I don't believe it!

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Sri for OT topic.

Did I read it right? I was on the ARRL site and it looks as if their manuals for the ham exams include all the questions *and answers* in the exam pool. Can this be true? I also heard that the FAA gives the answers to the questions for pilots' IFR licences.

How can standards be maintained if answers to exam questions are given? Answers to exam questions are guarded like gold dust on this side of the pond.
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DrTeeth

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Mark - WS7M

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I can't say for sure about FCC but as a licensed airline transport pilot since 1978 I can verify that the answers for ALL pilot exams have been available since about 1979.  

How I know this is they came out just AFTER I finished taking all of my tests!  I would not have used them anyway (wink wink) :-)

I will say in the case of pilots having the answers to the written tests is only a small part of the battle.  You still have to learn to fly the aircraft and all checkrides have a question/answer part which is usually harder than the written anyway.  My question answer for my ATP was 4.5 hours long!  Then I had to go fly for close to 2 hours.
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This is not new.  For a while now you been able to get the answers to the exam pools.

Now, before the religious debate begins and community chaos ensues on the virtue or lack there of multiple choice ham testing, I want to recommend that everyone on both sides of the debate keep it civil and any criticism productive.  I will close the thread in a heartbeat if this discussion goes off the rails.
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DrTeeth

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Apologies in advance Tim ;-). You seem to know what is coming.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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What, threads never go off rails!!! Do they?
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Burt Fisher

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Guy how can standards be maintained? They can't and have not
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Guy - the size of the pool is pretty large, and if you study the questions you will end up studying the material a consensus-process decided were the most important for the tested level.

This style is fairly common stateside - very large pools of published material which makes a student who only uses the exam-pool for study material work pretty hard to learn a lot of questions for only a few actual exam questions.

In the context of confirming a candidate meets certain qualifications it is hard to say whether the large published pool of the USA style or the (semi-)unpublished pool style of the UK system have enough difference in results to make much of the difference. 

The UK questions eventually are unofficially published somehow and as not all of the USA large pool are included in exams somehow the reduced list of what is tested becomes known.

I do have to say that I like the UK style of marking teaching material "Recall"/"Understand"/"Identify" to tell a person studying what they have to commit to memory like a phone number, what they have to be able to use the learned knowledge, like making change, and what they have to recognize & label.

Interesting observation and having grown up with both systems I hadn't appreciated the cross-cultural alarm that published large pools might bring.

73

Steve  K9ZW



(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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As I am sure Mark can attest, on the faa exams the proof of the pudding is the oral and practical.
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DrTeeth

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Having answers to exams freely available is just so alien to the way that we do things here and in other countries. IIRC, the answers were made available under some aspect of the Constitution, free speech, discrimination or some such thing

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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Guy - Aren't all of the UK answers are published? 

Seems they just are not published in the same format as the exam.  Also the wrong answers are not published in the UK materials! 

Like the USA each learning point has a tracking identifier, reflecting the care these processes receive in their design.

---

For those interested in style of the UK process, here are some links:

Exam Syllabus -

https://thersgb.org/services/education/downloads/pdf/foundation_syllabus.pdf

https://thersgb.org/services/education/downloads/pdf/intermediate_syllabus.pdf

https://thersgb.org/services/education/downloads/pdf/advanced_syllabus.pdf

Mock UK Exams -

http://rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/training-resources/foundation-mock-exams/

http://rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/training-resources/intermediate-mock-exams/

http://rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/training-resources/advanced-mock-exams/

---

Though when we travel our CERT allows us to sign M/ (or MW/, MM/, MD/ and so on depending where in the UK we operate) it is good practice to review the premises behind local licensing. 

---

Also very much agree that the written FAA exams are nothing compared to the practical and oral components.  No matter how well prepared I am humbled that I learned more with each check-ride.  Good program.

