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  #21   Report Post  
Old July 21st 04, 10:59 PM
N2EY
 
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"Bert Craig" wrote in message .net...
"N2EY" wrote in message
...

I don't know if anyone offers "General in a day" or "Extra in a day"

courses,
but I have read of a "GROL in a day" course. Money-back guarantee, IIRC.

73 de Jim, N2EY


My avionics professor noted this and developed a series of screening tests
to thwart the "one day wonder" syndrome.


You mean the "GROL in a day" thing is real? I wasn't sure.

Sure, you could study the Q&A pool
"guides" and get your tickets. (Both FAA & FCC) However, in order to pass
the licensing courses, (Airframe, Powerplant, & Avionics) you had to score
= 80 on you "screenings." Of course, the licensing classes were required to

earn your sheepskin. At the time, we thought it "$ucked big time," but were
thankful during our job interviews when little details like Kirchoff and
Thevenin found their way into the interviewer's questions.


bwaahaahaa

Back in BSEE school, at least one prof used to make us get up and
teach - totally at random. He'd put a problem on the board, then ask
if we knew how to solve it. If we said yes, he'd toss somebody the
chalk and say "show me". (There was no way we'd say no unless it was
totally new material).

One course (3 trimesters) in grad school had no tests at all. Instead
you had to do presentations in front of the whole class, who would ask
questions and pick apart your explanations.

Back in the bad old days, the way you passed the code receiving test
was that the examiner had to find at least a certain number of
consecutive correct legible characters on your paper. If he couldn't
read them, you failed. And you had to send with a straight key until
he said passed or failed. Totally his judgement.

73 de Jim, N2EY

  #22   Report Post  
Old July 21st 04, 11:08 PM
Len Over 21
 
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In article , Mike Coslo writes:


Maybe my brain works differently, but if you have a question pool that
has a certain number of questions regarding antennas, and you may be
called upon to answer a few of any of those questions, its a lot easier
for me to remember 468/[Frequency in mHz] for a dipole, 71.3/[Frequency
in mHz] for a 1/4 wave vertical, and a few other quick calcs, than it is
to remember the answer to a specific question.


Since U.S. amateur radio frequency allocations don't allow any
frequencies below the top of the AM BC band, I'd suggest you get
your brain to work with MegaHertz (MHz), not milliHertz (mHz).

The length of wire needed for a half-wave dipole is, in feet, equal
to about 468 divided by the frequency in MegaHertz. A quarter-
wave whip length in feet is 234 divided by the frequency in Mega-
Hertz. [lengths will be way too short if you use milliHertz...:-) ]

But, those values of 468 and 234 aren't correct for free space,
yet they are good for wire antennas. The Why of that is handy
knowledge that can be applied to other things.

BTW, just to make sure that old threads "never die," a DIPOLE
has just two elements (what the "di" part stands for). It doesn't
have to be exactly a half-wave in length...it can be 5/8 wave, a
full wave, most anything.. :-)

A person would have to be a little dense to try to do otherwise. And of


course, if you know the wavelength of the frequency in question, you can
ballpark the answer pretty closely almost without thought.


Constants like 2-3-4 or 4-6-8 have "built-in" mnemonics in the
form of consecutive digit increases.

The Boltzman Constant of 1.38 x 10^-23 doesn't have that digit
relationship, quite. Yet, if one works with it often enough (noise
voltage, noise figure, etc.) it becomes stamped in the synapses.

The resonance formula is F (Hz) = 1 / (2 pi Sqrt (L C)) with L in
Henries and C in Farads. Learned that many years ago.
Same with inductive reactance, X_L = 2 pi L and capacitive
reactance X_C = - 1 / (2 pi C).

Those with a programmable calculator can store the 2 pi constant
up to 10 digits for handy calculation recall...or try to remember the
definitely not-consecutive digit string...or use a transcendental
equality to get it or at least pi from a common value. :-)

[watch while the knowitalls jump in here with the latter equality...]

