Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Post by Valentine German » Sun, 31 Mar 2002 03:06:51

Hello, all!

I'm running behind on the replies to what I believe are interesting and
significant messages.  Below is one of those.  My original comments are
preceded by arrows while N2EY's comments are not.  My most recent comments,
to N2EY's comments, are inside [[double brackets]].

Quote:>So, would it be correct to say that the creation of the
>current Technician license DID have an effect, and DID
>bring more people into the fold, in a burst that started
>ten or so years ago?

The number of US hams grew all through the 1970s and 1980s,
when all US ham licenses required a code test. The growth
continued after the Tech lost its code test in 1991. W1RFI
posted numbers that show the growth increased after 1991,
but has slowed somewhat in recent years. We can play number
games all day, but doing so does not put even one more
amateur signal on the air.

[[I am truly trying to understand what is going on, and what has gone on,
vis--vis licensing and the resultant numbers of hams, etc.  I think it's
important to use numbers to try and understand what is and is not happening
in amateur radio, and what polices may or may not be successful.  I believe
that this understanding depends on accurate numbers and if it's a game, it's
a serious one!]]

Surges are to be expected - when the "price" of something drops,
There is usually a surge of "sales".

[[Unless no one is buying, at all, which seems to be happening vis--vis the
change in the code test.  That is, even 5 wpm has had little or no  effect
on recruitment of totally new people to HF, or so it seems.  Thus,
apparently, the shift to NO code testing at all?]]

Quote:>Then, as the 1990s went on, some of those folks DID qualify
>with code at the first level, and it was these same folks,
>and mostly them alone, who came  onto HF in a big way HF
>after April, 2000, restructuring.  That is, there was no
>real influx of NEW people onto the HF bands, OR into
>amateur radio, when the code requirement was dropped to
>5 wpm for ALL license classes.   Would that be right?

It sure seems that way. The main effect of the restructuring
was lots of upgrades, not lots of new hams. IMO the problem
is NOT the tests - it's lack of publicity.

[[Here's the crux of the whole thing, for today's policy makers, in my view.
That is, they seemed to be overwhelmingly worried about QUANTITY and not
QUALITY, and there must be a reason for that.  But IS there a huge problem
with quantity and is the problem severe enough to justify the angst that has
been created by all of these changes?  On the one hand, the ability and
desire to pass ANY test these days says volumes for a new recruit.  On the
other hand, the system for giving those tests has radically changed over the
last two decades, to make everything more "accessible."  It's sometimes hard
for me to see the reason for the current shuffling and re-shuffling when
there are, what, 650,000 hams?  Why the apparent panic?  Is it all about
HF?]]

Quote:>. . . there never has been a legal REQUIREMENT to
>USE CW on the air, am I right?

Not since about 50 years ago. There was once a requirement
that hams certify a certain amount of on-air USE of CW/Morse
(so many hours in a certain number of months preceding the
renewal application) in order to renew their licenses.

[[Now THAT is fascinating.  I guess the problem was it led to a lot of
cooked books since, er, ah, how could that be enforced?]]

This was changed about 50 years ago to a requirement to operate
using any mode, then dropped entirely.

[[Also fascinating, in that for some time there was in effect a requirement
to BE ACTIVE to keep the license!  And wasn't renewal a 5-year affair
then?]]

For at least 35+ years there has been NO requirement for any ham
to use any mode, or to operate at all.  Neither has there ever been
a requirement to USE any of the theory stuff, either.  The old
Novice license went through a period (1967-1978?) when it conveyed
only CW/Morse privileges.

[[What an impossibility it would be these days to certify 50,000 or 60,000
people a year for renewal, under a "must operate" rule!]]

Quote:>However, was it not a fact that if one took the trouble to learn
>code at 13 wpm, or some higher level, then it occurred to at least
>SOME people that it sure would be silly NOT to use it, since it
>worked so well for some things?  Would that be a fair statement?

Sure. Just like if you require all drivers to use a stick shift
For their driving test, some will like it and buy stick shift
cars instead of automatics.

Quote:>That is, [the above] is the argument I think I am seeing from
>some code supporters.  Does this idea hold any water?

Of course. In fact, that's kind of what happened to me. My first
interest in ham radio came from hearing hams on 75 meter AM.
I wanted to join them, and set out to get a license. Along the way
I discovered that CW was fun once I had decent skills at it. Thus
It became my primary mode. Would I have learned CW/Morse and used
it without the license requirement? I really don't know.

