[AMRadio] Phone band expansion gone off topic

Jim Wilhite w5jo at brightok.net
Sat Oct 14 12:48:23 EDT 2006

Some where around here I have a mid 1970s license manual.  The last time I 
looked at it, the Advance question pool was about 75 questions and the extra 
had 90.

As a former technical person, I liked the old tests because they did not ask 
me how long a VE or VEC had to forward paperwork to the FCC.  They did not 
ask something about Earth Stations.  But I had to know how to read a meter, 
calculate parallel/series resistance, what antennas do what.  The same 
information is in the pools today, just in a different format.

What they did do is cover the basics in the General, apply further technical 
language in the Advanced and even further in the Extra.  In all of them were 
rules and regulations to assure the applicant knew where they could operate 
and with what mode.

Prior to the 1980s code was the preferred method of emergency communications 
because of reliability.  Today that is fluid.  There are much faster ways to 
communicating written messages and instructions now in use.  With it came 
the less emphasis on code.

Now I consider anyone who holds the Extra as my equal.  The fine points of 
working on gear, understanding intercept points, adjacent channel 
interference. over modulation/key clicks is not for everyone.  The reason - 
most of our time on the air is fellowship, comradeship and just having a 
good time.  It is when any of the various governmental agencies need 
communication that we really are needed.

Learn the workings of what ever mode you like and become an expert, but most 
of all be ready to help and cooperate in times of emergencies.  That is our 
primary justification of having frequencies.  One other point, the number of 
licensees has increased over the years.  Who cares if they are 15 or 50. 
Many people who near retirement are discovering the enjoyment of radio and 
what you are allowed to accomplish.  Eventually those youngsters will 
discover the magic or Ham Radio.

73  Jim

> Tom, your discourse on the no code licensing was great.  I have never 
> looked down at a n/c Extra as being inferior, except in jest, but I can 
> remember having one hell of a time getting my code speed up past 20wpm at 
> the same time I had the theory down pat.  They never seemed in sync.  I 
> never had to earn my living in the electronics business so the theory was 
> often Greek to me, still is.  But understand that a lot of Extras that did 
> have to pass the 20 wpm requirement feel that the FCC or ARRL sold them 
> down the river by eliminating it.  Lets face it, the ARRL is really 
> concerned that the Ham Radio hobby is going downhill and that means less 
> sales of product and magazines and they decided that n/c would give the 
> hobby a shot in the arm. They were wrong but it is too late to double 
> back.  This hobby is indeed rounding the last turn and the finish line is 
> within sight.  Deny this all you want but go to a hamfest and count the 
> young hams.  You won't need to even take off your shoes.  I usually go to 
> Dayton at least 3 out 5 years and this year the Hamvention attendance was 
> under 20,000.  It used to take more than a day to go through the flea 
> market, it was less than 60% full this year and I'll bet that it is even 
> smaller next year.  Another indicator of the state of this hobby is the 
> infamous QST magazine.  There are issues that contain nothing interesting 
> to hams that have been in the hobby for any length of time.  If you scan 
> the Sept issue you can learn how to make a straight key from a door hinge, 
> how to make a UPS that you can buy ready made for under $75 that works 
> better, revisit a extended double zepp that has been in the ARRL Handbook 
> for the last 20 years, a product review of a radio that nobody buys, and a 
> frequency counter.  Then comes the final insult; the biggest advertiser in 
> the magazine offers junk for sale, a lot of which are direct copies of 
> other manufacturers' product that are higher priced at least partly 
> because they don't employ prison inmate labor.
> All this verbiage are my opinions on the state of hobby.  Yours may be 
> different, probably are.
> Have a good day, see on the bands for as long as we have them.
> Bob  W6TR

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