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darwinmay

Morse no longer a requirement

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Well, apparently morse is now removed as a requirement. All the NCGs (No Code Generals) are gonna be "inferior"...

 

There's still some time to learn it if you want it on your license, about 60 days.

 

http://www.qrz.com/ib-bin/ikonboard.cgi?ac...=3&t=140583

 

Check that out. Make sure you've got popcorn.

 

You beat me to it. B)

 

End of an Era: FCC to Drop Morse Testing for All Amateur License Classes

 

NEWINGTON, CT, Dec 15, 2006 -- In an historic move, the FCC has acted to drop the Morse code requirement for all Amateur Radio license classes. The Commission today adopted, but hasn't yet released, the long-awaited Report and Order (R&O) in WT Docket 05-235, the "Morse code" proceeding. Also today, the FCC adopted an Order on Reconsideration in WT Docket 04-140 -- the "omnibus" proceeding -- modifying the Amateur Radio rules in response to an ARRL request to accommodate automatically controlled narrowband digital stations on 80 meters in the wake of rule changes that became effective today at 12:01 AM Eastern Time. The Commission said it will designate the 3585 to 3600 kHz frequency segment for such operations, although the segment will remain available for CW, RTTY and data as it has been. In a break from what's been the usual practice in Amateur Radio proceedings, the FCC only issued a public notice at or about the close of business today and not the actual Report & Order, so some details -- including the effective dates of the two orders -- remain uncertain. Currently, Amateur Radio applicants for General and higher class licenses have to pass a 5 WPM Morse code test to operate on HF. Today's R&O will eliminate that requirement all around.

 

"This change eliminates an unnecessary regulatory burden that may discourage current Amateur Radio operators from advancing their skills and participating more fully in the benefits of Amateur Radio," the FCC said. The ARRL had asked the FCC to retain the 5 WPM for Amateur Extra class applicants only. The FCC proposed earlier to drop the requirement across the board, however, and it held to that decision in today's R&O.

 

Perhaps more important, the FCC's action in WT Docket 05-235 appears to put all Technician licensees on an equal footing: Once the R&O goes into effect, holders of Technician class licenses will have equivalent HF privileges, whether or not they've passed the 5 WPM Element 1 Morse examination. The FCC said the R&O in the Morse code docket would eliminate a disparity in the operating privileges for the Technician and Technician Plus class licensees -- something the ARRL also has asked the Commission to correct following the release of its July 2005 Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in WT Docket 05-235.

 

"With today's elimination of the Morse code exam requirements, the FCC concluded that the disparity between the operating privileges of Technician class licensees and Technician Plus class licensees should not be retained," the FCC said in its public notice. "Therefore, the FCC, in today's action, afforded Technician and Technician Plus licensees identical operating privileges."

 

Technician licensees without Element 1 credit (ie, Tech Plus licensees) currently have operating privileges on all amateur frequencies above 30 MHz. Tech Pluses or Technicians with Element 1 credit have limited HF privileges on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters. Under the Part 97 rules the Commission proposed last year in its NPRM in WT Docket 05-235, current Technicians lacking Morse credit after the new rules went into effect would have had to upgrade to General to earn any HF privileges.

 

The wholesale elimination of a Morse code requirement for all license classes ends a longstanding national and international regulatory tradition in the requirements to gain access to Amateur Radio frequencies below 30 MHz. The first no-code license in the US was the Technician ticket, instituted in 1991. The question of whether or not to drop the Morse requirement altogether has been the subject of often-heated debate over the past several years, but the handwriting has been on the wall -- especially since the FCC instituted an across-the-board 5 WPM Morse requirement effective April 15, 2000, in the most-recent major Amateur Radio licensing restructuring (WT Docket 98-143).

 

The FCC said today's R&O in WT Docket 05-235 comports with revisions to the international Radio Regulations resulting from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03). At that gathering, delegates agreed to authorize each country to determine whether or not to require that applicants demonstrate Morse code proficiency in order to qualify for an Amateur Radio license with privileges on frequencies below 30 MHz.

 

The list of countries dropping the Morse requirement has been growing steadily since WRC-03. A number of countries, including Canada, the UK and several European nations, now no longer require applicants for an Amateur Radio license to pass a Morse code test to gain HF operating privileges. Following WRC-03, the FCC received several petitions for rule making asking it to eliminate the Morse requirement in the US.

 

Typically, the effective date of an FCC Order is 30 days after it appears in the Federal Register. If that's the case, the Morse requirement and the revised 80-meter segment for automatically controlled digital stations would likely not go into effect until late January or early February 2007. That's not clear from the public notice, however. The FCC can order its decision effective upon release.

 

The ARRL will provide any additional information on these important Part 97 rule revisions as it becomes available.

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Well, apparently morse is now removed as a requirement.

 

All I can say is...

 

Welcome to the 20th century!

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I think it is a shame because now people will not learn it. I have made many contacts with people around the world who do not speak the same language as me. This is possible with Morse.

 

Also, DX contacts (DXpeditions) are a big and fun part of the hobby. Morse is considered by many or most DXers to be the best and most efficient mode. The exchanges are quicker than digital modes, and the signal gets through better than phone/SSB. You do not have to deal with language differences, heavy accents or non-standard phonetics. With 100 watts and a one-element antenna (which most Hams have) you will make 10 times the DX contacts with CW/Morse than yelling at your mic.

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I have been a ham 13 years. I started to learn code, but really lost intrest in it. I learned other modes RTTY, PACTOR, APRS, and the like. I really had no desire to learn CW. I have not been active that much in the hobby, because I got tired of people ALWAYS fussing about the CW requirement. I was glad to see the licensing test become more difficult, I think it needs a more technical aspect. I for one will be happy to dust off the old HF rig I bought ten yers ago and have had on the air. It might spark a new intrest for me. Of course it will take twenty years for anyone to talk to me on the air because I will be an "inferior" operator.

