Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Far from giving us (as some of our "regulatory fundamentalists" note) a lot of "freedom" to do such things as operate with high power and built transmitters from "from scratch", it would appear the FCC really doesn't trust us (with our meager "incentivized licensing" knowledge) to actually build and operate transmitters that won't cause harmful interference to other hams or other services.

If they did, then why does the FCC now have to "certify" every piece of commercially built amateur radio transmitting equipment before it can be offered for sale?

Perhaps this is also why most other countries in the world (including, as I have noted, Canada) expressly prohibit their lower class licensees from building transmitters "from scratch" and also limit them to using only 250 watts of transmit power unless and until they take another, far more comprehensive exam over material that is directly related to those specific privileges.

Indeed, all one has to do is look at the latest question pool for today's Extra Class license to see just how completely redundant it is. It's absolutely, chockablock full of questions relating, for example, to satellite, EME and meteor scatter operation, slow and fast scan television operation, formats for submitting DX contest logs, APRS, digital HF Packet operation, and a whole lot of other (redundant) questions relating to privileges that have already been granted to lower class licensees.  That is, even lowly Technicians, can (and do) operate on our satellites, bounce their signals off the moon and meteorite trails, use APRS and…(gasp!)…even participate in contests!

So, once again I ask: Why are all of these questions reserved for the Extra Class exam?  Shouldn't they be on the exam for the Technician license if all those privileges are granted to Technicians?

And if you still think I'm "blowing smoke" on this issue, I suggest you all download your own copy of the latest Extra Class question pool ( bottom of the page) and see for yourself the kind of absolutely redundant, primarily Technician class hogwash it contains. 

Clearly, such nonsense is yet more evidence (as if we needed any) that our stupid "incentive" licensing system, puts the "cart before the horse"…and always has.  It really doesn't measure much of anything, except  perhaps on how to take multiple choice examinations. 

By any measure, the current licensing system for our Service in the USA examines the wrong things at the wrong points in the licensing cycle.  As a result, it does an absolutely miserable job of making sure 'wet behind the ears" newcomers aren't going to maim (or kill) themselves or their neighbors, and/or cause harmful interference to other hams (or other services) while operating.  

The whole damn system is running "open loop"….and…as I've already discussed, is now systemically discriminatory (spelled "illegal" under US equal access law) to boot. Or, to borrow a phrase from a certain political campaign from not too long ago:  It's the system, stupid!"

That's because our US licensing system delays a fully comprehensive examination of what many people would call "essential" operating skills until one self-selects to take an exam for the Extra Class license…. a license that, as of late, only 17-18 percent of all US hams now hold.  And, as I've shown, there's absolutely NO direct relationship to the questions on the Extra Class exam and the added privileges it grants. 

Zip. Nada. None.

Any way you cut it, my friends…that's nuts!

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