NEW FCC Tests and Privilages [Archive] - Glock Talk


View Full Version : NEW FCC Tests and Privilages

12-22-2004, 12:12
Just wanted to start a thread about the FCC regs regarding the new licensing levels. Last I heard (about a year ago) the tech, tech plus, general and advanced were going away to be replaced by a kinder? and simpler? strategy.

I'd like to know when this will happen and what exactly the levels are changing to...for instance what my wife will get when she passes her first test...

Know what I mean Vern?

Let the answers

Tom B
12-22-2004, 16:19
I don't know about the upcoming rule change but I know that I have been an Advanced class since the mid 1980s and I do not want to be upgraded to Extra Lite and get some call like BB4ST! I worked for my class and attained what I wanted and it wasn't "given" to me. I don't want the "baggage" that comes with Extra Lite nowadays!

12-22-2004, 16:53
I've been a Tech since '92. It suits me because I am much too busy too do the HF thing. 2 meter is it for now. I'm a busy sys admin so I run with the humming whether its computers or rigs.

But what I really want to know is just the details of the upcoming changes. AARL has little to say and the FCC site isnt talking, at least last time I looked.

If there are changes pending you'd think they would put up a giant sign an proclaim them!!!! Here ye, here ye!

I'm cool with the Tech I have but curious about changes. So what "baggage" besides call sign changes are you reffering too!

Tom B
12-23-2004, 03:48
One of the pending rule changes is to upgrade all Advanced class holders to Extra. The theory portion of the Advanced class was much more technical (harder if you will) than the theory of the present day Extra class. Since the Advanced class is no longer obtainable people know that Advanced class holders have been in the hobby for awhile and licensed before the FCC "giveaway" ticket program thats in place now. I have had my call KJ4QJ for 20+ years and friends know me by that call on the air. In the Ham community as a whole,true or not,Extra Class holders have the stigma of being snobs or nerds. The Advanced class holders are looked upon as more blue collar technical types. Anyway those are my reasons,snobbish or not, for keeping my present ticket.

12-23-2004, 12:02
Originally posted by Tom B
In the Ham community as a whole,true or not,Extra Class holders have the stigma of being snobs or nerds. The Advanced class holders are looked upon as more blue collar technical types.

Tom, that's not really true, and it's a little un-gentlemanly of you to assert that it is.

Most Extra Class amateur radio operators are just like any other operator; ready, willing and qualified to help those starting in the hobby to advance.

Sure, there are a few Extra Class snobs...but I think you'll find a few snobs in every license class.

The purpose of the classes, with their additional privileges, was to encourage the self training of participants in the hobby, and self training is one of the reasons there is an amateur radio service on the public airwaves.

To make a statement that in "the Ham community as a whole" Extra and Advanced class license holders have the reputations you ascribed to them is a little insulting, and just plain wrong.

Mind you, if you can quote statistics to the contrary, I'll accept your statement, but I bet you can't. And if you're hanging around folks who think that way, look around...there are a lot of other amateur groups waiting for you with open arms - groups where the brotherhood and sisterhood that Hiram Percy Maxim fostered is strong and the welcome is always warm.

12-23-2004, 22:52
uhlawpup, I happen to be an extra class ham who volunteers for RACES/ARES
and teaches a course for new hams (98% success rate) I'm not a snob. I took my Advanced test without a calculator, or slide rule and scored very well. As long as hams continue to police their ranks, we can maintain a viable service
to the public, when we can't we will go the way of CB, perish the thought. People who get a ham license strictly for the ability to use radio spectrum for
personal reasons is not serving the Ham community. We have our privileges because we can provide a valuable service and as such snobbery in the ranks should be viewed upon as elitism and a lack of appreciation for those privileges. In my experience, snobbery, politics, and what's in it for me, are all too prevelent in the hobby and have no place in it. Give something back for the privilege! BTW I think code is going to go the way of the dinosaurs, so I think that policing our ranks will be tripply important.

12-24-2004, 08:22
Oh brother.

Now that the issue of elitism in the ranks of HAM operators has been run into the ground, can we get back to my original topic?



