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Old October 22nd 07, 06:46 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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In article ,
Phil Kane wrote:

On Sun, 21 Oct 2007 17:39:10 EDT, Bruce in Alaska
wrote:

I spent 5 years working for them, untill the ALGORE BloodLetting, that
destroyed Field
Operations as we knew it.


That was the first time that I heard Internet Al blamed for it.

I had always thought that it was Der Hundt, when The Congress laid the
task of rewriting the Cable TV rules on the agency but refused to
approve any more slots (money) for the reg-writers. and he looked
around to see who was expendable. He had no understanding of what the
field did, no matter how hard we tried, and so the blood-letting of
the field started. The then-Bureau chief (Beverly Baker, one of my
law school mentors) resigned rather than go through with it. She was
replaced by a former Chief Recruiting Sergeant for the Marine
Corps.... (no further comment)

I took early-out 10 seconds after it was offered. That's how good
morale was under that cloud 12 years ago.
--

73 de K2ASP - Phil Kane

From a Clearing in the Silicon Forest

Beaverton (Washington County) Oregon

e-mail: k2asp [at] arrl [dot] net


ALGORE was the guy who was incharge of the "Reinvention Of Government"
movement under the Clinton Administration. The Commission was one of
first agencies that got "ReInvented", and FOB was the first Bureau
that got slashed. It was interesting that the total number of employees
stayed fairly static thru the whole process..... $60K Engineers and
$45K Field Techs, replaced with $120K Economists, and $100K Lawyers....
and this saved money, How? Oh well, I really enjoyed my time with the
Commission, and the friends I made, and still have, some of whom are
still there. Although fewer, each year.

Bruce in alaska
--
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Old October 22nd 07, 08:51 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Forty Years Licensed

On Mon, 22 Oct 2007 10:29:37 EDT, Ralph E Lindberg
wrote:

Some 20 years ago I had a job interview with the Regional Engineer, she
was crowing about the $100K budget plus-up he just got, I didn't have
the heart to tell him that I had a $100K pin money budget (as a minor
project lead for the DoD)


One year in the 1980s the annual budget for the FCC was less than
DoD's expenditure for toilet paper. For enforcement budget and
staffing shortfalls, we can thank JEdgar Hoover who made sure that
enforcement activities of agencies other than his fiefdom were starved
for funds. His legacy lives on.
--

73 de K2ASP - Phil Kane

From a Clearing in the Silicon Forest

Beaverton (Washington County) Oregon

e-mail: k2asp [at] arrl [dot] net

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Old October 23rd 07, 04:24 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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On Mon, 15 Oct 2007 15:53:39 -0400, AF6AY wrote:
It's a cool late February weekday in the year 1956. I am
23 and a month out of active US Army duty, having spent
the last three Army years in radio communications, I had
decided to get a civilian commercial radio operator
license two weeks prior. I've done the cram thing on over-
drive, practically memorizing all of the looseleaf notebook
FCC rules borrowed from a new friend at a broadcast
station. I walk several blocks from the train station to
the Federal Building in Chicago. I am alone, have never
been walking in downtown Chicago before...but I am
confident although a bit tired. The train ride was an
hour and a half and the flat Illinois prarie boring as usual.

The FCC Field Office is upstairs and I find it. Everything
seems to be utilitarian-government. World War II ended
11 years prior and all federal offices look "war surplus"
furnished. Three visible officials are brusque, bored, not
effusive; i.e., it's like being back in the Army. Familiar.
FCC guys are fussing with a paper-tape code machine


Believe it or not, in 1974 I took my General code test on the same
paper-tape code machine you saw the inspectors fussing with in 1956.

The pitch jumped briefly about halfway through. Didn't faze most of us,
but when the tape was over one of the guys being tested protested loudly &
insisted on being tested again. Don't know if he passed on the second try.

(the rest of us all passed on the first try, even with the jumping pitch)

By the time I took the 20wpm for the Extra two years later, they were
using a cheap portable cassette player. It worked, but most of the "soul"
was missing.

The train ride was from Milwaukee; I suspect the Federal Building was
somewhat taller; and there was a Sears Tower along the walk from the train
station, but I suspect it was a similar experience.


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Old October 24th 07, 12:53 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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On Oct 23, 7:24?am, Doug Smith W9WI wrote:
On Mon, 15 Oct 2007 15:53:39 -0400, AF6AY wrote:


Believe it or not, in 1974 I took my General code test on the same
paper-tape code machine you saw the inspectors fussing with in 1956.


