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 Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??

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Red Fox
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PostSubject: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2020 6:49 pm

Well,

I,ve been on CB for a number of years, took a long break and came back into the hobby during lock down and found a lot of interesting discussions and very informative advice here on CT. It was you guys that gave me the little shove I needed to get my self back on air and my long hidden interest was back – YEAH !!!

I still love my CB and enjoy my DX’ing on 11meters, after all it’s where my initial interest and my heart resides.

To further my interest in radio and with the option to sit the exam on line I recently passed my Foundation Licence with the assistance of the very good Essex Ham Website.
With my interest up, I looked into undertaking the Intermediate option.
However, after reading through the RSGB Intermediate Mock exams, I started to ask myself why I would be interested in spending my time in undertaking a course and sitting an exam much of which I would never use?

Whilst I agree it is worth having a little knowledge to ensure safety setting up and using radio equipment and understanding further licencing conditions / band plans / use of equipment etc.
I have to ask why people are still required to understand the amount of electronics theory in the Intermediate and Full Licence exams for amateur radio and what use is this to the majority of us now days?

I appreciate back in the day people may have needed to know about electronics to either build or repair their equipment etc.
However, in today's world of advanced electronics and surface mount technology, most people simply purchase the equipment they need and if it fails, have it repaired by a qualified technician or bin it and buy another?

This got me wondering if there were other folk of the same mind and decided to have a look around the Internet and came across this rather long winded ZOOM yabber on the DX Commander YouTube channel, YAWN I hear you say, well, I was pleasantly surprised that these Full Licence amateur radio operators had such a view on the new Foundation / Intermediate & Full Licence setup – Definitely worth a view when you have some time. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufilter=NULL&v=sN71vEFMLkk

I know Callum can sometimes come across as rather condescending, but he does know his antennas and I’ve often found a nice little nugget of info if I hang around long enough when he goes off topic now and again – lol

What are you guys thoughts on this?

Has the RSGB got this right, are these just old rules being applied and out of date?

Would be interested to hear your thoughts good or bad?

Ready for the onslaught  lol!

Graeme.

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2020 11:37 pm

Hi Graeme,

I think you've said it all really and very well said too might I add.

The following are just my own personal thoughts to it all.

I can appreciate the old CW Morse test of old and even the electronic aspects as far back in the day these were probably your main or even only options available. A bit of knowledge, build a receiver, add a simple transmitter and so long as you could key CW the radio world was your oyster.
So you can see why it was part of the licensing conditions, but it should never have been placed as a barrier. How was anyone to learn any of this stuff with a licensing barrier put in place?
In reality times move on and so should the expectations or requirements.

It eventually did, (and a flipping long time coming!) Morse requirement was eventually dropped despite much wrangling and the amateur radio world moved on.

I've also got to say that I probably hear much more Morse now that it isn't a requirement than I ever did in decades past of radio SWL. So much so that I've been brushing up my Morse as it's being heard by myself so much more often and just for me personally it's great to listen to.
(Clean reception, recognising someone's 'fist' and otherwise hearing stations you just wouldn't otherwise. Anyone who knows even a little Morse can appreciate this.)

But I'm really glad it is no longer a barrier to others and no longer about bunging people off to VHF/UHF as almost a punishment for not "learning the ways of old" like it's some poxy religion.


I also agree that the electronics aspect should've moved along with the times too.
Not many build their own transceivers anymore, nobody really has to unless it is a specific interest to them, so again, it should not be a barrier to anyone. It's another aspect that has had it's day.
So why are we still clinging onto Ohm's Law and such? Why is this barrier still placed in peoples paths?
I have no idea and think personally again that it should be updated and/or dropped.

Again, if you want to learn how to build a transceiver, this barrier holds people back. You can't build a transceiver unless you can prove that you know enough about building one....before you build one(?!)

We shouldn't be 'punishing' anyone for not having an electronics interest or using it like some 'filter' to weed people out of the radio world. We also shouldn't place it as a stupid Chicken or Egg barrier to those that do want to experiment.


If you enjoy radio and all the aspects of radio then you should be allowed to enjoy it freely. There should be no 'filtering', no 'elitist' attitudes or other such nonsense associated with it. People who elevate themselves by down treading others are only fools to themselves, you can only really elevate yourself by helping others.

Do I have answers to this apparent conundrum? No I certainly do not.

I only think there was one possibility around it all and many here have enjoyed that aspect. Namely, CB radio.

There is no so called 'test', you can chat to your local friends or you can DX when propagation allows. You can use a callsign, use a handle, remain anonymous or share everything with the world. You can now use Sideband and AM without fear of reprisal. You can twiddle with the insides of your radio to your hearts content until you break it or render it useless and learn something from it. You can build your own antenna should you wish without someone else's approval or test and either leap with joy at success, or head scratch in failure. You can relax with a friend on the airwaves, maybe revert to your normal conversational method which may include colourful language as expressive expletives.

Your are pretty much 'free' or as free as you could feel when using CB.

It also self regulates.
Disruptive people don't get spoken to, they soon get bored and find some other way of 'disrupting' humanity. We don't transmit out of band because there's no one to talk to out of band so what's the point? People form friendships, clubs or other such, as a way of coming together. Charlie Tango is a prime example of that and in an exemplary manner welcomes ALL who have a radio interest not just CB, or Ham or other nonsensical 'label'.