73

Steve K9ZW

(Edited)
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Steve (N9SKM)

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Practical and oral are defiantly where the true test is.
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WX7Y

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If I remember correctly this came about back in the late 70 early 80 and is called "the freedom of information act" which gave access to the comparatively FEW questions that were asked by the FCC and other government ordinations like the FAA which was a VERY bad situation once the questions got out to the general public by hook or by crook, then in return with the "freedom of information act" we got huge question pools to randomly pull from when the tests are assembled by computer software.
It used to be that a whole class room filled with people taking a test for the same element all had the same test to take (copping from one another and cheating) now days the chance of more then 1 in several hundred tests being the same is very very high. thus cutting down on cheating and coping from another person taking the test.

Which is better at testing the applicants knowledge of the theory?
Who really know as everyone has there won opinion.
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Norm - W7CK

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Its an interesting topic.  I know that once they started to publish the question pool, the number of licensed hams went up.  Maybe numbers were dwindling and the intent was to make it easier to get a license?  There are a few reasons that support this.

I have also noticed that lots of radio controlled planes, helicopters and quad-copters operate in the ham bands.  Many of the manuals state that the operator must hold an amateur radio license.  Most of those folks don't want to do anything with radio other than fly their machines.  The question pool makes it very easy for them to pass the exam.  Requiring them to be licensed seems silly to me.  Maybe the intent is just to increase the number of licensed hams?

I was a VE when I lived up in Alaska.  When they started publishing the question pool, I was surprised at how many folks memorized the answers, took the exam and aced it.  Many of them didn't even know how to work the math problems but were able to memorize the answers and actually get 100%.   Some hams took offense to this and thought it as going to make it way to easy to get a license and it would soon be like using the Citizen Band radio. Just listening across 80m and up on 14.313 at times makes me wonder if they weren't right. Others thought it was the right move because we were loosing numbers and people were just no longer interested in ham radio, especially after the internet and cellphone industry started taking off. Dropping the CW requirement was sort of looked at the same way.

Very few armatures - especially new ones have any intention to build or repair any equipment especially now with the surface mounted stuff.  Why have everyone studying electronics theory when it they will never use it?  Shoot, just look at how many folks won't even build their own dipole antenna let alone a quad, yagi or simple vertical.  At one time, a large number of armature operators were electronic engineers, or communications specialists.  Not so much any more!  I remember when folks would ask me to fix their TV just because they knew I was a licensed ham and understood electronics.  Not so much any more!

As technology advances, more and more companies are scrambling for bandwidth.  Without a large number of licensed amateurs, we'll be hard pressed to retain the frequency allocations we currently have.  Is publishing the question pool and increasing the number of licensed ops the way to do that, I don't know....

So I see this whole question pool issue as a double edged sword.  It makes getting an amateur radio license so easy that having the license is no longer much of an achievement and it doesn't retain any sort of technological endorsement.  While the present exam process presents just enough effort to discourage only a few people, it makes it possible to license enough people so we can retain the frequency allocations we've been given.

I hope I kept the train on the rails Tim!
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Walt - KZ1F

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That's pretty funny Norm. I think you did well in that effort.
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W7NGA

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I received my ATP in the 80's and all the questions and answers were published. As I recall, the answers all had links to the appropriate and relevant FAA publication to further study the topic, and I think this was a very good idea. I doubt any pilot would get far with their flying and checkrides by simply memorizing answers. I know I had every publication ever published on my desk it seems ... and passed with 100% on all my advanced written exams.

When I took my multiengine ATP checkride the examiner said it was one of the finest checkrides he had ever given. When I got my floatplane rating in Moose Pass, Alaska in a Super Cub, the grumpy examiner said I was one of the worst pilots he had ever flown with. Sigh ... he then went on and said that every engineer, doctor, and lawyer should burn their licenses because none of us really know how to fly. He seemed proud of the fact that he dropped out of school in the 7th grade and was now a FAA flight examiner. The guy was a moron ... but surely a great pilot!

FAA: Kid, you fly like those yokels down south in Oregon who can't fly for nuthin. Where you from?

Me: Oregon, sir

dan
(Edited)
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W7NGA

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Guy .. it happens. After I started having children I realized that single-engine IFR at night, with your family onboard, was just a bad, bad idea. After two engine failures in my career, real ones, I finally decided to sell our Piper Dakota and not take the risks any more. After losing a few friends in aerobatics I sold my Pitts S2A as I never could shake the feeling that I was next.

