Arvid, KC8VGO SK

Arvid, KC8VGO, helps out at Field Day 2003.

Arvid, KC8VGO, helps out at Field Day 2003. Photo courtesy of Dave New, N8SBE.

At Wednesday’s ARROW meeting, I was saddened to learn of the death of Arvid, KC8VGO. Although he was in his 80s at the time, he attended my General class, and eventually got his General ticket.

He was a guy that liked to do things. Shortly after getting his General ticket, I heard that he attended classes at Washtenaw Community College, learning what he had to know to get his motorcycle license. His obituary also notes that he was a shriner, enjoyed square dancing, and belonged to the Country Twirlers.

Arvid was also one of those guys that truly was unable to learn the code. Removing that requirement was what allowed him to finally get on the air and then finally to get his General Class license. So, when anyone tells me that the code test was a good way to keep out “undesirables,” I always pointed to Arvid as a case of the code test keeping out someone that we want to be part of the hobby.

73, Arvid

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  1. I learned 5wpm for my Novice in 1970, but could never make 13wpm for General. Novice was a “two years and out” non-renewable license at the time.

    I got a degree in EE (signals and systems), listened to shortwave broadcast, but didn’t get back to ham radio until 2009. I was out of the hobby for nearly forty years.

  2. Todd KD0TLS says:

    There’s still too much effort being made to keep people out, IMHO. Nearly half of all licensees are Technician Class (like me), and it’s learn code or stay off HF. I chose the latter. People should remember what the purpose of the licensing requirements are. It’s not to allow one group to make the public airwaves their own private club. We could keep a lot of cars off the public roads if we required fluency in Sanskrit in order to get a driver’s license. I refuse to learn a dead language, and CW is a dead language. How many Generals even know code at all?

    • Ummmmmmm, you do know that a code test is no longer required to get either a General Class or Extra Class license, don’t you?

      As for CW being a dead language, you should be listening to the HF bands right now. There are thousands of stations participating in the ARRL CW DX contest.

  3. Ummmmmmm, you do know that Techs are restricted to code on HF except for 10 meters, right? If you can’t be right, be smug, I guess, Dan.
    And “thousands” of stations? Wow! Yeah, out of about 7 billion people on the planet, “thousands” speak this language. So it’s not “dead”. Probably more people speak Latin, which *is* a dead language. Of course, Morse is a language only spoken by hams nowadays, and hams are less than 1% of the U.S. population – and not even *all* hams even know code. So yeah, it’s booming. Yeah. Quite a craze. That and shuffleboard.

    • Dan KB6NU says:

      Opppps. I misread your comment. I thought you meant that you had to learn the code to get a license. My bad.

      Having said that, it’s up to you whether to learn the code or not. While I think you should at least give it a try, I’m not one of those guys who think you’re any less of a ham if you don’t.

      As far as the licensing structure is concerned, I don’t know how you came up with the idea that “the purpose of the licensing requirements [is] not to allow one group to make the public airwaves their own private club.” The reason that we have licensing is to first ensure that hams understand the rules and second that they have enough technical expertise to set up and operate their stations properly.

      Furthermore, there’s a reason that Techs aren’t given phone privileges on HF, except for 10m. The reason is to give amateurs an incentive to learn more about radio and electronics by giving them more privileges if they do so and encourage them to upgrade from Tech to General to Extra.

      Getting a Tech license is really not very difficult—and that’s the way it should be. Getting a General Class license requires you to know more things, but again, that’s the way it should be. Why should you get something for nothing? There are radio services that don’t require any technical knowledge. You’re always welcome to use those services.

      What I would do if I were you is to choose to upgrade to General and then get on HF. It’s not that difficult, you can download my study guide for free, and on top of that, I’d be more than happy to explain things that you might be having trouble understanding.

      Finally, there’s a more practical reason for learning about the technology and upgrading. Knowing these things will allow you to be more successful as a radio amateur. For example, knowing about how propagation works will allow you to choose the right bands and the right modes for the type of communication you want to accomplish.

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