Monday, July 9, 2012

Our ever-shrinking cadre of "regulatory fundamentalists" continues to argue that our licensing system's main purpose is to keep the "riff raff" out of our Service while turning us all into budding RF engineers.

I counter this elitist nonsense by saying that it should make absolutely no difference when (or to what level) a person acquires the skills and knowledges to become a ham radio operator.  As long as they posses enough knowledge and skills to operate their stations safely and courteously with the operating privileges granted, the rest, should be down in the "details"

Again, it is important to remember that our Service is, by international definition, "A Radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."

To me, the "self-training" part of that definition strongly implies that such learning is meant to be a lifelong pursuit.  It should not consist of a series of artificially created "goals" (complete with Boy Scout-like "merit badges" used as ego-stroking "incentives" for "advancement") that serve no other regulatory purpose than to further the political and economic policy goals of a group of gormless government bureaucrats.

Rather, the licensing requirements for our Service should do nothing more than assure some minimum standard of technical and regulatory competence (consistent with safety and non-interference) that are directly applicable and relevant to the (added) privileges granted.


This means that the rest of the "details" involving any further acquisition of knowledge and skills beyond these minimum standards should be left entirely up to we hams to decide how much (or how little) of it we wish to then pursue.

This also means that the underlying goal of our licensing process should be to open up our ham bands (again, consistent with the minimum standards of safety and non-interference) so as to get newcomers actually on the air and acquiring those knowedges and skills in a "hands on" way rather than continuing to place "needless regulatory barriers" (as the FCC calls them) in front of people seeking full frequency access to our Service.

As I've said, clearly, beyond the General Class level, all that our current licensing system does right now is force "achievement" down people's throats while at the same time creating the (long since discredited) illusion that by making our advanced tests "harder", that activity alone will somehow keep the "riff raff" out of the so-called "exclusive" parts of our Service.

Unfortunately, despite being proven over and over again by those in authority (today's FCC) to be nothing but paranoid bunkum, the lingering perception that our licensing system forms the last remaining "line of defense" that somehow keeps the "wrong people" out of the mainstream of our Service still stubbornly persists among far too many US hams.

And it's the indefinite perpetuation of all such elitist snobbery that I firmly believe is now largely responsible for killing what's left of our wonderful hobby.

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