CB radio was only ruined once, when they tried to regulate it. Look at the mess it all became back then.
That should say a lot for the future of radio and decisions to be made.

As for commercial radio, well there's always going to be someone try and make money from thin air isn't there. Usually a government, or someone else who thinks they 'are in charge'.


Anyway, I watched the video even though I didn't really want to and was pleasantly surprised and shocked. (Regulate and test CB radio - yeah you've lost the plot haven't you!)


It was interesting, but I still feel many are missing the point.
We're not children...we don't need mile markers or tests to prove our so called worth to humanity.

That said, I've finally succumbed after many years of wrangling to squeeze into that 'Ham' world. For my own interests, but maybe, just maybe, I can make a difference and add a welcoming face to the whole farcical nonsense.


Nice one Graeme. Got the juices flowing Smile

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeFri Aug 21, 2020 10:03 am

Hi Victor,

Many thanks for your thoughts on this, I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

I have to admit that when I heard the guy in the video make the suggestion of Regulate & Test CB Radio, I cringed and thought – Noooooo Mate, already tried and failed miserably. I did have a little chuckle though when when the others seemed to shoot his idea down in flames – lol.

I wholeheartedly agree that the CB Bands / 11 Meters with all it’s fun and foibles, should stay as it is, yes it’s not perfect but then again what or who is?….. Definitely not me.

Whilst I do believe there should be tests in place for the amateur bands, especially to protect the adjacent frequencies, many of which are relied on for business or even safety aspects, I do have to ask if the testing currently in place is sufficient for today's amateur radio enthusiasts?

Would it make more sense to have additional testing to ensure compliance relating to Band Plans / Adjacent Channels / Band Widths / Safety etc.?
Or has the current testing been deliberately written to separate them and us?... keep the Riff-Raff who pollute the CB bands with music and vulgarity away from the frequencies where they could cause a problem?

Do Ofcom have the teeth to sort out people who cause an issue nowadays? from a few of the topics here on CT, it would seem they no longer have the manpower to resolve issues like this.

I’m not trying to start any arguments with folks who have already attained their licences, but it would be nice to hear of their experience when completing their exams and how they now utilise the knowledge they attained whilst completing them?

Just a few of the thoughts rattling around in the old noggin – a little itch that I thought I would scratch,

Look forward to hearing anyone else's thoughts.

All the very best


Graeme.

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeFri Aug 21, 2020 12:37 pm

hi all,I have just read the posts on this topic.I am thinking of taking the ham licence with Essex ham,even if its just to dip my toes in to what's out there and justify to the neighbours the 5/8 gain master blowing around in the wind.lots of useful info as always and just a question to throw out there regarding the us and them. Most radio users on 11meters are very good stations and a lot are hams in spirit anyway ie,export radio,hf radio,home brew or expensive antennas willing to help out with any questions asked. So the question : are ham operators worried about the cbers bringing the negative side of 11 meters to there bands, because this can be very annoying to me and would not want them to follow me to other bands if I gained a licence. Also just did to mock tests 19/26  20/26 with no revision and I think the pass rate is 90%,so does the old guard feel under threat. From my experience a few operators are really good one day and act like fools the next,sat on 555 and hearing Tarzan calls and music dose make you see there point. Really interested in all points of view from all in CT forum
regards mark
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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeFri Aug 21, 2020 2:36 pm

Hi Mark,

Many thanks for your input, always nice to hear another point of view.

With regard to you undertaking the Foundation Licence and training with Essex Ham, I would highly recommend them, In my opinion, the course provided a very good basis to undertake the exam, however, I would highly recommend purchasing the Foundation License Book and reading this along with the Essex Ham course.

As for your question “are ham operators worried about the cbers bringing the negative side of 11 meters to there bands “ I would suspect that there are some who will have concerns, although lets be honest, with the equipment available today, it wouldn’t take a genius to work out they can buy a cheap 2nd hand HF or VHF/UHF transceiver, perch up somewhere nice and high and deliberately blast out music to annoy anyone using the amateur band frequencies.

The main difference is, and something Victor eluded to earlier… they would simply be ignored by the guys on the amateur bands and they would soon get fed up and go hunting for attention somewhere else.

Like yourself, I decided to tip my toe in the water of the Amateur Radio side, I have found it very interesting and like the aspect of officially having the option to transmit on regulated frequencies, even if it has to be in a more formal manner to my usual natter on the CB frequencies. Will this take me away from my initial Radio interest in CB land?…. Not a Chance.

Good luck should you decide to continue with the Foundation Licence.

73’s

Graeme.

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeFri Aug 21, 2020 4:09 pm

thanks graeme
I guess I am trying to understand why people buy radios and use them well one day and play music the next,i love getting contacts and don't want to be the local DJ.And wondered if that's why people comment so much about the frosty reception at ham clubs, by older ham. Also they seems to be a massive uptake on- online tests.is this because the clubs are not very friendly to new comer's. Just asking the questions because if I take the ham test I believe I still have to do a practical at a club in the near future.Must add I have never attended a club and my opionons are based on only on what I've read,so could be completely wrong(not the first time)
73s
mark
PS love the ct group,always able to ask questions and get a great response

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeFri Aug 21, 2020 4:35 pm

Hi Mark,

I've said somewhere before, 'Never let a few dead flies in the pool stop you from going for a swim'.

