Why all the theory on the higher level tests?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KC2UYZ, Feb 10, 2009.

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  1. KC2UYZ

    KC2UYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm curious as to why there is so much emphasis on electronics theory on the tests above the technician class? Is it just an artifact of the original testing process? I can't find a good corollary between my knowing more about electronics and being able to transmit on more frequencies. I have to believe that a great percentage of new HAMs will never open the case on their shiny, new, expensive radios and are more interested in the social aspect of the hobby than the electromechanical side.

    What do you think?
     
  2. N1RKW

    N1RKW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oh, I don't know. Within a month of getting my license (I studied hard and passed both tech and general in one shot) I found myself repairing my radio. I also had to build my own power supply and antenna system. My case may be unusual, but not all of us get shiny new rigs when we get our tickets. I'm glad I had to learn some theory, it was helpful almost right away. Now I'm studying to upgrade to extra, which is, of course, thick with theory and technical jargon.
    My feeling is that the tech exam should be focused on operating procedures, and the general and extra should pretty much stay as they are.
     
  3. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    And this perfectly demonstrates the vast chasm in the fundamental reason the current generation of hams are in the hobby from the traditional ham. If you read part 97, which delineates why we exist as radio amateurs, a SIGNIFICANT point of that is "Advancing the radio art." How can hams advance the radio art without electronics theory?

    If I couldn't contribute to technical knowledge, I wouldn't be in the hobby.

    Period.

    eric
     
  4. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Spoken by someone who certainly sounds like he believes the acquisition of education, knowledge and wisdom are all useless endeavors.
     
  5. KC2UYZ

    KC2UYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    So, would you define something like a person mastering a specific radio's functions and then sharing that knowledge with the community as advancing the radio art?

    What about someone helping with club activities?

    Does the "radio art" include social aspects of the hobby or do you feel it is exclusive to technical aspects?

    I'm not suggesting the reason for the test's content isn't valid, rather, I'm trying to understand if the reasons that birthed the content still hold true today. I love to tinker and am a DIY kind of guy, but probably wouldn't open the lid on a box that I paid many hundreds of dollars for just because I understand my personal aptitudes, which don't include advanced radio or electronics.

    So, has the chasm been created by the existing operators, by the noobs, like me, who just may not have the "wiring" to learn the more advanced stuff, but still have a desire to join in on the fun or by some other force/entity?

    Thanks...
     
  6. W8JI

    W8JI Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is always CB, internet, or the telephone for those who only want to communicate.

    If a person has a radio that transmits thousands of miles, can interfere with other services, and that might actually damage something if used incorrectly why wouldn't we have some technical test?


    After all, the core reason we even exist is to provide a trained reserve of skilled people and the advance the state of the art. We don't have all these frequency bands just so we can chit chat with old Greensnake down the street, that's what CB was formed for. CB was formed for necessary personal and business communications.

    There is a huge correlation between being able to run more power on more frequencies that go further and understanding what that little thing on the desk does and how it actually works.

    If you don't want to learn what that box on the desk or those things outside called antennas do, you are in the wrong class of radio service.


    73 Tom
     
  7. W8JI

    W8JI Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's either a troll, or we have gone way too far in dumbing down the world.
     
  8. KC2UYZ

    KC2UYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you were replying to my post, you would be incorrect. I just know my personal limitations. I can memorize about anything to pass a test, but to really understand the theory might be a bigger step for me. My question is more of one person trying to see the parallel between the tests and the reward of passing same.

    I'm not trying to ruffle feathers....just understand more.

    thanks
     
  9. W6SO

    W6SO Guest

    I think some people are going to absolutely hammer you here! <g> I will try to be more kind. First and foremost, amateur radio is not principally a "social hobby," it is a technical one; at the least,that is how it originally evolved.

    Most people would probably argue that the current tests are not, in fact, particularly technical, and many think they should be much more so. For better or worse, the Novice exams of the 1960's may well have been more technically oriented than the current General exams. Maybe not quite, but it is a contest. The Extra class exam of today is, from a technical perspective, absolutely a mere ghost of its former versions.

    The relationship between license grade and knowledge is long standing. For that matter, what other parameter would you use? That said, I believe the outline of the current structure dates back to what was called "the incentive licensing" program whereby additional privileges were allowed those with the most demonstrated skill and knowledge.

    Sadly, I agree that "... a great percentage of new HAMs will never open the case on their shiny, new, expensive radios ...." but that is no reason to exempt them from knowing both what is inside, how it works, and the principles that enable their signal to go around the world. Again, it is a technical hobby and if all one wants is the social aspect of communications then there are many other, perhaps even better avenues to pursue such interests.

    I have no problem with those that do not really have an interest in the technology of amateur radio, but I am not sure it is the hobby for them if that is the case. Still, the nature of the hobby has changed somewhat and I do not begrudge anyone from pursuing the social side more than the technical. However, such people really need to at least understand the culture and history of amateur radio. THAT, is where the real answer to your question lies.

    To understand the history and culture better, beyond operating and talking with your colleagues, I would recommend you stop by the library and checkout "Ham Radio's Technical Culture," by Kristen Haring. It is an excellent book on the subject, although it is an academic treatment and it is based on the earlier years of the hobby - up through the 1970's or so. There are other good articles and books to be found, as well.
     
  10. KC2UYZ

    KC2UYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    No troll here. I would point out that only one person has responded to the question directly, while others have chosen to attack the poster.

    I'm a guy who has always been interested in electronics, radio, antenna theory, etc. Unfortunately, I've never had the means to do much with that interest until this stage of my life. I'm good at a lot of things, but more advanced electronics isn't one of them.

    I ask what seemed (to me) a legitimate question with no malice intended.
     
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