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ARRL License etc




     A bit of history:
     
     Way back in the dark ages of the 1960's we had effectively THREE 
     classes of license: NOVICE, TECH, and GENERAL.  There was an EXTRA 
     CLASS, but had no additional spectrum privledges.  The requirement for 
     full HF phone operation was a 13 wpm code test and a basic electronics 
     theory and operating principles test.  Novice license operators had 
     phone privledges on 2 meters.  Then in the late 60's, the FCC spoke 
     and Incentive Licensing was born.
     
     Here we are 30 years later and after tinkering with the system, we are 
     again approaching what we had 30 years ago, not something better. 
     (Anyone see any parallels with the public school system or the Federal 
     government during this same period of time ??)  We have gone to more 
     classes of license, with more restrictions and more carrots to try to 
     improve the type or quality of amateur operator.  For all of this 
     tinkering, neither the quality of amateur operator nor the technical 
     competence has improved one bit!!  The segregaton of operators by 
     license class has caused more harm than good to the hobby -- just 
     listen to a 2 meter repeater here in LA when a new ham trys to make . 
     his or her first contact.  I am disgusted by the treatment that these 
     newcomers receive!  
     
     So what is the point?  The quality of amateur operator is determined 
     by his or her self, not necessarily by some set of tests.  Most 
     operators, regardless of license class, care about how well their 
     equipment performs, and strive to be good neighbors on the amateur 
     bands.  CW testing should be a requirment to operate CW on the amateur 
     bands.  The CW test should test for the ablility to copy cw, not guess 
     at the answers.  Similarly, the ability to operate PHONE should also 
     be tested before granting this operating privledge.  Since a 
     transmitter is required in order to operate, the ablility to correctly 
     operate a transmitter should be tested.  
     
     Rather than worry about the number of license classes or the cw speed, 
     lets worry about providing new operators with the knowledge needed to 
     successfully join and shape the amateur community for the next 30 
     years.
     
     BTW, I was a ham BEFORE Incentive Licensing and wish that we could go 
     back in time and prevent it from ever being implimented.  
     
     
     Tim AA6DQ
     

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