[AMRadio] Extra Class


Frank J. Mercurio w9fm at sbcglobal.net
Mon Sep 28 19:32:16 EDT 2009


My mentors in ham radio were extra class licensees of the '50s! (W9ZMV 
and W9CSE)  They were both graduates of my high school in the late '40s 
and early '50s!  They had been members of our school's radio club!  They 
taught us basic theory and FCC rules during my time in high school! 

Jim, W9ZMV was a broadcast engineer and Joe W9CSE was a teacher at DeVry 
Tech in Chicago!

Our radio club moderator then was Father Ed Robinson, now W5QXS, a 
Dominican Priest with whom I still communicate most Saturday mornings on 
20Meter SSB (sorry am guys)!  The AM saving grace here is that our radio 
club then operated stations consisting of a BC610E and SX42 and our 
novice position used an ARC-5 transmitter on 80 meters with a BC-348 
receiver! (:-)

However, while I was still in 8th grade,  my "elmer" ,W9JSF, Carl, a 
neighbor in Oak Park, Illinois (a colonel in the Salvation Army!),  
encouraged me to go for my general as he was mailing the request for the 
novice license exam materials in early 1957!   I continued CW practice 
and went for the general at 826 US Courthouse Building, Chicago,  
Illinois in March of 1957!  I passed the exam and received my general 
ticket in May of '57 ...  quite an oddball at the time... a guy with a 
general class license and never a novice!

In 1963,  I took the commercial ticket exams on Thursday and the extra 
class exam on Friday, again at 826 US Courthouse Building, Chicago, 
Illinois!

I received my First Class Radiotelephone and Amateur Extra Class tickets 
then! 

BTW, in 1963,  we still had to draw and analyze schematics ... for both 
tests!!!!

My extra class ticket effort was a matter of pride ...  one of those 
things I had to do to show my elmer and mentors that their efforts on my 
behalf were appreciated!

Frank, W9FM (Proud owner of a BC610F and R390A and other stuff!!)

D. Chester wrote:
> The big difference between Extra class of  to-day and the one of the 50's is 
> that back then it  really was something "extra".  It afforded no additional 
> operating privileges beyond the General, so the only reward was pride of 
> accomplishment and a nice certificate to hang on the wall.  The callbook 
> listings didn't even show licence class IIRC.
>
> To-day's Extra is mandatory to enjoy full amateur privileges.  Especially 
> since Advanced Class was discontinued, unless you take the Extra class exam, 
> your operating privileges are substantially restricted. The reward for 
> passing the Extra is something completely different now, so we shouldn't 
> expect the test to be close to the same thing it was back then.
>
> The name is somewhat deceiving; it ought to be re-named from "Extra", to 
> something like "Full Licence", with the General re-named something like 
> "Restricted Licence", and the Technician should be renamed "Communicator 
> Class".
>
> And I don't understand why some people get their knickers in a twist 
> whenever the topic of to-day's ham radio exams and privileges vs what old 
> timers remember theirs were like when they first got on the air.
>
> Don k4kyv 
>
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