 

KE4HTS

KB0VFX

The Caching Crew

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I think it is a shame because now people will not learn it. I have made many contacts with people around the world who do not speak the same language as me. This is possible with Morse.

Not entirely so. We dropped that requirement back in 2003. Practically nothing has changed. If one wishes to have a DX QSO, the choice of (digital) modulation is still most likely A1A. And yes, you can do it with a help from a computer should it otherwise be too hard.

 

And how else would you really want to have QSOs during the aurora or meteor scatter than CW?

 

What comes to the language barrier, you could either always start learning a new language (I speak finnish, swedish, german, english and some estonian) or start experimenting with the other digital modes along with CW as well. MFSK, RTTY, THROB, PSK31, MT63 and Hellschreiber modulations are there too, and you really can use all the same abbreviations as used to with the CW.

 

I'd recommend trying gMFSK for Linux, MultiMode for Mac OS X or MultiPSK for Windows.

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Morse code is an anachronism. Sure, for historical reasons, and maybe as a nod to the origins of ham radio, hams should make an effort to learn a bit of morse code. Nothing wrong with that at all.

 

But making it obligatory is silly. We don't make people demonstrate teamster proficiency to drive a car or truck. We don't make people demonstrate advanced archery proficiency to get a hunting licence or buy a gun - hell, we don't even make people demonstrate FIREARMS proficiency to buy a gun. We don't teach our soldiers how to operate the trebuchet and don plate armour. Despite not requiring those things, there are still people who do learn it and keep it alive. So it will be with Morse code.

 

Pretty much anything you can do with Morse code you can also do with PSK31. The only real difference is that the bulk of the uber-proficient code operators are too either too old, or at least to set in their ways, to be bothered learning how to operate a computer. That fact, however, should not cause the hobby to be held up, nor should it be incumbent on new people entering the hobby to be forced to accomodate them.

 

However, if low bandwidth comms, such as those afforded by Morse code, are deemed to be that important a skill for ham radio operators, then why not make it mandatory to show proficiency (both technical and operating) with PSK, MFSK, and Helleschreiber? If you can't operate digital modes, then maybe you shouldn't have access to HF?

 

Strangely enough, there are a good many rock-pounders who think that would be grossly unfair, because, after all, they are long time hams and shouldn't be required to upgrade their skills or keep current as long as they can bang rocks to communicate. Make no mistake... this is really what it's about. Like my grandfather who had to walk 90 miles through blizzards, barefoot, to get to school, so too do a fairly vocal cadre of ham radio operators believe that because they did it 40 years ago, so should everyone else have to do it now. It was this very attitude that got me out of ham radio for 10 years... yes, I actually left the hobby in hopes that with the passage of time, some of that attitude would, shall we say, pass on. And, I might add, it did. Now you might think I don't have my code qualification, if you've read this far, but I do and I got it a couple years before taking my decade long hiatus.

 

The hobby is evolving, and for the better. The elimination of obligatory Morse code is just another step in that right direction.

Edited by geoSquid

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One only needs to understand simple human behavior to realize why the ‘pro-code’ hams are wringing their hands over this. You see, if you put any group of people together, be they hams or coin collectors or whatever, everyone in the group will look around at the others and begin to rank and stack them. They will try to determine their own place within the ranking, and will adjust the ‘value’ of others so that they themselves are at or near the top. Look at the geocachers who fudge their numbers by claiming ‘Found It’ even though the cache in question is and has been lost/stolen/gone. If the Extra Class could only be obtained by having $10,000 in an escrow account and the FCC proposed dropping the requirement, the resultant hand wringing would be the same, only from a different group of people.

 

The knowledge of Morse code does not make a person a better amateur radio operator; it merely creates exclusivity, which is seen as a measurement of the person’s status. “I’m better than you because I hold a license that is more difficult to obtain.” Everybody needs something that makes them feel special, the code requirement gives them that.

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My input on the issue:

For a while I've been contemplating getting a license, however the requirement to memorize Morse Code kinda turned me off.

 

It's not that I don't like morse code. I actually quite thoroughly tried learning it many years back. I just wasn't able to memorize it all. Most likely if I put a lot more time back into it, I could memorize it... but never really had the urge to try again, and getting a Ham Radio license just wasn't enough of a reason to get me to look into it again.

 

Now that the requirement is gone, I may look more thoroughly at said license. Will I be looked down upon by other operators? Most likely. Will I care? Not really... I can always just turn everything off if someone starts to insult me. No skin off my back.

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...I have made many contacts with people around the world who do not speak the same language as me. This is possible with Morse....

 

Because they code the same language as you? English? Or are there special ham radio morse code shortcuts that mean the same thing worldwide?

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Y'know, I was thinking the exact same thing, but didn't really want to say anything. I kinda thought you still needed to know what language they're speaking... seeing as they're sending letters of the alphabet to you. You still need to be able to read them.

 

How does it work with non-english alphabet characters?

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I think it is a shame because now people will not learn it. I have made many contacts with people around the world who do not speak the same language as me. This is possible with Morse.

 

I reduced the pool of people around the world who do not speak the same language as me by learning other languages... that way it doesn't matter if I'm banging out CW or comfortably typing away in a PSK session. Actually, PSK is easier :)

 

Someone above me asked about foreign language morse. There are codes for some accented characters, but you don't hear them often:

 

(from http://homepages.tesco.net/~a.wadsworth/MBcode.htm)

 

LETTERS USED IN THE RUSSIAN ALPHABET (CYRILLIC)

 

А didah .- Р didahdit .-.

Б dahdididit -... С dididit ...