The online exams were quickly put in place by the RSGB in response to the current pandemic. Good job too, males in the 50+ range have so far been most at risk and if you look at your typical Ham or potential newcomer......

They have done a marvelous job and in the face of it, didn't really have to if everything is 'elitist' as first seems.

If you are considering this route then I'd say you're an ideal candidate especially as you've tried some mocks and asking further questions. You'll also find that the practical part of the Foundation has also been dropped due to current situations.
I'd go for it mate Smile


There will be the human nature aspect of protecting your own interests, Hams want to protect their hobby, CBers the same. It's when we realise that we're all people sat behind a radio that things become clearer and the frosty receptions fade.

Radio is a very big pool and the disruptive individuals the odd dead fly. Enjoy the swim! Smile


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeFri Aug 21, 2020 4:48 pm

Well said Victor, couldn’t agree more.

Mark,

I’m no Dr Freud and couldn’t even begin to answer why folk are sensible one day and a total @*** the next.

I personally had a bad experience years ago at a local Amateur club from the cardigan brigade as I called them back then, as soon as they heard I had a CB background, I could feel the tension in the room and the barriers going up… Nobody spoke to me apart from my friend who I was with, even he had the frosty reception from the old guys and he was already a licence holder with that club.

Thankfully I don’t believe it would be like that now days, well, hopefully not?
I’ve spoken to a few guys from various clubs on air and they seem more than happy for folk to pop along to the club and see what is happening. Then again, if numbers are dwindling, I expect most clubs would be happy to take folks membership money as long as they are not a total @*** - lol  Razz

As Victor says, all practical sections of the Foundation & Intermediate licences have been suspended for now, you won’t need to attend a club to complete this part, lets be honest, if you are able to install a CB system with Antenna and adjust the SWR correctly, it’s unlikely you would need to perform the practical section of the Foundation licence.

Hope that’s of some help, go for what you want to do, It's a hobby after all, something to undertake, enjoy and make of it what you want.

73’s


Graeme.

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeFri Aug 21, 2020 5:16 pm

thanks again always good to hear other peoples experience, views and opinions and I'm always grateful to the members who take time to share them.
I've got food for thought
please stay safe
73s mark
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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 12:05 am

Red Fox wrote:

However, after reading through the RSGB Intermediate Mock exams, I started to ask myself why I would be interested in spending my time in undertaking a course and sitting an exam much of which I would never use?

Whilst I agree it is worth having a little knowledge to ensure safety setting up and using radio equipment and understanding further licencing conditions / band plans / use of equipment etc.
I have to ask why people are still required to understand the amount of electronics theory in the Intermediate and Full Licence exams for amateur radio and what use is this to the majority of us now days?
The amateur radio licence is a license for self teaching and experimentation into radio communications. As such it requires a rudimentary level of electronics knowledge and appreciation of basics. Whether or not you use it for the purposes it was intended is neither here nor there, that was it's intention hence the technical aspect to the exams. Many people do experiment and build their own kit or adapt commercial kit intended for other uses for amateur radio - the microwave guys and ATV guys most certainly do as there's not really any amateur kit you can buy off the shelf - Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu all top out at 1.2GHz band so above that you're adapting or rolling your own gear.

Amateur radio is an extremely vast wide scale hobby and black box operating is just a very small part of it and the courses and exams the government require in order to get a licence to do something which has the potential to cause a lot of unintended disruption should you get it wrong have to reflect the fact that it's a technical hobby.

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 3:58 am

Red Fox wrote:

However, after reading through the RSGB Intermediate Mock exams, I started to ask myself why I would be interested in spending my time in undertaking a course and sitting an exam much of which I would never use?

Whilst I agree it is worth having a little knowledge to ensure safety setting up and using radio equipment and understanding further licencing conditions / band plans / use of equipment etc.
I have to ask why people are still required to understand the amount of electronics theory in the Intermediate and Full Licence exams for amateur radio and what use is this to the majority of us now days?

I appreciate back in the day people may have needed to know about electronics to either build or repair their equipment etc.
However, in today's world of advanced electronics and surface mount technology, most people simply purchase the equipment they need and if it fails, have it repaired by a qualified technician or bin it and buy another?

This got me wondering if there were other folk of the same mind and decided to have a look around the Internet and came across this rather long winded ZOOM yabber on the DX Commander YouTube channel, YAWN I hear you say, well, I was pleasantly surprised that these Full Licence amateur radio operators had such a view on the new Foundation / Intermediate & Full Licence setup – Definitely worth a view when you have some time. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufilter=NULL&v=sN71vEFMLkk

I know Callum can sometimes come across as rather condescending, but he does know his antennas and I’ve often found a nice little nugget of info if I hang around long enough when he goes off topic now and again – lol

What are you guys thoughts on this?

Has the RSGB got this right, are these just old rules being applied and out of date?

