A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club May 2004

 Bible Verse

Exodus 20:22-23 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites this: 'You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.



It's up to today's Amateur Radio veterans to cultivate the younger generation, ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, told the ARRL Forum at Dayton Hamvention 2004 May 15. Calling the statistic "shocking," Haynie cited ARRL survey data showing that more than one-fifth of new amateur licensees never get on the air. He suggested that too few experienced amateurs take new licensees under their wing to help them get started.

"One of the things that we need to do is open up our hearts and open up our minds a little bit about the new generation coming along," he said. The addition of another half-dozen ARRL Education and Technology Program (ETP) pilot schools has raised the total to 81, Haynie pointed out. While its primary goal is using Amateur Radio to educate youngsters about wireless technology, the ETP has resulted in thousands of new hams--teenagers and younger.

"What makes these programs successful, of course, is the local hams, the local clubs getting behind the program and teaching these kids the kinds of things we all know," Haynie said, adding that nothing is too basic or simple. "I didn't know how to put on a PL-259 when I got my General," Haynie admitted, recalling that he'd more than once forgotten to slip the connector's shell over the end of the cable before soldering the plug.

Haynie suggested that today's older hams also need to consider that technology is changing, and the questions appearing on the ham radio examinations of tomorrow will be ones "that haven't been thought of yet." In 1972 when he took his General, he said, his test included questions on Hartley and Colpitts oscillators. In contrast, today's examinations cover topics such as phase-locked loops, satellite operation and digital technology.

The ARRL president asserted that many Amateur Extra class licensees couldn't pass today's Element 4 examination if they had to do. Haynie said that if and when the FCC changes Amateur Radio licensing requirements in response to various petitions for rule making--including one from the League--it will not be a matter of "dumbing down" Amateur Radio. "It's not that Amateur Radio is dumbed down," he said. "People like me have failed to keep up, and if you look in your heart, you're going to say the same thing."

"Amateur Radio is what you make of it once you get your license," Haynie continued. Getting a ham ticket doesn't make anyone more intelligent, and learning the ropes usually begins after someone already has a license in hand.

"You learn by doing," he said.

Haynie said the ARRL Board did not take lightly its latest restructuring proposal, and he acknowledged that the League's petition has not won universal praise. "It was not an overnight decision," he said, adding that the Board wanted to take a fair and evenhanded approach to restructuring.

How the FCC will act on the Morse code requirement and restructuring "is anyone's guess," Haynie said, but he predicted that the Commission will never reinstate higher code speed requirements as some have requested. "The FCC is not going to go back to 13 and 20 words per minute, and you can take that to the bank," he predicted. "It's not going to happen."

"Whatever you enjoy about Amateur Radio, it's not going to change" as a result of any restructuring Haynie said. While the FCC might take "the path of least resistance," he believes it's more likely to take bits and pieces of the various petitions to come up with something that's would be workable and "give Amateur Radio a shot in the arm."

"We need that," Haynie concluded. ARRL Letter Volume 23 Number 22


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