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FCC Kills Code!!!
Posted on Wednesday 27 July @ 23:49:16
Club ActivitiesOn July 19, 2005 the FCC in a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) announced it's intention to eliminate any Morse Code requirement for all classes of amateur radio licenses. The complete ARRL story can be read at http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2005/07/20/100/?nc=1.

The complete 30 page pdf file can be downloaded by clicking on NPRM above. You are strongly encouraged to read the entire document as the FCC gives it's reasoning and thought process in the document.

Larry, KØLEJ, has prepared a summary of the NPRM which can be seen by clicking on "read more" below...

The following summary was prepared by Larry, KØLEJ
Note: The number in parenthesis is the page number the topic is addressed in the NPRMO.

Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order

Amateur Radio Service

MORSE CODE:

  • Eighteen petitions asked the FCC to eliminate the code, maintain or increase the code, and change the number of license classes. The majority of the petitions requested that code be eliminated (2, 9).
  • Over 6200 comments were filed (3).
  • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2003 eliminated the international code requirement for an Amateur license (4).
  • Reasons given to drop code include (6-7):
    1. Code should not be used as a "gatekeeper" license requirement.
    2. There is no requirement that licensees actually use code so why test on it.
    3. Code is preference, not a necessity.
    4. Those wishing to use CW are still free to do so.
    5. Code is out of date with the adoption of other digital modes.
    6. Leaning code puts an unnecessary burden on applicants.
    7. No other emission mode requires testing.
    8. Test only those people who wish to use CW rather than everyone.
  • The ARRL, along with others, suggested keeping code as a requirement for the Amateur Extra licensee who are considered the "most accomplished radio amateurs" (8).
  • Reasons to keep code include (8-9):
    1. Needed for effective emergency communication.
    2. Code is an effective backup when voice and digital modes fail.
    3. The most economical in cost (implementation – radio/equipment) and bandwidth.

FCC Stand:

The FCC feels code is no longer necessary, and code testing discourages new entry and advancement in Amateur radio (3).

"… an individual’s ability to demonstrate increased Morse code proficiency is not necessarily indicative of his or her ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art" (10).

The FCC also does not believe that a person should need to demonstrate ability in a mode of operation when the rules do not require that they actually use that mode (11).

GRANDFATHERING:

In 2000 the FCC changed the number of license classes from six to three. The FCC felt that three classes would "provide an incentive for licensees to continue the educational opportunities offered by amateur radio and to advance their communication and technical skills…" (12).

Giving Novice, Technician, Tech Plus, and Advanced licensees additional operating privileges is inconsistent with the three class incentive license. It also diminishes the additional privileges a licensee would receive when they upgrade their license (13-14, 17-18).

NEW CLASS OF LICENSE:

The ARRL and others have requested that a new entry class license, providing limited HF privileges, be added to the service (17).

The FCC believes that with the elimination of the code requirement, a technician licensee only needs to take one written exam to gain HF privileges; therefore, no additional entry class license is needed (17).

WRITTEN EXAM:

Some have requested that the written exams be harder, and/or the FCC again regulate the exams (19).

The FCC simply stated: "… the purpose of the written examinations, under our rules, is not to determine whether a person has achieved a particular level of skill, but rather to determine whether an individual can properly operate an amateur station." (20).

ADDITIONAL:

There are additional topics covered in the NPRMO – You can find a link to the document on the ARRL Web site, and by clicking on NPRM at the top of this announcement.

Note: The number in parenthesis is the page number the topic is addressed in the NPRMO.

Printable Version 


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