Weird ...
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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I flew the flight school's Piper arrow to Manchester, NH fore commercial ASEL. Everything went fine. The following week someone else flew it to the same place for his. With examiner on board initial takeoff the engine ceased at, as I recall, 500'. I never flew another of their planes again...Not true, I flew their Piper twin for commercial AMEL.
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Mark - WS7M

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Dan... strange... Two engine failures here as a single pilot as well.  Four if you count my time as pilot on the commuter and time I flew as a corp pilot.

My first engine failure was the right engine in a piper seneca.  No big deal.  Enough power to fly but could not get the prop to feather.   Landed in Las Vegas and then learned that small twins don't taxi real well with one engine.

Second engine failure was a test flight for a piper navaho chieftain.  They'd just serviced the left engine and 5 seconds after take off it basically exploded.  Fire, oil, you name it.  Luckily we had enough runway left so I slammed it down hard and managed to stop by the end of the runway.

My two other failures were turbine.  During my time as commuter pilot I got a tap on the shoulder and it was our flight attendant looking pale and scared and she said I need to come back and see this.  I gave control to the second officer and went back and the left engine had 10 foot of orange flame coming out the back.  Strangely the gages all seemed reasonable.   Got on company and maintenance casually said, "Ya that engine was close to done anyway..." as if it was no big deal.  

To avoid the chance of fire and further problems I shut it down.  This caused a huge ruckus with the pax as they all thought they were going to die.  I think several lawsuits came out of that.  Not at me or my crew but the carrier.

As a corp pilot for a San Diego firm I had completed flight safety for king air 200 and was flying my second "mission" for them.  Upon reaching 24000 I felt this bump and a very serious vibration started.  I first tried controls... all smooth.  checked gear.  ok.  flaps ok.  Throttled left back, vibration remained.  throttled right back and it changed.  So we shut that down.  Diverted to mojave.  It was determined we'd thrown some kind of bearing.  New engine required.  That was expensive but never really a big problem in that airplane.
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DrTeeth

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>> I think several lawsuits came out of that.  Not at me or my crew but the carrier.<<
Too many pax do not appreciate the skill involved at aiming for the ground and missing.
OT:- Can you all hear the sighs of relief from Tim as this thread has gone waaaay OT from the OP?
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Walt - KZ1F

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Wow, I can not match Mark's story and wouldn't want to m tatch Dan's but you are both welcome to the Corey Hanger to discuss more and maybe even talk about the rare DX that got away.

But nobody is casting hairy eyeballs....least ways not yet.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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I haven't done ATP yet, too few hours. Commercial amel is as far as that will go but after about another 500 hours I'd get it to asel.
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W7NGA

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Geez .. we are all talking war stories about flying but my reality is that I will probably die with the plate cap of a 3CX800A7 in my fingers on my Alpha 89. I'm pretty good at checking things and stacking the odds in my favor, however ...
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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After burning a roughly 1/8 inch hole in the tip of my finger to the bone touching the plate connection of my dual 813 amp in the 70's then waking up sitting in the relay rack behind the bench...   solid state all the way for me!
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DrTeeth

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Ouchie! Also dangerous as bone exposed.
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k3Tim

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FCC:
It does seem a tad odd to have the exam answers available although I believe the order within the answers is mixed up.  So for a particular question you can't just say B for example.  The math questions should change the parameters a bit so as to mix things up for those who memorize. Extra license has a very large pool.

FAA:
Having the answers was good but before taking the test the grilling by Flight Instructors was as bad as taking the test.  On test day, the FAA designated examiner had his/her turn. If one does not study this well (especially IFR) you'll eventually weed yourself out.  As long as you don't take an unwitting passengers of someone on the ground.

PE:
The Professional Engineers exam as open book but and all day exam. Open book sounds easy but there were few questions and they were very tricky and required showing all the derivations / equations.

PhD comps 
Forget about it...


Tim
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Welcome to the dumbing down of America.

