[AMRadio] Licence Classes (was I'll vote for 7190)

D. Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Tue Nov 25 10:01:41 EST 2008

> Some folks forget this is a fraternity of like minded people. I'm still a
> member of a club that has more than a few people that are greatly 
> impressed
> with their "superior" license class....the club is dying.... I wonder why?
> I'd use a stronger term but this is an open list. Those who ignore 
> licensees
> "lower" than themselves miss so much of the hobby. Some of the best MARS 
> ops
> are...TECHs!  MARS is class blind, my son is a Novice class and would have
> had the same full spectrum priviledges as I do had he stayed in and become 
> a
> full member.   So ignore 'em and have fun...
> BTW, some of the biggest LIDS are Extras
> George  WA8SCO
> ---
> Unfortunately that sentiment is NOT felt by all.

I have held Extra Class since 1963.

When I first heard that the FCC had approved the proposed vanity callsign 
system, I considered replacing my original callsign with a W4 1X2.  At one 
time I did hold a W1 1X2 in the days when the FCC allowed secondary station 
licences.  The 1X2 had long been prestigious because it was thought of as 
representing above average technical competence and many years of experience 
as a licensed amateur. But I was reluctant to give up my present callsign, 
which I have held since 1959.  I am the original holder of the call; any 
"vanity" 1X2 would be a re-issued dead man's call. But an incident on 160 
metres was the straw that broke the camel's back and made me decide once and 
for all to keep my long-time original callsign.

I regularly operated 160m AM on 1885 +/- QRM, working other AM stations all 
over North America.  It wasn't a net, nor did we claim to "own" the 
frequency, but that had evolved into a gathering place for AM'ers on 160 
ever since LORAN was shut down and the FCC returned (most of) the old 160m 
band back to amateurs in the early 1980's.

Then one winter a number of years ago, a new group decided to lay claim to a 
frequency a couple of kHz above where we normally operated.  If those 
stations were on frequency first, I would always operate far enough away 
that we wouldn't interfere with each other, but if the frequency was clear, 
I would fire up on 1885.  But that new group quickly decided that we AM'ers 
were infringing on "their " frequency, and even when we had already been in 
contact for hours, they would come right on, to a frequency just 2 kHz away 
from our existing QSO, and then proceed to complain bitterly about the "AM 
QRM" we were causing, when the band might be totally vacant 15 kHz in either 

I listened to that group a few times, and it became obvious that they were 
newly licensed, with the CB lingo still abounding in their conversations. 
I tried to join them one evening to explain that AM stations all over North 
America had been operating near that frequency for years, and while no-one 
"owns" a frequency, that they could expect to hear heterodyne QRM  and upper 
sideband splatter when operating that close to us, that it would be much 
easier if they would start up their group just a few more kHz away, and that 
I would do the same whenever they were on the air first.  That only drew an 
angry response that this was the frequency they had chosen for their nightly 
get-together, and that they had no intention of moving, come hell or high 
water.  So I just decided that if they could put up with the QRM, so could 
I, and simply ignored the splatter when they would fire up next to our 
ongoing QSO.

As a shining example of their technical competence, one night I decided to 
tune around the band after finishing a QSO with Tom, W4UOC in Atlanta. I 
overheard  one of the operators in that group make the remark, "The guy in 
Atlanta was running regular AM.  But that guy in Tennessee (me) WAS RUNNING 
AM AND SINGLE-SIDEBAND AT THE SAME TIME. I don't know how he does it, but I 
am pretty sure that's illegal."

Within days after the vanity calls became available, every member of that 
group showed up on the usual frequency, sporting a brand new W4 1X2 
callsign. That proved to me once and for all, that both the Extra class 
licence and the 1X2 callsign format had lost what significance they might 
ever have had, so I decided to hold on to my original callsign.

Don k4kyv 

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