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Morse Code Required?

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I love operating CW, but I'm a contester and it's tough to be a contester without it. Interestingly enough I passed my 20 wpm CW test when I took my technician exam. I had never made a voice contact except 2m FM at that point.


So while I love CW myself, I don't see why we should require someone demonstrate they can operate CW as opposed to knowing how to use packet radio, ARPS, satellite, or whatever. It seems a little random to me.


When I taught Novice class over the years I knew of a lot of people who were intimidated by CW. I'm sure there were those who never got involved because of it. Then I look at the people who got their license. A minority of them ever used CW again. So I don't see a correlation between learning CW and participating in the hobby.


Besides, the CW bands are stuffed for field day and the big QSO parties. I don't want any more competition for my frequency. Might make it harder to win!

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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.

I'm a younger ham as well, currently 36, and I love CW. When I started in amateur radio back in 1994, that's pretty much what I got into it for. All of my first contacts were CW on the 15m band, which I also still love. I'm far more proud of my CW contacts and QSL cards than I am for any FM or SSB operation.


I personally don't want to see the morse code requirement disappear, but at this point I fear it is inevitable. With other countries already having dropped it, that's the way things seem to be going. However, if it does happen, I certainly hope they replace it with a more thorough theory requirement or another license class which does not give non-coders access to choice frequencies, modes and power output.


It probably goes without saying, but for me there will be bitter disappointment if the amateur radio hobby I love evolves into another example of CB deregulation.


Russ, K5TUX

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