The ham question pool is only 400 question and they give you the answers. Anyone should be able to memorize test in less than a week

PE I grandfathered in before there was a test

PhD. Defending the thesis iwas actually hard workr as they eclaimed I have done nothing novel until I dragged them to the library to show them the books I have written that set the standards.

FAA. I'm far too blind to land the planes
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Burt Fisher

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A small child has passed the test, how hard could it be?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Walk back away from the weeds, please.
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Burt Fisher

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I said, "A small child has passed the test, how hard could it be?"

Howard said, "Welcome to the dumbing down of America."
Which does your weed comment refer to?

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Walt - KZ1F

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I believe the kid Burt interviewed said it took him a week.
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Burt Fisher

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It took my daughter a month, but she was eight
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Mark - WS7M

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Well that photo is about as priceless as they get.   She's beautiful Burt and she has a genuinely happy look on her face to be operating the gear!  Nicely done!
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k3Tim

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Agree with Mark, congratulations to your daughter on this accomplishment.  Good call sign too.

k3Tim
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Burt Fisher

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not exactly her call sign
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Tom--W4FAS

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Good Morning All,
While there is always room for improvement, I think the Ham Licensing Procedures do a pretty good job the way they are currently set up. My rationale is as follows:
We are part of a very broad based hobby that uses the same exam structure for everyone seeking entrance. Whether your interest is Public Sevice, Emergency Communications, Rag Chewing, Contesting, Leading Edge Technology, etc. the test structure is the same. FCC Regulations, Operating Procedures, etc. are brute memory issues. Propagation, Electronics, Etc. are a different issue and the number of questions dedicated to non-technical versus technical questions is a matter for debate.
The Extra Class question pool currently has 702 questions. The test one takes will include 50 questions from the question pool. Successful completion of the test does not certify one an expert in anything. It simply allows you more operating privileges.
To remain a viable organization we need to continually recruit new members to replace the silent keys. We should congratulate and welcome the young person referenced in the above comments rather than belittle him. As I recall, from the you tube, he is in the eigth grade and has a Yeasu FT 450D. He has built a dipole, vertical, and inverted L antenna.
I was originally licensed in the early 1970s and had to walk barefoot thru the snow from Portsmouth, RI. to Boston, Mass. to take the test at the FCC Office. I achieved Advanced Class status but never made Extra. I used the code requirement as an excuse. I let my license expire and when I rejoined the hobby I flunked the Advanced Class test and I am now a General. Since the code requirement is gone I have been toying with the idea of going for Extra. I have retired in Florida, so I will not have to walk thru the snow to take the test. However, at the tender age of 78 yrs. memorizing the answer to all 702 questions will be a bit of a challenge.
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Mark - WS7M

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In my experience years ago:

CB became very popular because it was easy.  You want to a store, bought a radio, threw up an antenna and on a good day you were talking hundreds of miles.  No code, no test.

We used to try to convert CBers to hams and the big hurdle for most was the 5 wpm code.  Some balked at the written test.

But in my humble opinion the goal of any licensing system is two fold:

1) To provide a reasonable level of record keeping and control over the privilege you are licensing.  IE you'd like to know who it was that just transmitted 1kw over the weather fax broadcast!  But then again without using your call it is very difficult to be tracked.   In radio our licenses and use of our privileges is mostly on the honor system.  But the record keeping does provide a way to validate that we are who we are and we are operating according to law.

2) (this will be a stretch for some but...) to encourage people to make use of the think you are licensing for.  Yes.. that is right... to encourage people in the case of ham radio to become radio operators, learn that skill and even how it all works.

When I taught flying, it was very surprising how hard it was for people that had never done it to use the radio and talk to ground/tower etc.  Most of these people were willing to touch the controls of the airplane which if handled wrong could do lots of damage and even deal out death to themselves and people on the ground.  When pressing the transmit button the mic could do very little in contrast.  Still it was hard for some of these people because they didn't want to appear as idiots "over the air" to use the radio.  I had to rehearse what to say and show them numerous times how to say it and what the sequence was.

So for us picking up a mic and talking is easy.  But not for all.  So enter ham radio...  My opinion is that the "novice" test, even years ago should have attempted to suggest they learn code and teach them some guidelines for basic operation.