В didahdah .-- Т dah -

Г dahdahdit --. У dididah ..-

Д dahdidit -.. Ф dididahdit ..-.

Е dit . Х didididit ....

Ё dit . Ц dahdidahdit -.-.

Ж didididah ...- Ч dahdahdahdit ---.

З dahdahdidit --.. Ш dahdahdahdah ----

И didit .. Щ dahdahdidah --.-

Й ditdahdahdah .--- Ъ dahdididah -..-

К dahdidah -.- Ы dahdidahdah -.--

Л didahdidit .-.. Ь dahdididah -..-

М dahdah -- Э dididahdidit ..-..

Н dahdit -. Ю dididahdah ..--

О dahdahdah --- Я didahdidah .-.-

П didahdahdit .--.

 

ACCENTED LETTERS USED IN EUROPEAN LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH AND RUSSIAN

 

Ä, Ą didahdidah .-.- Ö, Ó dahdahdahdit ---.

Â, À, Á, Å didahdahdidah .--.- Ñ dadahdidahdah --.--

Ç, Ć dahdidahdidit -.-.. Ü dididahdah ..--

É, Ę dididahdidit ..-.. Ż dahdahdidit --..

È didahdididah .-..- Ź dahdahdididah --..-

Ê dahdididahdit -..-. CH, Ş dahdahdahdah ----

 

ACCENTED LETTERS USED IN ESPERANTO

 

Ĉ dahdidahdidit -.-.. Ĵ didahdahdahdit .---.

Ĝ dahdahdidahdit --.-. Ŝ didididahdit ...-.

Ĥ dahdidahdahdit -.--. Ŭ dididahdah ..--

Edited by geoSquid

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I think it is a shame because now people will not learn it. I have made many contacts with people around the world who do not speak the same language as me. This is possible with Morse.

 

I've got to disagree. People who were formerly required to learn it had nothing stopping them from learning, taking the test, and never using it again (or just plain forgetting it).

 

I've been trying to learn the code for the last couple months, listening to the CDs every day (or nearly every day) and not getting far. I don't think people who don't want to learn code will come flooding in. I'm sure a lot of NCTs who won't learn code just can't, for whatever reason. Who knows, it might put a lot more spark into the hobby.

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...I have made many contacts with people around the world who do not speak the same language as me. This is possible with Morse....

 

Because they code the same language as you? English? Or are there special ham radio morse code shortcuts that mean the same thing worldwide?

Morse code is done in English, and there are also abreviations and shortcuts like Q signals that are universally known.

 

The other point I made about DX has not been commented on. There is more to ham radio than DX, but it is a fun part that most will want to try at some time. This means that some group of people raised a hundred thousand dollars to go to the most remote island they could find, and set up a temporary station for 2 weeks. The sport is trying to contact them and getting their QSL card. Its much easier to contact them with morse code because the contacts go quickly, your 100 watts from a wire antenna reaches them better, and there is less competition.

 

Regarding Criminal's comments, the ham radio world has some status conscience people, probably more in regard to dollars spent on equipment, years as as ham, antennas, and DX numbers, than code or no code. I would say the geocaching world has just as much "status ranking" in regard to numbers found. I have always found that amusing, since the numbers in geocaching are unchecked, and can be done in groups, unlike in the ham radio world, where the QSOs for QSLs are in your own call sign only.

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I have had a ham license since 1947. The code has been my friend. I enlisted in Naval Aviation Cadet program in March of 1943. The Navy put me in the V12 program until I could get into the flight program. While there at Indiana State I took a course in radio code and got my speed up to about 10 WPM. When I went to Flight Prep at DePauw University I contacted scarlet fever and was put back a battilion. Most cadets who miss a month of code were washing out because they couldn't pick up the code where they left off and became Seaman second class. After the war I returned to Eastern Illinois University and got my ham license and was a physics major. Because I had a ham license and a good knowledge of radio I was able to get a job at Freeport Senior High School in Illinois. My theory was if I can get them a ham license, they will teach theirself more than I can teach them. I have taught electronics all of my teaching life and it all started with knowing the code and teaching my self electronics. I am not a good CW operator but managed to work DXCC on 30 meters and as mentioned above. It is a lot easier to work DX on CW. Until last year I only needed Yemen to work them all. Since then two more new countries have come on, so I now I need three. I will probably not work them all in the few years I have left. Geocaching has cut into my ham activities but I will return to it when I can no longer cache. I think CW will be around for years for those that enjoy it. Sorry I got carried away. Dick, W7WT

Edited by W7WT

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Just another comment from a 25yr ham.

Yes, CW is archaic. Yes, it's obsolete for everyday comms. No argument there. I never use it, either.

 

Still, you have to remember a MAJOR reason hams have been allowed to even exist is because of our ability to communicate during all types of emergencies. The bandwidth we generally use for chit-chat has become very valuable commercially. Our proven track-record of providing emergency comms is the only real justification for allowing ham radio as we know it to exist.

CW still has the ability to get thru when every other mode can't, and with less power and equipment then other modes. Sure, right now you can sit at home and fire up your computer and use it to send and receive CW, but what about after an earthquake or other disaster? What if your mic doesn't work? You could send CW by jumping the contacts in the connector if you didn't have a working mic.

I'm not saying a no-code General is a bad thing. It's not. I'm glad they made the General no-code. It will hopefully bring new blood into a dying hobby.

 

However, I think they should have at least kept a 5wpm requirement for Extra. The tiny slivers of bandwidth that an extra gets over a general is not that much, but the added status of it would still encourage a lot of people to learn the code just to obtain the extra. Just like the efforts cachers go through to add a smiley to their find count. The no-code general would still bring you all the new blood and allow all modes and bands of operation, and a coded extra would have then encouraged many of those new generals to at least learn the code and guarantee that at least a percentage of hams will always have that useful skill.