Heh, heh, I'll bet the government-issue furniture was the same...:-)


The pitch jumped briefly about halfway through. Didn't faze most of us,
but when the tape was over one of the guys being tested protested loudly &
insisted on being tested again. Don't know if he passed on the second try.

(the rest of us all passed on the first try, even with the jumping pitch)


I would insist the group would have to be interrupted by a fire
drill... :-)

By the time I took the 20wpm for the Extra two years later, they were
using a cheap portable cassette player. It worked, but most of the "soul"
was missing.


Well, according to Phil Kane, money is the real soul of the FCC.

I don't think it is that bad. I moved from the Midwest to California
in November of 1956. The Field Office of the FCC is in Long Beach,
CA, and that office doesn't look furnished in WWII-surplus.

I rather like my local area's Communications Auxilliary. It seems to
have been put in place some time around the Attack on America
("9/11"). The Old Firehouse had been replaced by the LAFD years ago
by a larger station somewhat close by...to all intents and purposes it
looked like an unused building. But, inside there is a converted bus
as a mobile radio station and there is a permanent base station in the
rear of the firehouse which can do HF to UHF comms. The LAFD is
responsible for the Communications Auxilliary and they kindly let the
VEC do test exams there. Seemed like the Old Firehouse is still kept
up nicely as if it could house a regular crew of firemen. We couldn't
get to inspect the Auxilliary's radio stuff but could see in through a
window set in the door.

From the listing of amateur radio test sites, I could have gone to a

Denny's Restaurant reserved room near me or a private residence
somewhat farther away. At a mile away, the Old Firehouse and on a
Sunday afternoon was better. Getting a closer look at one of the
Communications Auxilliary's stations was a plus.

The train ride was from Milwaukee; I suspect the Federal Building was
somewhat taller; and there was a Sears Tower along the walk from the train
station, but I suspect it was a similar experience


Heh, probably. I haven't been back to "The Loop" since then but been
through Chicago Midway and, certainly, O'Hare, many a time since then,
even a trip to Meigs Field right on the lakefront. But, 51 1/2 years
ago I was just out of four years in the Army and could walk just about
any distance needed. :-) I wouldn't think of trying that walk
now. :-)

One thing I remember being amazed at in a 2001 trip back to northern
Illinois for the Big 50 Reunion of our high school class of '51 was
that WMCW in Harvard, Illinois, was still operating. I worked there a
few months in 1956 when it was literally a converted farmhouse. 500 W
daylight only, it was "the voice of Boone, McHenry, and Walworth
Counties" sitting just off a two-lane highway and I did the whole
works as the only employee. The 'studio' was the old living room and
the control room was converted from the former dining room. :-) The
farmhouse is gone and the studios for WMCW are now 'downtown' in
Harvard, a bigger wide place in the road than it was 45 years prior.
Only the single vertical for 1600 KHz remains, where I once replaced a
mandatory warning light bulb that had gone out as a favor to the
station owner, Esther Blodgett (of Blodgett Broadcasters).

73, Len AF6AY

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Old October 24th 07, 06:52 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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"Mike Coslo" wrote in message
36...
Klystron wrote in
:


Perhaps one of the reasons that many people believe that the old time
tests were so much more difficult is that at the time, they were for the
test taker! Some yougster taking a General test back in 1957 would
indeed find the test hard. After a few decades of college, practical
learning, work, and experience, and a look at the new tests, one can be
excused in thinking that they are "easy", because after all the
knowledge accumulation, they are easy.


Precisely my experience! In my day to day work I picked up a LOT of
electronics knowledge and experience.
NOT to BRAG but one day in 1983 I just happened to be in Detroit.
I just walked in and took the General test.
The secretary looked up my Novice license and then gave me the General test
and I upgraded to Tech Plus ( it ws just called TECH then).
The hardest part of the exam for me was the parts rules and regs that were
just arbitrary like Band limits and how many days you had to respond to a
violation notice.

Same with the EXTRA exam I took in 2000. Day to day working knowledge was
more than enough to pass the exam.

But not for everyone, and certainly the testing regimen should not be
tailored to the highest denominator, so to speak.


No I think the exam should have more questions to test not just hit the high
points but also test the depth of the testee's knowledge, that is I think
the exam should have more questions, not harder just more questions.