I think most VE's did this.  Even if you couldn't quite cut the 5 wpm most of us got our novices if we just showed some basic knowledge.  It is a license to learn in my opinion.

So I think to encourage people into the hobby you should make the entry level licenses pretty easy.  In fact in the novice you should make it almost impossible to fail.

For higher classes, sure, ask more.   As far as the questions being in a pool with answers I think like many things having a question, then an answer often spurred me to want to understand the answer so I went and read about it thus the learning occurred.
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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I've been intimately involved in the current licensing structure for the last few months, as my 68-yr old wife of 47 years just passed her Tech and is now KE0GIC and studying for her General.  As a result, I've been going through all of the material and helping her understand the questions.  I believe that, on the whole, they provide a pretty good overview of the basic knowledge one needs to operate within the privileges of the respective license classes.  No, they are not going to turn a new licensee into a competent on-the-air operator immediately.  Only practice will do that, but regardless of how one learns the answers to the questions, at least they will have the basic information necessary to become an acceptable addition to the amateur community.

Mark, your comments on 'mic fright' among pilots, reminded me of when I was getting my PPL in the early 80s.  My instructor, an old tail-dragging crop duster, and one of the best pilots I've ever known, absolutely hated using the radio.  When we flew into controlled fields, he'd always have me handling the radios, because as a ham, it was second-nature to me.
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DrTeeth

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Congrats on your XYL getting a licence.
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W7NGA

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Rick, I think I heard you once. You were telling the control-tower they were 15 over S9 with slight QSB! I also thought saying '73's' and that you were QSY'ing to ground-control after you landed was a nice touch!
 
(Edited)
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Burt Fisher

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Tom amateur radio is not an organization it is considered a service by the FCC and even the ARRL addresses it as a service even though most hams primarily only serve themselves. My daughter at age 8 did think it was a challenge to pass the test but then again she was eight. Even though she did not walk 40 miles in the snow she did take the code test in a fire station while an alarm came in and over came the clanging.

Mark you idea making it easy by making it almost impossible to fail is very popular in some of our schools as some schools graduate kids who can't even calculate what a discount of 33% is. How is that working out for our society? I had a ham recently try to buy a DX-60 (if you even know what that is) thinking it was a transceiver and wanting to know why there were glass bottles inside.


There are very intelligent people here and I bet most if not all are an asset to amateur radio. I support Flex as they are the most perfect seller of equipment albeit not perfect.

(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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Burt, just tell that ham those "glass bottles" contain the magic he is trying to buy!
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Bill N5TU

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"Way back when," there was a fellow named Dick Bash (I do not remember his name) who did exit polls of those taking license exams.  He compiled the question pools for each license class and published them.  There was an incredible furor, but it was not illegal.  Now, published question pools are standard practice.

BTW, if one can memorize hundreds of questions and correct answers, there is a chance that some useful information will rub off.  That said, memorize and regurgitate is the least effective approach to teaching and learning.

In terms of my background, I design, create, and teach college-level online courses about music for two universities.  It is difficult to design an effective course.

VY 73,
Bill, N5TU
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Bill N5TU

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BTW, Dick Bash was KL7IHP, and his books were called "The Final Exam."  A Google search turns up plenty of references.
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W7NGA

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personally, I would throw out the tests and those that could solder a PL259 to the end of RG8 coax would get their ticket. If hams are so concerned with being an 'elite' group then they should start acting as such. what I heard this morning on 40-meters is enough to let my license lapse. geez ...
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Jay / NO5J

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I'm pretty terrible at memorizing "only" the correct answers, But I'm pretty good at wrapping my head around, how to get the right answer, by learning something inside, and out, until I'm able to teach someone else how to get the right answer. My least favorite answer is "I don't know" I think visually, but not photographically, seeing the correct answers has seldom been of any help.

I learn best, by learning.

73, Jay - NO5J
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Burt Fisher

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Ken no problem on the "flowers" I know I seem negative at times but I call them as they are and there is a lot of positive in the world of Flex.
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Reg

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When I took the Airline Transport Pilot written exam in 1985 the question pool had 1,000 multiple choice questions.  The FAA Examiner received a copy of the questions which the candidate missed so he/she knew where to drill in.  (I missed 1 out of 100) In addition to the oral exam one had to actually prove that you could fly an aircraft to ATP standards.

