[AMRadio] Viking 1


Donald Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Mon Dec 21 13:44:55 EST 2015


> Might as well try to educate. I always thought the license was a learners
permit.

> Pat
> wa4tuk

Originally, Extra Class  went well beyond the learner's permit. It was a
certificate of achievement indicating a minimum period of experience as a
licensed amateur, two years as I recall, plus a degree of competency (20 wpm
code plus a written test  of about the same  degree of difficulty as the
First Class Radiotelephone). That is no longer true.  The tenure and code
requirements have been dropped entirely, and verbatim correct answers to
test questions are openly published in advance. Extra class is now nothing
more the licence upgrade required to enjoy full amateur privileges.

Essentially, the original concept of Extra Class has been discontinued, as
the FCC apparently  decided it wasn't worth their time, money and resources
to maintain a certificate program that was little more than a stroke to the
ego for the holder to display on the wall.  Extra Class no longer means the
licensee is anything  "extra" or special; he has merely passed the written
requirement for full amateur privileges.

The General Class  no  longer conveys "general" operating privileges in the
sense of the dictionary definition of the word; it conveys limited operating
privileges that leave a substantial portion of lower-frequency HF spectrum
inaccessible.  

The Technician no longer indicates a technically-oriented ham whose primary
interest is experimentation at the upper-frequency fringes of radio
technology (VHF, UHF, microwave); it has become an entry level ticket with
very limited operating privileges, a rather ill-fitting substitute for the
old Novice; the vast majority of licensees (if they ever get on the air at
all) primarily communicate, not experiment, almost entirely with ready-made
purchased equipment, often if not mostly, via repeaters.  

The licence classes should be re-named to more closely reflect the
privileges they actually convey, something like "Full Licence", "Limited
Licence" and "Communicator Class", or simply "Class A, B and C", dropping
the currently obsolete and misleading titles.  This has been proposed
numerous times in petitions to the FCC, but the Commission has steadfastly
refused to consider such action.

Don k4kyv



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