Would be interested to hear your thoughts good or bad?

Well, at the risk of going against the consensus, I would have to say I don't see much wrong with the systems I'm familiar with globally, from a technical content perspective.  I am licensed both in Aus and the US, and doubt the UK is too different...probably more up to date than Aus, actually, given it's recent refresh of the syllabus.

Thing is, you effectively have a non-technical operators license today - that is Foundation in UK and Aus, and Tech in the US.  There is almost no technical knowledge required, just operating and regulation basics, and a bit of good old health and safety.

As such, power limits are set accordingly (Other than in the US, of which I am truly jealous!) and (at least here in Aus) privileges do not extend to the experimental bands like microwave.  Ironically, in the US you get almost no HF spectrum, but plenty in the UK and Aus.

When you go to the next level (US General, Aus standard or UK Intermediate) you get more power, more spectrum, and more ability to cause chaos if you don't understand the basics.  Any ideas of the voltage at the end of a dipole at 100w?  Would it surprise you to know it's a few hundred volts?  Imagine scaling that to the 400w a UK or Aus full call can run, or the 1500w our American friends enjoy!  I'm told RF burns hurt!  Very Happy

Whilst electronic theory might seem pointless, think antenna theory for a moment....this is still very DIY, and if you don't understand resistance, capacitance and inductance, how on earth are you going to understand complex impedance and resonance?  Same thing for the accompanying maths like polar coordinates, complex numbers, and basic equations.  What about critical frequency as it relates to MUF and LUF.  Get to the intermediate level and start really using HF, and you NEED to understand that to operate successfully.  Sure, you can look things up on the web these days, or just go "monkey see, monkey do" but you will be far better off understanding why, IMHO.

VHF/UHF are pretty plug and play (Unless you start doing weak signal work, EME or tropo DX type stuff), but HF isn't.  Commercials HF (Land Mobile) radios take a lot of the thought process out of it with things like ALE, but Amateur Radio isn't commercial Land Mobile.  Not to mention, part of the fun is that it isn't all "cellphone simple".

Now, I think the process for exams (Especially here in Aus) could be a damn site better, and the exam content more up to date, but I don't believe it should be less technical.  It is far less technical than it used to be, and I think the balance now is probably right, given how much easier to operate modern radios are...if you understand the basic theory!  Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 8:36 am

I was waiting for the Full licence holders and/or Technical camp input Wink
(Hi Conor, Hi Jeff, none of the following is an attack on your views so please don't see it as such, just happy to debate Smile)


I agree, there is a vast scope of interests to cover with Amateur Radio and someone had to find a way to cover them all, especially when it comes to licensing and exam requirements. No easy task.....

But I also think you can become too blinkered when trying to find solutions. 

For someone with a technical background or interest in electronics Ohms Law may seem like childs play, but for others it will more difficult to understand, comprehend or otherwise fully explain. 

I'm not talking about the typical argument of so called intelligence either, just because you can memorise a formula doesn't mean you fully comprehend it. If you tell someone that Voltage(V) x Current(I) = Power(P) and they then ask "why?", how many could go on to give a full explanatory answer to them? When they ask what an electron is and why does it apparently move could you go on to give them a fuller answer? 

What about the person that just doesn't want to know it, their mind shuts off to it or they see no point. Do you instantly regard them as less capable? Or has their brain process instantly filtered off something it may never use until such a time that it may prove useful?

Has your brain process got that far too? You memorised Ohms Law and can utilise it in the real world and yet shut off to the intricacies of electron flow? Same thing really isn't it?

That apparently simple Ohms Law question is not as straight forward as you think Wink
Yes, it is a levels within levels argument but was hopefully an example of how even so called 'simple' things can be much more complicated.


So why place it as a barrier to someone wanting to become a radio amateur?


How many memorised such material to pass the exam and will never use it again?


Blinkered views abound all too easily. 

You may have an interest in radio modification and/or construction, you will then frequent with others that hold the same interest. Before you know it your whole world is full of similar minded people....it doesn't mean the rest of the world is too, just yours.

That could count on anything really, where your interests lie are not necessarily the interests of others.

I often hear the safety points made, usually with good intention. I've yet to see someone with arms long enough to touch the end of their antenna whilst keying their mic on a homebase setup Wink But yes, it could happen on a SOTA activation or other such, or even next doors poor old cat licking it's backside whilst sat on the end of your inverted L antenna Very Happy

You might stick your finger in a valve amplifier and get killed by the high voltages inside......you could also buy a bench grinder, use it incorrectly and have the wheel explode in your face, or tangle your arm in an angle grinder. So far you don't need to show your exam pass to use such things to the spotty youth at the DIY store counter.

Does any of the safety aspects cover things like the old Ham clambering up to the chimney breast to attach an antenna?
I wonder how many of those 'roof falls' in A&E are such events.


So yes, all a bit complicated and depends on which camp you are in.

How do you set an exam for all that? I think they tried their best.


But for heavens sake, why impose all that on a new Amateur and then limit/punish/deny them by giving them only 10 watts and expecting them to know electronic theory? Why impose it on someone wanting to go further in just their own interest path?
(I know, it could all become a multi-exam complicated path).


