Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sounds like sour grapes - or just lame excuses ...

A friend sent me this today in an e-mail. This originally appeared on the "Technocrat" blog. It is a posting by Bruce Perens, the founder of No-Code International. The title of this piece is called, "No-Code Came Too Late To Help Ham Radio".

"On February 23, 2007, the U.S. FCC dropped Morse Code requirements for all ham radio license classes. Other nations, except for Russia, had done so earlier and the ITU had dropped code requirements from its international radio treaty. I had founded No-Code International 10 years previously, to fight for this to happen. We won, and we lost too.

One of the reasons for eliminating the code requirement was that many prospective licensees were deterred from getting their ham licenses by what, in present time, had become a wildly unnecessary and inappropriate requirement - that operators demonstrate the ability to read Morse code by ear. Morse is fun for many, but it was silly for it to be a requirement. The real reason it was there was that the hams themselves wanted to keep out "riff-raff", generally portrayed as undisciplined former CB operators, who they felt would be deterred by the lengthy process of developing code proficiency.

Well, the good news is that there was no flood of riff-raff into Amateur Radio. The bad news is that there was no flood of anyone. A lot of Amateurs upgraded their license class, but the overall population has not increased by even 2000 hams. The best that can be said for Amateur operator numbers is that we have stopped the decline for now, as you can see in these statistics."

Wow! Isn't that something! This is exactly what the proponents of Morse Code were saying all along! The Code is NOT a barrier; and in the end, all this boo-hoo'ing about thousands of people wanting to become Hams but couldn't because they were deterred by having to learn the Code was, in the end, just a bunch of nonsense!

And of course, rather than admit you were wrong, you just come up with, "Well, if we had accomplished this earlier ........." Thank the Lord for supposition based on no fact and revisionist history! The best thing that can be said of No-Code International is that their "claims" were Ham Radio's Urban Myth of the late 1900s and early 2000s.

This is exactly the kind of thing that makes me wonder what the likes of hucksters like Al Gore are going to be saying 20 or 30 years from now when we embark on a trend towards global cooling. Human caused Global Warming is the snake oil of our times. I'll bet the farm that 20 to 30 years down the road, thousands will lay the claim that "I never believed in that, anyway!"

Remember Y2K? The world was supposed to end that night, too. Amazing how that came and went with nary a whimper.

73 de Larry W2LJ


  1. Anonymous7:30 AM

    "Remember Y2K? The world was supposed to end that night, too. Amazing how that came and went with nary a whimper."

    Well, yes I do. And I saw many companies and individuals who worked more than 10 years preparing and changing code through out the country (and world) to make sure everything ran smoothly rolling over to 2000.

  2. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Efforts of recent years to "dummy down" the ARS have succeeded; now the hobby has lost considerable respect in the eyes of prospective hams. I'm reminded of President Kennedy's words, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept..." That was once the widespread mindset of hams everywhere. No longer. And that is sad. 73, Alan, W5EAC

  3. Bob,

    Thanks for your comment! I agree that there was no problem because of the fine work done by unsung heroes behind the scenes. My comment was more of a knock towards the "Chicken Little - the sky is falling - doomsday" mentality that seems to be so prevalent these days.

  4. Anonymous9:17 AM

    Larry W2LJ,

    Oh yes, I totally agree! The "news" had a field day about the "Y2K" issue. I should have mentioned my agreement in my original post.