[[Here is another critical issue, what will happen to CW usage once testing
disappears?  The ARRL position seems similar to the old Bush
Administration's "Thousand Points of Light" escape hatch, one stating that
volunteerism will make up for a lack of involvement by any "higher
authority."  But this is, I think, a very cheesy position to take, VERY, and
quite reminds me of an old movie in which a loving relative, pushing a
wheelchair-bound uncle down a boardwalk, speaks for several minutes in
cooing terms . . . then pushes the crippled oldster into the ocean.  That
is, what is ARRL going to do vis--vis CW besides wishing it well . . . all
the way to the water?  That is, I think CW is part of the historical legacy
of amateur radio and is now UNIQUE to amateur radio, and so is worth
protecting and encouraging, at the highest level.]]

All I can say is that at least some anti-code-test folks are also
against expanding the 'phone sub-bands because doing so will
effectively reduce the spectrum available for DIGITAL modes.

[[The enemy of my enemy is my friend, to the end of boardwalk!  That is,
this "support" for CW operating might keep it Grand-fathered in, at least as
far as the next convenient scenic overlook.  And after that . . . splash!?]]

Some folks say there should be no mode restrictions on amateur
HF, and that such restrictions constitute a form of "welfare"
for "narrow" modes, like CW.  But without mode restrictions,
what is to prevent hams from using, say, the same FM voice
standards as on VHF/UHF?

[[I think you've hit on the whole idea!  Just think of the hardware that
would have to be sold if "talk wars" broke out on HF, as broke out on CB
here in Columbia in the late 1970s! Where would the WORLD hide from the U.S.
generated noise!]]

On amateur VHF/UHF there are almost no mode restrictions.
(Yes, I recall 50.0-50.1 and 144.0-144.1).  On 2 meters
this has resulted in most of the band being taken up by
FM voice repeaters, leaving less space for new modes to
operate. Without any mode restrictions on HF, it is
reasonable to assume something similar would take place.

[[And may be the secret agenda of some, eh?  That is, who would get to sell
all the equipment?  Who would get to "coordinate" the bands?]]

Quote:>Is everyone going to just be friends now?

All depends on how people behave. Look at how some people post
here - I see a variety of behaviors, ranging from very friendly
to very unfriendly.

[[Gresham's Law seems to operate with extreme effect on UseNet: The Bad
Drives Out the Good.  Open up HF to "let the best mode win" and . . .
chaos?]]

-- As for the future of the band plans and CW:

Quote:>That depends entirely on USE of the mode. Many of us who
>actually USE CW/Morse will continue to do so and encourage
>others to do the same.

No doubt, and that's good!  Let the best mode win?

I'm 47, so I expect it to be more like 40-50 years at least
[before any serious band plan change.]

[[Maybe.  But I think the pressure will start in very soon to do something
about "band welfare."  I hope I'm wrong.]]

Quote:>That's a fair-sized market, I think!  That's half a billion
>dollars! [for Ham Radio equipment, per year.]

Compared to what? How much was the market for, say, FRS/GMRS
Radios last year? Or VCRs?

[[Half a billion dollars is half a billion dollars is half a billion dollars
is half a billion dollars!]]

And I would say that my guess was about as high as it gets.
I don't think most US hams spend as much as $1000 total on
equipment every year.

[[One wonders what the REAL number is, total, and whether that number is
going up or down or maintaining.  Here is a real hidden factor in all the
regulatory changes, in my view.  That is, the fact that it's simply not
spoken of with  reference to rule making . . . speaks volumes, to me.]]

Quote:>And looking at QST and its advertising, the ratio between HF
>and VHF related ads is at least FOUR-TO-ONE, in full-page
>ads, and higher than that in smaller ones.  That is, if there
>IS any real money in amateur radio, it does seem to be in HF.
>Is that a fair statement?

Nope. Ads simply reflect what the manufacturers are trying to
sell, not what they are actually selling. I can name all sorts
of examples down through the years where highly advertised items
did not sell in large quantities, but rigs that were almost
unadvertised sold like hotcakes.

[[Off the point, I think.  For years and years this ratio has been
maintained, guaranteeing (for me) that HF is where the money is, especially
for the few U.S. makers still in the game.  I think it is THEY who have the
ear of Foggy Bottom, such as it is, every bit as much as any other ARS
faction.  These economic factors cut across all boundaries and borders and
to me explain the fact that the Europeans are bailing on code as well.  It's
the dollar value of the market, and it's future, that is in play here, in my
view.  NCI simply provided a convenient stalking dog here in the U.S., and
as ...

read more »

 
 
 

Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Post by CAM » Sun, 31 Mar 2002 04:00:41



> Just like if you require all drivers to use a stick shift
> For their driving test, some will like it and buy stick shift
> cars instead of automatics.