12-24-2004, 10:15
From the lastest ARRL newsletter:


The ARRL does not anticipate the FCC will offer up any proposals on the
Morse requirement and further restructuring of the Amateur Radio licensing
system until sometime in mid-2005, possibly sooner. The FCC Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau continues to review thousands of comments it
received on 18 petitions for rule making--including one from the ARRL.

The various petitions called for eliminating or altering the Morse code
requirement and changing other sections of the Amateur Service Part 97
rules, including further restructuring of the amateur licensing system.

In addition to agreeing on other changes affecting Amateur Radio, World
Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03), left the choice to require
Morse proficiency for HF access up to individual countries, and several
already have dropped Morse code as an examination requirement. That has
not yet happened in the US.

Before the FCC adopts any changes in the Morse requirement and the license
structure, it must complete its comment review, issue a Notice of Proposed
Rule Making (NPRM) reflecting its interpretation of consensus within the
amateur community based on comments received and invite further comments on the NPRM. The FCC then will review those comments before issuing a Report and Order that spells out any final rules. The ARRL does not
anticipate any changes in the Morse requirement or in other Amateur Radio
licensing requirements before 2006, possibly later.

While this rule making process is under way, no changes have been made in
the Amateur Radio Service rules. The 5 WPM Morse code requirement (Element 1) to gain HF privileges in the US remains in place, and no proposed
automatic upgrades or other rule changes have been put into effect. The
ARRL has posted answers to frequently asked questions on its own
restructuring proposals

12-25-2004, 09:09
Thanks very much! Hope you're having a very merry Christmas!

Tom B
12-26-2004, 15:00
The code requirement has alreary been changed (what 13wpm or 24wpm code tests still remain?). I suggest you go over to and do some reading and take in the Extras responses to questions.Why is it that the Extra Lites Want us Advanced class operators to upgrade so badly? It seems to be quite an agenda for them.

Tom B
12-26-2004, 15:06
Oh by the way in the 1980s Hams were very concerned that the FCC was going to take away some bands for the new wireless phones(cell). The FCC promised that would never happen.

12-31-2004, 12:54
Originally posted by Tom B
The code requirement has alreary been changed (what 13wpm or 24wpm code tests still remain?). I suggest you go over to and do some reading and take in the Extras responses to questions.Why is it that the Extra Lites Want us Advanced class operators to upgrade so badly? It seems to be quite an agenda for them.

:soap: I'll speak for Me, Myself, and I on the "extra-lite" bull**** that's going around. There ARE some extra-class hams out here that can out-CW the old 20WPM standard, myself included. Did I pass the 5 WPM version? Yessir, I sure did. Does it make a difference on my operating abilities, knowledge, or anything else to do with amateur radio? Not one damn thing. Is it my fault that when I decided to finally get a license that the requirements were such that any normal 6 year old can pass the element 1 and 2 tests with a modicum of practice????? Nope. ^2

It seems to me that you are bitter because you might have had to study a little harder than the average bear to get your 13 WPM. You might have even tried a time or ten to pass the 20 WPM and missed ever-so-slightly each and every time. Sorry! Don't be bitter at those of us that weren't REQUIRED to go through all that. As far as most of the "extra-lites", as you so unkindly refer to us, are probably concerned, CW is about as useless as black and white TV. Make the element 1 test about DIGITAL... Include RTTY, SSTV, PSK-31, and maybe even cover CW too. What you don't realize is not everyone cares about 5 WPM. If you ever hear MY call on the CW portion of ANY band, report it to the FCC! Someone is bootlegging my call!


Tom B
01-02-2005, 18:01

01-03-2005, 00:43
Originally posted by Tom B
...the extra-lite class will only cause the Ham bands to become like CB. But such is the mentality of the "me generation".

Nope - the 'extra lite' class was well behind the 'ham radio becoming CB' curve. That started in 1987.


01-03-2005, 06:52
Originally posted by RandySmith
Nope - the 'extra lite' class was well behind the 'ham radio becoming CB' curve. That started in 1987.


Gentlemen, gentlemen, please...

