The ARRL has petitioned the FCC for expanded Technician class benefits to include HF voice, RTTY and other digital privileges.

The reason given is that the current growth rate doesn’t support the long-term health of the hobby. It’s certainly a problem but one that almost certainly can’t be fixed by giving Technician class licensees additional operating privileges.

Mind you, I’m not just being stingy in this regard. I would support a single class of license issued without any testing and granting the same privileges for all. But that doesn’t support the current business model for license manuals and “how-to” upgrade books and media which is, and always has been, a small money-making industry unto itself.

It would also undermine local radio clubs. Can you imagine if there were no more need for one-day cram sessions, six-week licensing classes, or Saturday morning testing sessions? Clubs would then either become interesting or close shop.

Since nobody wants that, we will maintain the status quo while slightly tweaking the formula here and there to support the industry of study manuals and the facade of club vitality while we watch the numbers continue to decline.