The lower end of "the bands" (on HF) for amateurs has the
progressive relationship of 3.5 - 7 - 14 - 21 - 28 way back in time
(AF or after Fessenden)...and for a reason less political and more
for convenience of the hams of 1954. [watch here for remarks
that aren't really pertinent about one of those bands and 1954...:-)]

Please excuse me. I have to study some "important" material,
all about the 1900 to 1906 period and how it "applies" to knoweldge
in radio of 2000 to 2006 period. That seems to be very necessary
to this venue and all must obey the newsgrope protocols... :-)

LHA / WMD

  #23   Report Post  
Old July 22nd 04, 02:45 AM
Mike Coslo
 
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N2EY wrote:
Mike Coslo wrote in message ...


gotta do some snippage - this thread is getting loooonng

I don't doubt it! That is the "cramming route", and it is a horrible
way to learn - or not learn - anything.



It's only horrible if the student really wants to learn the material.


I say such courses actually do new hams a disservice because they are left with
a license but not the knowledge or skills they need to use it.


Right. All that does is puts the test material into mid-term memory,
and from there it goes we know not where.



Not only that, the person may not have any real understanding of how
to actually get on the air. Heck, I know of a General who's had a
license fo
years but can't figure out how to get a simple end-fed random wire to
work on HF.


Well now, on-air experience is another kettle of fish! I've got mixed
feelings about that. One thing is for sure - the beginner needs to stay
away from rec.radio.amateur.antenna! Well meaning and quite a few astute
people there, but they almost had me convinced I'd never get a signal
out because of all the "problems". ARRL's mentor program is going to be
a good resource for that sort of thing. They've already contacted us
about a local new ham that would like some help.


I don't know if anyone offers "General in a day" or "Extra in a day"
courses,
but I have read of a "GROL in a day" course. Money-back guarantee, IIRC.



It isn't very smart to do it that way. 800
plus questions just for the Extra license is a *lot* of memorization.




Not if you consider that:




1) You don't have to do it all at once. There are three writtens and
they don't share pools


Its a *lot* of questions between the three pools.


Sure but you only need to pass them one at a time.


2) You don't have to memorize the pool - just enough of the correct answers.


? If you are going the rote route, you have to do something, because
you don't know which questions will be used.



You only need to word-associate the correct answer to each question,
not recite them verbatim.


Just how many people do you think would do such a thing anyway. Its
still easier to simply learn the material.


3) Get ~74% right and you pass. You get the same license as someone who aced
it.


Just like a passing grade anywhere else



Not completely. In many situations things like GPA and class ranking
make a difference. In grad school I had to maintain a B average (3.0
GPA) just to stay in school. Wasn't a problem, even though I was
working full-time while going to school at night.


But this is Ham radio, not graduate school.


4) A guess is as good as gold.


True of any multiple guess test I guess.



Yep. That's the downside. The upside is that there is no chance for
bias or interpretation of an answer - you either got the right one or
you didn't.


Correct.

That's not a minor point, either. Suppose the question is and essay on
"how long is a 40 meter dipole, and how do you determine the length?"
Is 66 feet the right answer, or 67? If a person puts down 68 feet, is
that wrong? How much explanation is enough?


And if they give the answer in furlongs? ;^)

Remember that simply stating 40 meters is out, because in the Ham
section, the correct length at 7 mHz is over 2 and 1/2 feet longer than
it is at 7.3 mHz. Now imagine 80 meters, where the diff is almost 17
feet!! Gonna have to use specific frequencies.

Essay questions work best for essay type answers. Technical material is
much more at home in the world of letters and numbers.

A lot of hams I know used "Now You're Talking" as a study guide when
they got their Technician's license. That has lots of other stuff
besides just the pool.


Good for them! Most of the new hams (and old ones too!) I've encountered
really do want to learn the material, not just pass the test.


There we agree for sure. The learning process for my General and Extra
tests was *fun*. Certainly the Extra was more difficult, taking around a
week of fairly intense study and reference. But it was still enjoyable.



Actually I never formally studied for any FCC license exam. Just read
my books, built and used my rigs and went for the test when I thought
I was ready.

Can a person do one of those license in a day things? I guess. They
have my sympathy.