I don't know of any states that require a stick shift test. It
is not the purpose of government to preserve historical legacies.

Quote:> I think CW is part of the historical legacy
> of amateur radio and is now UNIQUE to amateur radio, and so is worth
> protecting and encouraging, at the highest level.]]

It is not the purpose of government to preserve a historical
legacy. That falls upon the individual members of the ARS like
you and me.
 --
cheers, CAM, W5DXP

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Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Post by Bill Soh » Sun, 31 Mar 2002 12:15:35



> > Just like if you require all drivers to use a stick shift
> > For their driving test, some will like it and buy stick shift
> > cars instead of automatics.

> I don't know of any states that require a stick shift test. It
> is not the purpose of government to preserve historical legacies.

Cecil is correct...No state in the USA requires a stick shift driving test.

Quote:> > I think CW is part of the historical legacy
> > of amateur radio and is now UNIQUE to amateur radio, and so is worth
> > protecting and encouraging, at the highest level.]]

> It is not the purpose of government to preserve a historical
> legacy. That falls upon the individual members of the ARS like
> you and me.

Right again.

Cheers,
Bill K2UNK

 
 
 

Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Post by N2E » Mon, 01 Apr 2002 02:10:00


>Hello, all!

>I'm running behind on the replies to what I believe are interesting and
>significant messages.  Below is one of those.  

Hello Val,

I've added ">"s so the posts read conventionally. Also edited out some old
stuff to save space.
(Val wrote):

Quote:>[[I am truly trying to understand what is going on, and what has gone on,
>vis--vis licensing and the resultant numbers of hams, etc.  I think it's
>important to use numbers to try and understand what is and is not happening
>in amateur radio, and what polices may or may not be successful.  I believe
>that this understanding depends on accurate numbers and if it's a game, it's
>a serious one!]]

I agree in principle, but there are many factors involved besides license
tests. For example,
back before cheap cellphone service many hams around here got licenses and used
the
local repeaters for "honeydew" purposes. That was a significant source of new
hams even
before the Tech lost its code test. The advent of low cost family cellphone
plans and better
coverage all but ended that source of new hams.

(N2EY wrote):

Quote:>>Surges are to be expected - when the "price" of something drops,
>>There is usually a surge of "sales".
>[[Unless no one is buying, at all, which seems to be happening vis--vis the
>change in the code test.  That is, even 5 wpm has had little or no  effect
>on recruitment of totally new people to HF, or so it seems.  Thus,
>apparently, the shift to NO code testing at all?]]

Once the market is saturated, price changes have little effect. And price is
only
one factor. Take home appliances, for example: A sale on refrigerators won't
make me buy one because the one I have is only two years old, does an excellent

job, and I don't have room or need for another.

Quote:>[[Here's the crux of the whole thing, for today's policy makers, in my view.
>That is, they seemed to be overwhelmingly worried about QUANTITY and not
>QUALITY, and there must be a reason for that.  But IS there a huge problem
>with quantity and is the problem severe enough to justify the angst that has
>been created by all of these changes?  On the one hand, the ability and
>desire to pass ANY test these days says volumes for a new recruit.  On the
>other hand, the system for giving those tests has radically changed over the
>last two decades, to make everything more "accessible."  It's sometimes hard
>for me to see the reason for the current shuffling and re-shuffling when
>there are, what, 650,000 hams?  Why the apparent panic?  Is it all about
>HF?]]

There are several concerns. One is that the FCC doesn't have unlimited or even
adequate resources. Thus the VE and QPC systems - FCC unloads a huge burden
of admin work on unpaid volunteers.

Another factor is the mandate for simplification of rules and regs. Why have
six classes
of license if three will do? Why have highly technical tests if the problems
(violations)
of the ARS are not primarily technical? Look at the FCC enforcement letters -
they are
rarely about purely technical issues, and mostly about operating issues.

"Access" is a big thing to the FCC. They would rather have all interested
parties licensed
rather than have to chase pirate stations.

(N2EY)

Quote:>>There was once a requirement
>>that hams certify a certain amount of on-air USE of CW/Morse
>>(so many hours in a certain number of months preceding the
>>renewal application) in order to renew their licenses.
>[[Now THAT is fascinating.  I guess the problem was it led to a lot of
>cooked books since, er, ah, how could that be enforced?]]

FCC used to require that applications be notarized. They took people at their
word, for the most part.

