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'FWIW [OT] - The ultimate Corrective Services.'
2000\01\02@214028 by paulb

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Keelan Lightfoot wrote:

> This new system would make for smoother path to 'HF freedom', but I
> think the time spent working through the upgrade tiers gives the new
> amateur respect of the airwaves.

> I worry that amateur radio will becode another CB radio, full of lids
> with no useful information to offer.

 This is a fascinating old "Ham" chestnut.  It is purported that an
operator who is technically proficient - i.e., perfectly competent in
radio theory and regulations, capable of building and maintaining
equipment - is automatically some sort of "CB-Band" sociopath, but one
who has learnt Morse code is automatically a gentleman.

 Those VHF bands sure are vulgar places, aren't they?

 This astounding social principle being the case, would it not make
urgent sense to start teaching Morse Code in jails?  Parole conditional
on achevement of 30 wpm.  *Surely* this is the social engineering
miracle for which society has been waiting?
--
 Cheers,
       Paul B.

2000\01\02@222248 by William Chops Westfield

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> I worry that amateur radio will becode another CB radio, full of lids
> with no useful information to offer.

I remember this prediction when the code requirement was removed from the
"bottom" levels of radio licensing as well.  Did it happen?  (I have no
idea, not ever having been willing to learn code before that, and infinitely
busy since the removal of the requirement.)

For that matter, has CB radio even maintained that unpleasant state?  Seems
to me that that was a relatively brief fad, long since over.

The exams are pretty pathetic as a screening device.  Anyone capable of
programming PICs ought to be able to pass all but the legally-oriented
sections without ANY specific studying...

BillW

2000\01\02@232349 by Sean Breheny

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Hi Paul,

Well, the point is NOT that Morse code knowledge makes you a gentleman, BUT
that there needs to be some hurdle to overcome in order to get an amateur
license. As Bill said, the technical part of the exams is patheticly easy
to pass (and the regulations portion is not much harder). SO, I would not
be surprised if the number of CB-types in amateur radio increased if the
last great barrier (CW) was removed.

I think the best thing for the hobby would be to return to tougher written
exams, combined with introducing some newer technology (even more important).

I must admit that I have done VERY little amateur operating in the last
couple of years, mostly because I no longer have the time (nor the desire)
to just rag chew. However, if there were more electronics hobbists and
experimenters on the bands,though, I might become more involved.

Sean

At 10:05 AM 1/3/00 +1100, Paul B. Webster VK2BZC wrote:
{Quote hidden}

| Sean Breheny
| Amateur Radio Callsign: KA3YXM
| Electrical Engineering Student
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2000\01\03@001640 by Keelan Lightfoot

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>> This new system would make for smoother path to 'HF freedom', but I
>> think the time spent working through the upgrade tiers gives the new
>> amateur respect of the airwaves.
>
>> I worry that amateur radio will becode another CB radio, full of lids
>> with no useful information to offer.
>
>  This is a fascinating old "Ham" chestnut.  It is purported that an
>operator who is technically proficient - i.e., perfectly competent in
>radio theory and regulations, capable of building and maintaining
>equipment - is automatically some sort of "CB-Band" sociopath, but one
>who has learnt Morse code is automatically a gentleman.

I like to think i'm not an old "ham" yet.

What i'm saying is that learning 'the code' shows that a person has a little
more commitment to the hobby, and probably won't abuse their priveliges
because they had to work hard to get them. The theory questions in the exam
are no longer a test of a person's skills, but rather a test of their
ability to go out and copy of the FCC question bank and memorize it.

>  Those VHF bands sure are vulgar places, aren't they?

I wouldn't know, I can't afford a VHF radio yet :) I know that the
conversations held on the HF bands can get pretty stupid some times. I heard
a conversation one night on 80m -- A guy was giving gun tips to his buddy.
Things like "I sleep with the safety off" and "If you find someone in your
house, *don't call the police*. Make them go outside and lay in the
ditch..." *Brilliant* advice.

>  This astounding social principle being the case, would it not make
>urgent sense to start teaching Morse Code in jails?  Parole conditional
>on achevement of 30 wpm.  *Surely* this is the social engineering
>miracle for which society has been waiting?

There's a lot of difference between the HF bands and general society, Paul.
I don't need to tell you that.