I don't remember how many questions were in the FCC Extra pool when I took that exam but there were a lot.  The difference was that the FCC didn't put you through an oral exam and prove that you could actually fly a jet or properly operate a transceiver.

Reg
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Kevin Va3KGS

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To get your ticket in Canada, the government "Industry Canada" (IC), has a random generator to make up the question bank (printed on paper for now), for the students final exam.  The student can pre run the question bank as many times as they want.  The Certifiied IC Examiner down loads a test which is registered to the student first, and this is then administered by this Examiner.  The test document is retained by the Examiner for safe keeping (For possible Audits by IC).  The Examiner completes the test results online to IC. The test has to be done with a day or so of the download, otherwise it doesn't count.  IC next move (Down the road) is to have all testing done on line.  Not sure who/how will watch this.

Kevin, Certified IC Examiner

Cheers from VE, VA, VO Land

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DrTeeth

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@ Jay NO5J

At university, we had many oral exams. Those who were afraid to say "I don't know" wasted their time fluffing around and failed those exams. OTOH, oral exams are the easiest to ace because it is quite easy to direct the examiner down a (wanted) particular path by answering a question a particular way.

I passed my final clinical exam by answering "I do not know" and by explaining exactly why. A final clinical exam is designed to check is somebody is safe and not an expert.

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so".

Toodle-pip.
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Lee, Elmer

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In 1976 I took the train from Champaign to Chicago and took the Advanced, Extra code, Extra Theory, Third class commercial, Second commercial phone First commercial phone, TV endorsement, Radar endorsement, 2nd CW code and 2nd CW   The hardest was 2nd CW since they had all this stuff on dynamoters, second hardest was Advanced.  I got on the train and went home.  I don't think any of those tests really informed me much on the actual "thing" they were intended to test, but I wore out the examiner that's for sure.  He was kicking me out the door at 4:59

73  W9OY
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Hi Lee,
I took Novice in 1974 from my "Elmer"  and Technician in 1975 the same way, under the current regs.

Then it took almost three years to get my code speed past the 10 WPM "look-up table" barrier, but finally passed it in front of the FCC examiner In Indy at one of their quarterly Exam stops in mid 1978.  (at that time, the Tech/General Theory test was one and the same, so I just needed the code to get the General.)  After passing the code, I took the Advanced Theory just for the heck of it (missed it by ONE question).

I went back three months later and took and passed the Advanced Theory at the next FCC Quarterly exam stop.  

I then passed the 20 WPM and Extra Theory at a VE Session in Vincennes, Indiana in 1986.

The novice and Tech/General theory was a cinch for me.  And by the time I took the Extra I had played at just about everything in the hobby and the Extra Class test was mostly a review of the special communications techniques I had already been doing or had read about in hopes of dong it.

But, I have to agree that the Advanced Theory test was the most difficult of all of them.  That test contained all of the nitty-gritty, down & dirty, number crunching theory.  That one made me sweat.  And I was a Math & Physics Major in my second year of College.

Somewhere around the same time I took the General & Advanced, I also took the 2nd Class Radiotelephone and passed it.  I remember thinking that it wasn't as tough as the Advanced Class Test.  (or perhaps I had gotten used to the pain!)  It was later converted to the General Radiotelephone License when they eliminated the 1st Class Radiotelephone.  Unfortunately I was in Graduate School when that happened and I let my license lapse and never renewed it.  I recently called the FCC to see if they had a grandfathering provision so I could get it back and was told that it had been too long expired.  Bummer.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Lee.
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Lee, Elmer

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Ken

Except for my ham license (and my medical license) I let all of my licenses expire too. I did practice broadcast engineering for a while repairing transmitters and such so the license turned out to be profitable. I took my novice at age 6 in 1958 down at the allied radio store on western in chicago but missed the code by one letter which is just as well because noway I was going to pass general and novice was a one time thing back then. I did pass in 63 when I was 11, but it took 2 years to get general since we moved to southern indiana and I had to wait till we were on a trip to chicago to be examined. Its been great fun for me ever since except when I discovered girls cars college and a couple other hiatuses. I was about to sell all my gear and get out when I discovered flex radio and it completely revolutionized everything for me

73. W9OY
(Edited)
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Ernest - W4EG

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 Guy,


This is one reason why I stopped being a VEC (volunteer examiner) back in the early 1990's. 

