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Morse Code Required?

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For those following the ongoing (emotional)debate about Morse code requirement for a HAM license, I found this announcement.

 

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - the FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to eliminate Morse code from all amateur licensing requirements.

 

"Based upon the petitions and comments, we propose to amend our amateur service rules to eliminate the requirement that individuals pass a telegraphy examination in order to qualify for any amateur radio operator license. We believe that this proposal, if adopted, would (1) encourage individuals who are interested in communications technology, or who are able to contribute to the advancement of the radio art, to become amateur radio operators; (2) eliminate a requirement that we believe is now unnecessary and that may discourage amateur service licensees from advancing their skills in the communications and technical phases of amateur radio; and (3) promote more efficient use of the radio spectrum currently allocated to the amateur radio service. We solicit comments on our tentative conclusions. We decline to propose any other changes to amateur radio service licensing or operating privileges in this proceeding."

 

For details see this PDF document:

Details

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No surprise there, I have been waiting for it for a LONG time.

 

Morse code is a band hog, it is less efficient then other forms of Ham communications, and it is no longer used by military or any other organization besides Ham Radio.

 

It will be sad to see it go, but at the same time, it is more of an art then a technology anymore.

 

The oldtimers will still do it, so it will be a while before it dies out completely, BUT, at the same time, I think 5 words a minute keeps the CBer types out, and the ones that are serious in.

 

We'll see how it goes, since Ham Radio operators pretty much enforce ourselves, we will hopefully become more efficient at it, and make sure that our hobby does not become the Free for all that CB has become in the last 3 decades.

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Yes I have seen the latest FCC proposel and I myself haveing been a Ham for the last 37 years realy hate to see CW go. It is a mode of communacations that gets through when no other can. QRSS (VERY SLOW CW) is the only mode that can make a trans atlantic contact on the 2000 meter band (156 khz)with 100 microwatts of power. Thats .0001 of a watt. Just go and try that with single side band or packet. Thought I would put in my 2 cents. _ _ ... ..._ _

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Actually, CW is not a band hog and is more efficient than most other modes and does not need the technology/equipment of the digital modes.

 

If you have every worked much DX, you would know it is probably the best mode for DXpeditions. The quickness of contacts, clear communications of CW are better than phone with accents, non-standard phonetics, overprocessed signals, etc. And if you are like most hams (and me) with 100 watts and a one-element antenna, it is the only way you are going to be heard by the DX. Digital modes work, but they are much slower than CW contacts for the DX operator.

 

Also, I have made contacts with people around the world who do not speak english. They might not even feel comfortable on digital modes because of their ability with written english, but do fine on CW.

 

CW, morse code has a firm place in the hobby, just like people ride horses and use sailboats.

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I'm almost 100% CW and do it only because I enjoy that mode. But it comes as no surprise to me that the requirement is being dropped. Maybe it will finally put to rest the code vs no code debate.

 

Personally I don't think there is now going to be an influx of new hams because the code requirement is being dropped. Possibly it will inspire those who are currently hams to upgrade but it's doubtful that it will bring much new blood into the hobby.

 

Earlier this year our local ham club had a number of people pass and get their tech tickets, about 50 people passed, yet the repeaters in this area are mostly silent. Where are all these people? Doing digital modes, 6 meters, satellite? Possibly. But yet our local repeaters are mostly silent.

 

I believe the code requirement will be dropped, a small percentage of current hams will upgrade, an even smaller percentage of non-hams will finally get their tickets, and yet five years from now things are pretty much going to be the same as they are now. The more things change, the more things remain the same.

 

Of course, it's possible I don't know what I'm talking about :(

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I still need to learn morse.. keep putting it off though, so many other projects going on.

 

I doubt it'll change ham radio much though, there is still a test to have to pass, even if someone is lazy and tries to get by they've still had to do something, which is much more than going out and buying a cb or frs and just yacking away.

 

Perhaps I ought to teach myself morse code to make a puzzle cache out of it (not the text ...---... stuff but an audio file instead) if anything it'll force the cachers to learn it too :(

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The UK has eliminated CW as a licensing requirement, but is now experiencing an uptick in usage.

 

Here is my two cents.

 

To go from nothing to tech is too simple, but also not very expensive, with modern dual band mobiles under 300 bucks, and a lot of good recent HT's available for less.

 

To go from tech to general is a harder test, but also includes learning CW. As there is little exposure to CW in the tech level, this is seen as a new thing. While there are alot of new things in the General, most of them are used frequently regardless of the mode you participate in frequently once licensed. CW is another mode.

