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VECs PROPOSE NEW ENTRY LEVEL COMMUNICATOR LICENCE

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AA7BQ, Mar 16, 2004.

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  1. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder QRZ HQ Staff QRZ Page

    From: Fred W5YI, Chairman, NCVEC Rules Committee

    The National Conference of VECs filed a Petition for Rulemaking on March 1, 2004 proposing their version of a new entry-level Amateur Service license and redistribution of some HF frequencies to General and Amateur Extra Class licensees.

    The petition, which is somewhat similar to the one filed by the American Radio League, requires no required demonstrated Morse code proficiency for any license class ...including Extra.

    The NCVEC proposed the same HF/VHF/UHF bands for the entry level class as the ARRL and both petitions grant more privileges to all classes. The VECs proposal, however, allows wider voice subbands and less exclusive CW/digital frequencies. The NCVEC petition also places more emphasis on the use of 15 and 10 meters for entry-level voice operation than does the ARRL.

    The VECs proposed an additional 50 kHz of 80-meter voice spectrum over the ARRL proposal and 25 kHz more 40 meter voice spectrum for both the General and Extra Class. At 15 Meters, the General Class would get an additional 75 kHz of voice spectrum over ARRL proposal; Extra Class, an additional 50 kHz.

    The frequency privileges proposed for the new entry level class which the VECs want called the "Communicator" Class are:

    80 Meters:
    3950-4000 kHz (voice/image), 3550-3675 kHz (digital/CW).

    40 Meters:
    7250-7300 kHz (voice/image), 7050-7150 kHz (Digital/CW).

    15 Meters:
    21350-21450 kHz voice/image), 21050-21150 kHz (Digital/CW).

    10 meters:
    28.300-28.500 and 29000-29700 kHz (voice/image), 28050-28150 kHz
    (CW/Digital).

    All bands 6 Meters through 70 cm:
    Full Amateur privileges.

    The NCVEC envisions that all Novice Class operators would automatically become Communicator Class licensees as of the effective date. At the same time, Technician and Tech Plus amateurs would be upgraded to the General Class ...Advanced Class licensees would become Extra Class. The VECs believed that there was no other effective way to redistribute Novice/Tech Plus spectrum to the General and Extra Class without this automatic upgrade feature.

    This means that some 350,000 Tech/Tech Plus and 85,000 Advanced Class would not be testing for an upgrade to the next class. This amounts to about 60 percent or all current licensees and those in the two year grace period. On the other hand, the VECs anticipate a
    greatly expanded demand for entry-level "Communicator") testing and license preparation material. Some 40,000 Novices would be automatically upgraded to the new entry level which would not only contain their existing frequency bands, but additional HF/VHF/UHF bands as well.

    The NCVEC proposes that existing Novice, Technician, Tech Plus and Advanced Class operators be issued a new Communicator, General or Extra Class license document upon their next renewal. The new privileges will kick in, of course, as of the effective date. The Novice, Technician, Tech Plus and Advanced Class licenses will be permanently retired.

    The VECs suggested that Communicator Class call signs might come from the authorized but unallocated NA1AAA through NZ0ZZZ call sign block.

    Proposed entry level transmitter power is proposed to be 100 watts when the operation takes place below 24 MHz; 50 watts above. This is the same as the ARRL proposal. In addition, the NCVEC proposed mandatory low voltage to the final transmitter amplifier stage and that only commercially manufactured transmitters be used by Communicator Class licensees.  Communicator Class licensees may not install repeater or remote base stations, be a volunteer examiner or establish a club station.

    Communicator Class licensees must pass a simple 20 question multiple-choice written exam and will be required to obtain, read and certify their understanding of the Part 97 rules. The VECs Question Pool Committee feels that it is impossible to cover the FCC rules
    in what would be a relatively few questions.  The ARRL proposed 25 examination questions.

    This petition was reviewed prior to submission by all 14 of the VEC's around the country, and was approved by a 2 to 1 margin. While some areas of disagreement were to be expected, the fact that such an overwhelming majority of the VEC's approved the NCVEC petition speaks well for it's being representative of the true feelings and opinions of those most in tune with the examination process and
    the needs of the Amateur Radio community.

    This is further supported by the fact that the NCVEC and ARRL petitions are similar in basic concept, and in fact agree on most issues. Taken together, these two filings appear to be speaking in a unified voice as to the needs of the future of Amateur Radio in the United States"

    The FCC acknowledged receipt of the Petition for Rulemaking on March 4, 2004. It is not known when it will be distributed for initial Public Comment. The ARRL Petition has not been assigned an RM (rulemaking) file number yet either.

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">
    Download a zipped version of the full 24 page petition (25 kb) in MS-Word format here: http://www.qrz.com/communicator_petition.zip

    [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
     
  2. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Why "automatic" upgrade?

    Maybe I overlooked the basis for the reported difficulty redistributing license-based operating allocations.

    The Advanced Class license, no longer available except for renewal, represents very little administrative burden for the FCC and should be retained without change in title or privileges.

