US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

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US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby G4RMT » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:56 pm

On another forum, they seem to be swamped with people from the US who have just passed their 'exam', and who seem to know so little about their new hobby that it's almost embarrassing!

They have a callsign, allocated by their Government, that came with information - quite specific on what they can do and where they can do it, yet they ask if they can pick any frequency their Baofeng can cover, and transmit. They haven't even discovered Google + their town/city might just bring back their local radio club, that when studying for the test (probably at McDonalds for the time it took to eat a big mac, it would seem, they didn't even bother to visit to see the sort of thing going on in their area and what the people are like?

I wonder what on earth the test actually covered - I suspect it must be extremely pathetic in construction.
What must you have be able to do to make a contact?
a. A Baofeng
b. A Heartbeat
c. A license
d. No common sense at all

Clever people say all of them, others just pick a few. Stupid ones forget a heartbeat is a required.

I note what happens in the US usually follows over here in a short time space. It's just crazy that some of these people are incredibly dense, and frankly, don't deserve a license they hardly even worked for.
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Re: US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby m0lsx » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:53 pm

I looked at doing the American exam at one point & from what I remember most of it is about licensing conditions. That is knowing the answer, not why the answer is correct.
I did an online mock exam & passed without any reading or homework, just guessing what they would probably want.
And don't forget they want to introduce an easier exam in America too!!!!
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Re: US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby milly » Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:09 pm

Let's face it - relaxing the requirements to get a licence has done nothing to increase the number of people taking up the hobby despite what the good buddy colostomy club claims.

The exam needs to reflect the times and what it allows a person to do, so I agree that changes should happen over time.

Much of the technical content relating to building a transmitter is not relevant to black box (even the military do almost no repairs at the front line any more - swap out a box and put the broken one on a pallet to be sent away for repair) use so having different levels makes sense. One technical/academic with a 'technical' test to allow building a TX etc. (and can use high power...but won't as they will understand that they can use different bands effectively and idea is to use the least amount necessary). Some less technical licence for people who aren't interested in building. They can use a black box and limited power (but will use it cranked as high as they can!).

New licence given away with frosted flakes so ARRL and colostomy club can pretend that there are more people coming into the hobby than ever....and secure the salary of their staff.

Another downward step change in the professionalism and clarity of contacts.
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Re: US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby G4RMT » Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:50 pm

The UK basic license is the 'novice' - which kind of sums it up, but why on earth the US decided "Technician" is appropriate as a title makes me smile? especially when it doesn;t appear to be technical at all. I registered earlier with the ARRL to get access to their practice exam, to see if a Brit with no knowledge of things American could pass - didn't get the validation mail yet?
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Re: US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby milly » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:05 pm

...and in the other thread people thought a 'provisional' would be a good idea. I'm guessing the requirement for those would be a large crayon and a piece of toilet paper. Scribble something and that is becomes the callsign?

as for passing the US exams - I see no reason why you wouldn't. Your G4 implies a far greater knowledge than any of theirs require ;-)
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Re: US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby m0lsx » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:22 pm

milly wrote:...and in the other thread people thought a 'provisional' would be a good idea.


A provisional driving licence has a set period & only allows the holder to drive under the supervision of a full licence holder. And as it is possible to pass a greetings message :wink: at the moment, what would be gained by a provisional type amateur radio licence?
The only advantage I can see is that everyone with a novice type licence would have to retake their novice or upgrade within a set period.
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Re: US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby milly » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:54 pm

m0lsx wrote:....And as it is possible to pass a greetings message :wink: at the moment, what would be gained by a provisional type amateur radio licence?
The only advantage I can see is that everyone with a novice type licence would have to retake their novice or upgrade within a set period.


I don't think there is any need for a provisional amateur radio licence Alan - was just mentioning it from what I read in the other post. Doesn't take too much effort to get a licence now but if we add more we can pretend there are more radio amateurs year on year as they collect their full set of callsigns.
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Re: US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby m0lsx » Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:28 pm

Yes, I realised you were quoting what others had said, which is why I quoted you as saying..
...and in the other thread people thought.

I just responded to those thoughts.

My daughter passed her foundation aged 9 together with a group of other young Scouts, although she was the youngest. So an adult of average intelligence should manage it with ease.
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Re: US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby lars » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:24 am

There seem to be people -- probably more in the US than in Europe -- who see the amateur radio bands not as a place to exercise a technical hobby but, *gasp* -- as a practical means of communication. And why not? A hand-held VHF set is cheaper than a CB radio now. In the UK it's a lot easier to get a Foundation licence than it is to get a VHF business licence from OfCom.

Such people won't be interested in any of the technical aspects of radio and -- if it is determined that their use of the AR bands is a valid one -- all they should have to do is show that they understand appropriate frequencies to use, at an appropriate power level. For such users, it seems right to me that the entry examination should be about licensing conditions. Why ask people about circuit theory, or HF propagation, even at the most rudimentary level if they have no need of it?

Of course, amateur radio begun as a technical hobby, and I understand that there's a lot of people who want to keep it that way. I can understand the appeal of a private band area where smart, technically-minded people meet to chat in a genteel fashion about their aerials. But the existence of such a thing is historical, and it stems from a time when the RF spectrum was hugely less congested, and contested, than it is now.

If I were to propose, for example, that one lane of the M1 between, say, London and Peterborough were to be reserved exclusively for members of the Amateur Car-Builders Society to test their contraptions, I doubt that I would get much traction. But, in effect, that is what we are asking for in AR. We're asking for a chunk of a shared resource -- and a world-wide shared resource at that -- to be allocated exclusively to esoteric and non-practical purposes. That's going to be increasingly difficult to justify unless AR is either (a) socially or economically useful, or (b) has a broad membership.

I have no practical need for AR -- I'm unashamedly a hobbyist; but if the price of keeping AR alive is that traditionalists have to admit people who need to be reminded where the band edges are, then that's a price we should all be willing to pay, considering what the alternative is.
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Re: US new licensed hams - knowledge level pathetic

Postby G4RMT » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:21 am

OFCOM licensing is a five minute job. Lots of boxes to complete, but if you apply one day, taking perhaps an hour maybe, you pay the money and the license appears next day or in a day or two. It only takes longer in busy urban areas where users are many and frequencies short. If you want a light license rather than technically assigned it's even easier as those frequencies are a bit of a free for all.
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