The real problem was this: What if it were impractical for a ham to get in the
required activity? Under the letter of the old rules, Ham A could be totally
inactive for 4-1/2
years, then make a few contacts and renew, while Ham B could be active as all
get out for 4-1/2 years, then be kept from operating for a few months and not
be
able to renew. Such a rule didn't really serve the purposes of the ARS, so the
FCC
finally dropped it.

Quote:>[[Also fascinating, in that for some time there was in effect a requirement
>to BE ACTIVE to keep the license!

Yup - see above.

Quote:> And wasn't renewal a 5-year affair
>then?]]

From at least the end of WW2 until 1984, permanent ham licenses had 5 year
terms.
In 1984 the FCC began issuing 10 year licenses, so that from 1989 to 1994 NO US
ham licenses expired at all. Kinda complicates analyzing the number trends.

Reason for the change? It saves about 1000 person-hours of FCC admin work per
year, plus
postage and other paperwork, by cutting the number of renewals in half.

Quote:>>>Sure. Just like if you require all drivers to use a stick shift
>>>For their driving test, some will like it and buy stick shift
>>>cars instead of automatics.

>>>That is, [the above] is the argument I think I am seeing from
>>>some code supporters.  Does this idea hold any water?

>>Of course. In fact, that's kind of what happened to me. My first
>>interest in ham radio came from hearing hams on 75 meter AM.
>>I wanted to join them, and set out to get a license. Along the way
>>I discovered that CW was fun once I had decent skills at it. Thus
>>It became my primary mode. Would I have learned CW/Morse and used
>>it without the license requirement? I really don't know.

>[[Here is another critical issue, what will happen to CW usage once testing
>disappears?  The ARRL position seems similar to the old Bush
>Administration's "Thousand Points of Light" escape hatch, one stating that
>volunteerism will make up for a lack of involvement by any "higher
>authority."  But this is, I think, a very cheesy position to take, VERY, and
>quite reminds me of an old movie in which a loving relative, pushing a
>wheelchair-bound uncle down a boardwalk, speaks for several minutes in
>cooing terms . . . then pushes the crippled oldster into the ocean.  That
>is, what is ARRL going to do vis--vis CW besides wishing it well . . . all
>the way to the water?  That is, I think CW is part of the historical legacy
>of amateur radio and is now UNIQUE to amateur radio, and so is worth
>protecting and encouraging, at the highest level.]]

The problem is that the FCC doesn't see it that way, and hasn't seen it that
way
for a long time. FCC's attitude is that they don't want to do any code testing
any
more. So it's up to us hams to keep the mode alive. FCC won't do it.

The ARRL BoD has strongly supported code testing for many years because the
membership wanted them to. But it has become clear in the past few years that
doing so is not going to make any difference to the FCC, nor with most other
IARU member societies. And there are lots of other issues demanding ARRL
resources.

Quote:>>All I can say is that at least some anti-code-test folks are also
>>against expanding the 'phone sub-bands because doing so will
>>effectively reduce the spectrum available for DIGITAL modes.

>[[The enemy of my enemy is my friend, to the end of boardwalk!  That is,
>this "support" for CW operating might keep it Grand-fathered in, at least as
>far as the next convenient scenic overlook.  And after that . . . splash!?]]

I'm sure some folks would like that. But there is no precedent for outlawing
any
mode used by hams. The only mode ever outlawed in ham radio was spark,
(1927), and by that time it had been abandoned by hams.

Quote:>>Some folks say there should be no mode restrictions on amateur
>>HF, and that such restrictions constitute a form of "welfare"
>>for "narrow" modes, like CW.  But without mode restrictions,
>>what is to prevent hams from using, say, the same FM voice
>>standards as on VHF/UHF?

>[[I think you've hit on the whole idea!  Just think of the hardware that
>would have to be sold if "talk wars" broke out on HF, as broke out on CB
>here in Columbia in the late 1970s! Where would the WORLD hide from the U.S.
>generated noise!]]

Exactly.

Quote:>>On amateur VHF/UHF there are almost no mode restrictions.
>>(Yes, I recall 50.0-50.1 and 144.0-144.1).  On 2 meters
>>this has resulted in most of the band being taken up by
>>FM voice repeaters, leaving less space for new modes to
>>operate. Without any mode restrictions on HF, it is
>>reasonable to assume something similar would take place.

>[[And may be the secret agenda of some, eh?  That is, who would get to sell
>all the equipment?  Who would get to "coordinate" the bands?]]

End result would probably just be chaos.

Quote:>>I'm 47, so I expect it to be more like 40-50 years at least
>>[before any serious band plan change.]

>[[Maybe.  But I think the pressure will start in very soon to do something
>about "band welfare."  I hope I'm wrong.]]