 

To go from tech to general means buying the HF rig, powersupply, tuner, antenna, keyer, etc, just to try out CW to see if you like it. This gets to be a condition where a lot of us who don't like CW, or don't have the time to devote to learning it, have to learn it to get licensed, and then spend a bunch of cash just to find out that we don't like it, and will not use it enough to stay competent.

 

By changing the requirement, people will get into HF and hear the CW and note that their ssb phone communications don't get out as far, and get interested in CW, just as our friends in England have.

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<SNIP>

It will be sad to see it go, but at the same time, it is more of an art then a technology anymore.

<SNIP>

CW is not going away--only the testing requirement.

 

It still will have the same advantages/disadvantages, and the proposal doesn't change the subband allocations. In fact, Technician licensees can already use CW on the bands they have priviledges on without taking element 1.

 

I personally would like to see testing for various modes before you are allowed to use them.

 

If you want to use CW--test CW proficiency.

 

If you want to use RTTY (or AMTOR, SSTV, Packet, etc.) then test for that.

 

The written tests already include questions on HF propagation. I would like to see some more aimed at ensuring you understand the bands and how to assemble a station and choose an antenna.

 

Actually make the written tests reflect the change in priviledges the license permits.

 

This NPRM in not a death knell for CW--just a change in licensing requirements that aligns the US with other countries. If you like it, use.

 

Dave_W6DPS

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Many people use CW as an excuse as to why they didn't get their license. When Canada ditched the requirement they created a new basic class of license. This definitely brought the number of new hams up, but I suspect if they'd kept the same theory exam it wouldn't have had much of an effect.

 

I have no real use for CW but I sure as hell didn't complain when I had to learn 10wpm to get on the air. I did however have a complaint about how long it took 'em to send me my exam results - two weeks! :(

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Many people use CW as an excuse as to why they didn't get their license. When Canada ditched the requirement they created a new basic class of license. This definitely brought the number of new hams up, but I suspect if they'd kept the same theory exam it wouldn't have had much of an effect.

 

I have no real use for CW but I sure as hell didn't complain when I had to learn 10wpm to get on the air. I did however have a complaint about how long it took 'em to send me my exam results - two weeks! :rolleyes:

 

2 weeks? my ticket took almost 3 months to come in. now you can have your callsign the day of the exam.

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I got mine in 2 weeks.

 

Anyways, I'm actually kinda happy to see the Morse requirement go, as I've been trying to learn morse for a while now but it never sticks in my head, but I have been wanting my General for a while now. On the other side of the coin, I'm worried that a written test only will allow some more of the riffraff in, and I'll look like I was waiting to pounce on a General license as soon as the code requirement went away if I go for it.

 

Oh well. I hardly use my radio much anymore, probably cause of the lack of a decent antenna mount (8' vertical propped outside my bedroom window, have to run the coax upstairs, open the window, climb onto the roof, hook it up, close the window without crushing the coax. Maybe I'll get it mounted if I can get a HF radio and an antenna for that, which depends on my getting a General license.

 

quote armadillofz1:

 

now you can have your callsign the day of the exam.

 

unquote

 

I got mine a few days afterward, searched my name on QRZ.

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Not unexpected but not unwelcome by some! Nothing against non-CW people. As for me, morse code is fun, challenging and I'll always use it!

QRP operation is mostly done with CW and some rigs, kit form and otherwise, use CW only. I purchased a Steve Weber KD1JV kit (ATSIII) last spring, built it (mostly surface mount parts) and have a blast working stations in CW... BTW it is a DDS kit and the main way to operate the rig is use a paddle or a straight key. it has some manual buttons but you control the rig with morse code! NEAT!

Here is a link.... http://www.qsl.net/kd1jv/

 

I've been HAMMING for about 15 years and needed to learn CW at 13 WPM, it was difficult but I made it! I was studying for my advanced and extra ticket, worked at 20+ WPM.... almost there! then the rug was pulled from under me...

 

CW is an art form and the only digital mode that can be used by the human mind! I also use digital modes and phone.

 

My two cents... Rod KB8DNS poikää es butterfly

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I'm an Extra class ham and also the Juvenile Officer for the Police Dept where I live here in MN.

