Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Hams come and go

More and more poeple are getting their callsigns. However, I am sure you noticed that it is not necessary that more and more people are having QSO on air. Some hams come and go. Some hams bought expensive Yaesu VX-7R, the silver color one, which is also submersible but only went on air for less than 3 minutes in a year. Some thought that ham radio is a replacement for cellphone and they later found out that they are wrong. Some hams like to talk using a rubber duckie antenna only, and they found out that they are not holding the repeater, and give up. This kind of "hangat hangat tahi ayam" behaviour is not restricted to hams, it happens to all kind of hobbies. What's the problem here? It is not the hobby itself, but the attitude of those who take up the hobby.

In my opinion, ham radio is a pretty unique hobby. It has many faces, and people like to do one part more that some other parts. Some like to make new friends over the air, some prefer to rag chew with old friends, some go on HF pounding CW every evening, some spend hours experimenting with homebrew stuffs such as antennas, some collect QSL cards the same way people collect stamps, some get addicted to fox hunting, etc.

I don't think we need to encourage more people to take up this hobby. People who like it will take it up. I don't believe there will be more people becoming hams when CW requirement is abolished. Is there any data to show otherwise? However, I believe it is important to do some promotions because this hobby is not realy well known. In every school, there is always a Kelab Seni, Kelab Elektronik, Kelab Musik, Kelab Taekwondo, etc. but a Kelab Radio Amateur is hardly to be found. I think we should tackle this part, "invade" schools and get students to participate as one of their co-curriculum.

I had QSO with a few hams from VR2 land (Hong Kong) on 15 meter band yesterday. They told me the same story where the number of hams do not get increased even though Hong Kong SAR government no longer require CW as one the the condition for ham licensing.

By the way, MCMC published a discussion paper with the subject "Review of Amateur Radio Services in Malaysia" in the beginning of this month. To all hams, please do your part providing your feedback by 12pm on March 1, 2005.

Enjoy this hobby and 73.

4 Comments:

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Loctor Mayat said...

I would appreciate it if you can show me the picture you 'licensed' from me :D

 
At 3:09 AM, Blogger Mama Kitty said...

Hi, KD5KTY here in Gallup, New Mexico. I've been a Ham for 5 years. I took my Tech exam right before they changed the license requirements. My call sign is a vanity sign because my name is Kitty. My original call was KD5JID and it was so close to the K's that I decided to change it.
I don't use it as much as I would like to because I'm usually busy with my kids (5 of them), but I am an Incident Commander for Search and Rescue and it is invaluable on Searches. We have several ARES groups around the state and when we have a search they stay up through the whole time we are in the field and help us find fresh teams, relay messages, etc. One search, I was the only one who could get a message to anyone away from the search area. I sat in my truck using my 50 watt Yaesu and was able to relay for almost 10 hours. I also help with the Emergency Operations Command post if we have a big emergency in town. Doesn't happen very often, but we do have mock emergencies so I get to practice.
Anyway, just checking out your site. 73's Kitty

 
At 11:48 PM, Blogger upside_downside said...

Isn't it surprising that it is relatively easy to get through the RAE in Malaysia but it is next to impossible to import a transceiver legally into the country?

The RAE gets easier by year, so to encourage those who find the English language a great barrier, the exams will soon be conducted in, yup, you guessed it - Bahasa Malaysia!

Looks like the ham community in Malaysia will be growing, the way I see it.

What is Ah Kong doing to help hams import their rigs legally into the country or are they encouraging more smuggling activities in future?

Well, if Ah Kong continues to allow that monkey of a SIRIM to handle matters, then they are condoning the act of smuggling to continue.

Hmmmm..... how do I get a piece of that cake?

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Shah 9M2SZ said...

Framework for Malaysia amateur Radio Service
=============================
To achieve the National Policy Objectives set out in the Communications and Multimedia Act (1998), there are 5 challenges for CMC are:

a) Upgrading Network Capabilities
b) Improving Service Quality and Choice of Service
c) Building Capacity
d) Managing Resources Efficiently
e) Regulating Efficiently

In my view, (b) and (c) are important for amateur service in Malaysia in relation to the CMC’s perceived role in regulating the amateur service.

