BE Informed No. 2.8
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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
apparently observe that our amateur service Section 97.301 spectrum allocations have the capacity to accommodate very large
influxes of additional stations, indeed.
What is GOTA?
It seems to be one of the most popular of the alternatives to VE-certification protocols (“AVEPs”) that are springing
Q. What would be required to replace
testing with GOTA experience?
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.
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.
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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Supersedes all prior editions