I am going to try to get a ham shack set up in the middle school this year and try and get kids, especially at risk kids, interested in ham radio. For those of you that have kids or work with kids, you know they want it NOW, whatever the IT is. Even though I love ham radio and think CW has a niche, the future of ham radio is not CW. With chat rooms, text messaging, email, and internet, we have to evolve with the times. The "I had to do it so that means you do too" attitude will slowly squeeze ham radio out of existence.

Just my 2 cents :D

Bob

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-.-. .-- ... ..- -.-. -.- ...

 

<_<

Edited by KF6JAX

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Even though I love ham radio and think CW has a niche, the future of ham radio is not CW. With chat rooms, text messaging, email, and internet, we have to evolve with the times. The "I had to do it so that means you do too" attitude will slowly squeeze ham radio out of existence.

Just my 2 cents <_<

Bob

Lowering our standards has been slowly degrading our society. But that doesn't mean we can't learn new things. But on the other hand, some of my most prized possessions in the ham shack are QSL cards from around the world that I did on CW. I happen to love contesting. I have a friend, some of you know him. His call is AA7YE, and he was a big influence for me to learn high speed CW. Dane consistently runs 70 WPM when we contest together. I'm still struggling to get above 35 WPM, but it's still fun. And it teaches kids to try harder. Not make excuses. I have a grandaughter that hangs out in my ham shack that is four years old. She has learned her alphabet and can do about 7-8 WPM on CW. Boy when she grows up, look out. I'll have to build her a water cooled key, hahahahaha....

 

Best Regards,

Jake N7VIV .- .-.

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Over at QRZ, the debate about CW is raging. Tempers are flaring and insults are flying. I almost hesitate to post on their board.

 

The argument that learning the Morse code form of communication is good because it builds learning skills falls flat on me. Having gone to college and beyond, I was exposed to numerous times when I was required to spend hours studying without real purpose, other than it being practice to improve my studying skills. Learning skills are important but it seems like we get enough opportunities to learn them in high school.

 

A while back an office manager where I work was assigned the duty of training workers on the Windows system so they could process time cards and work orders. She felt threatened because people would be learning something that had previously been only her domain. She insisted that before people could take the class they first had to take a screening exam on MS-DOS commands. It was an ego based proposal that management saw through and they removed her from the project.

 

Maybe they could replace the code test with a study requirement that is more relevant to the way ham radio is evolving. As it is, at 55, I’m one of the younger operators and I don’t know anyone younger than me who has an interest. I have a suspicion the hobby is really fading away.

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Yes i tend to not goto qrz forums too much, to many old men (not OM's) bickering about anything and everything, which is why i believe the hobby is the way it is with mostly older males.

 

I am also one of the younger hams (im 30 which is a young ham!) and i got interested in ham radio when a friend of mine got his license and was showing me his ht and told me how we could communicate across the city witha repeater and such, and the clencher was being able to make phone calls without a cell phone. lol..

 

anyways i was first licensed in 1997, my friend was licensed in 1996 and my friend was totally anti code and never intended to upgrade his license because of it. so just to mess with him a bit i bought code tapes from radio shack to learn the 5wpm cw just so i would upgrade to a tech plus which would be a higher class than him. i did it and of course he had to do it too. haha. so he had to one up me and get his general first, which he did after trying the 13wpm code test like 10 times, i tried also a few times, i just really didnt have the interest to get to 13wpm even though i passed the theory for the general already. so my csce expired after a year. so for a while he had his general and i was a tech plus, after they reduced the code requirement for all classes to 5 wpm i went and took the general theory again and uograded to general as well, but my friend likes to remind me he passed the 13wpm code and i didnt. lol so now what am i doing? im studying for my extra to try and get it first, we shall see. i really have little incentive, i have no HF equipment, but i do like to work HF when i get the chance. ive worked field day a few times and even w1aw/6 at special event station at conventions twice.

 

Chris - KF6JAX

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I would like to see CW stay around. At least a 5wpm requirement for HF. After the No Code Tech was introduced our 2 meter nets (in central Florida) went down hill. All the CBer's that got a tech ticket brought thier habits with them. They didn't want to abide by the gentlemens agreements, language, ect. The reason I got into ham was so I could have a mobile rig and not have my kids (6 & 3 at the time) listening to all the salty language. I haven't been on the air for several years now. And have no desire to upgrade. Right now I have a Tech plus ticket. However I did renew my license when it was due. I am thinking about getting back on the air, and up grading, so I can operate from camp sites with my son's Boy Scout Troop when we go camping and some of the scouts can get the radio merit badge. Just my two cents.