Remember in "Family Vacation" when the family was at the Grand Canyon,
but Clark Griswald was in a hurry to get to "Wally World"? He bob's his
head up and down a few times impatiently, and tells them "Okay let's go".


Never saw that one but you describe the scene so perfectly that I
didn't have to.

One sees this sort of thing in many ways. There's the parent who is so
intent on videodocumenting all of their kids' school plays and sport
events that they miss actually seeing/experiencing the kid perform or
play. There's the air show/railroad buff/museum visitor/tourist who is
so intent on getting the picture or marking the checklist of places
visited that they don't actually experience the aircraft, trains,
museum exhibits or local color.


I'm really familiar with that one. As s professional photographer -
don't get confused, my job entails several different things - I am
sometimes asked to show up with my camera to social events or family
weddings. That takes a lot of the fun out of it. Last year was the first
time in 25 years I went to a family wedding without being asked to
shoot it. WoW, what a difference! I really enjoyed that. Did you know
that its kinda fun to dance and talk to other people and socialize?

And there's the ham who doesn't experience actual radio operation...


They were there, but they missed all the good stuff. Just like crammin'
Hams.

But we can't dictate how people pass the tests, only that they do pass
them.


We *can* have an effect. I've taught ham radio classes, code and
theory, but I won't teach a "license in a day" class, nor endorse one.


And I suspect that almost all new Hams try to do this the right way.


Now ya just set yourself up to be a target, saying there's a right
way!


Yeah, Len just busted my chops! 8^)

- Mike KB3EIA -

  #24   Report Post  
Old July 22nd 04, 03:02 AM
Mike Coslo
 
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Len Over 21 wrote:

In article , Mike Coslo writes:


N2EY wrote:

In article , Mike Coslo


writes:

I wonder how many people DO memorize the question pools as opposed to
doing the background work.

There was an article on the ARRL website a few months ago about an


"efficient"

"Tech in a day" class. The authors (who were not ARRL staff, btw) went on


about

their high success rate and 'efficiency' in getting people licensed.

Basically their method was to simply review the Tech question pool. A quick
cram course, and then the test. First-time pass rate of more than 85% IIRC.


The article caused such a stir that it was quickly pulled. ;-)


I don't doubt it! That is the "cramming route", and it is a horrible
way to learn - or not learn - anything.



That group of VEs have their own website. If anyone "pulled" that,
it was the VEs themselves, for different reasons than not conforming
to the Blessed Status Quo.

There's a great deal of contention on the TEST. Some say it MUST
be passed. Others complain that "nobody is learning anything."

The implication is that the Olde Wayes are the ONLY way to go.


Some think so

Passing the amateur test only yields personal authorization to
transmit RF energy on certain frequencies using certain modes
and modulations, always abiding by federal regulations thereto.


True.

I'd say that a "quickie cram course" fulfills getting a license. The
license is not, nor was it ever, any "degree" or academic certificate
of learning anything. The FCC is not chartered to be an academic
organization.


Oh, it fulfills it all right. And thousands (hundreds millions?) of
university students work it that way. Is that a good thing though? I'll
reserve the right to think that if there is a test, I'll figure out
what's being tested and go learn it. Some people may or may not want to
do that. If they want to cram and forget, so be it. No law says I have
to like it! 8^)


I say such courses actually do new hams a disservice because they are left


with

a license but not the knowledge or skills they need to use it.


Right. All that does is puts the test material into mid-term memory,
and from there it goes we know not where.



You can say that about any test in any activity...and find living proof
of it as examples.

Amateur radio is NOT a profession, guild, union, or other craft. Any
amateur radio person can be as good or bad as they care to be. A
few questions on a single test (renewable by electronic or mail means
as long as the FCC allows it, no retesting required if done within time
limits). The "importance" of having amateur smarts seems more like
some kind of self-defined role-model fantasy of many. But, it is still a
fantasy and is NOT an absolute requirement of any true officiating
body.


I don't know if anyone offers "General in a day" or "Extra in a day"


courses,

but I have read of a "GROL in a day" course. Money-back guarantee, IIRC.



