Saturday, December 16, 2006

Requiescat in pace

Rest in peace.

The Morse Code requirement to obtain operating privileges below 30 MHz will be officially eliminated by the FCC. Or as the ARRL put it:

"In an historic move, the FCC has acted to drop the Morse code requirement for all Amateur Radio license classes. The Commission today adopted a Report and Order (R&O) in WT Docket 05-235."

So what does this mean? Well, for now, CW is not dead. It is still VERY popular and is the preferred method of communication amongst QRPers, hard core contesters and hard core DXers. But even with all that understood, I believe this is the death knell of Morse Code as we know it as a communications form.

Look at recent developments:

The latest Amateur Radio band to be introduced, the 60 Meter band, does not even allow for A1 (CW) emissions.

The "refarming" of the 80 Meter band by the FCC puts the pinch on General and Advanced CW ops who ended up losing spectrum.

Anybody who thinks the FCC and the ARRL regards CW operators as a valuable resource are kidding themselves. The handwriting is on the wall.

In the future, I believe these developments are not far off:

The ARRL will discontinue code practice on W1AW.
SSB emissions will be allowed anywhere on the Amateur Radio bands (OR)
The existing CW only subbands will be renamed the Digital only subbands allowing for the proliferation of Pactor III, WinLink and other similar forms of data transmission.

Unfortunately, tradition, history, romance and magic have no use in today's society. This is the latest action to prove that.

For now, I won't even go into my rant about those who claim that they "just can't learn Morse Code". I'll save that for another day.

73 de Larry W2LJ

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just upgraded today to General as a step to get access to the Extra CW portions I have so longed for. How depressing your comments are. I know the only thing that will keep the CW portion alive is CW activity. But with the testing requirement gone, and most of the good CW ops being old(er) timers, I can't argue with your premise.