We're not quite there with it all yet, but it could go well to embrace newcomers in a more encompassing way than simply blinding them with science.


I love a good old debate Smile

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 10:30 am

been there got the nasty looks and a lot worse I do not want to go further in the ham hobby I have seen the good the bad and ugly been into cb from the Am days and legal FM and now with all the mid bands Usb and Am I am happy right now no need to go further and been as I am happy I have lots of freqs and bands to use and ok 10w at the tip of the antenna enjoy the hobby as it is

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 11:30 am

Victor wrote:
I was waiting for the Full licence holders and/or Technical camp input Wink
(Hi Conor, Hi Jeff, none of the following is an attack on your views so please don't see it as such, just happy to debate Smile)

For someone with a technical background or interest in electronics Ohms Law may seem like childs play, but for others it will more difficult to understand, comprehend or otherwise fully explain. 

What about the person that just doesn't want to know it, their mind shuts off to it or they see no point. Do you instantly regard them as less capable? Or has their brain process instantly filtered off something it may never use until such a time that it may prove useful?

So why place it as a barrier to someone wanting to become a radio amateur?

How many memorised such material to pass the exam and will never use it again?

But for heavens sake, why impose all that on a new Amateur and then limit/punish/deny them by giving them only 10 watts and expecting them to know electronic theory? Why impose it on someone wanting to go further in just their own interest path?
(I know, it could all become a multi-exam complicated path).

I love a good old debate Smile

All the best,
Victor

Well, taking mainly the points above, and specifically your ohms law examples....

I think that one is so fundamental to being able to do the most basic of things like tuning an antenna and hooking up 12v power, it really is one that needs understanding.  That, and frequency/wavelength.  Which, from my brief look at the foundation syllabuses, and doing US Tech as you must before you can progress, is really the only "technical" thing they ask.  For me, that was O-Level (Showing my age) physics stuff.

I get some may struggle, as I have the exact same issue with languages, but just like knowing French if I was going to live in France, some of it needs it be understood. IMHO.

Just think how many times a basic antenna question gets asked on CB forums, and the user has little understanding of the problem due to little understanding of the theory, or "tech", if you like.  For CB, that's completely understandable...it is a class license with type approved equipment, made to be easy to operate, same as phones and commercial VHF/UHF.  Amateur Radio simply isn't like that.  How much easier would those SWR problems be to self-diagnose if through training or experience, you understood groundplanes, resonance and impedance?  How many of us learnt painfully slowly through trial and error in the early CB days dealing with folklore and old wives tales, pre-Google? I started as a school kid in '81 when it legally launched, with no clue what I was doing...that's why I went on to understand more.

Taking your grinder example, I agree you can't legislate against stupidity, but this is education more than legislation, IMO.

So, I think we agree that there needs to be a simple entry point and not a barrier...we just disagree on what that is.  I think Foundation or Technician has the right balance of wanting some knowledge, whereas you and others perhaps have an opinion that that is too much, and it should be like CB.  Buy a license, or no license, and go operate?

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 3:28 pm

Oh Dear,

Come on guys, it’s not a them and us debate, simply a question on your thoughts if the current Intermediate and Full Licence exams need to have so much electronic theory in them.

I agree with Victor that there is no easy answer, I certainly don’t believe I have the answer and I do not believe there is an easy Yes / No suits all.
I do however honestly applaud the guys who have written the current exam system, it wouldn’t have been an easy task, that’s for sure.

Jeff,
IMO, I believe there needs to be exams to ensure nobody creates an issue on the Amateur or surrounding frequencies, especially on the frequencies that are utilised by others for business or indeed needed for safety e.g. Aircraft, Marine etc. 
Ok before someone goes off on one, I know these aren't allowed under the current bands, however, many cheap imported transceivers may allow you to operate on these frequencies with or without your knowledge, that is where the training and exams would ensure you do not cause a problem.

I do believe the Foundation Licence is pretty good for an introduction to Amateur Radio, with regard to the intermediate, perhaps a more detailed exam relating to Operating Conditions, licences, Band-Plans, Safety before people are let loose with more power?

That said, could the Full Licence then be classed as a Technical licence, that is the one you sit should you want to experiment and build equipment that could cause more issues than anyone simply buying an off the shelf transceiver. - Just a thought !!!

Connor,
I do agree with your point regarding technical aspects of the hobby and that if you are interested in pursuing the technical aspect you need to ensure you are competent and sit a relevant test to show this, I would ask the question though, as this detail was written in 1910 when the age of electronics were in their infancy, is the current setup of exams sufficient for today's Radio Amateur, many of whom simply want to buy equipment and talk, not design, build experiment as such.
Or has the exam process simply been rolled over for so long with a mindset of this is how we have always done it this is how we should continue?

A quote I will always remember is;
“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got”

Bear in mind guys, this is just a question of what people think on the current technical examination setup of the exam process, I’m not looking to change the RSGB syllabus or stir the Sh!**. affraid

After all, is this not what the DISCUSSION area is for?
Peace and Mind-full Thoughts – Take a Chill Pill and Relax Man – Count to Ten - lol  lol!


Stay safe


73’s


Graeme.