Since getting licensed in 1964 as a Novice, I've heard the "ham radio is going to become like CB" line quite often. First, it was because of the very existence of a Novice Class license. Then it was the no-code license. Then it was because of the lessening of the code requirement for HF. Then it was the doing away with the code requirement at all.

Amateur radio operators self-police their band allocations. The way they have done it for nearly 100 years seems to work pretty well. How? Well, first, you don't talk to the "lids." People who are ignored usually tire of their games and simply go away. Second, report egregious violations of the rules - for example, willful and harmful intereference, unlicensed operation, etc. - to the FCC's enforcement people. I have seen them in action, and they work quite well and are very effective in stopping violations that are serious in nature.

Understand that this does not work rapidly, nor is it 100% effective. It is, however, effective enough to preserve the largest portion of our frequency allocations for those hams who operate in the true spirit of the hobby and for the purposes for which we are granted privileges.

The more we police ourselves and the less we try to control what others do - leaving that to the proper authorities - the more we will enjoy the hobby and experience the brotherhood and sisterhood that is amateur radio.

I'll be slipping a handie talkie in my pocket next month and popping over to London to activate my British call for a few days. I bet I meet some nice people who are always ready to bend an elbow with a fellow ham. That's the way we should be here, too.

Just my $.02 ... YMMV.

01-04-2005, 00:30
Since getting licensed in 1964 as a Novice, I've heard the "ham radio is going to become like CB" line quite often.

Of this, I have no doubt. I have heard that claim myself, many times. What I have also heard was the 10m traffic after 1987 and the local vhf traffic after no-code (1992, IIRC). Of course, the code cannot be the only variable, 75m and 20m have always had the requirement.

10-4 this and what's your 20 that. I have qrm and qrn qro that qrp x-mitter, qsl? (yes - someone spoke "x mitter"). Sounds like a bunch of CB'ers to me - time to turn it off.

At one time I thought the hobby was worthwhile, and devoted a lot of time towards radio oriented activities. I upgraded to extra so I could become a VE and help new (and seasoned) people in the hobby. I did the VE thing from 1991 until 2000. During that time, I cannot tell you how many no-code exams (novice and tech theory) were administered and how many licenses subsequently issued because of it - so yes, I was open minded about the restructuring at that point. The changes in 2000 were the last straw. The hobby has been 'dumbed-down' to the point where I no longer want anything to do with it. I still enjoy the 'idea' of playing with radios, but that is about it.

...preserve the largest portion of our frequency allocations for those hams who operate in the true spirit of the hobby and for the purposes for which we are granted privileges.

I am glad you mentioned this - what is the 'true spirit' of the hobby? What was the purpose in granting the use of so many KHz's of radio spectrum? Answer - Further development of communications technology and the general 'art' of radio. I don't see amateur radio operators building many radios these days. It is a challange for some to open the box, plug it in, and turn it on. One day the government is going to realize amateur radio operators aren't contributing to the further development of the hobby and do something profitable with the allocated radio spectrum. Guess what? We did it to ourselves. Keep right on 'dumbing' it down.


Tom B
01-04-2005, 03:03
The bottom line is that people want to be respected for the class that they work for and attain. Under the present structure that is not the case. Read the other posters comments. He did it because it was easy and a 6 year old could do it (his words not mine). He then attempted to belittle me because I may have had to work harder or take the tests more times to attain the Advanced class. "I am bitter because I may have had to study harder" he says. So now the extra lite class is looked upon by many as not the highest class in the structure these days. So now the solution is to do away with the Advanced Class and force all into the extra lite. Problem solved the "easy" way and guess who is pushing is issue with the FCC?

01-04-2005, 05:19
Randy and Tom, you both have good points. And, unfortunately, all this ranting about this person and that person won't change things.

You cannot legislate morality, and stupidity, unfortunately, is not a capital crime. What you can do is conduct yourself so that you get the most out of the hobby and, at the same time, serve as an example of the spirit of the hobby to those who are alert enough to observe.

I, too, was a volunteer examiner. I left the corps when the FCC, at the urging of the ARRL, took away the ability of two general-class or above hams to administer the novice test outside of the VE system. This prevented many working folks from entering the hobby, as they could not get to the scheduled exam sessions run by the VE. So, in that case, I voted with my feet, too.

