Saturday, January 26, 2008

Malaysia, Truly Boleh!

Let's keep trumpeting that we are now a developed country. Yes, we can do anything! The "Malaysia Boleh!" catch phrase has gain much notoriety after all these years of craps. The "latest" bull shit which has been around for a few years though, is "Cemerlang! Gemilang! Terbilang!" (Excellence! Glorious! Outstanding!). So, this is just another "same shit, different day" thing.

Let's look at ourselves first. Let's say we missed the very last RAE organized by the tuck shop. The waiting time will be about 6 months for the next one since RAE is held twice a year. OK, maybe we don’t have that many hams, so let's group more together and concentrate the exams at a few examination centers.

After you have taken the RAE, there will be a waiting period of about 2 to 3 months for the paper to be graded. Then, you will get your result in the mail. The license application must come with the declaration of secrecy of wireless communication, and another referral letter signed by 2 old men who hold class A license. This will take you another week at least. Finally, you submit you application. Lo and behold, another few months waiting time, nothing you can do except checking your mailbox, the snail mailbox everyday.

Overall, it takes you almost a year to get your class B license. Yes, RAE is just for class B because in order to get the class A license you need to pass your CW test. The prerequisite is to hold class B license for one year. Again, CW test is held at a different schedule from the RAE. This sucks even more as you have to go to Cyberjaya for the test.

When it comes to examination fees, it cost you RM50. Once you have passed, the license fee is RM 24 per year, while the processing fee is RM 60 for each application. Naturally, people will apply for the maximum license period because it is still the same RM 60 that you have to pay, no matter it is 1 year or 5 years. OK, let's take a 5-year license and we end up paying RM 180. Wait a minute, don’t forget the fee you paid to the Pesuruhjaya Sumpah (Commissioner of Oath) which is RM 4, for that declaration of secrecy of wireless communication. To renew for another 5-year period, it will cost you another RM 180.

From the day you decided to be a ham till 10 years later, you have to fork out RM 414 (RM 410 is paid to the tuck shop). I think this gives you an impression that we don’t pay taxes. Everything costs money here and it is damn expensive, considering the amount we make every month.

Back in the 70s, our economy was better than Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Our GDP was much higher them. Now, we have to use Ghana for comparison. In the very near future, we will be running out or choice. By then, maybe Zimbabwe will be best candidate. Sorry, I really can't use Pakistan, I have to use United States for comparison today. Let's see how FCC is licensing hams…

First of all, go to ARRL website and do a search for exam. They are held everywhere throughout the country. I would say, exams are held at least twice a month within certain location, such as within 20 miles. Check it out yourself. Many Volunteer Examiners (VEs) allow walk-in, but I would suggest that you should take the effort to make an appointment. Oh yeah, you don't have to take leave from your day job since most of the exams are held at night.

On the night of the exam, all you need to do is bring a photo ID (drivers license, passport, etc.), and USD 14.00. You might want to write a check (cheque) payable to "ARRL VEC". That's it. You may start by taking Element 2 for Technician Class. If you pass and you think you can go on, then take Element 3 (General Class). Finally, you can also attempt Element 4 (Extra Class) as well.

Once you are done, you will be issued the Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) signed by 3 VEs on the spot. Submit the application to FCC tomorrow and you will get your 10-year license with a sequentially assigned callsign in about a week. It is "online", OK?

In summary, in Malaysia, it takes about 1 year to become a ham and it costs you RM 414 (USD125) for 10 years. In the US, it takes about 3 weeks to become a ham and it costs you RM 46 (USD 14) for 10 years. Please don't get me started into talking about getting rigs. You should have already known the red tapes here. By the way, you shouldn’t reason with people who can't take feedback or criticism. All you get is, "Kalau tak suka, keluar dari Malaysia!!!" (If you don't like it, get out of Malaysia!!!). On the other hand, some idiots can't figure out why there is brain drain in the country.