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 6:22 pm

Hi Jeff,

I think it's all to do with trying to understand a much wider world than our own, which I know can be difficult. Looking through others eyes isn't an easy thing to do and entirely conceptual.

You mention that some of the requirements are "O Level Physics stuff", (yes, I am old enough to have a few including Physics), but don't forget in the UK we also had C.S.E.s, (Certificate of Secondary Education), to provide a basis of education. None of this garnering anyone's intelligence, just their ability to pass a 'test'. Times move on and so did our method of 'testing' culminating in GCSE's, (General Certificate of Secondary Education - none of this aimed directly at you but for others reading this). 

Some slated this move stating we were now manufacturing a generation of idiots, yet many of these GCSE achievers still went on to obtain A levels, degrees and pursue so called intellectual careers. 

So there was nothing wrong with this new 'testing' regime after all, just us older farts bemoaning it Wink


I think that it where Amateur Radio goes wrong, it's usually the old regiment deciding what is required and clinging onto old values.

Most nowadays will recognise that Morse requirements were old hat and grateful it was dropped. Is electronic understanding no different in an ever evolving world now?


The world of Amateur Radio really missed a trick or two throughout it's whole history. 
Rather than welcome enthusiasts with open arms we make them sit tests. I know some Hams are more than happy to help, but some probably tut at someone who doesn't understand "basic ohm's law" or how to tune an antenna......go away and learn it then come back, sort of attitude. Hardly a welcome and should come as no surprise that the hobby is seen as elitist.

So people do go away to learn it, usually in the only possible hands on path available to them.....CB radio was one, people try and DX on PMR nowadays which was never it's planned intention or use. Can we blame them? Are we surprised that there is a whole radio culture adrift from Ham radio?


There was a suggestion in recent years to open up a kind of 'pre-foundation' licence. A much simpler method of entering the Amateur Radio world with some restrictions in place of say the old VHF/UHF segregation. This could have been the place where basic requirements were learned, hence my PMR reference. Imagine if this had happened and allowed a new generation of people an alternative to pursue their radio interests. Might have been a good thing, mightn't it?

But the boat was missed. PMR nets are common place, PMR DXing has become another new culture unto itself and unsurprisingly aligned more to the Citizens Band culture than it will ever be to Ham radio.


So yes, I'll stick by my point that the electronics side of Amateur Radio should not be a barrier and probably outdated.
If you wish to pursue this path there should be no stopping you, but it also shouldn't stop others from making their own path too. But I also agree that training in band plans etc. should continue.


Luckily, places like Charlie Tango embrace all aspects of radio interest, it's clear to see under that graphic logo at the top of the site Smile
Damn good job too and the only real reason I'm here enjoying it all.


As for looking through the eyes of others....after those O levels including Physics, I went on to study for another seven years....in electronics.
Not once have I ever expressed "Ohms Law" as matter of fact to the uninitiated, or ever looked down on, or hindered those with different interests or capabilities. I've also never judged intelligence or expertise on someone's ability to pass a test or what little I know of them. I also don't believe it should be so overwhelming used in modern Amateur Radio.

Luckily Amateur Radio attitudes are changing and is the only reason I am partaking in my own pursuit of "Ham-dom".
The 'electronic' requirements were never the issue, only the attitudes.


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 7:23 pm

Graeme,

Actually, the encouraging thing in this whole debate is the fact no-one is acting like “us and them”, and it’s happening on a CB forum too!

Victor,

I do think modern education is failing us though.....not because of the testing regime, or the intelligence of students in any way, but more the PC-regime of giving everyone a trophy and teaching what to think rather than how to think!  However, that’s a whole new debate, and a more political one at that! 

Back to radio.....I still don’t think we’re disagreeing on much other than requirements as opposed methodology.  I actually argue with the “old guard” all the time....especially the CW/morse brigade.  I also think some exams need to be bought up to date more.

I still think Foundation is the entry point, and is as close to an operator’s exam as you can get, and I’m just never going to agree the paltry amount of electronics in it is overbearing or excessive, or even unneeded.  Whilst I might not use ohms law every day, I can tell you when building antennas, I use theory and basic understanding to troubleshoot and even interpret the analyser regularly!  So it does have practical applications.

Not sure on the UK syllabus, but I’ll agree things like valves, oscillators, and the like could go, as they serve little practical purpose, but they’re more in advanced/extra level anyway, so unless UK intermediate is way above US General or Aus standard, that’s a pretty moot point.

Oh, and I hate exams, BTW...I am not an “exam taker” by any means, and I regard my own level as fairly basic.....So these opinions aren’t coming from someone who breezes through the stuff and can’t understand why others struggle.  I turn on a YouTube channel like Mr Carlsons Lab, TRX Bench, or w2aew, and am reminded of what real knowledge in these areas looks like! Very Happy

Back to my opening statement to Graeme.....I also think attitudes have changed these days, and there is very little elitist crap out there now, with the overwhelming majority looking to welcome newcomers to the hobby, and not looking down on CB.  Ironically, it was those very same attitudes that kept me away when I was growing up.....detested them.  So instead of breezing my licenses after my A-levels and when I was doing electronics and comms at college, I waiting until I had to try and remember or re-learn it all again years later!