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I realize most of you guys are indepentantly wealthy and can afford five to ten thousand dollars for a first class station, but some of us live on the edge of poverty <g>. For us poor folks QRP CW is the way to go. If you can wield a soldering iron and have a half decent DMM you can get on the air for a hundred dollars or less. One fellow is on record for WAS with a 250mW Tuna Tin 2 rig. Small Wonders Lab sells the "Rockmite" kit for about $35. It is a CW transceiver with built in keyer that can be modified up to about 1W. As for being a "band hog," compare the width of a CW signal with a PSK signal on the waterfall display of any digital software. Neither one compares with a 1 or 1.5 khz MT63 signal or a 2.5 khz SSB signal. I'm not trying to convert anyone here, just stating the facts. I don't think dropping the testing requirement will make any difference in the use of CW on the ham bands. The people who get into home brewing and kit building will always use it for reasons stated in previous posts. There's more of us than you think, just check out the QRP email forums sometime.

 

Bob Baxter AA7EQ

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like you said, the people who like code will still use it, the majority, who dont wont.

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I love CW, it's fascinating. Now of course I still enjoy sitting in the warm shack talking away on HF SSB. But one day I bought and built the Small Wonder SW40 ($50, and an excellent kit), and took it up a hill, strung 20 meters of wire between a couple trees, set up a chair, and made 2 contacts within the first hour (I'm slow at CW), both over 1000 miles, on less than 1.5 watts. Immediately hooked on QRP CW.

 

With a cigarette box sized radio and a spool of wire you can communicate around the world on CW. If you know what you're doing you can communicate with someone in the next state, using a coat hanger and a 9 volt battery.

 

When I'm done with pilot training I'm going to get the Elecraft KX-1 which will be tons of fun to take on hikes and going backpacking.

 

IMO they should keep CW for Extra class, since there is a lot of difficult theory in that exam and you only gain a little bit more on each band (I also think they should not make the Extra question pool public, thus forcing people to actually learn theory instead of memorizing answers). Perhaps it would be ok to drop it for General... like someone said those people who like CW will continue to use it just like people ride horses and sailboats.

 

Someday, CW is going to save a lot of people's butts and they will be very thankful for it.

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Times change, technology changes. Fifty years ago, CW was a valuable tool. Twenty years ago, lots of people could imagine a scenario where CW might still save civilisation. Now, there are only a few who remember the pain and suffering they endured to get their license, and they can't stand the thought of letting anyone into the club without the same rites of initiation.

 

I spent 25 years as an Advanced Class amateur because I saw no payback to getting my Extra; a few KHz of band just wasn't worth the pain and suffering. When they reduced the code requirement, I got my Extra.

 

Now it looks as if they're going to eliminate any requirement for knowledge of an arcane and obsolete mode of communication, opening the hobby to all those who love the technical side of life, while still leaving the CW-only subbands in place for those who enjoy that. It's indeed challenging, interesting and fun to some. But make no mistake: CW operators today are much like Civil War reenactors; they're replaying a bit of history that will never come back. They're welcome to some bandwidth and their belief that CW will be the mode we'll someday fall back on, but the truth is that CW is obsolete: yes, it's a means of communication but why bother?

 

Here's to no code, and welcome to all the newcomers I hope it brings!

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I have never used it and really am not interested in it. I don't mind seeing it go but I think it would look nice as an endorsement on the licence for those who wanted to do it. If it is still required by the time I get back home then I'll just buck-up and learn what I'm required to know to pass.

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First of all, I just need to say that I am almost totally ignorant of ham radio other than listening in on my scanner so my opinion obviously bears little weight. But, it does seem there is an apparent need for operators right now in our current crisis and if dropping the requirement makes for more being available then I say why not? I think an endorsement for Morse Code would be just fine for those who did take the time to master it.

Edited by Bill & Tammy

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According to a news item on QRZ, there has been considerable low-power CW traffic out of the Katrina disaster area, due to the widespread power failures and consequent unavailability of power. I was quite surprised to hear this, but it makes sense seeing that you can recharge a battery using solar power, and then run a couple watts CW from it for quite a while, reaching much farther than you could with equal power on voice comms.

 

The more I think about it, the more I feel that it's really pretty immaterial as to whether the testing requirement is kept or dropped. Some people claim that "we should keep the code test, it's tradition." I think that instead of trying to stick to the "tradition" of the test, we should uphold the tradition of actually _using_ the code, and encouraging hams to try it out and see if they are interested. This way we'll continue to draw in newcomers who may not be interested in code, but will still be able to keep the time-honored art of CW alive among those who are interested in it.

