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 So you want to become a Ham radio operator?

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Victor
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Victor


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PostSubject: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 15, 2023 9:53 am

Hi all,

I do hope you're keeping well and enjoying your radio pursuits. So you want to become a Ham radio operator? 1f44d 


Have you been thinking about becoming a Ham radio operator?

Enticed by all those lovely extra frequencies, radio gear, antennas and a plethora of other interests?

If you have then it might be worth getting a shift on for possible reasons I'll mention below....



There's been some talk about the recent (2023) Ofcom proposals for changes with the Amateur Radio licence conditions on the forum. Not much I'll admit but then seeing that about only 2% of the Radio Amateur licence holders actually bothered to respond to the Ofcom consultation I suppose we shouldn't grumble.

Most of the changes are really positive including transmit power increases for all as well as non-licenced supervisory responsibilities, more freedom with call signs, remote access and even Foundation holders being allowed to construct, modify or even repair radio transmission gear without mention of IR2028.

The last part was very welcomed by myself being a tinkerer of all things electronics, a real bonus for those who wish to and in the spirit of Amateur Radio's experimental/self tuition nature of the hobby.

However, alarm bells began to ring concerning some of the poor attitudes I've already faced amongst the Radio Amateur community at large.


Currently Intermediate and Full licence holders are the only ones allowed to construct/modify/repair radio transmission gear, (you can make ATU's, antennas, receivers, etc. at Foundation....just not a transmitter - which puts all those lovely transceiver kits out of your reach!)

However, the 'training' involved at those licence levels is a little scant if you truly want to become an electronics Guru and even having a full licence doesn't exactly make you qualified to construct any electronic device.....It takes a  lot more than that to master electronics!

(I don't care that you had to guess the multiple choice answer for the junction biasing of a transistor amongst others back in 19-clickety-click for the R.A.E. as it didn't exactly make for many electronics/radio engineers.)

Following the instructions on a kit like a jigsaw puzzle, or plugging 'part A' into 'part B' and uploading firmware doesn't resoundingly make you an electronics engineer either. (Although it's a good start for those with a passionate interest for such ventures.) I for instance don't plug in my iPhone at night allowing it to upload an iOS update and exclaim the following morning that I've "built" a mobile phone! Wink


But for some reason constructing electronic transmission projects remain out of 'legal' reach for Foundation operators....even if like me you were already an electronics engineer. (Or heaven forbid that you may even aspire to such lofty heights!)


But I digress. 

The point that I'm trying to make is not whether you aspire to or even for economical reasons want to repair, build or modify a transmitter but what may transpire from the opportunities that will be presented to you.

How long would it take for those already 19-clickety-click licensed holders and RSGB committee members to come up with the notion that you need to be suitably 'edu-ma-cated' with electronic skills even at Foundation level because you would now be able to build transmitters?

How many of you would shudder filled with dread if they suddenly started adding extra electronics 'theory' to the Foundation syllabus?

It's bad enough that they plonked 'ladder-safety' and how far away the ionosphere is in kilometers to the basic exam let alone kept the Charing Cross question. They might come unstuck with the call sign questions now that they plan on changing that. Wink

My fear is that they'll add stuff like that to the syllabus thus adding another 'gate-keeping' method to keep enthusiastic radio operators out of the hobby. Let's face it, not many aspiring Ham radio operators get their licence to pursue their S.T.E.M. opportunities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and it's become more about the latest rig and far flung QSO's than anything. Or in other words simply the joy of basic radio operations and communicating with others via radio transmissions, which in my book is fine as well as a lot of fun.


Imagine if for a moment that you wanted to take your motorcycle or car driving test but then found out that you need to know about PSV, HGV and how to strip apart a fuel injector before taking your test....Doesn't make sense does it.


So I would hate to think that some 'clever' individual would think it would be a requirement to add such nonsense to Foundation just 'because'.

I truly hope that this doesn't transpire and that we keep encouraging people to become involved with Amateur Radio at whatever level they want.

Yes, I've already heard the argument about if you want to do such stuff you should progress up the licence 'system' a million times as apparently if I'm clever enough to do electronics I should be able to go onto further licensing. Well they took away the education establishment placement for Amateur Radio examinations when City & Guilds gave it all up then plonked it in the hands of clubs and the mindsets thereof. My local club wanted £140 out of me for membership etc. for Foundation and yet I took it online after the exemplary free Essex Ham course and then less than £30 for the exam.


If you are thinking about taking your Foundation I'd suggest you do it double quick, before anyone 'official' gets any 'bright' ideas. Rolling Eyes


More of my 'waffle' but I hope it helps at least someone.

All the best,
Victor

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Alan Pilot
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Alan Pilot


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PostSubject: Re: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 15, 2023 11:17 am

Good waffle there Victor and could well be spot on.

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Victor
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Victor


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PostSubject: Re: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 15, 2023 3:54 pm

Does have you worrying about such stuff Alan mate.

I've only just noticed that Pete from Essex Ham has raised similar concerns regards possible/future syllabus changes on his latest video too.

I hope such changes don't crop up out of RSGB 'concerns' when the reality is that most new Hams won't venture that into such territory anyway.
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Alan Pilot
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Alan Pilot


Call Sign : 163-CT-220...
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Join date : 2019-11-19
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Equipment Used : Yaesu FT-991A,,Yaesu FTDX-10,,Icom ic-7300,,Anytone AT-D878UV PLUS",,LINCOLN II+.
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PostSubject: Re: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeSat Dec 16, 2023 5:42 am

I know some like to have a go a repair and build sort of but how many just want to enjoy radio.
You don't need to know the in's and out's of how to fix it.
Me thinks if they start putting that in the test it will harm the hobby.
Hope that makes sense it does to me lol.