Edited by Mopar

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I've been a ham for 18 years and am almost exclusively, about 95%, a CW opeartor. I use CW for one reason only, because I enjoy it very much. That being said, I have no problem at all with dropping the code requirement if it will help bring more people into the hobby. I truly hope all the new hams that might take advantage of the elimination of the code end up actually on the air enjoying ham radio. And I hope all the old farts who have opposed this will welcome all the newcomers.

 

My only real gripe with many of the comments I have read on this and some of the other ham radio discussion boards (eHam in particular) is the way CW is being portrayed as too archaic to be useful, an anachronism, no longer necessary, worthless, ect. The fact is code is still VERY popular on the ham bands, period. There are many thousands of hams worldwide that are using CW, and that is not going to change anytime soon.

 

The CW requirement for getting a US ham licence is being eliminated. That's all. Code, however, IS NOT going away. Code will be around and will continue to be used as long as ham radio is around.

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My only real gripe with many of the comments I have read on this and some of the other ham radio discussion boards (eHam in particular) is the way CW is being portrayed as too archaic to be useful, an anachronism, no longer necessary, worthless, ect. The fact is code is still VERY popular on the ham bands, period. There are many thousands of hams worldwide that are using CW, and that is not going to change anytime soon.

 

Code is portrayed as archaic and an anachronism because it IS archaic and an anachronism, just like the buggy whip, the corrugated wash board and the wooden galleon. Yes, all of those things can still be put to use. Yes, all of those things can be fun to experiment with (well, the wash board not so much). That doesn't change the fact that they have been rendered obsolete by advances over time.

 

The popularity of CW should not make it a requirement for licencing, and the rest of the world seems to believe that. In fact, by maintaining the code requirement, US hams were getting the short end of the stick.

 

If people want to spend their energy fighting about licence issues, they should spend it fighting to have tougher standards put on commercial radio - narrower band widths, cleaner transmitters, more efficient power usage... things that will cause commercial radio to put less pressure on the tiny slivers of spectrum that amateurs have.

 

A note about the utility of CW... It's not all it's cracked up to be. Everyone likes to blow sunshine up the rear end of CW, but it's just another mode. PSK has more efficient use of power, and more importantly, you can do PSK if you don't have the best hearing (like me).

 

We all talk about carrying critical messages by CW, but when was the last time a life or death message was transmitted in CW in any situation, but by hams in particular? Not in my memory. Even during the Katrina, hams provided only non-critical messaging via CW, but AFAIK, no mission-critical messages went by CW, and I'm sure if there had been some there would have been plenty of column inches talking about it.

 

CW is fun and I like to do it once in a while, but let's not make it out to be the almighty's personal gift to communication. It's an obsolete mode with a long history and that's all.

 

The CW requirement for getting a US ham licence is being eliminated. That's all. Code, however, IS NOT going away. Code will be around and will continue to be used as long as ham radio is around.

 

That pretty much says it all!

Edited by geoSquid

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I am glad to see the Morse requirement dropped. I have been a Tech since 1999 and I tried to pass the CW test and failed the first time partially due to the testing conditions and partially becuase I was not as ready as I thought I was. I have not had the inclination to get serious about it since then. I am better at learning and taking the written test than the morse code. However, if I do get my general I will probably learn the code down the road when I have more time to enjoy my hobbies. As as been pointed out it is a useful means of communication in some situations.

 

That said, the attitude I have seen on QRZ forums by some of the HAMS concerning the dropping of the code requirement would make me shred my liscense if I thought they were reperesentative of the whole group. I have not met any hams personally that expressed this viewpoint but it is very arrogant of them to say that amateur radio is going to fall apart because of the dropping of this requirement. They need to be helping the younger hams come into the hobby rather than running them off. There are enough requirements with the studying to keep it from turning into CB radio.

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Well... Where to go from here?

 

A couple weeks before the news, I stumbled upon my element 3 CSCE. Can I take that to a VE session and be upgraded to General, or will I have to retake the test?

 

Obtained the CSCE last April.

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Well... Where to go from here?

 

A couple weeks before the news, I stumbled upon my element 3 CSCE. Can I take that to a VE session and be upgraded to General, or will I have to retake the test?

 

Obtained the CSCE last April.

http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/wt05-235/

 

Q. I have a Certificate for Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) for Element 3 (General written test) and have been waiting for the FCC to drop the Morse code requirement. What will I need to do? Will I automatically receive my General license?

 

A. It will not happen automatically. You also will need to wait until the new rules are in effect. CSCEs remain valid for 365 days. There's been no change in that rule. If you have a non-expired CSCE for Element 3 credit, you would need to go to take the CSCE to a VE test session, pay the test session fee, if any, and have the examination team prepare and submit the paperwork for your license upgrade.

 

If the CSCE for Element 3 credit has expired or expires before you attend a test session to process your upgrade, you will have to retake the examination element in order to receive the credit toward your upgrade. The test session fee will apply.

 

Remember: A CSCE is only valid for 365 days. An expired CSCE for the General license theory will not be usable for an upgrade. If your CSCE expires before the new rules go into effect you will have to re-take the Element 3 General class theory exam in order to upgrade.

 

You are gonna have a fairly small window between the time the new rules go into effect (most likely some time in Feb 2007) and your CSCE expires (April 2007). Good luck!

Edited by Mopar

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People have very short memories for good things, and a long memory for the bad. CB radio used to be licensed and had no problems. The unbearable idiocy began when it became popular in the early 70s and the licensing requirement was dropped. Those great FRS radios are having that same problem now for the very same reason.

