A lot of words were expended in this week’s ARRL Letter defending their decision to petition the FCC to add privileges the Technician Class license.

“ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for the entry-level Technician license to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, and 15 meters, where Technicians already have CW privileges. ARRL believes the additional digital privileges will attract younger people to Amateur Radio.”

I’m not sure I follow the logic. Technicians already have some HF privileges but are still finding the hobby uninteresting. Somehow adding certain HF phone and digital privileges will cause them to take a deeper interest? I haven’t taken a test in decades but is there a significant degree of difficulty difference between the current General and Technician class license tests?

This seems a lot more likely to kill the General class license than to enhance the Technician license if it works like the ARRL suggests. Tech’s who have become bored with amateur radio will get new privileges with even less reason to upgrade. But apparently, Tech’s don’t often upgrade anyway:

“The 378,000 Technician licensees comprise more than half of the US Amateur Radio population, yet the Technician-class license no longer serves its original purpose from 18 years ago. Many Technicians do not participate actively, pursue on-air and public service opportunities, renew their licenses, or upgrade. An uncomfortably large attrition rate exists among Technician licensees. Technician licenses are not upgrading, because they don’t find their operating privileges interesting enough to keep them in the hobby.”

Having enjoyed all US amateur privileges for decades I don’t really have a dog in this hunt and I’m not against Technicians gaining more operating privileges but I doubt this will alter the trajectory of amateur radio licensing.

If I’m wrong and it does work as planned, it will reinforce the notion that the only thing that can be done to generate interest in the hobby is to continue giving away privileges until, eventually, everyone has the same privileges. Then what? What do you do to get people interested in our hobby once you’ve given everyone all the trump cards?

Because whatever that is, we should be doing that right now instead of kicking the can down the road for the next generation to figure out…