I witness an individual take all the exams, from Novice to Amateur Extra in one sitting; in less than 4 hours. I asked him how he was able to accomplish that task; his answer was "I read the question and answer for the past weeks."

You also read about kids passing their amateur extra exam (I know there are exceptions).

Some barely know how to read or write; are they though how to memorize the sequence of the question answers?

 My question is who are the examiners and how are the prospective hams being feed the questions? 

I lost my respect for any and all recently licensed amateur since the VEC program was instituted. 
(Edited)
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Burt Fisher

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Be careful someone will tell you something about weeds.
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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I got my Novice & Conditional back in '63 before the question pools were published.  What we did have then were the ARRL License Manuals which, although they didn't contain the actual questions, the ones they had were close enough to those on the actual exam so that if you could memorize the License Manual you weren't going to have much trouble with the test.  I suppose it took a bit more work than it does these days, but I had no problem doing that as a 16-yr old kid.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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While it is hilarious it's also depressing think very likely true
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Jay / NO5J

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"very likely true", and not all that different than reality.

73, Jay - NO5J
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DrTeeth

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The commentary at the beginning of the film was VERY scary as it is so true.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Howard
I added this movie to my Amazon watch list.   Never heard of it before but sounds like it would be interesting.  While we are discussing video, here is a series you might be interested in. 

Halt and Catch Fire -- an interesting series set in the 1980s and the birth of the PC.  For those of us that were in the IT business in those early days it's an interesting look back.  Part fact and part fiction.  It's also available on Amazon
  
http://www.amazon.com/I-O/dp/B00KCXHNRS/ref=sr_1_2?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1449489264&am...



Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW......... V 1.5.1.70
SSDR / DAX...... V 1.5.1.152
CAT................... V 1.5.1.0
Win10
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I watched that series and also lived some parts of it. Great series.
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Steve W6SDM

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Publishing the answers to an exam doesn't really diminish the result, IMHO.  After all, this is amateur radio and it's still a hobby.  Passing the exam still requires one to study the material even if, in doing so, some of the study consists of rote memory.  Had it not been for that, I suspect many of us would have not received our diplomas/degrees.

This isn't a whole lot different than taking the driver's license exam in most states where there is a manual with all of the answers you need in one convenient booklet.

Making the exam more difficult to pass doesn't help the hobby.  Not everyone needs to know every element of the exam in detail.  A good example are first responders who take the exam just so they can use ham radio CERT equipment during drills and disasters.  It's likely that those folks won't ever go beyond using a hand held radio in FM mode, so knowing things like how to calculate the inductance in a coil are not going to be of use to them.

More knowledge is gained from the "Elmering" process and from practical application that will ever be learned from studying for an exam.
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Burt Fisher

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The FCC and the ARRL think amateur radio is a service. The FCC refers to it as a hobby where?
In my time the manual had general type questions and answers, the exact questions were not known:

Can you find the word hobby?

The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.

(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

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Steve W6SDM

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Granted, the FCC considers amateur radio a service.  Otherwise, they would have no business regulating it.  However, the word "amateur" implies that it is a hobby which, to most of  us, it really is.

My point is that making the exam more difficult doesn't contribute making the service any better because the majority of the learning takes place after the operator is licensed.  The exam is just to ensure that amateurs have the basic knowledge from which to expand their learning, operate safely, and prevent interference. 
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Burt Fisher

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The majority of learning takes place after most types of certification exams. Making the exam more difficult raises the bar. publishing the EXACT questions and answers is going too far.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Do they publish the question pool for the civil service exam? If not, I don't see where FOIA applies. If so, I don't see the point in the test. I, generally, agree with you on this one Burt.