    Folks like myself place value on the earlier, more difficult testing standards reflected in this license class, and seek to preserve that accomplishment and distinction from licenses where testing has been relaxed.

    An application should be available for those wishing to be "upgraded," but I submit that it's a matter of perspective whether such a change would be an "upgrade."

    Paul/VJB
    Annapolis
     
  3. W0LC

    W0LC Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (wa3vjb @ Mar. 16 2004,09:22)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Why "automatic" upgrade?

    Maybe I overlooked the basis for the reported difficulty redistributing license-based operating allocations.

    The Advanced Class license, no longer available except for renewal, represents very little administrative burden for the FCC and should be retained without change in title or privileges.

    Folks like myself place value on the earlier, more difficult testing standards reflected in this license class, and seek to preserve that accomplishment and distinction from licenses where testing has been relaxed.

    An application should be available for those wishing to be "upgraded," but I submit that it's a matter of perspective whether such a change would be an "upgrade."

    Paul/VJB
    Annapolis[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    You'll lose that logical argument Paul. There are many out there that want something for nothing. I really don't see a good path for this hobby with these types of changes being proposed, especially from the individuals proposing such changes.

    We lowered the entry criteria years ago to slower code speeds. That didn't add to the numbers.
    We added WARC bands. That didn't add to the numbers.
    We reduced the scope of many of the written exams. That didn't add to the numbers.
    Now we proposed deleting a CW (code) test element and along with it (which many of us said was coming), the reduction in the allocated band mode frequency spectrum.

    No matter how you present it, it isn't improving the hobby, only giving something away.

    Watch for more "changes" to come!
     
  4. K2TFT

    K2TFT Guest

    I'll bet ole Fred has a half million copies of the "communicator give away license" Q & A manuals ready for shipment for a slim $39.95 a copy! [​IMG]
     
  5. N5CTI

    N5CTI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I must be hanging out with the wrong crowd. And as for "being representative of the true feelings and opinions of those most in tune with the examination process and the needs of the Amateur Radio community," you've got to be kidding me! Once more, an organization presuming some authority over Amateur Radio decides they know best what the community wants, without ever bothering to ask the community!

    And not only did NCVEC not bother to fix what is wrong with the ARRL proposal, every change they make is for the worse. Complete removal of code requirements? Well, that shouldn't be a surprise. NCVEC was wrong when they squirted out their proposal last summer in the rush to be first, so they have to maintain their existing position, even though it's wrong.

    Convert CW spectrum to voice? Whoo-boy! That would be the start of the slippery slope that CW operators fear.

    And the most grievous error in the ARRL proposal, the automatic upgrade to General, still sits there in their proposal like a whore in church.

    How come we never hear anything from NCVEC until they want to take a sledge-hammer to Amateur Radio with another ill-advised petition to the FCC?

    As I said at the beginning, I must be hanging out with wrong crowd. I haven't spoken with a single Ham (outside of the ARRL leadership) who supports the ARRL proposal, or who would think that the NCVEC petition isn't just going from bad to worse. I need to find that "Amateur Radio community" that the NCVEC purportedly represents, 'cause they sure don't live 'round these parts!
     
  6. AC3P

    AC3P Ham Member QRZ Page

    To K2TFT: Dittos.

    Looks like I'll be retiring from Volunteer Examining soon.

    73

    Frank
     
  7. W7FSQ

    W7FSQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    So after this change what do we do just turn the bands over with no tests. I don't get the logic of giving away ham radio, If you don't have enough inititive to learn a 5 wpm how bad do you really want to be a ham. Who makes the money here Radio Manufacturers, The Vec programs who sell the stuff. I don't really care if the big 3 don't sell radios maybe we can go back to building (Wow what an Idea) Ok Maybe I am old fashioned but this is a great hobby and I think we are now motovated by profit. [​IMG]
     
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    WHAT??
    I just worked REALLY hard to pass my Code Test and General so I could have access to most of the HF bands and now you are telling me I just should have waited???
    I am new to all this but that seems insane. I'm so new to all of this, I'm still listening. I've never transmitted. I can tell you this, and something tells me it isn't new information, there seems to be some what of a problem with the EXISTING system. I've heard voice on CW, RTTY and Data segements of bands!! Do those "in the know" feel that a 20 question test will help this situation.
    Also does that invalidate my CW test??? Will I have to take another one when I go for my Extra?
    That proposal is simply NOT fair.
     
  9. KC0W

    KC0W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Don't worry, this is just an early April fools joke from W5YI........Right?



    Tom kcØw
     
  10. kf4pv

    kf4pv Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (N5CTI @ Mar. 16 2004,10:32)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">And the most grievous error in the ARRL proposal, the automatic upgrade to General, still sits there in their proposal like a whore in church.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Actually, wouldn't you rather see her in church listening to the sermons than out on the streets plying her trade? [​IMG]

    On a more serious note (though not much, this is after all just a hobby), if anybody actually cares what kind of test I took, they'll see my 2x2 callsign and realize that even though I'm an automatically upgraded 0-wpm Extra that I started out life as a 13-wpm Advanced. Whoo-hoo! Do I care?