 

People still draw and paint, or take black/white photos even though color film is available; heck, people still use film when digital cameras are available. Pilots use rotary slide rules ("whiz-wheels") to do flight planning, if they don't have an electronic flight computer available or if its battery dies. It's still critically important to know how to navigate with map and compass, even though GPS is available. Likewise, I don't think that usage of CW on the airwaves will diminish simply because we have cheap and easy to use FM/ssb/packet/other comms.

 

Here's to any and all newcomers to ham radio, both those interested in code and those who aren't. I'd encourage everyone to at least give it a try and see if they like it. Without more people coming into the hobby, I fear ham radio will disappear within a couple generations and the bands will be sold to the highest bidders.

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CW is a great mode. SSB is a great mode. Neither should be a requirement for licensing. I look forward to no code requirements and think our ranks will grow as a result. And as our ranks grow, hopefully the danger of losing our bands will grow inversely proportional to the number of hams who are licensed and active. -Ken

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So...

 

Without venturing into the turmoil at QRZ-

 

Where is this idea standing? Has the FCC done anything yet?

 

Thanks,

 

Blue

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Without venturing into the turmoil at QRZ-

Exactly!

 

I have not heard any more official word on the subject. Though I'm not particularly fond of the group, the ARRL still only has this posted on their site. http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2005/07/20/100/

 

I no longer support the ARRL (was a member for many years) because they no longer represent me, or even return one email regarding a local problem we were having with a "Special Service Club", the Section Manager and his ilk. The only offer I got was for a phone call with (the now SK) Division Director who agreed with me there was a significant problem but didn't wish to exchange email on the subject because he didn't want to go down "on record". Oh please! If you don't have enough of a "set" to take the stand, don't waste my time trying to pacify me with an "off the record" phone call!

 

But I digress... I haven't heard anything more on the code requirement issue. -Ken

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When I first went in to test for my license more than ten years ago, I decided to see how far I could go on the first day. I had studied through the no longer existing Advanced class and found I was able to past it without any problem. I also tried the Extra exam but I had not bothered to study it since I felt 20WPM was out of the question for me. Even 13WPM seemed a bit far off. Yes, I failed but only by four questions.

 

I have dyslexia and was told I could get an exception to the code requirement. I elected not to do this and jumped into code full force. Well, I got up to about 7-8WPM on the alpha characters but was never able to get anywhere with the numbers. They just drove me crazy. Needless to say, I'm still what was referred to as a 'no code tech' and my test results for Novice, General, and Advanced classes expired the next year.

 

I have to be honest. I see no real need for code anymore, but I wouldn't mind seeing it retained to some degree for Extra class licenses. Since Advanced is gone now, perhaps there could be an Extra class and a no-code Extra class, or Extra+ with code. Same written test but no code test. It would be a status thing more than anything else but should also include a bit more electronic theory IMO.

 

How many ships, aircraft, etc. have CW rigs on board but have no voice or digital communication facilities? That's what I thought. If you're going to require/learn code, then why not require enough basic electronic theory to allow the license holder to design and build a basic CW transmitter. I'm not talking about pre-canned test questions. If you can build a transmitter out of a rock, spit, and an old shoe, then I'm impressed. Isn't this what the hobby was originally about? Does anybody remember when 'hacker' was a badge of honor and was not tied to computer or criminal activities?

 

Anyway, just a few thoughts...

 

John - KD6JDG

Edited by ardfarkle

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After studying and passing the code test, I do feel that doing so has made me a better operator. Learning the code teaches you to stay focused on the task at hand. I would rather keep it for the higher classes of license.

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After reading a couple issues of QST today in biology, learning CW seems a bit easier for some reason.... I think it would be worth learning just for DX. Oh well, I won't complain when/if the requirement is dropped.

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I think 5 words a minute keeps the CBer types out, and the ones that are serious in.

This is not true, there was a time when CW was required for two meters, when that requirement went away people were saying it would turn two meters in a CB type of jungle, it di not happen. I have plenty of Lids and jerks on 40 meters that had to pass the CW element, it did not keep those jerks off the bands.

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If you can build a transmitter out of a rock, spit, and an old shoe, then I'm impressed.

You must be awfully impressed with The Professor on some of those old Gilligan's Island reruns where he would build batteries and receivers with coconuts and other odds and ends. :cry:

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I think 5 words a minute keeps the CBer types out, and the ones that are serious in.