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My dad is big into Ham Radio....the first person he communicated with, was a high school math teacher of mine, who has since passed away. That teacher spent hours trying to teach me morse code, to no avail....the only thing that kept me from moving forward, and getting my license......maybe now, I'll revisit this........

 

times change, technology changes too, making some things obsolete.....wish this had happened 20 plus years ago.........I have nothing to prove to anyone, and don't particularly care about ranking.

 

I've been to, and found caches, that I still did not log, or even fill out the log sheet...it was purely for my enjoyment...nothing else.

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That said, the attitude I have seen on QRZ forums by some of the HAMS concerning the dropping of the code requirement would make me shred my liscense if I thought they were reperesentative of the whole group. I have not met any hams personally that expressed this viewpoint but it is very arrogant of them to say that amateur radio is going to fall apart because of the dropping of this requirement. They need to be helping the younger hams come into the hobby rather than running them off. There are enough requirements with the studying to keep it from turning into CB radio.

I haven't looked into the QRZ forums, but I can well-imagine what you're talking about. I've been a licensed ham for about 14 years and was a member of the various clubs where I live. In the mid- to late-1990's, one of the clubs ran an article on the back page of their newsletter that they'd taken verbatim from the newsletter of a "hard core" club in the US that was very anti-no-code. When I brought it up at the next club meeting, they pointed out there was a disclaimer that said the articles in the newsletter didn't necessarily reflect the views of the club. Even when other members of the club, some of whom had learned their code from Samuel Morse, spoke up saying they, too, found the article offensive the club's executive still didn't see anything wrong with the article. This resulted in me and at least one other member cancelling our memberships in the club. (Today, that club is a mere shadow of its former self.)

 

I took 4 or 5 years off from the hobby and only just got back into it this past summer after learning that Canada had dropped the code requirement for HF for people who had been licensed more than 3 years at the time they changed the regulations. The change is good because it gives people an incentive to get into the hobby.

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I am very sorry to see this happen. Regardless of whether you love or hate morse code, it is an art, and morse code has been an integral part in what separated the ham radio fraternity from others. Of course the FCC could do away with testing altogether. People could pull their tickets out from the bottom of Cracker Jack boxes, go out and buy a three thousand dollar rig, amp, antenna, and computer, and then get on the air like a real pro. After all, this day and age all it takes is an instruction manual and money.

 

When I was eleven years old and in boy scouts, I was the hot shot that my troop relied upon to send and receive morse code - especially at scout jamboree contests. To a young kid, that really made me feel special, and that special feeling is what prompted me to study hard and to move up through all of the ranks. I wouldn’t have had it any other way – even the nervous episodes of having to sit down and pound out the code in front of an FCC examiner.

 

de N6GC

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<devil's advocate mode>

 

Actually, there is a solution that should work for everyone, and it really puts Morse code into perspective:

 

Using the argument that a ham should be able to master the art, I suggest that the morse code test be dropped and be replaced with a typing test. To get your General, you'd need to pass a 30 WPM typing test, error free, and for Extra maybe 60 WPM, also error free.

 

Everyone who can't pass those tests would have their privileges reduced, and this would apply to all current hams as well as new ones.

 

After all, typing is an integral part of ham radio communication in digital modes. And yes, while it is a pain to learn and maintain, it is actually a skill that can help you in other areas as well - such as work, surfing the web, or writing messages on this very message board. Typing is a modern skill that is relevant TODAY, unlike morse code. 30 WPM is not fast typing by a long shot (it's a level considered acceptable for freshman high school students), and anyone should be able to get there with the finger-poke method, just like 5WPM morse code can be achieved by memorization. 60 WPM typing is simply a matter of practice practice practice, just like 13 WPM Morse code, and is attainable by anyone who works at it.

 

Typing is great. At my 100+ WPM, I can type along well ahead of PSK31, PSK62, RTTY, MFSK and many other modes - ensuring I have time to make sure my message is correct so I don't trouble the far end with spelling and keying errors so common in modes like CW. And those single-finger lids who can receive PSK faster than they can type it... ugh.

 

When I was a lad, I was the hotshot that many people relied on to type letters, forms, documents, memos and much more, especially in school. In fact, there was even good money in typing essays for the arts students in university ($2 per page adds up fast).

 

Of course, a lot of hams would say that it's unfair that they should have to learn to type, but pretty much every argument you can make about why people should be forced to learn morse code in 2006 can be made in favour of forcing people to learn to type. And that's the thing the rock-pounders forget. They already know the code, so it's easy for them to say "well you have to learn it". As it happens, I already know how to type and use it in my ham radio hobby, so I say "well you should have to learn it". Is that unfair? I don't think so. It's at least as justifiable as making people learn some obsolete communication method just for the sake of exclusivity.

 

It's doubtful that typing would be an issue for anyone reading this in any case ;) but I hope my point is clear. Brass-pounders should be VERY careful what they wish for and how they judge others, lest they get judged by their own standards.

 

If you can type 100 WPM and do 40 WPM CW as well, then good on you! you're an example for everyone and maybe you have some high ground from which to make pronouncements on the quality of other hams based on their performance at some arbitrary, ancient test of skill.

</devil's advocate>

 

Ham radio is a technical hobby that is regulated. Exams relating to qualifying hams should cover technical and regulatory knowledge. There is so much to do in the realm of amateur radio that making some specific, picky skill a required qualification is truly silly and damaging to the hobby overall because it excludes people who might otherwise have a lot to contribute, while allowing other people to stagnate in their smugness because they could pass some arcane skill test.

 

But if there is going to be some skill test, then it should advance with the times, and nobody should be grandfathered. After all, isn't it the duty of any good ham to keep up to date?

