W3BE'S BE Informed!
Home1.0 W3BE Checklists1.1 RF Safety1.2 Antenna Structures1.3 Quiet Zones1.4 60 Meter Privileges1.5 Take A Paying Job?1.6 Hams At Sea1.7 Imported Radios1.8.0 Reciprocal Privileges1.8.1 For Canadians1.8.2 Reciprocal I.D.1.8.3 More Reciprocal Q&A1.8.4 Hear Something Say Something1.9 Third Party Communications1.10 Incentive Licensing1.11 GEPs and GAPs1.12 Hamslanguage1.13 Visiting Operators1.14 Terms in Part 971.15 Amateur Station?1.16 Licenses & Call Signs1.17 All About Spectrum1.18 Transmitter Stability1.19 Selling Over Ham Radio1.20 Still an Amateur?1.21 Use My Station?1.22 Digi-Standards1.23 No Secrets1.24 Where's My License?1.25 Spectrum Management1.26 A Little Bit Commercial1.27 What is CW?2.0 Ham Needs To Know2.1 VE System Management2.2 What A VE Does2.3 Remote Testing2.4 Get Your Pools Right2.8 GOTA Experience: License Qualifier?2.12 Former Hams2.13 The Hunt for Stereotype W2.14 VE's Universe2.15 More HF for Techs2.16 Can A VE Accept Pay2.17 VEC Supposed To Do2.18 Significance of license2.19 Enough Operator Classes?3.0 Smell Test3.1 Maintenance Monitoring3.2 International/domestic3.3 Excuses3.4 Heed The Rules!3.5 Regulatable3.6 No Broadcasting3.7 Station Records4.0 Which Call Sign?4.1 Self-assigned indicator4.2 Station ID4.3 ID Every 10 minutes4.5 Indicator Schedule4.6 Special Event 1 by 14.7 Non-Appended Indicator4.8 Club Station ID5.0 Alternatives To Exams5.1 VPoD Protocols5.3 Big Red Switch6.0 Constitution Go-By6.1 What Ia A Radio Club?6.2 School Radio Club6.3 Club Stations Control Op6.4 Radio Club Repeater Station7.0 EmComm7.2 RACES7.3 Commercial Communications7.11 Supposed To Be7.12 Emergency Responders & Part 978.0 Repeaters & Part 978.1 Auxiliary Stations & Part 978.2 Remote Control, Telecommand & Part 978.3 Frequency Coordination8.4 Automatic Control & Part 978.5 The Internet & Part 978.6 Beacons & Part 978.7 Automatic Control & Part 978.8 Frequency Coordination & Part 9710.0 Comments in RM-1170810.2 Deceased's Call Sign10.3 A New Era for Ham Radio10.4 New Era Q/A10.5 Four Operator Classes10.6 Novice ArtifactQUIZ

BE Informed No. 2.8

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GOTA Experience 

As Our

License Qualifier

John B. Johnston W3BE

Q. We want to expand our amateur service community by bringing youngsters and as many other citizens as possible to our hobby. Exams scare off a lot of folks. People don’t learn to drive a car from memorizing multiple-choice answers from the owner’s manual; they practice driving a car. Likewise, the GOTA experience we provide to unlicensed and under-licensed persons is superior to memorizing the VECs’ answers to a lot of superfluous questions. GOTA experience facilitates personalized hands-on training by mentors at real amateur stations. How about using GOTA experience as our license qualifier?

A. You apparently observe that our amateur service Section 97.301 spectrum allocations have the capacity to accommodate very large influxes of additional stations, indeed.

Q. What is GOTA?

A. It seems to be one of the most popular of the alternatives to VE-certification protocols (“AVEPs”) that are springing up.

Q. What would be required to replace testing with GOTA experience?

A. No changes would be required to the international Radio Regulations. Those RRs should, however, be taken into account within our needed regulatory revisions; in particular, the scope of ITU-R M.1544 minimum qualifications of radio amateurs. It recommends that any person wishing to operate an amateur station have certain theoretical knowledge. That seems to encompasses a GOTA operator. 

   The changes to Part 97 should be simple enough. Section 97.505 element credit already incorporates the fitting rubric. Just expand that section and add new sentences to require our Section 97.509 administering VEs to give credit for the GOTA experience.

Q. That GOTA sounds like an excellent project for our radio club members to offer at our club station. 

A. Yes, personalized hands-on training by active seasoned amateur operators at real amateur stations should be a lot more direct, effective, and responsible use of two highly valuable public resources: our allocation of electromagnetic spectrum and our technical and operational experts.  Personalized GOTA student operator mentoring should help expand our amateur service community, bring home license qualification training, and buildup our clubs’ memberships. 

Q. Our clubs should each obtain a stack of free club station licenses for its mentors to loan out to GOTA student operators who just want to give ham radio a try before investing their time and effort in memorizing the answers to the exam questions. They would use that call sign until they receive a call sign of their own, or lose interest.

A. Your suggestion does provide a workable trail: call sign - ULS - license trustee mentor – student operator. The onus, however, would be entirely upon your Section 97.5(b)(2) club station licensee to impose, on a case-by-case basis, any operational or technical limitations necessary to assure compliance with the rules.

Q. GOTA experience as a license qualifier will be more effective than answer memorizing only if all mentors carefully monitor their trainees progress and follow up using their expertise to correct their trainees’ errors and misunderstandings.

A. Yes. A major disillusionment with the current system is that the Section 97.509 administering VEs’ work is predominantly accounting in nature. Theses VEs, moreover - quite disappointingly - do not appear to follow up an examination using their own expertise to enlighten the examinee as needed, even though their incorrect answer choices pin down for them the specific areas where it is that their examinee’s technical and/or operational knowledge is faulty. This inaction tends to signal that the VEs do not firmly accept that such knowledge is all that essential.

   For more information, read Alternatives to VE-certification BE Informed No. 5.0.

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October 10, 2017

Supersedes all prior editions