Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Times - they are a changin'

Yesterday, the FCC released it's Notice of Proposed Rule Making, where they asked for comments in reference to their proposal to amend the rules governing Amateur Radio. The proposal would eliminate the requirement of a Morse Code test to qualify for an Amateur Radio license.

As a proponent of the use of Morse Code; you probably think I'm depressed and sullen by this development. Disturbed, yes ....... depressed and sullen? No.

Morse Code is a very popular means of communication in Amateur Radio circles. It will not only survive; but will probably thrive. In fact, we may yet even see a "renaissance" of Morse Code on the Ham bands.

My disturbed feelings come not so much from the elimination of the Morse Code requirement. What I feel bad about is the continuing trend where hard work, responsibility and commitment seem to be negatives instead of positive attributes. Let's face it, the Morse Code requirement was removed because of all the whining and gnashing of teeth that Morse Code was too hard to master; and therefore it had become exclusionary. (Have I thrown enough PC BS at you on that one?)

An Amateur Radio license, like a lot of other things, is a privilege and not a God given right. I think people get confused here. In order to earn that privilege you had to take a Morse Code test as well as a written exam. The problem is there are too many "wanna-be's" out there who want the privilege without the work. In way too many cases these days, that seems to be the standing order of the day. And again, in this case, the FCC caved to the PC correct crowd and is allowing this to happen.

In the mid-70s when I first wanted to get licensed, I tried learning the code as a teenager. I failed miserably. Several years after college, I tried again. It was no easier the second time; but I wanted it badly enough and succeeded. A badge of courage? Maybe. Did it kill me? No; and it won't kill anyone else, either.

If this proposal passes; and I'm sure it will, then it will be the end of an era. Who knows what will be targeted next; but I am willing to bet that it will be the CW portions of the Amateur Radio spectrum. The day that those disappear is the day you can look for all of my equipment on eBay.

I'll post more about this topic when I'm not in such a dour mood.

73 de Larry W2LJ

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