The best we can do is operate responsibly, obey the rules and regulations, foster international amity, and get what enjoyment out of the hobby that we can. And we should keep our skills sharp. While I can't really build radios in this new tiny-device, solid-state world, I certainly can trouble-shoot and repair, make simple antennas, and communicate well in an emergency under difficult conditions. As is being learned right now in South Asia, as we learned here in Houston during hurricane and flood, hams have their value, and those of us who train ourselves beyond what the regulations require serve our families and our community well.

Don't worry about those who can't or choose not to do so. They will either step aside, or "be stepped aside," when emergent situations occur and communications skills are needed for the good of us all.

Above all, don't try to argue with those who egregiously break the rules. Report them to the authorities, and then allow the authorities the time necessary to cure the problems. As I learned when I started my second career as a lawyer, the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind fine.

01-04-2005, 09:20
You are correct, ranting at this time won't change a thing. Of course, ranting at the time the changes were being drafted and implemented didn't prevent the changes either. The arrl - what a group that is. I am really surprised so many people kept their arrl membership. Our 'voice in congress' (the arrl) went against the membership to support and push a no-code license to the fcc. Why? Big dollars from equipment manufacturers (my theory - follow the dollar). I canceled my membership at that time and vowed never again to be part of that organization.

The requirement was one general class (or higher) licensee to administer the novice exam - it has always been one as far back as I can remember. When novice enhancement came along in 1987 (or right after) all exams were moved into the control of one of the 18 VECs. I don't think that was a good move, as it certainly took something away from the general class licensees, but, on the other hand, the lone examiners weren't being 'policed' as they should have been. I have (had - some of them are dead now) a list of over 20 people in my area that paid money to a single examiner for a novice class license. No code test nor any theory test was ever administered. These events were reported to both the arrl and the fcc at the time by myself and others who knew it was happening - to no avail. 'One bad apple', right?... Of course, there are also plenty examples of corruption within the '3-man' examiner team.

Sure, I am a little bitter that others don't have to put forth the same effort to attain the same goal. However, that is small in comparison to the damage we are doing to ourselves as a society by the continual lowering of requirements and standards - of everything - this is not limited to some silly radio license. Of course, ranting about that doesn't do any good either.


I am done.


01-04-2005, 10:13
I really don't want to fan the flames and that is not my intention here. I too earned my license by studying and getting my code proficiency to 20 wpm+.
I am a product of the Navy electronics schools back in the '60s and could reproduce schematics, the why's, and wherefores of components and passing the Extra class written would have been a cakewalk. Code however was a problem for me, I never passed 13 wpm until 1993, the 20 wpm came in 6 more months. It was a lifelong dream to have an Extra ticket and I was bound and determined to have one. People have different reasons for getting into this hobby and in general the hobby has a lot of aspects with which to occupy
attentions. With the advent of technology more modes have become available that would have been out of reach for many hams. RTTY and SSTV come to mind here. Unfortunately Morse code has gone the way of the dinosaur around the world and isn't used commercially or militarily at all. I actually shed some tears upon hearing the "dit-dits" at the conclusion of the USCG's last CW transmission. Did you hear it? That doesn't mean you can't have fun with it now. Have you checked in to a CW traffic net lately? Have you listened to the CW bands during a contest, or even just casually. It's still alive in the world's ham bands. Just because the requirements have been dumbed down doesn't inhibit someone from becoming proficient at something. go ahead and stew about it, only you'll be the worse for it.

I would ask anyone who's been a ham for a long time to tell me what it is you can't do now that you did then. Have you ever worked a satellite? How many 2M/70cm mobile rigs did you see in the '60s/'70s?

I too am a VE and was a bit dismayed at the first testing session when the code was dropped and saw all the guys for whom code was a problem show up and get their instant extra, but none of it's supposed downfallas has affected me personally. I simply go about enjoying the hobby and maybe helping someone else along the way. It's up to each one of us to make choices as to how we enjoy this hobby; when it is no longer enjoyable then maybe it's time to find something else to do. Is the grass greener......?