- Keelan Lightfoot
VE7NCR

2000\01\03@002052 by Jeff King

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Keelan Lightfoot wrote:

>
>
> What i'm saying is that learning 'the code' shows that a person has a little
> more commitment to the hobby, and probably won't abuse their priveliges
> because they had to work hard to get them.

>  I know that the
> conversations held on the HF bands can get pretty stupid some times. I heard
> a conversation one night on 80m -- A guy was giving gun tips to his buddy.
> Things like "I sleep with the safety off" and "If you find someone in your
> house, *don't call the police*. Make them go outside and lay in the
> ditch..." *Brilliant* advice.

These guys passed at least a 13wpm code test. Great filter.

-Jeff

2000\01\03@005618 by Keelan Lightfoot

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>These guys passed at least a 13wpm code test. Great filter.

Without the 13wpm test, how many more will there be?

-Keelan Lightfoot
VE7NCR

2000\01\03@092844 by M. Adam Davis

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Well, look at the commercial aspect.  Right now it still takes time and
money to operate in the HAM bands, much more of both than it does to
operate CB.

Assuming that lots of people do move into HAM because of this, the cost
of equipment will go down.  IF some assumptions are correct and the
bands become cluttered with 'undesirables'  (according to certian
personal views) then the governing authority may create a few more
harder to get licences.

Right now many people believe HAM radio needs a shot in the arm.  There
are MANY 'gentlemanly' EE types and others who would join the HAM ranks
if it didn't take so much time to learn morse code at higher speeds.
Now that that hurdle is lowered I think you will find a lot of great
people will join.  The 5wpm morse requirement is still enough to stop
lazy people who would generally cause a problem.

Besides, it's about time I got my license, I would love to start doing
radio electronics with fewer restrictions...

-Adam

Sean Breheny wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2000\01\03@124028 by Quitt, Walter

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Imagine someone sending at 5wpm in the Extra only band
segments?  Unless they are DX, no one will bother to
communicate with them.

I've already been studying for my Advanced.  After over
25 years as a General, it is about time!  I've got 4 short
months now to do it.

BTW: 13wpm wasn't THAT hard.  20wpm seens pretty hard,
but I did get to 23wpm, years ago.  Many can't do 20wpm
but I know many that can do 13wpm.

"I like CW,"  some people don't.

-Walt WA6FEC


-----Original Message-----
From: Keelan Lightfoot [keelanspamKILLspamMAIL.BZZZZZZ.COM]
Sent: Sunday, January 02, 2000 10:44 PM
To: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: FWIW [OT] - The ultimate Corrective Services.


>These guys passed at least a 13wpm code test. Great filter.

Without the 13wpm test, how many more will there be?

-Keelan Lightfoot
VE7NCR

2000\01\03@131206 by Don Hyde

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SNIP

What i'm saying is that learning 'the code' shows that a person has a little
more commitment to the hobby, and probably won't abuse their priveliges
because they had to work hard to get them.

SNIP

Personally, I found that theory galling in 1967 or so when, after much
effort and expense to travel to an FCC testing facility, I flunked the 13
WPM for a general.

I loved building radios and wanted to make more of them.  As a novice, I
traded 2 or 3 QSL cards and got very bored with that, and enjoyed some of my
rag chewing sessions, but face-to-face at a club meeting was easier and more
enjoyable.  What I really liked was building stuff.

So I quit ham radio in frustration.  To me, it felt like most of the ham
radio community was in some kind of time-warp, stuck in the 1920's when it
was a real accomplishment to pound a few dots and dashes to distant places
-- and it was when you had to wind your own coils to do it.  But to order a
couple of boxes from a catalog and then learn an arcane and obsolete skill
to play with them just seemed silly to me.

So it's been over 30 years since I was a ham.  In the meantime (as a
computer programmer, no less), I've built radios for a living at two
different places, because doing it for a living was a lot more interesting
than playing silly games with off-the-shelf radios.

So I heartily approve of dumping the code altogether, outlawing ready-made
radios, and moving ham radio back to its technical roots.  Any kind of
modulation on any legal band, the weirder the better, as long as you built
it yourself.  That might even save the hobby.

2000\01\03@133053 by Peter L. Berghold

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On Mon, Jan 03, 2000 at 12:09:16PM -0600, Don Hyde wrote:
>
> So I heartily approve of dumping the code altogether, outlawing ready-made
> radios, and moving ham radio back to its technical roots.  Any kind of
> modulation on any legal band, the weirder the better, as long as you built
> it yourself.  That might even save the hobby.

