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Old 01-02-2014, 08:11 AM   #11
NN5I
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Wade, we are in complete agreement on the facts; what you say is entirely true. This being so, Electricflyer's advice will surely work; that's the way it's done now, and in the current testing environment it works.

It's unfortunate, though, that our testing method encourages prospective hams to memorize the questions; they might instead have spent that effort learning the principles and the science, and in the long run have wasted less time.

I for one have always found that I could learn the principles and the science more quickly and easily than I could memorize the questions; and I suspect that the same is probably true for many others.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:59 AM   #12
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I for one have always found that I could learn the principles and the science more quickly and easily than I could memorize the questions; and I suspect that the same is probably true for many others.
Yep, me too. When I was teaching my one-day tech class we had a phenomenal 80% pass rate. I taught just enough stuff so the applicant understood "why" the answer was "10 watts" or "E layer" and moved on to the next questions.

Still, what the class gave us was a bunch of excited newbies that had their "learners permit"
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:50 PM   #13
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I understand the concern that test answers can be memorized and there may be some people that can memorize some of the answers but it would be difficult to memorize enough to guarantee passage, especially for Extra.
The experience I think many of the older hams were confronted with was to be able to trouble shoot your transmitter or receiver and construct your own antenna. Many built their own equipment, transmitters a little easier than receivers. I built a SX-140 in 1960 from a kit I got at Radio Shack. It was a bag of resistors, a bag of capacitors, a bag of tube sockets, a roll of wire and all the screws and nuts. You could put your hand inside the cabinet and fix a cold solder joint or replace a tube or capacitor but those days are over as solid state surface mount components small enough you need a magnifier to find it let alone have the equipment to analyze and align it. A block diagram is about as much as you can understand about your rig unless you are a design engineer. Very few hams can repair their own equipment these days.
Both of my sons could repair any of todays radio gear mainly because of their many years as Avionics Techs and had access to the test gear. Myself on the other hand would give my equipment to them for repair.
Kind of lengthy. I respect the knowledge needed for the years past but technology is moving faster and faster and plug and play is the name of the game now.
The same thing has happened in my other hobby of RC airplanes. In the old days you could measure a wingspan and length of a model and know exactly what size motor to use. Now, you have to know all that plus the cord, the weight, high wing, low wing, wing loading and then go to your computer to figure out what size electric motor to use, what style motor, match it with the correct propeller, figure out how many battery cells, know what the current draw will be, pick the right size motor controller, have a 12 channel computerized transmitter and receiver and after all that - Can you fly it?? Very few build their planes, just get it in a box and slide a few parts together and you are ready to fly. No need to understand aerodynamics.
Technology forces changes on us, like it or not. I think that without changes to the license procedure and keep up with the times the hobby would not have the number of people in the hobby and a lot of the radio spectrum would have been lost. We need to mentor, "elmer", teach and get involved with the newcomers rather than criticize what they don't know.
Let me get off of my soap box now. I could have gotten my license back in 1960. I learned code, I studied the handbook, could draw the diagrams, but the FCC was only in Omaha a couple times a year and not convenient. My father-in-law was a ham and my wife built Globe Scout transceivers during summer break in high school. I just got married and had a choice, play with radio's or play with a new wife - NO BRAINER! So with only being licensed for 23 years I am technically a newbee.
Sorry guys but I like this hobby and in my old age want to see others get involved also that is why I belong to several clubs, assist in teaching, do volunteer testing and some mentoring.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:16 AM   #14
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ElectricFlyer,

Welcome to the forum. You are in the right place as this forum seeks to 'advance the radio art' and makes a dandy soapbox as well.



We also have a forum for other hobbies, astronomy, GPS, photography, and even RC airplanes. If you have interesting stuff about the RC hobby (or whatever else interests you) we have a place for it.

Jump in and join the fray. We need oldtimers with the knack of getting newbies started.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:09 AM   #15
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So, Electricflyer, your thesis as I understand it is that electronics, for example, is more complex than it once was (I agree), and that therefore we ought simply to pretend to learn its principles (I disagree).

For, after all, memorizing answers is sham learning, isn't it?

We do agree, though, that memorizing answers is sometimes more difficult than learning how stuff works. So why, exactly, do you recommend the rote method?

Incidentally, I don't believe your implication that learning to repair and maintain requires the skills of a design engineer. I know it ain't so. In my youth I made my living repairing electronics before I went to college and became a design engineer (BSEE, U of Fla, 1969). The difference is rather huge.
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Old 01-12-2014, 05:13 PM   #16
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Ha!

EMP - the "great leveler" could make all that "tube" knowledge valuable indeed.


Thank you all for replying and I will be reading up on this prior to making "the jump" as a $1500 or so up front investment without a clear understanding what I am getting into makes a lot so sense to me.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:43 PM   #17
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Many a person adopts a new hobby with an imperfect understanding; that's part of what makes it fun. Another thing that makes ham radio fun is that it isn't just for engineers and technicians. When I go to lunch with a bunch of radio hams, there'll usually be a retired engineer or two, some programmers, maybe a lawyer , a physician, and a history professor. Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief -- oh, yes, not only police chiefs and Navy chiefs, but a retired Commander, too. Most don't know beans about electronics, but they're learning what they need to know to be pretty good hams. If they hadn't had to learn a bunch of answers to multiple-guess questions, they could have started earlier. If ham radio were just for EEs it wouldn't be much fun. What could I learn from people who know the same stuff I know? That'd be like trying to form my ideas by talking only with those who agree with me. Boring. Gotta learn from those who think I'm all wet.

Some of my friends are Democrats, even.

Incidentally, Herk, knowledge from the vacuum-tube era is quite useful. It's all the same kind of electricity, and drawing a load line on a set of transistor characteristics is done the same way as on a vacuum-tube chart. Besides, junction transistors act a lot like triode tubes, and FETs act a lot like pentodes. Electronics is fun, and I still remember my delight when I realized that capacitors and inductors behave exactly the same if you have the voltage and the current trade places. Magic! I felt smug at having already figured this out when it was explained in the very next chapter of the Circuit Analysis textbook under the chapter-head "duality".

Cheers!
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:04 AM   #18
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Everything in life is questions and answers the thing one needs to do is to question the answers. Memorizing the answers involves understanding the questions. I have no issues with the way the ham tests are setup that makes more sense to me than having to learn code. If something went toes up in my IC7000 no amount of knowledge would prepare me to attempt to fix and I was the electronics tech for the PD. Shoot I could not afford the test gear and necessary tools. By the way Carl I actually have a couple Republican friends.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:35 PM   #19
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Many a person adopts a new hobby with an imperfect understanding; that's part of what makes it fun.
I adopt all new things with an imperfect, sometimes minimal understanding. Sometimes it's fun, and it's always interesting.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:57 PM   #20
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Memorizing the answers involves understanding the questions.
Do all Democrats believe that? I don't.
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