Pretty much every days on the forums and FB groups you will see most of the “old guard” explaining the basics to newbies...either just licensed, or studying and setting up listening stations.  That’s a refreshing change, and just as it should be! Just another example of how people learn, and also further “proof” if you will, that some of the basic knowledge we’re debating here is necessary. Very Happy


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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 8:14 pm

Jeff,

Glad to hear you don’t find this exchange of views as Them & Us, if however, you were relating this to Amateur And CB’ers, then I think you may have mistaken my initial comments.
After reading through the replies, I thought I had picked up the impression there was a Them & Us tension rising between the guys who have been good enough to reply to this topic, that certainly wasn’t my intention and If it came across as this or I have picked this up wrong then a sincerely apologise.

I do agree that the UK Foundation licence content has a basic content of electronic theory which would suffice for most folk entering the hobby, perhaps a little more would be suitable but where do you stop?

Very encouraging that your experiences have changed from the days when the cardigan brigade looked down on CB usage, as I mentioned earlier, I have noted similar observations recently much to my delight.

Like yourself Jeff, I look at the electronics and thought, crikey, I’ll need to relearn this, it’s been ages since I’ve needed to use it.
After college I started working with a multinational cable company and become a network engineer, working on CATV networks before moving into fibre, later moving into IT where I helped create network designs and power usage systems for server farms as they were known back then, that however was in the days of Dos and Novel Netware and before Mr Gates started to make his Billions (Where Did I Go Wrong??)… Yes I’m an old fart, no denying it -  lol!

Stay safe all

73's

Graeme

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2020 8:17 pm

Hi Jeff,

Brilliant stuff mate and I have got to say I've thoroughly enjoyed it! Smile

Nothing like a good discussion point so Graeme, thanks for posting.

The UK had a syllabus change last year or so and unfortunately they bumped a lot of the technical stuff from the Full syllabus down through the Intermediate and Foundation. I personally think that was a silly mistake and doesn't help out Amateur Radio. Even the clubs and trainers didn't take too well to it. The pre-foundation VHF/UHF idea was also voted down I think last year and again what an opportunity to miss.

I think that when it comes to making decisions like these there should be more of a mixed bag. Not just the old guard, newcomers should number equally, input from those thinking of taking the route should also be included too. Let's not forget, Ham radio is a bit of a sausage-fest and could well do with more female input Wink

It's just a crying shame to hear stories of people wanting to get into Amateur Radio but feeling unable to due to things like dyslexia, dyscalculia or other such and the radio world loses what would be otherwise be a great operator. Poor attitudes have long held back people from the hobby too.


Luckily as you have rightly pointed out attitudes are changing. There are more Hams now that did start with CB and probably appreciate that the days of fearing to talk about CB are fading fast. There is a lot more help available now, probably because of better understanding and volunteers put forth their time to address issues such as dyslexia. All flipping good stuff.

And of course, these like minded people come together, as you say, on forums and FB to help, discuss and be helpful to the hobby.


As I said, it's these attitude changes that have helped this old stick-in-the-mud finally move along towards the Amateur world. Who knows, I may even be one of those volunteers one day helping others Wink


Cheers again Jeff. All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeThu Sep 10, 2020 9:20 pm

I agree with pretty much evrything in the origial post that started this this Thread. When I saw the RSGB slogan 'Advancing amateur radio since 1913' I thought @Keeping amatuer radio in the fortties' as more accurate.

Afer talkng on the radio for about 30 yeras why do I suddenly need to know about ohms, human hearing and speech frequencies, Baluns, What a carrier wave form looks like, demodulators and all the other crap that goes with. It's like putting a the kettle on but having to think about how many extra ohms it will generate if I put more water in it. 

So I spent 3 months studying as I had to wait for an available test, Having re-read it all x00 times I knew everythig likely to be asked:THEN IT WAS TEST DAY.

First thingi did was scroll thru all the questions and my reaction was 'Geez, ask me something I fxxking know'. There was othing about speech or hearing, electrons floiwng, power calculating, antenna db gain, PL 259s, hertz and  callsigns. Instead it was common sense and safety. 'What could happen if you walk under a power line with a ladder?' and 'What to do when the neighbour complains yor RF is screwing his TV?' There was a question about circuits and volts in the study - but in the test it was changed tt ohms to make it confusing. Iniially I got the answer right then changed it because of te oms and answered it wrongly.

Anyway I now know all this forties stuff if I want to repair soething with valves inside. If my stereo breaks I'll call a repair guy.

We got CB alloed by disobeying the law till they changed it - Maybe we should just do the sam with HF.

The thing I get asked most btw is: 'Can you tell me the long number on your card?'


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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeFri Sep 11, 2020 6:46 am

Hi James,

I'm really glad that despite the barriers put in place that you did go on to pass your Foundation Licence exam.
(Congratulations again, I saw your posting regards passing.)

I noticed that you did the course with Essex Ham and after just completing the course with them myself can only commend them. They do cover all the bases and teach candidates every likely scenario they may face to help them pass. For the exam there are 26 questions taken from a pool of a hundred or so and therefore the exam will only cover a quarter of what was taught and you learned. Essex Ham have no idea what 'quarter' of the questions you may be asked so teach you all eventualities. It's a great idea.

