I am pleased to announce that the three candidates who booked tests for RSGB Morse Competency Certificate at the National Hamfest 2012 all successfully gained certificates, but I was disappointed that we did not have more people book tests this year. We had three times that number book tests last year, but I think it is mainly lack of self confidence and fear of the Morse test that puts potential candidates off.
I used to be a Morse Examiner in the 1980’s when candidates needed to be sedated before taking the test as this was the most important test in their life, it would enable them to transmit on the HF bands and work stations all over the world.They were not allowed a second chance during the test and had to wait for over a week before getting the results of the test, pass or fail.
Things have changed and you can now work on the HF bands without needing to know Morse and those that are interested in the Morse can now obtain a certificate from the RSGB to prove their Morse competency. Although to get a certificate you have to take a Morse test, I think it should be changed to having a Morse Assessment as I am now a registered RSGB Morse Assessor and I assess the competency of the candidates. I do not examine them as I am no longer a Morse Examiner, but now as a Morse Assessor I spend a long time with the candidates and assess their Morse proficiency.
At the National Hamfest, my team is available from 10am to 4pm on both days to assess candidates, and my policy is that we properly assess the candidates and if they fail on the speed they requested, we spend time with them and they get a certificate for the speed that they are proficient at. On Friday I had a candidate who wanted a test for 20wpm which he failed, but he left with a certificate for 18wpm which he was proficient at. I will spend time with candidates to make sure that they do receive a certificate for the speed that I have successfully assessed them at.
On very rare occasions a candidate will leave empty handed. This happened last year at the National Hamfest 2011 when a candidate requested to be tested at 25wpm and after I kept reducing the speed to find level where he was proficient and it got below 12wpm and he was still unsuccessful, I gave him some advice on how to improve his proficiency and told him to try again next year. I did not mind spending my time with him as I want to encourage and certainly not discourage Morse.
My team at National Hamfest are very friendly and will genuinely bend over backwards to help you succeed in getting an RSGB Morse Competency Certificate and are willing to pass on hints and tips to help you increase your Morse proficiency. If you are attending the National Hamfest 2013 have a word with us as we are their to help you succeed on your Morse journey.