning or ridiculing new hams. There is nothing that I post here on this forum that I would not say to anybody in person. I suggested to the individual that if he posted a ridiculous question in public he was setting himself up to ridicule.. That is a simple fact of life. If you are saying that we cant discuss the inadequacies of the FCC here I guess we need to start a forum somewhere where there is a bit more tolerance. As an individual you know that discussing things with the FCC is not productive. Of course it isn’t very productive here either but at least your point is being heard.

  8. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    I think inflammatory remarks do nothing to further your case. These forums are for “blabbing”, if you will. My opinion about the exams does nothing to demean anybody. My statements show no “hatefulness or bitterness or spite”. I don’t know where you get that from my posts. I have no opinion whatsoever on anybodies ability with Morse code. Nor do I have anything against new hams. Around here I help them out when I can. You are quick with baseless accusations. What your father in law did has nothing to do with this discussion.

  9. AC0FP

    AC0FP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very true. I did not study for the extra test questions! Questions concerning regulations, spectrum allocation, satellite regulations and operations I just guessed on, or relied on knowledge gained from previous amateur experience! As it worked out, there were enough technical questions on the test that enabled me to pass! :rolleyes: If I have a question concerning spectrum allocations I have a very nice ARRL chart on my desk that answers any questions.
  10. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    NI7I , maybe you should recalibrate your meter , if most all other meters read different , then it would be a good idea to take a 2nd look .
    You may not have said some things directly , but most seem to have perceived multiple negatives in your direct & indirect comments .
    I think that using public forums to recalibrate ourselves , is getting harder to do , because it would seem that all forms of media these days , are so full of propaganda that keeps most chewing [ and not the rag we may prefer ] on each other .
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