We've Come a Long Way Baby!

Times are changing; the fone band is down
to 3600 KHz. What about the future?

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Important changes were proposed for
Amateur Radio in 1998!

The League Proposes
WB6TMY Comment

On December 30, 1999 FCC Ruling 99-412: TXT-154K   WPD-326K

I have thought about this at great length, no one has written me any Emails with their thoughts so here are mine.

Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) is becoming a non-technical hobby. Someday, if not already, it will cease to be the "Amateur Radio Service."

The CW (Morse Code) requirement has been deleted; we no longer provide a pool of qualified telegraph operators. I believe the general feeling is that digital communications have improved to the point that CW operators are no longer required.

The Theory has been weakened in many ways, most notably by giving the answers in the question pool, which I believe most people can memorize quite easily for the short time needed to take the test. In addition there are classes commonly available where the students study the answers all morning and then take the test in the same afternoon. No real learning need take place!

Additionally, the number of theory questions on all but the Extra are sufficiently small that missing them all will not result in failure. My ex-wife took the Technician in 1978, and I told her, "Dear, don't worry about Ohm's Law and all that stuff! Just leave those questions blank or fill them in at random." She took my advice and became N6AET.

The "Theory" has been a toothless tiger for at least 30 years, probably much longer.

So what service do we offer society?

We are not CW operators, and we are not Electronic Technicians.

Well, we provide communications for the Red Cross and similar organizations, mostly for fund-raising to aid their business objectives. Yes, don't kid yourself, the Red Cross is a Business!

That's fine and noble, but I don't believe it really provides a basis for emergency communications in a disaster. In a recent ham-feast at the "Valley of the Moon," I attended there were three communications vans. None of them were "Ham-Owned." All of them provided for the inclusion of ham volunteers under background checks and other qualifications. They were run by the County and State agencies, and believe me; they did not depend on the hams for their basic necessities. These vehicles were advanced communications centers for public emergencies and they cost in the range of a half million dollars and up.

We are becoming a "hobby" of diminishing public value, and I believe our bands will continue to erode in the VHF/UHF/MicroWave regions that are under pressure. For HF, the pressure is reduced and we may survive quite awhile. Many services have abandoned HF and there is empty spectrum available to be claimed now for many years.

If any of you readers have thoughts on this subject, send me an
email and I will put them here on this page for others.

"TR"- God Bless

This is an early reaction which originally appeared on the Internet's CW Reflector