Edited by geoSquid

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<devil's advocate mode>

 

Actually, there is a solution that should work for everyone, and it really puts Morse code into perspective:

 

Using the argument that a ham should be able to master the art, I suggest that the morse code test be dropped and be replaced with a typing test. To get your General, you'd need to pass a 30 WPM typing test, error free, and for Extra maybe 60 WPM, also error free.

 

Everyone who can't pass those tests would have their privileges reduced, and this would apply to all current hams as well as new ones.

 

After all, typing is an integral part of ham radio communication in digital modes. And yes, while it is a pain to learn and maintain, it is actually a skill that can help you in other areas as well - such as work, surfing the web, or writing messages on this very message board. Typing is a modern skill that is relevant TODAY, unlike morse code. 30 WPM is not fast typing by a long shot (it's a level considered acceptable for freshman high school students), and anyone should be able to get there with the finger-poke method, just like 5WPM morse code can be achieved by memorization. 60 WPM typing is simply a matter of practice practice practice, just like 13 WPM Morse code, and is attainable by anyone who works at it.

 

Typing is great. At my 100+ WPM, I can type along well ahead of PSK31, PSK62, RTTY, MFSK and many other modes - ensuring I have time to make sure my message is correct so I don't trouble the far end with spelling and keying errors so common in modes like CW. And those single-finger lids who can receive PSK faster than they can type it... ugh.

 

When I was a lad, I was the hotshot that many people relied on to type letters, forms, documents, memos and much more, especially in school. In fact, there was even good money in typing essays for the arts students in university ($2 per page adds up fast).

 

Of course, a lot of hams would say that it's unfair that they should have to learn to type, but pretty much every argument you can make about why people should be forced to learn morse code in 2006 can be made in favour of forcing people to learn to type. And that's the thing the rock-pounders forget. They already know the code, so it's easy for them to say "well you have to learn it". As it happens, I already know how to type and use it in my ham radio hobby, so I say "well you should have to learn it". Is that unfair? I don't think so. It's at least as justifiable as making people learn some obsolete communication method just for the sake of exclusivity.

 

It's doubtful that typing would be an issue for anyone reading this in any case :anitongue: but I hope my point is clear. Brass-pounders should be VERY careful what they wish for and how they judge others, lest they get judged by their own standards.

 

If you can type 100 WPM and do 40 WPM CW as well, then good on you! you're an example for everyone and maybe you have some high ground from which to make pronouncements on the quality of other hams based on their performance at some arbitrary, ancient test of skill.

</devil's advocate>

 

Ham radio is a technical hobby that is regulated. Exams relating to qualifying hams should cover technical and regulatory knowledge. There is so much to do in the realm of amateur radio that making some specific, picky skill a required qualification is truly silly and damaging to the hobby overall because it excludes people who might otherwise have a lot to contribute, while allowing other people to stagnate in their smugness because they could pass some arcane skill test.

 

But if there is going to be some skill test, then it should advance with the times, and nobody should be grandfathered. After all, isn't it the duty of any good ham to keep up to date?

Good idea on the typing speed. However, since they dropped the code speed to 5wpm and now nothing, I am afraid the same would happen to a typing test. So, eventually it would become 5wpm typing and then nothing.

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<devil's advocate mode>

 

After all, typing is an integral part of ham radio communication in digital modes. And yes, while it is a pain to learn and maintain, it is actually a skill that can help you in other areas as well - such as work, surfing the web, or writing messages on this very message board. Typing is a modern skill that is relevant TODAY, unlike morse code. 30 WPM is not fast typing by a long shot (it's a level considered acceptable for freshman high school students), and anyone should be able to get there with the finger-poke method, just like 5WPM morse code can be achieved by memorization. 60 WPM typing is simply a matter of practice practice practice, just like 13 WPM Morse code, and is attainable by anyone who works at it.

 

... deletia ...

 

But if there is going to be some skill test, then it should advance with the times, and nobody should be grandfathered. After all, isn't it the duty of any good ham to keep up to date?

Good idea on the typing speed. However, since they dropped the code speed to 5wpm and now nothing, I am afraid the same would happen to a typing test. So, eventually it would become 5wpm typing and then nothing.

 

My point was that many people who are whinging and whining about the removal of the morse code testing would find it eminently unreasonable to be subject to a typing test since:

 

a) it would be difficult for people who haven't typed for (usually) many many years to pass the fast test;

:anibad: it would be totally arbitrary;

c) since they never operate digital modes, would have no use for it in amateur radio.

 

And yet, they complain that removal of the forced testing of potential amateur radio operators for a skill that: is difficult to master without (usually) many years of practice; is totally a arbitrary measure of amateur radio proficiency with totally arbitrary hurdles; is irrelevant to people who never operate, nor plan to operate, CW; and is generally not useful in the "real" world - unlike typing which is demonstrably relevant in the "real" world.

 

Hence, it is my opinion that anyone who thinks that the removal of morse code is unfair or unreasonable put their licence on the line and submit to a typing test to maintain their privileges. Every time some rock-banger gets on about no-code changes, this should be thrust in front of him.

 

Is morse code handy? Perhaps, but so is knowing how to tend bar, knowing how to type, knowing how to speak multiple languages, knowing how to program a computer, knowing how to ride a bicycle, etc. Handy though it may be, it simply is not a REQUIREMENT to communicate like it once was. It's time to leave it to those who find it fun or interesting and move on.

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I am retired from 20 years in radio electronics in the Air Force. I never got interested in Ham operation although I repaired all kinds of Ham equipment. One of the reasons was because of the Morse requirement for a license.

 

However, I understand the necessity for requiring Morse. One of these days we may be attacked with EMP and a hand key with a tube transmitter will be the first mode of communication to recover.

 

It would be too bad if there wasn't anyone around who could still operate it.