A "GROL" is a COMMERCIAL license. Why is that used as an
example in an AMATEUR newsgroup?

I never took any test for a "GROL." After I was released from active
duty - and three years working in communications on HF through
low microwaves - I was able to borrow the entire FCC rulebook
(in 1956 those came in loose-leaf form). I just memorized a lot of
that in two weeks of intensive "cramming" on regulations. I didn't
need any technical studying. Passed the First Phone test in one
sitting (including a mass interruption of the whole Chicago Federal
building while they had a fire drill).

All that the "cramming" did was allow me to pass the test, receive
the desired license, and fulfill some personnel requirements to work
at radio and television stations. Did I "know" everything? No. There
were no technically up-to-date schools on the broadcast industry or
much of the entire electronics industry. One learned specific
technical things on-the-job. No problem. Got the required work done,
got the monetary compensation. Everyone satisfied enough.

The state of Illinois finally got around to having a job category of
"electronics technician" and "electronics engineer" roughly in the
early 1970s...despite the existance of Motorola and Zenith and
Admiral in the Chicago area with large numbers of those
occupations. [one reason why I never collected anything in the
way of monies for not having a regular job in 1956...heh]

The technology of electronics (radio is a subset of that whole) is
constantly changing, expanding, discovering new things. Schools
can't keep up with the pace, are always lagging. Look at amateur
radio technology...is the technology of today much like that of 40
years ago (like 1964)? Not much. Someone who passed their last
ham test 40 years ago certainly can't be "up to date" on modern
day ham technology WITHOUT doing their own education on both
technology and operating skills. Yes, a CW-only hold-off can
concentrate solely on that and play guru...but a guru circa 1964,
not of 2004.


Its a *lot* of questions between the three pools.



That word "lot" is highly subjective, not useful for quantifying anything
to a large and varied group of people.

Again, the amateur radio test is NOT an academic thing and amateur
radio is NOT a profession, guild, union, or craft requiring knowledge of
a certain kind. Amateur radio is a basically a hobby. Nobody gets
fired from a "job" in amateur radio, receiving some kind of severence
check.


? If you are going the rote route, you have to do something, because
you don't know which questions will be used.



Irrelevant. The detractors of the open QP say "it can be memorized!."
Entire. "Size of the QP is not object" to some detractors. :-)


Just like a passing grade anywhere else



Just what do you think the amateur radio test IS? An applicant
either passes or fails. Simple. Do you lose any job prospects
if you fail an amateur test?



4) A guess is as good as gold.


True of any multiple guess test I guess.



"Fool's gold." Probability of a correct answer given four possibles
is too low to pass the test. NO "gold."


There we agree for sure. The learning process for my General and Extra
tests was *fun*. Certainly the Extra was more difficult, taking around a
week of fairly intense study and reference. But it was still enjoyable.



Anything interesting is fun to learn about. Tests aren't needed to
have fun.


Can a person do one of those license in a day things? I guess. They
have my sympathy.



As I recall my first full day at ADA transmitters, we were able to QSY
most of the transmitters after a half-day's on-the-job instruction. NONE
of the newcomers were experienced on those fixed-station trans-
mitters; those weren't taught in any Signal schools. 1 KW to 15 KW
RF power output, all circuits operational 24/7.



But we can't dictate how people pass the tests, only that they do pass
them.



The "dictation" seems to be endmic with the OFs. They condemn
any test that is different from the one They took...


And I suspect that almost all new Hams try to do this the right way.



What is "the right way?"

Is anyone going to lose their job for not doing it "the right way?"

Is not passing a ham test going to subtract from college credits?

Will your family, friends, neighbors all shun you if you fail a ham
test?


The "right way" is obviously an opinion. People following the thread
will figure out that my version of the right way is to use whatever is
given to you as study tools, and that which you don't know, you go find
out about. Other's right way may include your Olde Tyme Hamme tests
(whatever they were) one day cramming, or even elimination of all test
requirements.


