Wow! The ARRL is pulling out all of the stops! Pardon my French; but the folks up in Newington seem to be positively orgasmic about the "new rules" that go into effect on February 23rd, with the elimination of the Morse Code requirement.
The ARRL is SO pumped that they will staff HQ with Volunteer Examiners to give examinations before and after the rules change. Also ..... get this ...... they will be putting W1AW on the air as a Special Event Station to commemorate the event! The special event will start up on 12:01 AM on the 23rd and will stay on the air as long as demand and propagation dictate. Then, on both Saturday and Sunday, the station will be on the air from 10:00 AM untill 5:00 PM.
"Welcome Weekend" is what it is being called. Okay, I understand that this is history in the making. I understand that to many people, this is an event that was a long time in coming. I also understand that this has the potential to swell the ranks of amateurs in the United States. But as a dedicated CW op, there's still a part of me that's bothered by this. And I'm going to leave it at that. If I say anymore, I'm sure I'll be accused of being an "old fart" who is negative, behind the times and is against "progress" and newcomers. That couldn't be further from the truth; but that's how it would be perceived, I am sure.
So "welcome" to all the new Generals who will come on to HF! I have one word of advice for all of you. After the novelty of SSB wears off; and it will, sooner for some and later for others ..... pick up a straight key and come on down to the CW portion of the bands. We'll be waiting for you with open arms. Discover the fun that Morse Code is. I GUARANTEE (bold face and capitals for emphasis!) that there will be a number of you that will hit yourselves on the forehead (ala' V-8) and ask yourselves "Why didn't I try this before?". It's not as hard as you talked yourself into thinking it was!
73 de Larry W2LJ