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Re: ARRL License Restructuring Proposal

In a message dated 98-07-22 12:08:37 EDT, you write:

<< 	> It gives all the Advance Class operators the opportunity to
 upgrade to 	   Class A or Extra with just a written test. No code
 additional code 	   requirement IE: 20 wpm not needed.
 	In this day and age of local school districts, state and national
 education policies makers raising a stink about National Testing
 standards in our public school system. The ARRL policy makers find it
 necessary to reduce and eliminate standards for  Amateur Radio. What has
 happened is the rule makers have compressed the window of competency and
 skill requirements to keep Ham radio alive. 
 	When the NO-Code Tech license was proposed the concern was the
 VHF-UHF bands and the lack of use of 220Mhz., 440 Mhz. 1.2 Ghz.. In 1992
 there was a massive migration of Citizen Band want to be Hams entered the
 2 meter band. At that time Amateur Radio was enjoying a 10 % growth rate
 for Tech's and higher. Even then the bands were busy with activity and
 The KNOW Code Tech had interest in up-grading. Many No-code Tech's did up
 grade and the system worked.
 Now here we go again lets lower the competency bar really jam up the HF
 Spectrum especially with the next Sun spot cycle around the corner. 
 I have something to gain from this proposed rule change. In fact the
 majority of current hams are no-code Tech's they have everything to gain.
 I earned my ticket the old fashion way... I earned it!  From Novice on up
 to Advance.
 I think lowering the competency requirement is not good. It will have a
 negative impact on the quality of operator.
 Just a few thoughts from an educators point of view. No one has to accept
 them only respect them, please. :)
 Tony KF2EZ
 Co-Trustee and Owner of the 147.105 MHZ. Repeater Syracuse, NY
 B.S. Degree- Vocational-Technical Education
 Graduate from State University of New York College at Oswego, NY

I think that you and many others are mising the boat on this.  It has nothing
at all to do with maintaining standards.  As far as our comngressional leaders
are concerned -- and regardlerss of the dogma put out by the ARRL -- we are
viewed as nothing more than tinkerers that are sitting on a lot of valuable
electromagnetic spectrum.  

Every Hz. -- from DC to light -- and beyond -- has a specific dollar value.
If it can be taken from hams and sold to the highest bidder -- it means
billions of dollars to the government.  

Even though I was not at the recent VEC meeting a number of friends were.
There, the FCC told the VEC's to make ready for a simplified new ham radio
structure,  And the FCC folks made it adamantly clear that THEY -- not "we" --
would be making the changes that THEY see as necessary.  

The FCC has said it is preparing a document (NPRM).  It will not say what is
contained there-in but there is strong SPECULATION that it will dictate three
license classes; minimal cw testing (if any) at all and simplified written

The did tell the VEC's that when the document is brought out as an NPRM that
they will NOT accept NEGATIVE commntary on it.

As I remember from my interview with educator Gorsdon West WB6NOA,  the FCC
told the VEC's that "...hams do a good job of telling the FCC what they do not
want but this tiim they have to do a good job telling the FCC what they do
want because (snip)...the FCC will only mildly tweak what they bring out
before enacting it."

I think the ARRL proposal (and it has not been filed to the FCC as a proposal
-- yet) -- is a preemptive strike.  Its the ARRL posturing itelf politically
for its members -- and rightly so.  As a member I would expect them to do no

The ARRL is telling the FCC -- and congress -- that we hams want to at least
retain our technical competance.  The problem is that the FCC is under
congressional pressure to 'dumb down" all aspects of telecommunications so
that all is available to the lowest common cdenominator.  As such, I really
expect the FCC edict to be a lot more 'liberal' than what the ARRL is
proposing.  (Remember back just 3 years ao when Mrs. Clinton proposed giving
free cellular telephones to the homeless?)

Since all of this is on the congressionally mandated "Fast Track" initiative
-- the same as the varrious foreign trade agreements the government is seeking
-- you can expect that by January 1, 1999 -- ham radio is going to change -- a
lot.  It will be far easier to access by the masses (though not with free
radio gear). 

it is "warm bodies" in a database that is the singular thing that the FCC --
and more important - what congress is interested in.  As such, I venture that
a year from now you will see "ham radio" or whatever we are known by at that
point -- become an American "buzz word."  Or, at least on its way to becoming
such.  That is, "if" the American public can be made to be captivated by the

The long term goal of the FCC? Ill go out on a limb.  I believe its probably
2,000,000 service licensees by 2005 or we start loosing valuable spectrum --
pribably from the highest -- read that as most valuable microwave spectrum --
on down.  

And no band will be safe.  Look how Guatemala has kicked their hams off the 70
cm band and sold it out from under them.  It can happen here too.

What our government is about to do is to pull ham radio -- kicking and
screaming its right to retain the past -- into the 21st century.  We are not
being given any choice at all.  We either accept it -- or we find a new hobby.
The government sees only the specter of millions of new people taking our
place if we walk.  If those millions of new service users do not appear -- and
very quickly -- then you might want to consider needlepoint.  You cannot have
ham radio without ham radio bands on which to operate.  

I know that may of you are idealists who believe that we hams control our own
destiny.  The reality is that we no longer do.  We have only one ham with any
power at all left at the FCC -- and -- again putting ARRL dogma aside -- no
friends -- or power in congress.  

One of the things I get to do almost every day is read the AP and Reuter wires
at work.  I learned a long time ago that congress has told the FCC -- in no
uncertain terms -- that the agency must justify every penny it spends -- and
justify the dollar value of every Hz. of spectrum it administers.  It must
explain why each user entity is there -- and in dollars and cents -- what that
user entity is contributing to the US treasury.  

Ham radio is not exempt.  If we are lucky, we will not be completely
descimated.  But its time to accept the reality that we are noting special in
the eyes of the FCC or congress -- even though we like to think that we are.

Please pardon any typos.

Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF
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