Well done for absorbing all that information to pass, even if 75% of what you learned wasn't finally needed! Wink


I still don't have answers to it all, everyone concerned have a lot of bases to cover. But I do believe it is all far too biased on technical issues rather than operational needs or requirements. You may very well decide you want to build a transmitter and go on to the Intermediate licence but I'm pretty sure a lot of those that take it is just to get the 50W power ability. Or even maybe so that they can modify equipment 'legally' to help reduce the prices faced by the hobby. For others it will be a gratifying and learning experience.
That's a lot to cover.


As for CB and the right for recognition and legal use, well that was a unique point in history. We had the numbers back then and CB operators had been using the 'illegal' 27MHz frequencies for a very long time. I'm sure if this fight happened today it would be a totally lost cause, the number aren't there and radio frequency use is hard fought for or expensive!

That said, organisations like the RSGB, the IARU and other radio organisations around the world constantly fight to protect their bands and frequencies. Too many organisations would happily purchase band space for whatever nefarious or profitable needs they have. It's organisations like the RSGB that ensure we keep those bands for what it is after all just a 'hobby'. Hard to justify but they do it very well.
I think illegal use would kill their cause and message.


I'm not sure who is asking for your 'long number'? Do you mean your RSGB candidate number from passing the exam?
If so the only people asking for this should be OfCom to issue you with an official callsign. If you have your callsign and are using it on air no one has the right to ask for your number even if your are new or not shown on any callsign database.

It could just very well be operators ensuring the bands are being used properly, it's quite a big thing to be protective about Smile


Anyway James, you're there, you have your licence and I hope you enjoy the airwaves.


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeFri Sep 11, 2020 2:02 pm

Markone wrote:
hi all,I have just read the posts on this topic.I am thinking of taking the ham licence with Essex ham,even if its just to dip my toes in to what's out there and justify to the neighbours the 5/8 gain master blowing around in the wind.lots of useful info as always and just a question to throw out there regarding the us and them. Most radio users on 11meters are very good stations and a lot are hams in spirit anyway ie,export radio,hf radio,home brew or expensive antennas willing to help out with any questions asked. So the question : are ham operators worried about the cbers bringing the negative side of 11 meters to there bands, because this can be very annoying to me and would not want them to follow me to other bands if I gained a licence. Also just did to mock tests 19/26  20/26 with no revision and I think the pass rate is 90%,so does the old guard feel under threat. From my experience a few operators are really good one day and act like fools the next,sat on 555 and hearing Tarzan calls and music dose make you see there point. Really interested in all points of view from all in CT forum
regards mark
26ct3433

Quote :
You really should get yourself signed up and do it, I took the course with Essex Ham at the same time as Graeme, just bought the little handbook that is recommended and passed with flying colours.  What is really good is when 11m is dead I can go to 20m or 40m and there is plenty of chance of action on those bands, I have to admit I was a little pensive coming from a C.B./11m background as to what sort of response I would get from people as you hear all sorts of things about the "Us and Them" mentality between the different operators.

I heard one old chap on 80m having a good old moan that they had to build their transceivers back in the day and Hams were becoming little more than radio operators in this day and age but that has been the exception to the rule and from my very first contact on 2m, a SOTA activation from Ben Lomond the people I have spoken to couldn't have been nicer or more charming with lots of invitations to local clubs one chap let slip "It doesn't matter you came from 11m" then I think it dawned on him what he had said he made his excuses and went QRT but that really is the only thing everybody else seems to be brimming with enthusiasm to help me if I am honest.

One of the chaps, possibly Victor, recommended I set up a QRZ page which I avoided at first as I am not overly keen on putting my personal information on the interwebs for all to see but I relinquished just a few days ago and made the effort to do something simple at least and must admit it's convenient to see the station details and the distance from your own QTH etc.

On the subject of the exam, I too feel it is outdated with much of its content having little relevance to today's radio users but what do you replace it with?  Government agencies such as OFCOM seem to be struggling financially these days I notice, they have themselves so tied up in rules regulations and red tape it would make it a multi-million-pound venture to update them no doubt with the old "If it ain't broke don't fix it" school of thought coming into play imagine, after all, it is Britain we are talking about here.

The areas of the course that really helped me were things like callsigns, band plans and operating procedures (The Rules) the parts people often find a little less interesting shall we say but it would be great to see more Charlie Tangos licensed and on the air I feel Mark and I strongly recommend you give it a go, after all, what is the worst that could happen?
73's
Alan





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Times Thanked : 0
Join date : 2020-04-06
QTH or Location : Hull
Equipment Used : Midland Alan 88s + crt 9900+5/8 gain master
Age : 52

Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitimeSun Sep 13, 2020 9:21 pm

hi Alan, thanks for your post.im glad you have found it a positive experience and found hams to help you along the way, I jumped in and started the training with Essex HAMS and really enjoy it and waiting to start module 4.with the amount of people gaining the foundation licence this must also pave the way for all that follow to have positive experience and so on.
keep safe.
regards mark
26ct3433

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Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right??   Foundation - Intermediate - Full - Has the RSGB Got this right?? Icon_minitime

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