USA: New very basic licence?

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USA: New very basic licence?

Postby m0lsx » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:20 pm

I have just seen the following on Southgate ARC's site.

The ARRL is seeking opinions concerning a possible new entry level license.
The result could mean changes to the Technician license, but it could also be an additional, but simpler, license with privileges that would give a newcomer a taste of most facets of ham radio from HF to VHF and UHF.
Currently the lowest level US license is the Technician which regarded as equivalent to UK and Australian Foundation. Technician requires a weekend training course to pass and permits 200 watts output on four HF bands and 1500 watts output on all bands above 50 MHz.


So a new entry level licence more basic than a weekend course!!!!! I though that was what CB was.
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Re: USA: New very basic licence?

Postby Metradio » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:48 pm

This might have an adverse reaction with long term licence holders seeing the technical entry into the hobby being devalued to the point of: "have you got a radio? OK, here is your licence"..
I think the way to do it like getting a driving licence in this country, you get a provisional then there is a time limit before you are required to take the exam for the next level.. This will weed out the not so serious ones and spur others on..

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Re: USA: New very basic licence?

Postby G4RMT » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:09 pm

Unbelievable! Surely if you want something, a bit of effort is required to make it worth having.
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Re: USA: New very basic licence?

Postby Sjmmarsh » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:03 am

As someone new to the hobby in the UK, I can see the attraction of something like a provisional licence. I have taken an online course for the foundation, but getting the practical experience and taking the exam is likely to be some months off, mainly due to my availability and the infrequency of exam centres near me.

Having the ability to work 70cm and 2m bands would enable me to chat to other users that I can only listen to at the moment, as well as getting me valuable experience and knowledge that will help me take the Foundation exam. Granting a provisional licence on completion of a basic online test for something like 6 months would allow time to gain experience - after all, isn't the ability to communicate remotely a large part of what this hobby is all about?

Right now, I just feel that I am just waiting, before I can get started.

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Re: USA: New very basic licence?

Postby essexRXer » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:02 pm

Sjmmarsh wrote:As someone new to the hobby in the UK, I can see the attraction of something like a provisional licence. I have taken an online course for the foundation, but getting the practical experience and taking the exam is likely to be some months off, mainly due to my availability and the infrequency of exam centres near me.

Having the ability to work 70cm and 2m bands would enable me to chat to other users that I can only listen to at the moment, as well as getting me valuable experience and knowledge that will help me take the Foundation exam. Granting a provisional licence on completion of a basic online test for something like 6 months would allow time to gain experience - after all, isn't the ability to communicate remotely a large part of what this hobby is all about?

Right now, I just feel that I am just waiting, before I can get started.

Steve


I agree with your post Steve, the foundation training is a bit of the chicken and the egg. I listen on to my local repeater in the hope that they will move to the PMR bands so I can speak to them about clubs ect. There seems t be no club activity in my locality so I am now doing my practicals and my exam with Chelmsford R.A. 30 miles down the road. - I did my learning via the essex ham site so I just have my mock next week then the exam the week after, so fingers crossed!
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Re: USA: New very basic licence?

Postby m0lsx » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:27 am

Back in the 70's as a teenager I did an RAE Course, it was in a town about 20 miles away & involved a one hour bus ride in each direction & a lot of waiting time on cold wet winter evenings for buses over two academic terms.
At that time the RAE was sat twice a year, Christmas & Easter, if I remember correctly. Mine was the only RAE course in our area & thus drew people in from a very wide area.
I planned to take my exam at Easter, but due to a vehicle breakdown I found myself on the wrong side of the country, so missed it & the Tec Collage then told me a lie & said I would have to sign up for, pay for AND attend their next course to be able to resit the exam. :sad: :sad:
I was just getting into Broadcasting & Echo Charlie so decided the cost & effort was not worth it.
What is required now to take a Foundation course is nothing by comparison to the old RAE. Yes they may both involve a similar trek to take the course, but not over months now, just a couple of evenings or a weekend & no commitment to then learn Morse with a very long trek to sit that exam to gain access to HF.
What is asked of new entrants today is almost nothing, but a desire & a few hours & the current system if used properly is as close to my Bricklaying apprenticeship as anything I have seen. Learn the basics, get some hands on experience & learn the practicalities, while you continue to learn & progress academically & practically in your desired hobby/profession.
I did a taster of my desired profession, the building trade at the local Tec Collage while I was in my last year at school. That is where I discovered amateur radio. It took more hours than the RAE, it was a year long course & gave me a good rounded idea & practical taste of what most professions in the building trade involved.
I do not see any logical reason for dumbing down amateur radio exams any further. It is already almost as easy as the Scouts Communicator badge, to make that entrance into the licensed side of the hobby & make that any easier & the licences will become worthless.
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Re: USA: New very basic licence?