Hear Hear! I do, however, feel that *some* nominal regulation should be
enforced to prevent people from doing things that harm themselves and others.

For instance, not everyone should be allowed to put up an SPS-40 air search
radar in their back yard.  (I'm being absurd to make a point!) I tend to also
believe that having exams of some sort and licensing folk that want to modulate
the airwaves is a good idea.

I like the idea that not everyone can be a ham today. I saw what happened to
CB back in the mid 70's and don't participate in CB as a result.

On the other hand, I too got very frustrated with trying to learn Morse Code
fast enough to graduate out of Novice. After several failed attempts I gave
up on ham altogether.  I would have liked to have participated in RTTY and
freinds and had some ideas in those days on how to use "glass ttys" instead
of printers.  Never got to try them out...

Oh well...

--
-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
Peter L. Berghold                        EraseMEPeterspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTBerghold.Net
"Linux renders ships                     http://www.berghold.net
NT renders ships useless...."

2000\01\03@192258 by Nick Taylor

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I very much agree with Don's last paragraph ... amateur radio needs
to go back to the basics!

In the '50s I got a conditional ... got a BC-348 from MARS and built
a phasing SSB transmitter ... operated as DL4UY ... then as K6IPD.
Replaced the old tx with one using a Collins mechanical filter and
bought an SX-101 ... it was still a lot of fun.  Moved and became
K5YTO ... was very active on 40 and 20 ... built a couple of 80M
mobile AM transmitters and receivers ... had a lot of fun.  Then the
BUY bug bit ... bought a KWM-2, an external VFO, and a 30L-1 ...
and quickly got tired of just talking ... played with RTTY ... even
got a couple of articles published in CQ ... but by the mid '60s
all the magic was gone, and haven't keyed a mic nor banged a key
since.  When I occasionally listen now on the ham bands what I mostly
hear are a bunch of old farts bragging about the new Yakamuchi
transceiver they just bought and how great it is ... nothing about
how to squeeze that last watt out of a pair of 807s or how to use
a PIC to automate the station.  As it is now amateur radio is little
more than high power Citizen's Band with a VFO.  If the rules were
changed to only allow homebrew equipment I'd be back on the air in
a New York minute!

- Nick -


Don Hyde wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2000\01\03@195626 by Quitt, Walter

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I wonder if my rebuilding of R-390s
sorta counts for "homebrewing?"  Gotta
make, find, borrow or steal to keep
them "glowing?"

I am sure my 16C65A based keyer I designed,
coded and built counts.

Building wire HF antennas (with all those
damn radials and ground matts) must surely
count too.

The point is: that unless you have some
professional (read big bucks) come and set
your station up, you'll never get on the air.

After much reading and messing around, I now
know why I need to do what I have to do to
get a decent signal out on HF.

Code or no code, ya gotta be able to make the
stuff work.  Sure you can buy a Yaesukenwoodcom
and read the operating instructions.  But with out
the techincal know how, you will not produce
a signal that goes too far.

That's partly why you take the tests.  It shows
you have a vague idea of how the stuff oughta
work.

MHO, Walt WA6FEC

{Original Message removed}

2000\01\03@233915 by William K. Borsum

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At 04:22 PM 1/3/00 -0800, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Been reading the mail on this thread--and reminiscing at bit--
A buddy could copy code at 60 WPM.  I got to about 10 and hit a plateau
that I just couldn't get over.  Been a Tech since day one back in the 60's,
and have relatives with K6 + 2 character call signs at the low end of the
alphabet.  Really enjoyed working the service nets, emergency support and
other things that helped people.

I remember talking from San Diego to LA on 2-meters using a grid-dip meter
for a transmitter--ah the good old days.

Still use my ARRL handbooks from the old days since they explained the
basic theory--not just put a bunch of parts in the bag with the
shake-n-bake and cook for 1/2 hour.

Guess I'm just an old OM.

Enjoy it while it lasts.
Kelly (N0HGT ex WB6GNO--licensed but inactive because of the BS mentioned
above)


William K. Borsum, P.E. -- OEM Dataloggers and Instrumentation Systems
<borsumspamspam_OUTdascor.com> & <http://www.dascor.com>San Diego, California, USA

2000\01\04@001201 by paulb

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William Chops Westfield wrote, back in the '70s as far as I read it:

> I remember this prediction when the code requirement was removed from
> the "bottom" levels of radio licensing as well.  Did it happen?