Us readers in Reality Land can't comprehend what "the right way"
is in the individual, subjective fantasylands of the OFs, only conjecture
on their "importance of doing it the right way."

Stressing some (mythical?) "right way" without explaining what this
"right way" is gets a bit wearying and doesn't offer any quantitative
proof that it IS any sort of "right way."

But, one can be sure that all the OFs "did it the right way" because
they passed and will never have to worry about taking another ham
test in their lives. They can feel secure in looking down Their noses
at those who haven't taken that particular test.


Who knows, I'm not an OF.... yet. Hope I eventually get to be one
because the alternative ain't much fun.



  #25   Report Post  
Old July 22nd 04, 05:50 AM
Len Over 21
 
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In article , Mike Coslo
writes:

Len Over 21 wrote:

In article , Mike Coslo

writes:


The implication is that the Olde Wayes are the ONLY way to go.


Some think so


Their problem, not ours. :-)

Times change and people of the now have to change, adapt.

Passing the amateur test only yields personal authorization to
transmit RF energy on certain frequencies using certain modes
and modulations, always abiding by federal regulations thereto.


True.


I stated a "plain, simple fact" above. :-)

I'd say that a "quickie cram course" fulfills getting a license. The
license is not, nor was it ever, any "degree" or academic certificate
of learning anything. The FCC is not chartered to be an academic
organization.


Oh, it fulfills it all right. And thousands (hundreds millions?) of
university students work it that way. Is that a good thing though? I'll
reserve the right to think that if there is a test, I'll figure out
what's being tested and go learn it. Some people may or may not want to
do that. If they want to cram and forget, so be it. No law says I have
to like it! 8^)


There's lots of personnel people in companies convinced that ONLY
those academic certificates show an job applicant's ability. That's
why the medium to large companies needing engineers do the
second and final interviews by staff engineers.

The academic certificate gets one in the door, so it is valuable. Looks
good on a resume (not a curricula vitae) and some use that as a "title."

Too many take Titles at face value. That's the old royalty thing coming
alive again. But, does a Nobel Laureate biochemistry PhD have the
SAME smarts in national socio-politics? Doubtful. [see Linus Pauling]

An olde tyme hamme that is a whiz with "CW" can follow the absolute
procedures, protocols, and other good things of the 1930s and 1940s
and that makes him/her a Great Guru of modern amateur radio?
They would say "absolutely yes, yes, yes!" but that is just themselves
talking about what they can do. That doesn't necessarily fit what
all modern radio amateurs (or prospective amateurs) "should be."

And I suspect that almost all new Hams try to do this the right way.


What is "the right way?"

Is anyone going to lose their job for not doing it "the right way?"

Is not passing a ham test going to subtract from college credits?

Will your family, friends, neighbors all shun you if you fail a ham
test?


The "right way" is obviously an opinion.


Right! OPINION. Personal opinion, biased by whatever They did.

People following the thread
will figure out that my version of the right way is to use whatever is
given to you as study tools, and that which you don't know, you go find
out about.


Good answer!

So far, with only 108 years of life as a communications tool, radio
has been constantly growing, expanding, pushing states of the art
beyond several plateaus. It hasn't stood still to allow everyone to
catch their breath let along become stagnant on "knowing all the
answers." New questions/answers keep appearing all the time.

What was once the "best thing/way to do" has given way to numerous
things/ways to do, not once but many times. One has to keep at
the self-learning process to keep up. Schools can't keep up to date
though many try.


Who knows, I'm not an OF.... yet. Hope I eventually get to be one
because the alternative ain't much fun.


OF-ism is a mental thing, not a chronological thing.

A good example is the fabulous Eric June who once graced this news-
grope in a series of arguments with Cecil Moore. Two Extras with very
different outlooks. Cecil was (is?) flexible despite being older. June
was an inflexible thirtysomething...finally, grudgingly conceded defeat.

Cecil has been around for a long time but one cannot call him an OF
in thoughts or opinions...though many have tried. :-)

The "alternative" awaits us all. Even the morseodists. No sweaty-dah.

Might as well learn to live with it. :-)

LHA / WMD




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