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The wait for a Tech license is unnecessary

Discussion in 'Becoming a Ham - Q&A' started by WRKS480, Feb 19, 2021.

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  1. WRKS480

    WRKS480 QRZ Member

    Thanks to everyone for your engagement on this topic.

    I had no idea it would stir so many pots. I do want to be clear about one thing--I never meant to say that VEs should have the power to grant amateur radio licenses. I noted that a temporary call sign based on a serialized CSCE (they're not currently serialized) could easily be achieved and would serve to identify that amateur who elected to get on the air, much like the current call sign /AG system does for new Generals. I also noted that since FCC issuance of a license and call sign is a rubber stamp once the VE certifies test passage, there is no value added in handing the paper around or involving a third party such as ARRL. I stand by that, and obviously it's true because so many have noted that VEs can file exam results to the FCC directly. Using snail mail and a third party to complete the process should be removed as an option.

    I plan to enroll in a session for my General in late March, I will ask that team how they file results, just because I'm more versed on the topic than I was before and I'm interested at some point in being a VE myself. By that time I'll have my call sign; passing paper won't matter because, as previously noted, a new General gets increased privileges instantly.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
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  2. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't think you equated the license and LOTW other than both required a wait. Sort of like mentioning the wait for a COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Check. Some folks are just more patient than others.

    Quite often the anticipation ends up more pleasurable than the end result.
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  3. W3SY

    W3SY Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Pick your sons, pick your daughters too, from the bottom of a long glass tube, whoa whoooaaa..."
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  4. N3PM

    N3PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    And they'd be priced at $25.25
    Mike N3PM
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  5. WRKS480

    WRKS480 QRZ Member

    I cried a billion tears over those Zager and Evans comments.
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  6. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's a discussion forum....

    But that's exactly what you're proposing.

    You're missing some important points.

    Putting serial numbers and callsigns on CSCEs may not seem like a big deal to you, but to FCC it sure is.

    It may seem that all the FCC does is rubber stamp the information sent in by the VECs, but there's more to it. FCC has systems in place that check into license applications. For example, there are some folks who have had licenses revoked or suspended, and FCC's system can easily check for that. VEs can't.

    All the VEs actually do is to certify that the test(s) was/were passed according to the rules. FCC actually issues the license. If VECs can hand out serialized CSCEs with callsigns, they're effectively issuing the license.

    That's easy to say from your side of the table.

    But again, remember that the whole VEC system is run by unpaid volunteers. It's not a business nor a branch of The Government. The most a VE might get out of the hours they put in is coffee and a donut.

    I agree that the optimum way is to upload directly. If someone likes paper, send the paper as a backup, not as the primary path.

    Why not go for Extra? It's just more of the same, and will save you time and effort - and money.


    Way back when I was getting started, the exams were held at FCC offices. In those days there were no CSCEs, but there were code tests and more licenses classes.

    But that's not the point of the story.

    I'd been a Novice for several months and wanted a General license. In those days the General and Technician used the same written test - the only difference was that Technician required 5 wpm code and General required 13 wpm code. And you had to pass all the tests for a given license upgrade at the same test session - no CSCEs, as mentioned before. (Boo hoo hoo!)

    In those days FCC was also issuing Advanced, a license class between the General and Extra. Advanced required 13 wpm code and an additional written test beyond the General test. Back then the Advanced written test was supposedly oh-so-difficult; only someone who REALLY knew their stuff had a snowball's chance of passing the Advanced! Many said the Extra written test was a piece of cake by comparison. Yada yada yada, uphill both ways.....

    In late spring I thought I was ready for the General and went to the FCC office one Monday morning. They gave you the code tests first, so as not to waste the printed written test forms (Yes, FCC was that tight with resources).

    I thought I did OK on the 13 wpm code, but The Examiner couldn't read my parochial school Palmer Method longhand (cursive) well enough to find the required 65 correct consecutive LEGIBLE characters, so I failed 13 wpm code. But he did find 25, so I got credit for 5 wpm code.

    The Examiner then said "why not take the Technician/General written test now? If you pass it, you'll get a Technician, and then can come back when the 30 day wait is up, when you have studied code some more. That way you'll only have to pass 13 wpm code to get the General."

    No one with any sense would say "No" to The Examiner, so I did - and passed the Technician/General written. The Technician privileges were of no use to me, but having that test out of the way meant I could focus entirely on code for the General. Which I did.

    I went home and taught myself to block print at 30 wpm. Listened to W1AW code practice and bulletins until I could put down an 18 wpm bulletin solid from start to finish. Went back to FCC office in early summer, passed 13 wpm code, General was in the bag. Whew!

    But as I was about to leave, The Examiner said "why not try the Advanced while you're here?"

    I hadn't studied for the Advanced; in fact I hadn't studied theory at all since the earlier debacle; my focus had been all on the code tests. But again, one did not say "No" to The Examiner, so I sat back down and took the Advanced test - and passed. Piece of cake. Nothing to it.

    That was the summer of 1968, when I was between the 8th and 9th grades.

    So when you hear old timers do the Four Yorkshiremen thing about how TOUGH the old exams were, consider: if someone like 14 year old me, a ham of about six months' experience with no Elmer and no formal training in electricity, radio or electronics could pass those old tests, how "hard" could they have REALLY been?

    When you go for the General, try the Extra anyway. You may surprise yourself.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
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  7. K3UJ

    K3UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    N2EY "It may seem that all the FCC does is rubber stamp the information sent in by the VECs, but there's more to it. FCC has systems in place that check into license applications. For example, there are some folks who have had licenses revoked or suspended, and FCC's system can easily check for that. VEs can't."

    Don't forget the Red Flag system, If you owe the government any money - no license.
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  8. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The gears of government turn very slow but grind exceedingly fine!
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  9. WRKS480

    WRKS480 QRZ Member

    I'm not going to be flagged, and I don't owe the Federal government any money.

    Right now I'm at the mercy of the USPS, and that should never be the case. I'm beginning to suspect the package of completions my VE sent to ARRL is lost and will never arrive there.

    I have my CSCE, and there should at least be a way I can use that to get the FCC to process my license without the need for all the extra handling.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
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  10. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Don't be silly ... of course you do!

    You're just not behind in your payments is all :)

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