Postby lars » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:31 pm

It's tricky -- on the one hand, we want people to have some basic competence. On the other hand, we don't want to deter potentially enthusiastic people by putting needless hurdles across their paths. The current foundation licence exam seems very easy to me -- but I have an engineering degree, and I've been playing with electronics for forty years. Electronic devices are now so stupidly complex, and their operations so simplistic, that nobody knows anything about what goes on inside -- apart from people who started tinkering in the 70s. Modern electronic and computer equipment just doesn't provide anything for a normal brain to latch on to. So a whole generation of young people is completely ignorant of even the most basic technological matters.

So I rather suspect that many people will find the foundation exam quite tricky. If that's the case, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask whether there is a way into Amateur Radio that is less burdensome for the young and/or non-technical, while still leading to safe operation. Personally, I don't know if there is, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to look for one.
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Re: USA: New very basic licence?

Postby G4RMT » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:54 pm

On the US forums, you have the people who spend a lot of time away from the towns and cities, and there are no cellphones, real phones or even electricity. They can use low power devices to communicate, but to increase their distance, they need to use repeaters, or install gear on towers - that kind of thing. The often suggested solution is to take the ham exam, which is simple (this is the already simple version before the simple, simple version we're talking about). They then get access to better systems - which they use to communicate not with other amateur, but just their family.

I realise I'm old and perhaps narrow minded, but when I took my examination, I had to study really hard. The electronics and the maths was way above what I was at after leaving college - but I made it. My friend I did it with me (direct with C&G because nobody, including the electronics people at my local college, understood it) and as he worked as a development engineer for Philips, on TVs - he found it much simpler, but not a doddle. People failed, and had to resit in 6 months time. Back then, you had to be able to sort things for yourself - interference to other services in particular, and because home brewing was still popular, things like resonance calculations and tweaking things into alignment were important. Even being able to guarantee to the Radio Interference Service that you were running on the correct frequency within the power limit was tough. I was amazed how simple the test for access to the hobby had become on my return to it after twenty+ years.

I have to admit to being quite sad sometimes when somebody asks a really, really basic question - something that five minutes on Google would have solved, yet has actually passed their test? How simpler can it be made before it becomes a joke. If you can pass an exam, with no study, no understanding and no ability then what exactly is the point of the exam? Just charge $50 and give everyone a radio, and bank the cash? This seems to be what the states are about to do?

Q1. To speak to somebody on your radio, do you need:
a. A turnip
b. A microphone
c. A megaphone
d. A credit card

Amateur radio is supposed to be about self-training and pushing barriers, but this is a step too far.
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Re: USA: New very basic licence?

Postby essexRXer » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:57 pm

I understand that people have worked very hard in the past to gain a call sign, I already get the impression from some that I read and others that I listen to that I will not be taken seriously if I am to pass my exam, because it seems easier or devalued to them.

If it had a heavier CW element or more electronics then I would have still attempted it, I can only learn what it put in front of me.
I have some sample mock questions about RFI, now they will be very elementary, but I am not ashamed to admit that I got some wrong.I found the choice answers were mainly all correct, but some were more correct than others.
The course has genuinely taught me lots of new things, some I new already but not in the right context.

I want to get 26 out of 26, but I need nineteen to pass, that is when the learning commences

Alan, you mentioned that the Foundation is akin the the RA activity badge, this is what my assessor also said. He agreed with me that the the newer max age of 14 and a half had an effect on the take up of this activity as it was normally awarded to 15-16 Year old scouts in the past.
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Re: USA: New very basic licence?

Postby m0lsx » Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:25 pm

essexRXer wrote:I already get the impression from some that I read and others that I listen to that I will not be taken seriously if I am to pass my exam, because it seems easier or devalued to them.


That is not something I recognise. I have heard people who are not taken seriously, mainly because they use CB slang or behave in a manner that naturally never going to result in them being taken seriously.
I tried to have a QSO with someone who used CB slang to the extent it made the QSO difficult as he was using a language I did not speak or understand. He spent much of the QSO complaining about stuck up radio amateurs who would not talk to him simply because he was an M3. I in the end had to cut the QSO short as trying to talk to him & drive was simply too much like hard work.


essexRXer wrote: Alan, you mentioned that the Foundation is akin the the RA activity badge, this is what my assessor also said. He agreed with me that the the newer max age of 14 and a half had an effect on the take up of this activity as it was normally awarded to 15-16 Year old scouts in the past.


My eldest daughter gained her foundation exam aged 9, with a group of other Scouts, all 15 years old or under.
I have just been asked by a different Scout group to do some electronics & communicator badge training & help them do JOTA. So that two groups I will help at for JOTA on alternate years now.
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