Fwd: Microwaves & RF UPDATE December 21, 2006

Robert E. Seastrom rs at seastrom.com
Thu Dec 21 21:04:58 CST 2006

Richard Barth <w3hwn at comcast.net> sends Microwaves & RF UPDATE, which said:

>>But this
>>relaxation of the requirements also "cheapens" the license somewhat,
>>in the manner of granting a driver's license in a large city without
>>requiring the skill of parallel parking.

It's more like "not requiring the skill of using a hand-crank starter
without breaking your thumb" to get a driver's license.  Sure, there
are people who have cars that are started that way; they enjoy them
very much and there's nothing wrong with that.

Meanwhile the Element 4 question pool has a total of four occurrances
of "PSK31" in its text, none of which involves any knowledge more
complex than "it's narrowband and doesn't have FEC".  This "cheapens"
the license somewhat, in the manner of granting a driver's license
without knowing when it is proper to use a turn signal, or indeed,
anything more about it than that it makes a clicking noise.

When I hear people complain about the state of amateur radio testing
these days, I'm inclined to roll my eyes when I hear people gripe
about code.  On the other hand, the folks who say "back when *I* got
my General class ticket, there were questions on the test like 'Draw a
Colpitts oscillator' with a space to draw it in; this multiple-guess
stuff is for the birds" may be on to something.


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