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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeSat Dec 16, 2023 6:26 am

Perfectly understood there Alan.

I reckon 99.99% of potential and licensed Hams just want to simply get on the air. In fact judging by the amount of actual electronics that goes on nowadays in the Ham world (disregarding plug together modules) that's probably nearer 99.999%. Wink

Heck, even if you put together one of the many transceiver jigsaw puzzle kits that abound nowadays you'd be hard pressed to make a spurious emission fog box....it'll either work or it won't and especially considering most of them are QRP units anyway.

It would be a crying shame if someone on the syllabus committee poked their head out of their shell and 'decided' that as Foundation meant you could venture into such territory that it'd have to be included in the exam.


Let's hope that's not the case and the hobby continues attracting new operators much as it did during the lockdown and online courses/exams. So you want to become a Ham radio operator? 1f44d

(Which I'm hoping some of the more sensible changes will do especially with supervisory privileges let alone extra power outputs.)
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Ivy Mike
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PostSubject: Re: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeSat Dec 16, 2023 8:10 am

How would 'they' know that you built any TX, kit or otherwise?

Lets face it todays electronics especially surface mount must exclude a lot of us even getting started.
I bet 99% of us cannot repair our black boxes and it does not really matter in these days.

I have built kits in the past, Spectrum 4metre stuff and I built my Elecraft K2.
Not really interested in doing anymore, just pottering around doing normal station stuff is enough.

Even though I have been an electrical engineer for over 50years I shy away from electronics.

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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeSat Dec 16, 2023 10:13 am

Exactly Mike and even if you follow the breadcrumb trail to IR2028 it's actually just a cop out clause for individuals to modify or build transmitting equipment away from regulations restricting manufacturers. (I wrote about it a while back.)

With cheap mass produced electronics nowadays I certainly wouldn't bother building a microprocessor system or any sub/support systems either and the best Vacker VFO wouldn't touch a typical Si5xxx clock generator anyway. (Could argue spectral purity though.) I probably couldn't build a transceiver from scratch that performs any better than a manufactured one for sure. 

But then again there is the fun factor of stringing together archaic/basic/ancient electronic circuitry and learning from it. So you want to become a Ham radio operator? 1f44d 

The main point I was trying to make is that I hope no one decides to bung more stuff onto the Foundation syllabus regards electronics or some such just because we'd be legally allowed to build such stuff if we wanted.

Then again under that argument they already dropped the 'practicals', you can look up frequencies on a band plan, Q codes, operating practices etc. and makes you wonder what the exam system is all about in the first place. (Ooh, that one will stir up a hornets nest!) Already throwing in items like ladder safety presumes we're all numpties anyway.


There's often harping on about attracting people from a S.T.E.M. background but I think they've got it the wrong way around. It was my fascination for all things radio that got me started off as a young boy that then led to a professional career in the electronics industry. It certainly wasn't the Hams that spurned me from the local club for daring to own a C.B. radio! (I might have been a Ham much earlier otherwise. Wink )

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SangueG
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PostSubject: Re: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 8:42 am

I feel and believe the RSGB really want to get new people licenced, and trying to hold on to that positivity I do not think there will be too many changes to the syllabus and exam questions for Foundation. I imagine that in time there will be a question or two around construction, but more covering an overview, nothing with complex calculations or having to understand more than the simplest of circuits.

If this does come about, groups like CT can help those who might be put off from taking the step into amateur radio by assisting with their learning, and / or ensuring they understand that they are not required to get 100% of the answers correct to obtain a pass.. if they are confident in other areas of the syllabus they could afford to get the question(s) on construction wrong and still pass.

Still, I agree it's a good time for those thinking about taking or currently studying for the Foundation to take that step now whilst everything remains the same. It's also a great time to obtain your ticket and play radio across the spectrum as conditions are phenomenal (bar the odd sun flare radio blackout).

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Victor
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Victor


Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 / M7VIC
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Join date : 2019-11-10
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PostSubject: Re: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 10:45 am

Let's hope so Neal, let us certainly hope so. So you want to become a Ham radio operator? 1f44d
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SangueG
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SangueG


Call Sign : 26-CT-3971 / 2E0LMI
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PostSubject: Re: So you want to become a Ham radio operator?   So you want to become a Ham radio operator? Icon_minitimeFri Jan 12, 2024 10:23 pm

If anyone is not aware, the RSGB have released a preliminary draft of sections 1 and 7 of syllabus v1.6. They say these are the only sections of the syllabus that will change compared to v1.5 in current use. A quick scan through of the changes for the Foundation licence do not show any additional electronics theory knowledge is required, and all other amendments for Foundation I feel are not ones that would scare newcomers away.

A few more words on the subject can be read on the following RSGB web page:
https://rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/for-trainers/

And a direct link to the syllabus changes can be found on this link:
https://rsgb.services/public/publications/exams/syllabus_v1.6_sections_1_and_7_Dec_2023.pdf

As they write about on the above web page, there may still be some changes. But, as it stands for anyone currently studying for, or thinking about studying for, Foundation, there is no extra hurdles there that should hinder your goal to obtain the ticket. Go for it! Smile

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