First, there is Inescapable evidence of ‘industry bias”. Amateur radio is NOT an industry.


“The hobby of amateur radio deserves the greatest of respect due to the internationally accepted convention that amateur radio communication could never involve financial gain or profit activities and that it is traditionally ‘serving the public at large’ due to their unique privilege to use the radio spectrum to communicate anywhere in the world. Such being the case, its activities could never be classified in any manner as ‘commercial’ or ‘industry-oriented’. The rationale is that, IN RETURN for the public service, amateur radio gets special sympathetic considerations from Governments anywhere on earth. However, that there are many pointers to indicate that CMC has and still is treating amateur radio in Malaysia as “part of the commercial industry setting’ appears to us to be extremely problematic”. (quoting 9M2SZ himself)


The morse requirement should be maintained by at 8 wpm instead of the present 12 wpm, BUT Class B holders can have some HF operating privileges. I think Class B holders can operate on HF bands subject to the following restrictions:

Within the 2 years of obtaining Class B license:

HF band privileges – mode: SSB telephony only

40 Meter band – to operate below 7.050Mhz /100 Watts max


After the initial 2 year period, class B license holders will, in addition to the above bands, have access to:

HF band privileges – mode: SSB telephony only

20 Meter band – telephony/ 100 watts max
15 Meter band – telephony band/100 watts max
10 Meter band – telephony/100 watts max
WAC Bands – full access –/100 watts max

In all of the above bands, Class B holders shall at all times have maximum transmitting power limit of 100 Watts max. They maintain their Class B 9 Whisky status.

CLASS A license
Class A license holders’ privileges shall remain status quo.

CW cannot be ‘replaced by digital mode’ – they compliment each other.

High tech digital modes could assist or compliment but could not replace CW as a cheap, easy and a simple way to communicate over the air over extremely long distance It is inaccurate to think that high tech gear can and will replace CW. CW traffic dominates the HF band today (and not voice chat) and CMC kept getting their facts wrong, by saying CW is “HF dead”. Except for a negligible few, Malaysian hams do NOT use digital modes and no one can receive such digital data on air simply because no one can really afford the equipment or took time to even understand them. All HF radios come standard with morse code phone jack and some HF sets even come standard with CW keyers.

Will abolition of CW creates more ‘hams’? Cancellation of the entire RAE would also create new hams in the thousands. Why not abolish RAE altogether, one might ask. The argument that abolishing the Morse test will make more people interested in the amateur radio service in Malaysia is taken out of context, because Rae is MORE difficult that the morse. If recent statistic is anything to go by, almost one out of two failed the RAE!! If you ask SPM school leavers, almost all with want to join medical faculties with 8 Cs and NOT 8As. Why? Self –preservation cannot be wrong.

We state that the Morse proficiency or ‘Morse code literate’ is the distinguishing element between ham radios and commercial taxi drivers! The old adage - “Any fool can talk into the microphone” couldn’t be more right. The Russian minister for telecommunication had implied that.


Suggestions or comments on any Morse code related issues that faced by Malaysian Amateur Radio Operators today.


MY ANSWER

• Create VE (Voluntary Examiner) scheme to conduct the Morse test
• Reduce the speed from 12 to 8 wpm. Test is 1 ½ minutes.
• Change the alphabet and the number test, which is outdated. The Morse test should no longer be divided in to alphabet and number test, but to send a the test text for only 2 minutes (instead of the present 3 minutes) and that numbers (such as dates, weather temperature, time (and punctuations) should be inserted in the text.
• If the speed is reduced to 8 wpm, CMC can encourage budding hams to even sit for the 8 wpm test BEFORE the RAE (since it’s supposed to be more efficient under the VE scheme)
• Have the Morse test every single month. The test is so straightforward it shall not take CMC too long to work this out. There is no maximum number of re-sits.
• Reduce the test fee.




