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What? ARRL Petitions FCC to Expand the Shortwave Privileges of Technician-Class Hams

Discussion in 'Videos and Podcasts' started by NW7US, Mar 6, 2018.

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  1. WU8Y

    WU8Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    So you think the Tech is a "learner's permit"?
  2. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Really? How?

    You were KC4KWH before you got your present call under the vanity program - right?

    The Winter 1990 Callbook shows KC4KWH on page 406 as a Technician.

    The 1993 Callbook shows KC4KWH on page 483 as a Technician.

    The 1994 Callbook shows KC4KWH on page 505 as a General.

    The 1996 Callbook shows KC4KWH on page 553 as an Advanced. and you still hold that license. Never upgraded beyond Advanced in 23 years.....

    In 1989, when you got your Technician, it required passing the Novice and Technician written tests, and 5 wpm code.

    5 years later, in 1994, you upgraded to General - which required passing the same 35 question written test as today, plus either 13 wpm code or a medical waiver.

    2 years after that, in 1996, you upgraded to Advanced by passing another written test.

    For all your Amateur Radio license exams, the VEC system was fully functional and the Q&A pools were public information. And the medical waivers were in effect after 1990. has it become "more and more easy" to get a General? Yes, they got rid of the code, that was a dozen years ago. And for almost 30 years all licenses were available with 5 wpm code and a medical waiver, which simply required getting ANY doctor to sign a form letter.

    The US Amateur Radio license tests were never all that difficult for someone who knows the material and has experience. For newcomers, it's a different story.

    No musical instruments are involved/

    Why, yes. Anyone who passes the required examinations without cheating and gets a valid Amateur Radio license is an Amateur Radio operator. Period, end of story, done.

    Sorry, that's not how it works. If someone earns a license according to the rules and operates in accordance with the rules, good amateur practice and The Amateur's Code, they are an amateur radio operator. That's all there is to it.

    Other stuff is great and should be encouraged. But the ham who simply "talks on the radio" is still a ham, so long as s/he follows the rules, good amateur practice and The Amateur's Code.

    If "it ain't that hard", why are you still an Advanced? And why did it take you YEARS to get from Technician to General to Advanced?

    I mean....really...?
    AC0GT likes this.
  3. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is unless there is trouble in River City. :D

    It appears this problem of licensed Amateurs not upgrading is not unique to the Technician class. Perhaps every license class needs a new incentive, or it's long past the time to dispense with the concept of incentive licensing. I'd be pleased with either but dispensing with incentive licensing would be preferred.
    N2EY likes this.
  4. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    You may not realize this, but I know that song really well. I mean, well enough that people know not to say "we've got trouble" around me.

    I think there's a need for multiple license classes, because the alternative is to require newcomers to learn everything required for full privileges all in one go. That's a lot, if someone doesn't have a background in the subject.

    If it were up to me, I'd close off the Tech and General to new issues, and create two completely new license classes from scratch. Call them Basic and Limited.

    Basic would give a good sampling of bands and modes, with power of maybe 150 watts on HF and 25-50 watts on VHF-UHF. It would require passing a focused, comprehensive test of about 50 questions. Not an easier test - a better test. Basic is entry-level.

    Limited would give more power, more bands, more privileges. And would require another 50 question test on more-advanced subjects.

    Full would be the equivalent of today's Extra, with a new 50 question test and full privileges.

    All existing Extras would be renewed as Fulls. All other existing license classes would keep what they have - no upgrades or freebies or whatever.

    No giveaways, no freebies.
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    AC0GT and AD5HR like this.
  5. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page


    I'm not proposing a single license, only that we dispense with the slicing and dicing of bandwidth in the hope it creates an incentive to upgrade.

    This sounds like a good idea.

    I had about the same idea except put the power limit at 200 watts on HF, this way a Novice that upgrades is not losing anything. I'd go with 50 watts above 30 MHz to be consistent with the power limits of GMRS which requires no testing, so if it's safe for GMRS then it's safe for Amateur radio.

