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. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ya know....looking back on this thread to the original post...

    "Why so much theory on the advanced licenses."

    I should have just said, "You're right...all the advanced theory should have been on the Tech license," and been done with it. Case closed!


  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    ::Yes, it was. The Tech and General theory were the same, which is why I said most of the complexity was in the "Tech" exam at that time. The only "General" element was the code test. Then there was another written element for the Advanced.
  3. N9DSJ

    N9DSJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, it was the same. I went to get a Tech ticket and they (FCC) told me I had to fail the 13 wpm code test before I could take the 5 wpm test and I thought, no problem, I can fail that (while sitting in a grade school desk with Bakelite head set on).
    Sadly, I passed the 13 wpm test and ended up with a General class ticket and had to re-think my antenna selections.

    Story of my life, I could not even fail a test when I was supposed to...


    Bill N9DSJ
  4. KE4FES

    KE4FES Ham Member QRZ Page


    It is good to know the theory but it won't repair the defective device. Most EXTRA
    CLASS Operators take their equipment to a service shop for repairs.
  5. AB0WR

    AB0WR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't confuse knowing the theory with the physical work of "fixing" something.

    Someone who knows the theory of how the air path works on a modern car can diagnose a failure of the idle air control without ever having to know where it is in the engine, what it looks like, or what size wrench is needed to replace it.

    All the FCC requires is that you know enough theory to make sure your equipment is operating correctly. They don't require you to be able to repair it.

    tim ab0wr
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    ::Very true. And one who knows auto mechanics and circuits is far less likely to get "taken" by an unscrupulous repair shop trying to sell them a new Framistat. I know enough about cars to diagnose about anything that goes wrong, but that doesn't mean I want to break my neck crawling under it to change the power steering pump. I'm satisfied that I can diagnose the problem and bring it to a reputable shop who won't try to sell me something I don't need or fix something that wasn't broken.

    And I don't agree that most hams send stuff in for service. In 43 years of ham radio, the only time I've ever sent a piece of equipment "out" for service was my flaky TR-7 which had an intermittent BFO crystal -- every time I looked for the problem, it went away and drove me nuts. WA8SAJ finally found the bug and even had the correct crystal replacement (he used to work for Drake and now specializes in them). Every other equipment repair necessary I undertook and fixed myself. I think a lot of hams do.

  7. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, the analogy to a driver's license isn't that far off the mark. It's been a long time since I took that test as well, but when you think about it, the level of "theory" required isn't all that different.

    I don't know how successful it is to implement it, but the idea is that you should know enough about the physics of a moving vehicle to be able to control it. Therefore, there were "theory" questions such as following distances, hydroplaning, driving on ice, etc. Granted, these were not Ph.D. level physics questions. But neither are the ham tests. For the most part, the things on the test are things you need to have some rudimentary understanding to be able to successfully get on the air, even if you engage mostly in "appliance operating".

    For 2 meter FM, it's probably quite possible to take a radio out of the box, hook it up according to the instruction manual, and get on the air quite successfully. If you want to do the same thing on HF (or VHF weak signal modes), you will quickly discover that there are unanticipated problems. Your 2 meter antenna will probably work quite adequately on 70 cm, and in this case, ignorance is probably bliss. But a 10 meter antenna probably won't work very well on 80 meters.

    One is not going to become an antenna expert by studying for the general exam. But one will probably learn enough to be able to anticipate common problems, such as knowing that different antennas are (sometimes) required for different bands. The theory currently on the exam really isn't any more in depth than that. It merely forces you to know what you don't know. It really gives you just enough information to be able to start participating in the "social" aspects of the hobby.

    No test is perfect. It is entirely possible that you will be forced to learn a few things that you will never use. In Minnesota, to get a driver's license, there will be questions on the test about driving on ice. You are required to answer these questions, even if you will be leaving the state before winter. When you come to those questions, you can just memorize the answers.
  8. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Many hams (at least OT's) WILL try to repair their own gear... IF they have the appropriate instruments and tools to do so. When it comes to some of the more modern units, with suirface mounted devices, not everyone has the capability of such operations, whether by choice or by circumstance. In almost all cases, it's just not practical for an individual Amateur to replace, say, a 64 (or greater) lead LSI integrated circuit driving a dsiplay, even if they CAN get a replacement SMD device. And in many cases, the SMD devices are not available to Amateurs, so the only recourse is to submit to manufacturer repair.
  9. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The whole reason for loosening the requirements for a Ham license in the
    first place was to encourage new members. Ham radio is after a dying hobby. This would do much to undo what has already been done.
  10. KE4FES

    KE4FES Ham Member QRZ Page


    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
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