Should Malaysian amateur radio operators maintain current class of operators or to adopt new classes of operators proposed above? How to encourage the public about amateur radio without minimizing the standards of amateur radio service in Malaysia

• Maintain the current class A and class B license.
• Class B has some HF privileges, as proposed above.
• Create a new Novice class (Class C) – The Novice exam syllabus will not be as challenging or as tough as the RAE,.
• CMC cannot maintain the erratic and slow pace of RAE exam (worse for Morse test) as we have seen for the last 6 years.

• To immediately cease to lump and dump amateur service in Malaysia into the category of ‘commercial’ or ‘industry oriented’, from amateur radio application forms to the ‘apparatus assignment’ concept which is alien to amateur service and a disregard of our international obligations to give proper and correct recognition to amateur radio service. Amateur repeaters are NOT commercial repeaters.

• CMC to create a budget to improve public awareness of amateur radio service and simplify the admission process.

• AP from SIRIM should be reviewed. No necessity for AP, if there is class and type approval method to be introduced by CMC
• Maintain the current tax exemption for amateur radio sets. This must extend to antennas, meters, calibration equipment, CW accessories, RF amplifiers. This is a key policy to be adopted to get more to join the hobby.
• For the avoidance of doubt, amateur licensees can purchase, own and operate a satellite parabolic dish, at home or mobile.





Should a Certifying Agency (CA) for amateur radio service be appointed amongst the amateur radio societies or outsourced to the public? Comment on the current RAE and propose ways to enhance it.


We should not appoint a Certifying Agency in a hurry. Amateurs are the best ‘examiners’ of their peers and it’s in line with the concept of self-regulation, to a degree. RAE should be led by CMC with inputs from senior hams. However, since the Morse test is a straight forward process (a 2 minute test), this could be done through VE (as above) and this can be done quickly.

Then the RAE exam questions should be selected, kept and opened by the process followed by the ,say FCC or RSGB. This is not to be taken lightly as it affects public confidence in the system and to avoid any allegation of internal irregularities. RAE should also be conducted 4 times a year without fail and morse test done every month true VE. RAE should also be announced directly to all Universities, Secondary Schools, Technical and Vocational schools and colleges in Malaysia. These institutions should know more about amateur radio.


Should Malaysian amateur radio operators adopt a practical proficiency test additional to the current RAE in order to compensate from the elimination of the Morse Code?


NO.

There is NO elimination of Morse code in the first place. Only a reduction from 12 to 8 wpm for those wishing to obtain Class A license. This will forever destroy the argument that Morse test is difficult. Further class B may in any case operate on HF with limited privileges and 100 Watts max. Practical test will only make the RAE more difficult. I do not support a practical proficiency test.



Any comments on the current frequency allocation for the Malaysian amateur radio operators?


In Malaysia, with some changes, we have followed and should continue to follow the frequency allocation set out by IARU Region 3. What is clear is that Amateur Radio frequencies should not be tampered or hijacked by other commercial services.



Any opinions to be incorporated into the review of amateur radio services?

Eligible age should be 9 years old. This helps in their mathematics and appreciation of basic electricity and physics when they reach secondary schools. Especially so for the Novice Class.

NO AGE limit for Morse test. If a 6 year old can do Morse (which is widespread in the West), so much the better!

Completely eliminate the “processing fee” when it comes to renewal of ham license.
Create real support for School’s amateur radio clubs. Also in Universities, Technical and Vocational colleges and Army amateur Clubs.

Completely revamp the description “apparatus assignment” for amateur radio
Amateur radio competency (designated skill) is licensed personally to an individual who have showed sufficient technical knowledge in radio electronics after passing the RAE. It is therefore legally wrong to say that it is merely ‘apparatus assignment’, for to say that means amateur radio is part of the commercial communications industry. This is against international law on amateur radio. The reason is not unknown. CMC is perhaps too preoccupied with the ‘industry’.

To completely do away with the concept of Certifying Agency that has to be a BERHAD. Amateur Radio Societies in Malaysia and all over the world are non profit societies. In Malaysia, hams have difficulty to even find a place call “Office” or HQ because we have no funds. Let alone running a BERHAD. This is silly because the whole law is designed with commercial interest in mind, and lumping (amateur radio service) Amateur radio in the same group is totally unacceptable.

de 9M2SZ
KL
CW-DXCC
Croatian cwTelegraphic Club

 

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