Peach and I have decided to upgrade our ham licenses from Technician to General, which will like I explained in an earlier post, allow us more frequencies to converse on when we pass the test. “There’s a Test?? You know I stink at tests!!” to which Peach does as she always does, rolls her eyes and tells me to be serious, which kinda leads to the reason for this post (the test part not the me trying to be serious, which if you ask Peach, I rarely am).
I have often wondered what twisted personalities develop questions for Ham tests, I mean, if you look at them on the face they are a mixed jumble of technical jargon that the normal person has no clue what the meaning is (I’ll give a few examples in a bit). Now before all you Ham enthusiasts get all uppity, finish reading. There are two types of Ham operators, generally, I believe (leaving out the preppers, not because they don’t count but, because they mostly are using Ham for preparation for society collapse, good on ya for being prepared.) My two types are people that just want to turn on a radio, find some people talking and have a fun conversation, making new “contacts” and hopefully lifelong friendships. The other type also enjoys the same things, but these are the technical ones, the ones that desire to use computers, tinker with new equipment, find new ways to do things, which generally improves Ham radio for most others (except when it comes to tests).
The first user type is a young child or adult introduced to Ham at school or by a friend of the family or at a field day etc. They become excited to talk to people around the world (yes it’s possible to do) and enjoy doing so. This type does not care how the radio works, does not care how many volts equal a millivolt, kilovolt, volt cola or whatever. They just want to be able to talk and make friends. They will probably never open a radio up to fix a bad diode or bulb, won’t build or adjust antennas, will buy what’s best and use it based on what’s in the instruction manual. They want to know the rules, so they can follow them and be good Ham operators, and generally are happy with the knowledge they have.
Type two, the tinkerers, question everything, look for ways to talk farther, improve speed, make antennas easier to adjust (tune). These are the people that over the years, have improved Ham radio two-fold over what it was capable of doing in the early days, and they continue to question and try and improve each time they have a moment.
I believe both types have their place and both add something to Ham radio, and now the reason for the ramble:
Who writes these tests? I mean seriously??!! Why does a person need to know how many nanofarad’s equal a picofarad just to talk on a radio to someone?? Why do I care how the efficiency of a RF power amplifier is determined? Answer is “I don’t” except to upgrade my license, based on God knows who’s idea of what knowledge I need to be licensed to talk on Ham radio legally. This is where the two sides butt heads, the one side could care less, the other thinks everyone should know.
It’s my blog post (when Peach lets me call it that) so I’m gonna go out on a limb, why not make the test relevant to what you can and cannot do? Questions about the rules, would in my humble opinion, better serve the Ham community and teach what’s proper. By all means, if your type 2 then go forth and prosper, keep up the good work, but that’s no reason to expect the average person to learn how to calculate how long a wire antenna needs to be to be resonant on 80 meters (use the online calculators out there it’s easier).
Peach and I will wade through the technical crap that we will never use, and we will pass our tests (confidence is key) even though we believe it’s not relevant to why we are doing it. It has gotten “easier”, they took out the Morse code requirement (CW) which is weird because it would actually be relevant to a lot of people.
Anyways, I have to go learn what a discriminator, a mixer and other things I will never use are, the test is next month and my mind doesn’t like being crammed with useless knowledge, even if I only have to retain it till I pass the test.
Y’all take care
The pic above is all Peach and I use to talk on the air, it’s all we need.
Oh, when you write to give me heck, please use decent language, sometimes little kids read these posts to