 

This is not true, there was a time when CW was required for two meters, when that requirement went away people were saying it would turn two meters in a CB type of jungle, it di not happen. I have plenty of Lids and jerks on 40 meters that had to pass the CW element, it did not keep those jerks off the bands.

I have to agree with Johnny on this one. Of the operations on bands that are available to the different license classes, the ones that embarrass me the most are the operatoins on HF bands in the segments that require General or above. This means that those operators have passed their Morse Code test.

 

I won't go so far as to say that "5 words a minute CREATES CBer types", but I'm not sure what else to conclude after listening to some of the garbage on the bands where operation would require passing of a Morse Code test. Thankfully, not all ops on the HF bands are jerks. I think it is more along the lines of the simple fact that there will be jerks in all walks of life. It would be nice if passing a Morse Code test would act as a filter to keep the riffraff out, but that simply is not the case. As such, claims to it doing so are false and can not be used as an excuse for keeping the test. -Ken

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Just curious. Anyone heard any more about this? Other than the usual code/no-code fights on most of the Ham sites, I haven't been able to find out anything new.

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Just curious. Anyone heard any more about this? Other than the usual code/no-code fights on most of the Ham sites, I haven't been able to find out anything new.

Code is definitely on the way out, but it is hard to pin down a timeframe when the government is involved. All of the estimates I've heard were "some time after the end of 2005". I've already passed my Element 3, so if they remove the Element 1 requirement, I can just apply for my General class. :rolleyes:

 

That said, I'm having fun studying CW and plan on passing the Element 1 test before it goes away. The current CW requirement is easy in comparison to what used to be required.

 

--Marky

Edited by Marky

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Just curious. Anyone heard any more about this? Other than the usual code/no-code fights on most of the Ham sites, I haven't been able to find out anything new.

Code is definitely on the way out, but it is hard to pin down a timeframe when the government is involved. All of the estimates I've heard were "some time after the end of 2005". I've already passed my Element 3, so if they remove the Element 1 requirement, I can just apply for my General class. :rolleyes:

 

That said, I'm having fun studying CW and plan on passing the Element 1 test before it goes away. The current CW requirement is easy in comparison to what used to be required.

 

--Marky

I thought about upgrading to General (I just got my Tech last June) but I never really got into it the way I thought I would. Then I went and spent all the money I had saved for that nice HF rig on another car to restore. (Yeah, my wife was "thrilled"! :ph34r: ) I don't know. I might still upgrade eventually. I just seem to have way too many other things going. Too many hobbies and not enough time!

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Times change, technology changes. Fifty years ago, CW was a valuable tool. Twenty years ago, lots of people could imagine a scenario where CW might still save civilisation. Now, there are only a few who remember the pain and suffering they endured to get their license, and they can't stand the thought of letting anyone into the club without the same rites of initiation.

 

I spent 25 years as an Advanced Class amateur because I saw no payback to getting my Extra; a few KHz of band just wasn't worth the pain and suffering. When they reduced the code requirement, I got my Extra.

 

Now it looks as if they're going to eliminate any requirement for knowledge of an arcane and obsolete mode of communication, opening the hobby to all those who love the technical side of life, while still leaving the CW-only subbands in place for those who enjoy that. It's indeed challenging, interesting and fun to some. But make no mistake: CW operators today are much like Civil War reenactors; they're replaying a bit of history that will never come back. They're welcome to some bandwidth and their belief that CW will be the mode we'll someday fall back on, but the truth is that CW is obsolete: yes, it's a means of communication but why bother?

 

Here's to no code, and welcome to all the newcomers I hope it brings!

Now it looks as if they're going to eliminate any requirement for knowledge of an arcane and obsolete mode of communication, opening the hobby to all those who love the technical side of life, while still leaving the CW-only subbands in place for those who enjoy that.  It's indeed challenging, interesting and fun to some.  But make no mistake:  CW operators today are much like Civil War reenactors; they're replaying a bit of history that will never come back.  They're welcome to some bandwidth and their belief that CW will be the mode we'll someday fall back on, but the truth is that CW is obsolete:  yes, it's a means of communication but why bother?

 

This poster must not work any DX. CW is the best and most efficient mode for DXpeditions. It is clearer and more precise than SSB and quicker than digital modes. For those of us with 100 watts and a one element antenna, it is the only way we can work stations around the world regularly. Have you ever tried to contact a DX station on SSB with hundreds of people screaming at once? I know people who have been discouraged because they could never contact any DX on SSB. If you want to work DX and non-english speaking operators, it is the best mode. To me working DX is some of the most fun of the hobby, and CW is the best mode to have the most fun. The alternative is a big tower, big antenna and big amplifier.

