I recommend the course.
It was very educational. I finally understand the difference between "In" and "Out" and the difference between "UAT" and "1090ES," and the difference between "FIS" and "TIS."
What a mess! We are being asked to choose technologies from a menu of incompatible technologies. You can get FIS with UAT, but you can't get it with 1090ES. You can have compatibility with the international standard, but you can't get that with weather. If you fly above FL180, the technology required changes. One technology fails when you lose touch with ground stations; the other one doesn't.
It reminds me of shopping for cable TV packages. It's impossible to get the combination of channels you really want for a price you're willing to pay.
Gone are the days when all you had to do was to choose which brand of equipment you wanted to do a specific job. Now you must make high-end purchasing decisions based on which technology you're betting will support your future relationship with ATC. And if the type of flying you do changes, then you're faced with starting over.
Hybrid equipment that can do everything may become available, but at what cost? And the people who set standards should be ashamed that a market exists for hybrid equipment.
It's a moving target. The only smart thing to do is to wait till the last minute (which is January 1, 2020). The AOPA course comes very close to saying "Do nothing," but it doesn't quite say it.
Anyway, I recommend taking the course.
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