 

My first assignment in the Air Force was in Key West, Florida. I was sent to pick up a radio from the Comm center for maintenance. There was an operator sitting there listening to "Ditty-Bop" with one earphone on, typing on a manual typewriter. He was also carrying on a conversation with another operator. When the Di-Dahs stopped, he continued to type for a couple of lines. I was amazed. The other operator said I didn't even understand the magnitude of the skill. The code was an intercept from Cuba, in Spanish, the typing in English. Now that was a code operator.

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I am planning on taking a "Ham in a day"class at the end of this month and testing the same day. I have already taken several online tests and passed them with realative ease, but figured taking the class would provide some basic theory and help to introduce myself to a few members of the local HAM community. I never planned on going past getting my Tech ticked due to the former code requirement. All I really wanted to do was use it for "local" communications and maybe participate events, skywarn, SAR or something along those lines.

.

At one time I went to the HAM forums and almost gave up the thought of getting into the hobby all together after reading the opinions of many of the "hard-core" purists who believe that if you don't know CW, well then you just ought to go buy a CB and talk to your buddies (which, I am happy to say is not the impression that I have recieved in this forum) . I respect the fact that people before me had to learn CW (and admire those that have mastered it), and that has been one of the major factors in keeping me from getting into the hobby. I even have a program on the desktop of my laptop which I unsuccessfully used in an attempt to learn it.

 

I believe that there should be some kind of recognition for learning CW, possibly a special code in your call sign. Maybe someday I will again try to learn CW.

 

I think that this may be good for the hobby and will bring in many more participants, however I also don't want to see it turn into an unregulated service similar to CB. There needs to be some level of proficiency demonstrated, and accountability for misuse or abuse of the airwaves.

 

Just my two cents, don't even have my licence yet.

 

-Jim

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And just like morse code, perhaps we should also abandon much of the technical theory required to get a license since most operators today simply do not need it. In the past, we had a term for a select few people called “appliance operators” who could care less about reverse biasing NPN transistors, ohms law, or schematic diagrams. They learned the theory only, and I stress only to pass the exams needed to get on the air. Appliance operators are the norm for today with fewer and fewer people actually using any technical skills. After all, the manufacturers are doing this for us.

 

Regarding typing… What’s interesting about typing is that it requires basically the same type of skill as that necessary to send and receive morse code. I sincerely believe that if you can type without having to think about what keys your fingers are pressing, then you can send and receive morse code without having to mentally translate each letter. An interesting note to this, is that even though years ago I was both good at typing as well as sending and receiving code, when I first combined the two “skills” together I had problems. I felt like a bumbling idiot, though in time I overcame that weak link.

 

One other comment on a personal note about morse code. Regardless of whether you like or dislike morse code, the personal facts for me is that on the whole it made me better with on-the-air communications. No, it didn’t increase my typing speed, but it taught me how to communicate more effectively with other stations, especially in less than perfect band conditions. Not always one hundred percent of the time, but from a mess of stations on or near the same frequency, it has helped me to pull out the weaker, often QRP stations. Instead of hearing just noise from a lot of stations, it has helped me to mentally tune in and to hear different conversations. Think of it also as being able to carry on a verbal conversation with someone while typing a letter at the same time. If you can learn to do this, then you’ve become better not with just typing, but in communicating as well. – de N6GC

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I have an Extra Class with 20 wpm code....and am proud of it.

 

K2EOK

Good For You. (I Mean It Sincerely)

 

Now.

 

I learned it, passed my test and never use it. in fact even thinking about code gives me a headache.

 

lets try a little dah-dit-dah-dit dit-dah-dah dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dah dah-dit-dah-dit dah-dit-dah dit-dit-dit

 

now my head hurts, time to go to bed.

Edited by Nero

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My Dad knew Morse code pretty well. I'll never forget hearing him listen to it for hours on end.

 

Me, I never learned it but wanted to. As far as getting a license w/o having to learn it, that works for me. I'm so hard pressed for time that I may never take the opportunity anyway. Then again my name is duh...duh duh duh...duh duh. :yikes: As far as typing goes, I use the "Columbus method," when I find a key I land on it. So I'm out there too. <_<

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No code...so what?

 

The code requirement has been effectively gone for years. 5wpm is not much of a requirement. Anyway, having to learn morse had no effect on a ham ever using it.

 

I was licensed in '68 as a Technician. I skipped Novice because I had no interest in using cw. I did pass the 13wpm for General, back when you had to do it for the grumpy old FCC examiner. Basically never used it.

 

Dropped out of the hobby until 2005. Discovered cw. Love it. It is great for working dx and is a blast for contests. I've had to work at it but my contest speed is mid-20wpm. I like to ragchew around 17-18wpm. Still working on copying in my head.

 

CW is a great challenge. I figured I already knew how to talk, plus I got into qrp where cw is almost a given (although qrp ssb does work too).

 

Anyway, to each their own. If anything, dropping the morse code requirement will get more hams on HF and I bet some of them wind up learning cw just to take advantage of what it allows you to do.

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Just a thought.

 

I was wondering if the Government wants more ham radio operators in case somebody smashes or otherwise disables the communication satellites in a time of national crisis. Encouraging communication via ham radio at a time when satellite communications are out would be a good thing wouldn't it? I would think that more people would consider taking up the activity if they didn’t have to learn Morse code first.

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SB QST @ ARL $ARLB005

ARLB005 It's official! Morse code requirement ends Friday, February 23.

 

ZCZC AG05

QST de W1AW

ARRL Bulletin 5 ARLB005

From ARRL Headquarters

Newington CT January 24, 2007

To all radio amateurs

 

SB QST ARL ARLB005

ARLB005 It's official! Morse code requirement ends Friday, February 23.