    I'd construct the second tier license privileges to be an upgrade from Technician, but less than what is currently granted to Extra. Like with the upgrade path from Novice I'd like to see a smooth upgrade path from Technician. I would not be opposed to something completely different, and I like your idea, I'm just dealing with a reality that there could be considerable opposition from those already licensed being told they'd have to start from the beginning to upgrade and/or lose privileges in an "upgrade".

    I'd keep the name as "Extra" just to avoid confusion. One idea I had in mind is restoring the 20 WPM Morse code testing for Extra, but the Morse code testing granting no additional privileges from the Full license. The purpose is to allow ease of reciprocal licensing for people that travel as there are still nations that require Morse code testing for Amateur HF operations. Why 20 WPM? To avoid any issues of a nation denying reciprocity because their nation did not recognize 5 WPM or 13 WPM testing. 20 WPM is what commercial radiotelegraphy licensing requires and I see no Amateur licensing that requires more than this.

    No matter what is done there will be a vocal minority that will construct a claim that there was a "freebie" for someone.

    I'll put what I had in mind "on top" of what you proposed and see what people think.

    Basic - All bands, all modes, all frequencies. Limited to 50 watts above 30 MHz and 200 watts below. Testing includes a single 35 or 50 question written test.
    Limited - Basic privileges plus the ability to operate a repeater and maximum RF output at 1500 watts above 30 MHz. Testing includes a single 50 question written test. Those with a current Technician license would be allowed to upgrade with this same test.
    Full - Privileges of the current Extra. Testing includes a 50 question written test. Upgrades from General, Advanced, and Limited would be with this test.
    Extra - Full privileges and proof of having passed a 20 WPM exam. Any current Extra without this proof would renew as Full.
  6. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Every Amateur radio license, at all classes, is a permit to learn. That's just my opinion.

    In every state I've seen the "learner's permit" is a limited and temporary authority to operate a motor vehicle on public roads for minors. No adult, again as far as I know, is required to first obtain a learner's permit before being allowed to drive unrestricted. If we wish to extend this to Amateur radio then the "learner's permit" should be only for minors and not all applicants for a license. I do not believe we need to hold a retired Coast Guard radio operator to the same limitations as a 12 year old Boy Scout or Girl Scout looking to gain a merit badge.
    N2EY likes this.
  7. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would say "a permit to learn by doing".

    Anybody can study radio, design and build radios, become proficient at typing, Morse Code, etc., without a license. The license is needed to put the radios on the air and do various modes in real life.

    In PA, if you do not have a driver's license, you have to get a learner's permit first - regardless of age. And you need to meet various requirements before getting a driver's license.

    For more than 40 years, anyone who can pass the US amateur radio tests could get any class of amateur license in one test session and go on the air as soon as the license arrived or showed up in the database.

    There is a myth that there was a time when US hams "had to" start with Novice - completely untrue. The only US amateur licenses that have ever had experience requirements are the Class A/Advanced (1 year until the beginning of 1953) and the Extra (2 years until the early 1970s, then 1 year, then none after about 1978).

    Nor has there ever been any kind of age requirement for any class of US amateur radio license.
    AC0GT likes this.
  8. G5TM

    G5TM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just joining this discussion late and this is said from the UK perspective. On 11m in the UK we have had both AM and SSB recently legalised. This has led to a burgeoning growth of formal nets across the UK held each week using SSB ON 11. This in turn has led to many of us returning to the radio hobby after a long hiatus - typically we are aged 40-60 years of age. I know many who have - including me.

    Many of us have now progressed on to full Ham licences and love this extra aspect to the hobby. Believe me 27mhz is very far from perfect (neither is 2/70 on some repeaters!) but it has begun to be a breeding ground for good, like minded ops to progress on to HF/VHF/UHF as fully licenced amateurs.

    Good luck with the proposed expansion in the US - I for one cannot see too many issues with it but as with anything many may well disagree. Either way, more fresh blood cannot be bad.

  9. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's not the fresh blood we're concerned about; it's the tainted stuff that's worrisome.
  10. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Other than operating a repeater and perhaps C^2 satellites, the only difference I can see between the various proposed levels of license privileges would be power level. Doesn't this go against, or at least water down the oft heard incentive mantra?

    I would be against your Basic level licensees getting "all frequencies."

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