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Old October 24th 07, 11:14 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Posted by Mike Coslo on Sun, 21 Oct 2007
22:54:39 EDT

Klystron wrote in :


You could get the same result, effectively, by increasing the size of
the question pool. Just go from the present 8 or 10 to 1 ratio (pool
size to test size) to something larger. It could be easily
accomplished with the issuance of the next set of pools.


And yet, it begs the question of *should* the tests be harder? And
were they harder back in the day?

This is an oft contentious issue that I think it is possible that
memory might be playing a sort of trick on people.


As an FYI on the tests up to mid-2007, I've counted the number of pool
questions from my printout of the pools available in Februrary 2007:

Technician pool had 392 (35 required). Ratio of pool to requred
11.20:1

General pool had 485 (35 required). Ratio of pool to required 13.86:1

Extra pool had 802 (50 required). Ratio of pool to required 16.04:1

The pools have gone beyond 10:1 by a fair margin...even if I've mis-
counted slightly. My printouts (single spaced, both sides) FILL a
1" loose-leaf notebook.

Some time back I showed the notebook to an acquaintance who is an
aspiring actor, not a radio hobbyist. He is used to memorizing lines
of
a script and being as letter-perfect as possible, his lines as well
as
others in the same scene. His main comment went something like,
"Holy ##$%&!!! You had to memorize all that?!?" :-)

"No," I said, "Only certain things about regulations...theory and
practice should be known enough to pass."

Out of 120 questions, I missed 6 (counting the marks made by the
VEC team leader) and am sure that 5 of those were on certain
regulations like bandplan numbers and satellite operation. That was
satisfactory to me with 95 percent correct. I've got a little chart
of
bandplans and don't expect to get to outer space to operate
satellites. :-)

73, Len AF6AY

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Old October 25th 07, 01:25 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default Forty Years Licensed

AF6AY wrote:

As an FYI on the tests up to mid-2007, I've counted the number of pool
questions from my printout of the pools available in Februrary 2007:

Technician pool had 392 (35 required). Ratio of pool to requred
11.20:1

General pool had 485 (35 required). Ratio of pool to required 13.86:1

Extra pool had 802 (50 required). Ratio of pool to required 16.04:1

The pools have gone beyond 10:1 by a fair margin...even if I've mis-
counted slightly. My printouts (single spaced, both sides) FILL a
1" loose-leaf notebook.



Did you exclude from that count the questions that were later
disqualified? When I took the tests, most of the questions about band
edges had to be dropped because of the rule change. A few others were
dropped due to errors or poor wording. I think the current pool size has
been chosen to allow for a safety margin for the elimination of some
erroneous questions. (I am currently studying for the GMDSS operator
test and the worst questions on the amateur tests are worded better than
a large number of these.)
My figure of 8 or 10 pool questions to 1 test questions was very
rough and not intended for 4 significant digit precision. However, other
FCC test pools bring the average a bit closer to it, such as the GMDSS
test pool (600 in pool, 100 on test).


Some time back I showed the notebook to an acquaintance who is an
aspiring actor, not a radio hobbyist. He is used to memorizing lines
of
a script and being as letter-perfect as possible, his lines as well
as
others in the same scene. His main comment went something like,
"Holy ##$%&!!! You had to memorize all that?!?" :-)

"No," I said, "Only certain things about regulations...theory and
practice should be known enough to pass."

Out of 120 questions, I missed 6 (counting the marks made by the
VEC team leader) and am sure that 5 of those were on certain
regulations like bandplan numbers and satellite operation. That was
satisfactory to me with 95 percent correct. I've got a little chart
of
bandplans and don't expect to get to outer space to operate
satellites. :-)



Beat you. I got 100 on all three tests (amateur elements 2, 3 and 4).
I will admit that there was some rote memorization involved, especially
on the parts that I didn't know anything about (calculations involving
imaginary numbers, for example).

--
Klystron

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Old October 25th 07, 11:04 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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On Tue, 23 Oct 2007 19:53:24 EDT, AF6AY wrote:

I don't think it is that bad. I moved from the Midwest to California
in November of 1956. The Field Office of the FCC is in Long Beach,
CA, and that office doesn't look furnished in WWII-surplus.


