It's been a couple of days since the FCC posted their "Report and Order" to changes to the rules of Part 97, the rules which govern Amateur Radio. The thing which sticks out in my mind the most is the increase of the phone band size on both 80 and 40 Meters. It was a sizeable increase; and a lot more expected on 80 Meters than was asked for by the ARRL.
Why would the FCC be so generous with the allocation? I'm thinking it might just be related to another matter before the FCC - one in which they haven't acted upon yet. That would be the much awaited decision regarding the fate of the 5 WPM Morse Code requirement to gain access to HF radio operating privileges.
Imagine the FCC declares that it is no longer necessary to know Morse Code in order to operate on the HF bands. Can you imagine all the Novice and Technician licensees who would instantly be eligible to get on the HF bands and operate? Where are you going to put them all? And you can imagine how many "wanna be" Hams would now be able to get on HF now that they would no longer be "burdened" (my sarcasm) by having to learn Morse code and pass a proficiency test?
I fear the FCC is clearing the forest and is making pasture for the inevitable increase of activity that would occur on the phone bands when and if they eliminate the 5 WPM code requirement. Unfortunately, that is going to put the squeeze on us CW ops. Even though CW is allowed on any part of the Ham bands, there are defacto "CW only" havens that will become smaller and smaller.
Of course, this is all speculation; but sometimes it doesn't take a prognosticator to see the future.
73 de Larry W2LJ