RADIO CW TEST - Before this goes to far

Sun Feb 25 10:01:37 EST 2007

Hi Harry,

First, welcome to the list and to HF and vintage radio!

I think much of the concern is about people who would have been "filtered
out" by some of the older licensing requirements and will contribute little
to the hobby.  I don't think this concern is at all applicable to people
like yourself who obviously have a technical interest and a real dedication
to the hobby.  Morse code requirements did filter out some people who were
best left out but it also filtered out a lot of people who will make very
good amateur radio operators.  Unfortunately there is a lot of anger over
change in general and the potential influx of people who were able to
memorize some questions and answers without expending any real effort.  But
holding a general grudge against everyone who gets a license or increased
privileges under the new rules is a case of "throwing the baby out with the
bath water".  I feel that we will gain some excellent new people in the
future and hopefully those who should drop out will do so quickly!

I will admit I am a traditionalist and I am glad as a young teenager I went
through the terror of taking license examinations at an FCC office.  Of
course I also somewhat miss the stress of my first semester in the Ph.D.
program...  I still spend much of my time on CW because I love the mode and
quite a bit of my equipment is CW only.  But I plan to give new licensees
the benefit-of-the-doubt and also keep in mind that I made mistakes during
my debut on HF.  When I got my ticket in 1974 Novices were allowed to use
VFO control instead of Xtal only like the early Novices and I calibrated the
VFO in my Viking Valiant based upon the two 40 meter crystals that came with
the rig (little knowing that the old timer I got the rig from had ground one
of the crystal plates 40 kilocycles higher than the marked value).  So my
first contact as WN5NSC was with a station in 9 land who sent in response to
my CQ, "out of the novice band".  A couple of weeks later I also held a QSO
with a faint signal on 15 meters which I kept copying as Q9MIV; we exchanged
names and signal reports and I was very happy to finally figure out that my
first DX contact as a novice was with VQ9MI in the Seychelles.  So mistakes
will be made and accidents will happen; it is mostly important that we learn
from them.  I am sure all of us who work voice DX contests have made an
error or two working split on 40 meters in order to work across the pond.

I do wish that the testing required more understanding of the nature and
scope of amateur radio in order to pass.  This is the sort of filter we
still need but it is not in keeping with societal trends.  I am a college
professor and many of my students (I teach only senior level and grad
students) are at first angry when they find out that my lecture material
does not come directly from the assigned textbook.  My standard thought and
reply is if you are paying money for someone to read the book back to you
then you are truly wasting your money.  I expect students to read and
understand the text and to also understand the additional lecture material
because what you understand you have forever, what is memorized is generally
quickly lost.

Again, welcome and I am envious of your QTH.  I go hiking in the Great
Smokies a couple of times a year and I wish I lived even closer.  The flat
land of IL does not compare to the beauty of the TN hills!

73, Rodger WQ9E

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