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To me working DX is some of the most fun of the hobby, and CW is the best mode to have the most fun. The alternative is a big tower, big antenna and big amplifier.

You may have hit it on the head here. There is not an FCC proposal preventing you or others who enjoy CW from continuing to dot and dash. To me it would strengthen our hobby with new blood in a time when cell phones and VoIP is exploding across the globe. Its is similar to hunting for parking lot micros. Those are great fun for some, as for me I choose to enjoy the hobby differently. I wouldn't want to deny those folks who enjoy asphalt and bison tubes they just enjoyment.

 

I can't tell you how many hours I spent struggling with morse code as my grandfather tried as best he could to drill it in my very thick skull. He never suceeded, to my frustration, not his. Its why when he passed away I adopted his call. I think there is enough room for more folks in the higher bands who. like me find the code test (6 tries and counting) too large a barrier to a hobby that has been handed down and entrusted to us to continue.

 

73

W4LHQ

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Without venturing into the turmoil at QRZ-

Exactly!

 

I have not heard any more official word on the subject. Though I'm not particularly fond of the group, the ARRL still only has this posted on their site. http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2005/07/20/100/

 

I no longer support the ARRL (was a member for many years) because they no longer represent me, or even return one email regarding a local problem we were having with a "Special Service Club", the Section Manager and his ilk. The only offer I got was for a phone call with (the now SK) Division Director who agreed with me there was a significant problem but didn't wish to exchange email on the subject because he didn't want to go down "on record". Oh please! If you don't have enough of a "set" to take the stand, don't waste my time trying to pacify me with an "off the record" phone call!

 

But I digress... I haven't heard anything more on the code requirement issue. -Ken

 

well the last line of that arrl report pretty much says it all..

 

>The FCC is not expected to release a Report and Order in WT Docket 05-235 until late this year at the earliest.

 

dont expect any words untill probably January.

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I love the "No one uses it" or "no one is preventing you from using it" arguments. These discussions as a whole are amusing as well.

 

The same argument applies for learning propagation, band width and, for that matter, something as simple as band allotments. An argument can also be made for why test at all?

 

CW does not require any different intelligence than learning your favorite song on the radio. It is simple repetition that teaches it, nothing more. Face it, if you didn't learn it, it was a commitment issue, nothing more. Your desire was not there.

 

Having said all this, the only affect of dropping CW is that CW will begin to die out in the states. Our numbers won't increase. We won't attract more innovation. We won't turn into CB or FRS. We will simply stagnate as we have for the past decade or so and, since there will be no pride in earning your ticket, sooner or later numbers will drop and we will eventually lose spectrum to commercial interests.

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Having said all this, the only affect of dropping CW is that CW will begin to die out in the states. Our numbers won't increase. We won't attract more innovation. We won't turn into CB or FRS. We will simply stagnate as we have for the past decade or so and, since there will be no pride in earning your ticket, sooner or later numbers will drop and we will eventually lose spectrum to commercial interests.

Wow, I can't say that is the same crystal ball I have been looking in. I believe, and it is only my opinion, that dropping CW is not the death nail in our hobby. The death nail might just be apathy, or competing technologies, or lack of encouragement from existing practitioners. Most Elmers I have had the pleasure of meeting are very protective and respectful of the license granted them to operate their stations. They are also very encouraging to newer Hams. Both my Grandfather and Great Uncle were my introduction into radio communications, they both were vets and were excellent at code Tx/Rx. But there were also embracing of advancing technology, progress some would call it. If the FCC drops code requirements it is my hope that more Hams will start venturing into the bands previously out of their reach. That group would include me.

 

73

W4LHQ

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I hope CW stays around for a long time (i.e., forever) for those of us who enjoy it. Having worked hard to get the 20 WPM CW test behind me many years ago, I managed to use CW on the air occasionally. Now that the CW bug has again bitten me, I have been having a blast running five watts from a Yaesu FT-817ND. The bad news is that my dipole came down in a windstorm and will not go up again until we are at the new house in December. Who knows, I may have to set up the Super MP-1 in the driveway and run some coax out beneath the overhead door just to get my CW "fix" until I can get a more permanent antenna up at the new place.