Such pressure can only be resisted by actual occupancy of the bands.

Quote:

>>>That's a fair-sized market, I think!  That's half a billion
>>>dollars! [for Ham Radio equipment, per year.]

>>Compared to what? How much was the market for, say, FRS/GMRS
>>Radios last year? Or VCRs?

>[[Half a billion dollars is half a billion dollars is half a billion dollars
>is half a billion dollars!]]

Compared to multibillion dollar sales of other items it's small potatoes.

Quote:

>>And I would say that my guess was about as high as it gets.
>>I don't think most US hams spend as much as $1000 total on
>>equipment every year.

>[[One wonders what the REAL number is, total, and whether that number is
>going up or down or maintaining.  Here is a real hidden factor in all the
>regulatory changes, in my view.  That is, the fact that it's simply not
>spoken of with  reference to rule making . . . speaks volumes, to me.]]

It's not spoken because it's just not that much money. Start arguing that ham
radio is important because 683,000 US hams spend a half-billion per year and
others services will point to having more users spending many times that.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:>> Ads simply reflect what the manufacturers are trying to
>>sell, not what they are

...

read more »

 
 
 

Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Post by N2E » Mon, 01 Apr 2002 04:27:11



>> Just like if you require all drivers to use a stick shift
>> For their driving test, some will like it and buy stick shift
>> cars instead of automatics.

>I don't know of any states that require a stick shift test.

Here in PA, it's been that way for at least 30 years. Yet manual shift autos
and light trucks
continue to be sold and used.

Of course there is one small flaw in the CW/manual shift analogy: The decision
to buy a manual
shift car is an all-or-nothing choice, while ham rigs have multiple modes.

Quote:>It
>is not the purpose of government to preserve historical legacies.

Sure it is. Otherwise there would be no state and national parks, forests and
wildernesses, nor any
government supported museums or historic sites.

Quote:

>> I think CW is part of the historical legacy
>> of amateur radio and is now UNIQUE to amateur radio, and so is worth
>> protecting and encouraging, at the highest level.]]

>It is not the purpose of government to preserve a historical
>legacy.

Sure it is. See above.

Quote:> That falls upon the individual members of the ARS like
>you and me.

That part is true.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
 
 

Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Post by CAM » Mon, 01 Apr 2002 07:46:12


> >It is not the purpose of government to preserve historical legacies.

> Sure it is. Otherwise there would be no state and national parks, forests and
> wildernesses, nor any government supported museums or historic sites.

Don't know much about Libertarianism, do you, Jim? Libertarians don't
believe in government ownership of anything. Government ownership
of the oil-rich lands in Alaska is why we are on the verge of WWIII.
--
cheers, CAM   http://www.qsl.net/w5dxp

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Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Post by K0HB » Mon, 01 Apr 2002 08:00:14


Quote:> It is not the purpose of government to preserve a historical
> legacy.

Gee, GWB could sell off historical things like the Liberty Bell,
the USS Arizona, the original copies of the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution, and other historical
legacy ***like that.  Maybe put them on EBay, and some
startup country with no history of their own could buy them
off us?

Cecil, you may be intellectually gifted, but I think you have
neglected to unwrap most of your presents.

With all kind wishes,

de Hans, K0HB

 
 
 

Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Post by CAM » Mon, 01 Apr 2002 08:14:43



> > It is not the purpose of government to preserve a historical
> > legacy.

> Gee, GWB could sell off historical things like the Liberty Bell,
> the USS Arizona, the original copies of the Declaration of
> Independence and the Constitution, and other historical
> legacy ***like that.

Note that if the government sold off it's assets to profit-making
businesses, they could pay off the national debt and those
historical artifacts would be better taken care of since they
would be priceless profit-making endeavors.
--
cheers, CAM   http://www.redwaveradio.com/

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Long Reply to N2EY's Long Reply!

Post by Brian P Burk » Tue, 02 Apr 2002 07:35:44



> > It is not the purpose of government to preserve a historical
> > legacy.

> Gee, GWB could sell off historical things like the Liberty Bell,
> the USS Arizona, the original copies of the Declaration of
> Independence and the Constitution, and other historical
> legacy ***like that.  Maybe put them on EBay, and some
> startup country with no history of their own could buy them
> off us?

> Cecil, you may be intellectually gifted, but I think you have
> neglected to unwrap most of your presents.

> With all kind wishes,

> de Hans, K0HB

Instead of selling off the Statue of Liberty, I think we ought to return it
to France.  Then we tell them where to get off.on death penalty issues.