[AMRadio] Petition Pending

Todd, KA1KAQ ka1kaq at gmail.com
Wed Jun 22 09:56:45 EDT 2005

On 6/21/05, Anthony W. DePrato <wa4jqs at mikrotec.com> wrote:
> >  incentive licensing is a joke and no longer serves any useful
> > purpose.  Plus, from the outset, it never achieved its original purpose:
> > to improve the technical expertise of the amateur community.
> >
> >Don K4KYV
> AMEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

A lot of folks complained that CW was only meant to keep people out
who would otherwise be great hams. Other than the aspect of CW getting
through in times of emergency when nothing else would, I always saw it
as more of a test of someone's determination to become a ham - not
their knowledge of electronics. If you have to work for something to
acheive it, you're much more likely to do so because you *want* to do
it, not simple because it's available to you if you want to bother.

When the Amateur Radio Retail Lobby was producing all of those
articles in QST in favor of the No-Code techs (Mike and Wally or
whatever), it was clear that their intention was to sell more stuff,
not to benefit ham radio in general. The constant inclusion of lines
like "Mike became a ham by using the ARRL's Now You're Talking manual"
or "he was able to find such and such by using the ARRL Repeater
Directory" or "Wally's wife is studying for her license with the ARRL
License Guide" and so on served to praise the No Code techs while
bashing the OTs for not being understanding or compasionate enough to
give the new guy a chance. Really, they were nothing but than more
ads. A few years after the No Code craze there was an article somwhere
with numbers of those still involved after getting licensed. No Code
techs had the lowest renewal rate, IIRC.

My theory is, when you hand a person something instead of making them
work to earn it, they're a whole lot less likely to really want it,
muchless appreciate it. And while I was licensed under the incentive
licensing scheme and it did work to spur me on, I'd much rather see a
real exam to test someone's knowledge and determination to be part of
ham radio rather than a multiple guess format that can be memorized
with enough time. Those little diagrams I had to draw to demonstrate
my knowledge of a certain circuit didn't scare me away or scar me for

I also think they only thing that will 'save' amateur radio will be
more hands-on involvement by active hams giving something back through
public service, school visits, or other demonstrations. Giving away
licenses hasn't done it, and won't. Today's radio gear resembles the
computers, video game consoles, cellphones and stereo gear kids use on
a daily basis, so even that is a tough sell. Show them some glowing
tubes and meters with needles dancing around and their eyes light up.
Something about sending your voice across the country or around the
world without the aid of connected wires still has appeal. You're not
going to get every kid, or even a lot of them, but when was that ever
the case?

~ Todd, KA1KAQ

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