> Let me see if I have this correct as so many like to look to the past.
> 1970s - Incentive Licensing will kill Amateur radio. But it grew
> 1980s - CB radio will kill Amateur Radio. But it grew
> 1990s - The No-Code Tech will kill Amateur Radio. But it grew.
> 2000 - Cell Phones will kill Amateur Radio. But it grew
> 2006 - Elimination of the CW requirement will kill Amateur Radio.
I guess I'm a bit confused, I wasn't aware that the 'need' or 'goal' of
amateur radio was to have as many people as possible. Logically if that is
the goal, the strategy should be to eliminate licensing completely and WOW
we would have everyone! Obviously, that is not the goal or purpose of
amateur radio, so using the sheer numbers of 'amateurs' to measure the
success is grossly invalid. Also since I can't see how you gathered the
above 'statistics', I really can't put any weight in their validity. How
about sharing the source of your 'facts'?
Looking at the past helps us forecast the future. Almost every industry and
science uses this technique, it is valid and valuable. I had a CB in the
70's, my folks got the required license, and frankly I listened 95% of the
time hoping to gain knowledge and information. It was a logical stepping
stone to 'real' radio (amateur and commercial), and it is an opportunity for
us to provide guidance and training to upcoming radio operators. It is OUR
duty to train these folks, rather than only bitch about them and keep them
out of our group, it should be our goal to incorporate and 'mold' these
folks into good radio operators.
Unfortunately the CW requirements didn't provide us with (only) qualified
operators. I work with a few on projects around here, Extra class with CW
the old way, and frankly they can't install a PL-259. I do not consider
them qualified radio operators at all. On the flip side, I work with folks
that are no code tech's that have other skills (private pilots, armed
forces, two-way techs, engineers) etc. where they have learned control and
discipline and they are GREAT operators on the radio. Polite, careful and
effective and they have the technical skills to back it up (except for CW).
It may not be fair to judge amateurs by their license class, unfortunately I
don't have time to judge them individually.
I turned my 706 over to 27 mhz to monitor channel 5 while attempting to exit
a site on a heavily traveled logging road. For 15 minutes I was reminded of
the past, a 'brother' in Alabama droning on in his one way broadcast about
how the 'white man' created santa clause in an effort to steal money from
the masses. His opinion, which is fine, never once heard the local traffic
I was listening for on the west coast above the distant 'crap'.
Do I want to see HF go that way? Certainly not. Is simply eliminating the
morse code requirements going to cause that? Certainly not. If we drag in
more 'numbers' and don't train them well, it is more likely that our HF
bands will begin to sound that way. We saw CB go from a licensed usable
form to what I consider now a waste of bandwidth. It is quite likely that
we could expect a similar decline in amateur HF bands if we don't do
something to help it.
I believe it to be a mistake to eliminate the code requirement. I honestly
believe CW is a viable mode, it is probably the last mode of communications
when others fail, and just a damn handy thing to be able to copy in any
emergency. It provided a level of achievement that was reasonable to
require for the privileges that were given.
Unfortunately just like the school system, we're going to 'dumb it down' to
the point of defeat. Education is a prime example. Seems the kids would
rather smoke weed and not attend class, so they aren't passing the courses.
They don't want to go to school, don't want to learn. Solution? Make the
courses and test easier so we have a higher success rate. I think the same
mistaken logic was just applied to amateur radio.
The CW requirement didn't keep the idiots out of amateur radio, seems the
hobby attracts some real strange folks. It did, however, provide a level of
achievement that one must reach to operate some portions of the bands. Much
like education, having a degree doesn't mean that you can do all the things
you learned...it does however show that you have the ability to learn and
apply information learned.
There will always be a group of folks standing around the organization,
every organization, bitching about those who took the challenge and worked
to succeed. They see what we have and are jealous of it.
There will always be a group of folks looking for the 'short cut' to get
what the others have without having to do the work. They see what we have,
they want it, but they are too lazy to go get it.
And, there will always be a group that says 'that is just too hard' or 'I
don't have time' or whatever the excuse is. (what is your excuse?) These
folks go through life with that attitude about many things. They are
envious of what we have, but would rather do other things than organize
their time to achieve the specific goal that we did.
SO...what do we do now besides complain?
1. Make a proactive effort to get these new no-code folks into the fold and
make sure they know how to operate correctly. It honestly is our job as
experienced operators. If they fail to operate properly, it is mostly
because they have had bad examples and no one took the time to teach them.
2. If you advanced in the service without the code, prove us old timers
wrong. Learn to operate correctly, help your friends operate correctly,
pretty soon we won't know the difference.
3. If you advance without code, get off your butt and learn it anyway. I
learned it in the boy scouts, then refreshed in the marine business, used it
many times when I was flying. It's flat out handy to know for many reasons
and you can certainly use it to impress your peers.
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