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Code or no code makes no difference to me. What I would like to see is more emphasis in the tests on things such as: operating procedures, FCC rules, RF safety and proper equipment operation in the tech license, then increase the level of difficulty in these question areas for the General and Extra class tests. I think that will do more to increase the number of good operators we have than anything else.

BTW.. I operate CW at times, and SSB too, but lately have been using PSK31 mostly. All depends what kind of mood I am in, and what the band conditions are. I like to have a variety of "tools" to choose from to match the operating situation I might find myself in at any given time.

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Learning the code was tough for me, but I made it to Extra. I got away from amateur radio, but then I watched what happened when the hurricanes rolled in - phone lines down, cell phones down (heck, I had trouble calling Houston) I saw hams go into action -- even FEMA used amateur operators. Even the police had communications failure. Check out www.arrl.org for stories of hams volunteering for stints over a week - many served for several weeks, sleeping in tents, etc.

 

Simple forms of transmission especially CW as they are the most accessible and reliable. If the mic breaks, get out a key or make one. Personally, Im glad that I learned the code. Im active again thanks to the ARRL VEC who helped me renew my ticket. I did use my code and enjoyed making contacts. It/s another space, hard to explain to someone who hasnt experienced it.

 

In disasters, KISS still applies ;-) CW is simple and efficient.

 

Paul KK5EF

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RE: [i still need to learn morse.. keep putting it off though, so many other projects going on.

 

I doubt it'll change ham radio much though, there is still a test to have to pass, even if someone is lazy and tries to get by they've still had to do something, which is much more than going out and buying a cb or frs and just yacking away.

 

Perhaps I ought to teach myself morse code to make a puzzle cache out of it (not the text ...---... stuff but an audio file instead) if anything it'll force the cachers to learn it too.]

 

Its fairly easy to learn Morse by learning more (let's call it "Flydad Visual"). I learned Morse in about 20 minutes and could take it at nearly 5 wpm. The secret is to make a visual; i.e.,

 

"A" ._ is pictured as a dot with a roof over it; looking like an "A."

 

"B" _... is pictured as a vertical line with 3 dots vertical to the right, indicating

where the curved lines intersect the backbone.

 

"D" _.. is pictured similar to "B."

 

etc.

 

I used this about 1955, have not been an active ham since about 1962, and still feel CW is valuable in emergencies. Many people who know no other Morse still recognize the emergency contained in ... --- ...

 

BTW, if anyone wants me to work up a sheet for the full alphabet, can do that. (Email me.) If there's enough interest, can build it up. It would include the "patter" to use when teaching a novice; who should be writing his own sheet in his own hand as you go over the letters one by one, providing the aural "di-dah," and having the novice "di-dah" in response. After the alphabet start short words, allowing reference to the visual; shortly it's found that referring to the visual is slow and is not needed, as the novice has made the transition to the aural. As in all teaching, one-on-one is best, but small classes can use the same procedure.

 

Cheers --

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Well I don't think that cw is dying or on it's way out by any means. CW is not and I say again not my prefered mode, but I have used it many times trying to QSO with a ham buddy that was RVing acrossed country. CW works and many hams out there still use it. If you do not believe me then tune down to the cw segments and listen. And by the way, last New Years I dusted off my old straight key and took part in SKN for the first time in my life and had a ball!

 

73's.....Ken

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I hate to see the morse code requirement droped. I think it is a refining process and if some people are not going to get into the hobby because of it they'll just find a new excuse now. The cream rises to the top.

I learned Morse Code while working 80 hours a week driving a truck w/o tapes, just a cheat sheet and my pucker. (I whistled it). If I can do that, anyone can learn it.

After I passed the 20 wpm exam I had Quite the glow of pride for my accomplishment. That is what the 20 wpm exam is to me.

 

tnx es 73 to all de ww8z

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CW has been great for me over the years. I hope it stays there available to all who want to enjoy it. Its just another way to talk. I personally don't care for the dummy down theroy going on in the entire country. IF they can't do it, make it easier to me dosn't seem the way to go. I prefer to think is someone else can so it so can I.

 

CW is not a band hog thats for sure and it will get thru when nothing else will.

 

Bottom line, its all fun for someone. The world would be a dull place if we were all the same.

 

WA1NLA

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I have just today received my call sign after passing Technician and code tests. I only had to do 5 WPM but do look forward to practicing to get "up to speed" so I can use it more effectively. I made a point to get my code before they possibly eliminate it. I think it is a very worthy tool to have use of.

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