Morse code RIP ?

Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Wed Jan 24 11:28:54 CST 2007

It's Official! Morse Code Requirement Ends Friday, February 23

NEWINGTON, CT, Jan 24, 2007 -- Circle Friday, February 23, on your  
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  
no longer will have to demonstrate proficiency in Morse code. They'll  
have to pass the applicable written examination. The appearance in  
Federal Register 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  
to become effective. Deletion of the Morse requirement -- still a  
matter of
controversy within the amateur community -- is a landmark in Amateur  

"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  
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  
the FCC remarked in the "Morse code" R&O that settled the matter, at  
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.

Until 1991, when a Morse code examination was dropped from the  
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,  
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.  
is good for 365 days from the date of issuance, no exceptions. For  
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  
request to accommodate automatically controlled narrowband digital  
on 80 meters in the wake of other rule changes that became effective  
December 15. The Commission designated 3585 to 3600 kHz for such  
although that segment will remain available for CW, RTTY and data.  
had requested that that 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

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"  

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