Our ARRL wants to give the Techs more privileges. They say that “This action will enhance the available license operating privileges in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the Amateur Service.” Well, yeah…… Isn’t the point of the Tech Class, to be the entry level class?
I should preface that I was a Tech for most of my Amateur Radio life of +/- 26 years. I also want to make it known that I am not an ‘Ol Timer’ spouting stuff about ‘back in my day.’ I am 40, well below the age limit for such stuff. In fact I came into the hobby after another big change in the class levels in the early 90’s when cw was being down sized in a big way.
I liken the action by the ARRL to a recent story about a school district wanting to spread out the grading system. Where an ‘A’ was 90% or higher, it would change to 85% or higher and so on down the pipe. Does this help the students learn more? Does the ARRL’s proposal help Techs knowledge base? Will the test for the Techs be harder? Right now it is only 35 questions, if HF is added in will the question pool go up? Will the number of questions go up because of the amount of material that is required to know is more? I honestly believe that if HF is added in, then yes the test should be and needs to be harder. But that is actually the opposite of what the ARRL is wanting to do, they want to keep the Tech Class as an easy entry to Amateur Radio. The ARRL’s says that the Tech class question pool (see above link) “…already covers far more material than necessary for an entry-level exam to validate expanded privileges.” Their whitewash job is lacking at best. Techs do not come away from the test with the knowledge needed for HF.
I am a member on many Facebook Amateur Radio Pages. Just this morning there was a Tech that had no clue what a ‘beam’ antenna was. I won’t fault him nor did I call him out for this, but isn’t this something that a Tech should know from the test prep or at the very least learn as a Tech? Isn’t this something that someone using HF should know? Granted, there is a lot of basic information that does not get passed on while prepping or taking the tests. But isn’t this the reason for the different class levels? To help in the growth process of operators. Getting your ticket is certainly not the end of the learning process, rather pretty much the beginning. I see many people post that they passed not just 1, but 2 or 3 of the elements in one sitting. However, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that someone that has had a tech licence for a few years and is active on the radio, will have much more knowledge than a good test taker.
So, No. I do not support giving more privileges to the Technician Class. There is already a pretty easy and quick way to get those privileges & maybe even learn something in the process, upgrade.