    What I actually care about is that they notice that I'm courteous, and a brilliant conversationalist. During an emergency I'd also like them to see that I can accurately transfer large amounts of information in very short periods of time. None of that involves what my original license class was.

    So, let's all relax and enjoy ourselves. Life's too short to be worried about trivia.

    73 de KF4PV/3 (13 wpm licensed, 19 wpm actual [​IMG] )
     
  11. KU2S

    KU2S Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (ac3p @ Mar. 16 2004,13:36)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">To K2TFT: Dittos.

    Looks like I'll be retiring from Volunteer Examining soon.

    73

    Frank[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Agreed. After reading the proposed changes, I'm ashamed to call myself a VE. First of all, where does the NCVEC get off presuming to represent all VE's, and secondly, since when do the VE presume to represent all US Hams? It would seem to me that for the testing authority to propose rules changes would present the perception of a conflict of interest. The NCVEC should have stayed out of the mess. Now they've only made a bad situation worse.
     
  12. kd7nqb

    kd7nqb Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok here is my 2cents take it for what its worth. I am a 17yr old and I got my license almost 3yrs ago. I am currently a tech class license for the simple reason I have trouble learning code. However I think that if we eliminate code we loose a big piece of this hobby. I know that the code subject has been debated before and I dont want to start that again. I am personally against this new class for the simple reason is that I saw a group of people that got there tech licenses after the eliminated code simply because they were better than the no-code radios such as CB's and frs. These kids had no clue about the history of ham radio, knew nothing about how a basic circuit desighn and could rarely tell me what band they were on and if I asked they would give me an answer like 147.040. Obviously that is not a band but instead a frequncy within a band. This all came to a head when they had to write there calls on there arms to remember them. I personally do not want to see anymore of this. If you want to look at a real injustace ask why the FCC will not issue anyone under 18 a license to operate these new GMRS radios that have no more than a 5mile range. But I can test and get my extra class ham licnese that lets me talk around the world. They should at least allow hams that are under 18 to get these GMRS privalges.
     
  13. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, this is another proposal I could probably live with.

    What we need is a petition asking the Commission to please do something. This issue needs resolution and we shouldn't need to wait until 4Q/04 for them to act on it. It isn't going away, and the longer we twist in the wind, the more damage it does to the service.

    Boyd, you apparently haven't read many of my posts. I support the ARRL petition 100%. So do nearly all the people I've talked to about it in person, and that's a lot. We all have some reservations and things we would change, but overall, I'm fairly sure that the ham population outside these Internet forums supports it.

    As for the "whore in church", it's time for an update on the great Element 2 vs. Element 3 debate.  I've contended for some time that the difference between the two elements is relatively minor. I've been encouraging my Technician students to take a shot at Element 3 after taking Element 2, while the Tech material is still fresh in their mind. This time, we had 5 try it.  Two of them passed.  One got all 35 right. The other winner got 33. In fact, they did better on Element 3 than they did on Element 2.

    The guy that got the perfect score admitted that he'd read the General question pool. The other one said that he only studied the General band edges and a couple other topics I'd suggested. The one that read the question pool felt that there was a big difference between the two tests. The other guy did not. I think that shows what I've observed - the difference in practice isn't as big as it looks.

    Oh, the three that failed all got at least 23 of the 26 needed to pass. None of them had looked at the Element 3 questions. Two of these passed their code test, though, so they are boning up on Element 3 and will take it again soon. They learned the code in less than 3 weeks. That's why they didn't have time to look at Element 3.

    So, the "whore in church"  isn't really so bad, after all. More like an exotic dancer.

    I like the 10 meter proposal here, and if I read it correctly, it looks like the proposed 40 and 80 meter bands for the Communicators might provide more incentive for upgrades. The ARRL proposal was created to allow Novices to participate in ARES, so I think that needs to be considered. There is plenty of real estate on 80 meters, most of which is unused. Sadly, BPL may require us to use power levels far above what the new Novice will allow, though.  

    I also like the distinctive callsign idea. I was a WN6 and there were times I was glad I was.

    I still think we should keep the code test for Extra, and this proposal needs to be part of a restructuring that redistributes the current Novice bands. The Novice bands do NOT need to be dedicated entirely to phone.
     
  14. WX5NCO

    WX5NCO Ham Member QRZ Page

    [​IMG] IF ya want to get rid of the code test.. fine, if ya want to make the bands bigger... fine, if ya want more people in the hobby... fine, but don't automaticly upgrade everyone. If a tech wants an upgrade, they should test for it. If an advanced wants to upgrade, they should have to test for it. If I want to upgrade, I will test for it.

    Just my $0.02 worth
    Jon
     
  15. N0OV

    N0OV Guest

    Hm............

    Wonder what the VE's and VEC's have seen that would result in a restructuring proposal like this?

    Not even going to raise the code/no code question [​IMG]
     
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