 Consensus here seems to be "NO".

> For that matter, has CB radio even maintained that unpleasant state?
>  Seems to me that that was a relatively brief fad, long since over.

 Well now, (speaking for the main cities of this country) that depends
on whether you mean the in-band use of it by Jimmy-down-the-street, in
which case it's the most dreadful pit of foul language and age-
commensurate IQ, or perhaps the die-hard out-of-band piracy which
*might* be more select, but I frankly see no mechanism as to why.

> The exams are pretty pathetic as a screening device.  Anyone capable
> of programming PICs ought to be able to pass all but the legally-
> oriented sections without ANY specific studying...

 Indeed they should, but then how many listmembers here would you say
you *wouldn't* like to encounter on the HF bands?  I think that makes
the point adequately, and I'm sure it's what you meant.

Sean Breheny wrote/ replied:

> Well, the point is NOT that Morse code knowledge makes you a
> gentleman,

 OK, but that *is* the oft-implied and rather bizarre suggestion.

> BUT that there needs to be some hurdle to overcome in order to get an
> amateur license.

 So what is there about a Morse test that fits it to the task?

> As Bill said, the technical part of the exams is patheticly easy to
> pass (and the regulations portion is not much harder). SO, I would not
> be surprised if the number of CB-types in amateur radio increased if
> the last great barrier (CW) was removed.

 So you are in fact saying then that the VHF bands are now full of
heathen CB-types because you don't have to do CB to get in there.  This
*is* the case, is it?

> I think the best thing for the hobby would be to return to tougher
> written exams, combined with introducing some newer technology (even
> more important).

 Keelan's cameo of the quality of intellectual discussion noted on the
HF (Morse proficiency required) bands, and reminds me of the fact that
one of the wildest "CB" pirates in this state went on to get not a
Limited, but a Full call and subsequently became involved as one of the
principal protagonists in a *very* unpleasant political fraas in the
State branch of the Amateur representative body.

> I must admit that I have done VERY little amateur operating in the
> last couple of years, mostly because I no longer have the time (nor
> the desire) to just rag chew.

 But frankly, the *big* problem in Amateur Radio at present is that it
is no longer relevant.  If you thought it was, you'd be in there doing
something and you'd *find* the time.

> However, if there were more electronics hobbists and experimenters on
> the bands, though, I might become more involved.

 There's the point.  I use this list as an example (to Amateurs to whom
I speak).  On this list I converse with (the) people who really *are*
doing something with (modern-day) electronics.  This is where it's at.
The archetypal (radio) Amateur is not an electronics engineer, not doing
anything with the craft.  You want engineers, you come here.  This is
where Sean is, and this is why.  There aren't that many such people
active on A-R as it has very little to offer them.  Sure, they have lots
to offer A-R, but it's a strictly one-way traffic.

 It used to be otherwise.

Keelan Lightfoot wrote:

> I like to think i'm not an old "ham" yet.

 Sorry, I missed your age.  Twenty-something? ;-)

> What i'm saying is that learning 'the code' shows that a person has a
> little more commitment to the hobby, and probably won't abuse their
> priveliges because they had to work hard to get them.

 Yes, but who actually *wants* that particular commitment?  The
commitment to spend hours on end talking drivel?  What's it good for?

 And again, just *where* is this evidence of abuse of the Amateur bands
beyond the fertile (full of manure?) imaginations of the paranoid
defenders of the Code?

> The theory questions in the exam are no longer a test of a person's
> skills, but rather a test of their ability to go out and copy of the
> FCC question bank and memorize it.

 And CW is *not* a memory test?

>>  Those VHF bands sure are vulgar places, aren't they?
> I wouldn't know, I can't afford a VHF radio yet :)

 Well, apart from pirates who don't bother with a license in the first
place, and a few loonies we have had who were in many cases anyway,
fully licensed, VHF is pretty much like HF.

 {Snipped cameo counter to his own argument}

> There's a lot of difference between the HF bands and general society,
> Paul.  I don't need to tell you that.

 Well, look, is the difference due to Morse code, in which case the VHF
bands will be totally lawless, or is it because there are *tests,*
however straightforward, required to enter the Amateur bands in general?
--
 Cheers,
       Paul B.

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