Until 1975 the LA office was in downtown LA, and its last location was
on the top floor of the U S Courthouse. When the judges made them
move, the deal was cut to move to Long Beach with G.I. 1960s-era
furniture. It helped that one of the engineers there (a good friend
and ham who rose to become the Western Regional Director but died much
too young 15 years ago) was a superior surplus scrounger who found the
newest-looking stuff.
--

73 de K2ASP - Phil Kane

From a Clearing in the Silicon Forest

Beaverton (Washington County) Oregon

e-mail: k2asp [at] arrl [dot] net

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Old October 26th 07, 02:27 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Klystron posted on Wed 24 Oct 2007 17:25

AF6AY wrote:

As an FYI on the tests up to mid-2007, I've counted the number of pool
questions from my printout of the pools available in Februrary 2007:


Did you exclude from that count the questions that were later
disqualified?


I only counted the applicable pool questions. Yes, I also
printed out the NCVEC website listing of question changes,
but only as a very general reference, not to be used
specifically for my 25 Feb 07 test. www.ncvec.org

When I took the tests, most of the questions about band
edges had to be dropped because of the rule change. A few others were
dropped due to errors or poor wording.


I took my test before an ARRL VEC team. The ARRL-supplied
test question sheets had already excluded changed questions
(and answers). Good security was practiced by the ARRL VEC
team leader and the other three in the team, all materials for
testing kept in a small padlocked carrying box. Scoring
templates were translucent plastic sheets, blue and imprinted
with the ARRL logo, if memory serves me correctly.

My figure of 8 or 10 pool questions to 1 test questions was very
rough and not intended for 4 significant digit precision. However, other
FCC test pools bring the average a bit closer to it, such as the GMDSS
test pool (600 in pool, 100 on test).


After doing the total count of questions on my printout, I used
a pocket calculator to derive the percentages. It has flexible
significant digit settings and I used my standard setting of two
significant digits in the fraction of percentages. I apologize if
that offends anyone. [HP-32S II, cost $60 in 2001 off-the-shelf,
just got an HP-35S, $60 still, the latest in the 35-year history
of scientific pocket calculators, direct from HP on-line shop]

GMDSS testing would be done in front of a COLEM since it is a
Commercial radio license group. Different from the VEC.

My First Class Radiotelephone (Commercial) Operator license
test was taken at an FCC Field Office in Chicago, IL, 51 1/2
years ago. There were no COLEMs or VECs then and testing
was not privatized. All commercial radiotelephone licenses
were changed to the General Radiotelephone Operator License
(GROL) much later and my First 'Phone was changed
automatically to that. I kept that GROL renewed also until it
became a lifetime license, no renewals required. I am not
interested in obtaining any other commercial license now.

Out of 120 questions, I missed 6 (counting the marks made by the
VEC team leader) and am sure that 5 of those were on certain
regulations like bandplan numbers and satellite operation. That was
satisfactory to me with 95 percent correct.


Beat you. I got 100 on all three tests (amateur elements 2, 3 and 4).


I concentrated only on passing my three required test elements.
I wasn't in 'competition' with anyone else but myself. The FCC
sets the limits on the pass versus fail and the FCC grants the
license. I passed. I mentioned my observed scoring only as an
afterthought. The percentage of questions passed didn't seem
to be logged by any in the VEC team. Scores aren't in the data-
base from the FCC.

I will admit that there was some rote memorization involved, especially
on the parts that I didn't know anything about (calculations involving
imaginary numbers, for example).


Complex number quantities are not an absolute necessity in
amateur radio...unless one wants to be successful in designing
certain parts of radio and electronics or doing a more in-depth
realization of what actually comprises impedance or admittance.
I learned complex number quantities from a third- or fourth-hand
used reference on mathematics given to me in 1959. [I still
have it and use it as a refresher on other math from time to
time] They are not hard to learn, just a bit strange to those who
haven't yet gone beyond scalar quantities. Both the HP-32 and
HP-35S will do complex number arithmetic as a built-in
function on the keyboard and the HP-35S has a much larger
program storage.

I wish you well on your GMDSS test before a COLEM.

73, Len AF6AY

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Old October 26th 07, 07:34 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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AF6AY wrote:

Out of 120 questions, I missed 6 (counting the marks made by the
VEC team leader) and am sure that 5 of those were on certain
regulations like bandplan numbers and satellite operation. That was
satisfactory to me with 95 percent correct. I've got a little chart
of bandplans and don't expect to get to outer space to operate
satellites. :-)



Hi Len,

The bandplan frequencies and satellite operations are a real issue with
me. I always thought that better questions were available, since like
you note, you look at a chart. I do too.

At least with the band plans, the better question for the test would be
to see if the testee knew where to look them up.

- 73 de Mike KB3EIA -



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