 

Circle Friday, February 23, on your calendar. That's when the

current 5 WPM Morse code requirement will officially disappear from

the Amateur Radio Service Part 97 rules. On or after that date,

applicants for a General or Amateur Extra class Amateur Radio

license no longer will have to demonstrate proficiency in Morse

code. They'll just have to pass the applicable written examination.

Federal Register publication January 24 of the FCC's Report and

Order (R&O) in the "Morse code proceeding," WT Docket 05-235, starts

a 30-day countdown for the new rules to become effective. Deletion

of the Morse requirement - still a matter of controversy within the

amateur community - is a landmark in Amateur Radio history.

 

"The overall effect of this action is to further the public interest

by encouraging 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; and eliminating a

requirement that is now unnecessary and may discourage Amateur

Service licensees from advancing their skills in the communications

and technical phases of Amateur Radio," the FCC remarked in the

"Morse code" R&O that settled the matter, at least from a regulatory

standpoint.

The League had asked the FCC to retain the 5 WPM for Amateur Extra

class applicants, but the Commission held to its decision to

eliminate the requirement across the board. The R&O appearing in the

Federal Register constitutes the official version of the new rules.

It is on the web in PDF format at,

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01....access.gpo.gov

/2007/pdf/E7-729.pdf.

 

Until 1991, when a Morse code examination was dropped from the

requirements to obtain a Technician ticket, all prospective radio

amateurs had to pass a Morse code test. With the change the US will

join a growing list of countries that have dropped the need to

demonstrate some level of Morse code proficiency to earn access to

frequencies below 30 MHz.

 

The new rules also put all Technician licensees on an equal footing,

whether or not they've passed a Morse code examination. Starting

February 23, Technicians will gain CW privileges on 80, 40, 15

meters and CW, RTTY, data and SSB privileges on 10 meters.

 

Once the revised rules are in place, an applicant holding a valid

Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) for

Element 3 (General) or Element 4 (Amateur Extra) may redeem it for

an upgrade. A CSCE is good for 365 days from the date of issuance,

no exceptions. For example, a Technician licensee holding a valid

CSCE for Element 3 may apply at a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator

(VEC) test session, pay the application fee, which most VECs charge,

and receive an instant upgrade.

 

The FCC R&O includes an Order on Reconsideration in WT Docket 04-140

- the so-called "omnibus" proceeding. It will modify Part 97 in

response to ARRL's request to accommodate automatically controlled

narrowband digital stations on 80 meters in the wake of other rule

changes that became effective last December 15. The Commission

designated 3585 to 3600 kHz for such operations, although that

segment will remain available for CW, RTTY and data. The ARRL had

requested that the upper limit of the CW/RTTY/data subband be set at

3635 kHz, so that there would be no change in the existing 3620 to

3635 kHz subband.

 

The ARRL has posted all relevant information on these important Part

97 rule revisions on its "FCC's Morse Code Report and Order WT

Docket 05-235" Web page, http://www.arrl.org/fcc/morse/.

NNNN

/EX

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Well... Where to go from here?

 

A couple weeks before the news, I stumbled upon my element 3 CSCE. Can I take that to a VE session and be upgraded to General, or will I have to retake the test?

 

Obtained the CSCE last April.

Being a VE myself, my advice would be to find a test/upgrade session near you and get your "paper" upgrade. The CSCE is good for 1 year after you passed your test. In the Akron area, there are 2 groups that have VE sessions schedualed for the day after the morse requirement drops, so you go to your local session, pay your $14 and get your General upgrade. I did the same thing when they restructured in 2000. I was a tech plus and passed the General written a couple of months before. You should be able to use your new privaleges right after the session by using a /G after your callsign until the upgrade hits the FCC site or QRZ.

 

Hope this helps.

Bryan KF8G

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Well, apparently morse is now removed as a requirement.

 

All I can say is...

 

Welcome to the 20th century!

 

20th century???

 

Code was the earliest form of digital (in a sense) communication! B)

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Well, apparently morse is now removed as a requirement.

 

All I can say is...

 

Welcome to the 20th century!

 

20th century???

 

Code was the earliest form of digital (in a sense) communication! ;)

 

True, but the dropping of morse as a requirement moves the requirements out of the 19th century and into the 20th. Morse code is that old.

Edited by geoSquid

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When my wife passed her Technician Class exam (including the 5 wpm CW) back in the early 1990's, she joked about getting a "No-Code Extra" license some day..... now she can do just that, if she is so inclined. She could use an upgrade if she wanted to operate on 10-FM in her Jeep, but I doubt she even cares much about that at this point...... maybe later, she will become interested in the HF bands, including some CW.

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...I have made many contacts with people around the world who do not speak the same language as me. This is possible with Morse....

 

Because they code the same language as you? English? Or are there special ham radio morse code shortcuts that mean the same thing worldwide?

Like all other hobbies Ham has its own shortcuts. AND worldwide all operators were required to demonstrate the ability to understand the English language. KC7SW

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Good idea on the typing speed. However, since they dropped the code speed to 5wpm and now nothing, I am afraid the same would happen to a typing test. So, eventually it would become 5wpm typing and then nothing.

 

Indeed, that is true. More importantly, it SHOULD be true.

 

When brain-radio links become the norm, it probably won't be necessary for people to type, so the test for typing would drop in favour of a brain link speed test.

 

Ham radio is about, among other things, technology. It can't be trapped in the past just because someone had to march 90 miles, naked, through snow, uphill in both directions to get their licence.

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We are highly technological these days. If ever we haven't foreseen it, at least we shoud have expected it to happen at one point or another.

 

_____________________

Yaesu FT-857 All Mode Transceiver - Get the Yaesu FT-857 Ultra Compact HF/VHF/UHF 100 W All Mode Transceiver Catalog

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