FCC Proposes to Drop Morse Code Req. for All License Classes

Personally, I think its not a bad idea. Morse code is a largely unused communication and think that eliminating it from advanced licenses is probably a good thing.

However, if this opens flood gates for everyone to become a HAM, do you run the risk of crowding radio frequencies and becoming more of a CB thing? I'm not sure exactly what my take it. Obviously, I became a Technician without code, and I don't think losing code on the rest will neccessarily open the floodgates. I think, however, that it will encourage people like me who enjoy the hobby to advance forward in it.

If it encourages advancement in the hobby, I'm all for it, but I would hold my skeptism til I felt it wasn't becoming a CB type thing. My concerns for that, though, after seeing how its evolved since dropping code for Technicians, I guess I would lean more to being for it.
I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm just starting to crack the books to study for my General upgrade. The code is the part I find daunting, but I think it is a necessary challenge. Otherwise, you could just memorize the question pool and take Elements 2, 3 and 4 all at once. Not that you couldn't do that now with the code...but it adds another dimension of complexity. Additionally, CW has the advantage of being operable on lower power than voice, which makes it useful in emergency situations. Given amateur radio's role in international goodwill and public safety, I'd feel better if there were more effort involved in getting licensed.

Ben, here in the UK we dropped morse about a year ago,and if anything things have improved- 2m is still a lottery but always has been.The old Class a and class B which I took(in 1984) are now the top group with unlimited power - up to the national max of 400W frequency dependant but the new licences that have come online since run reduced power I beleive.
Perhaps Stu Robinson who has just got his UK licence can verify what other licences are issued now.
Originally posted by Chris Sokol
If you really need morse, there are readers available.
Ehhh... actually, when you "really need morse," there will be no reader available. And if the code requirement is dropped, even less people will have them "available." That's the problem.

I don't see a "need" for it in common, everyday hobby usage either. But I think it's a little extreme to say there is no need for it at all in amateur communications. Heck, by the same logic you could argue against theory exams because commercially manufactured equipment is always there when you "really need" it.

Then where would we be? Yep... CB all over again.
I think morse can be droped. I can see a need in times of emergency.It could be left as a add on for some freq. but loss for a lisc. will not be a big problem. I only got my lisc. after the no code. A most likely would never move up as long as I have to learn it. In our area ham usage has all but died. And little effort has been made to keep it alive. not so many years ago you could not get into club meetings for all the people now if we have 5 we are luckly. :cry:
Originally posted by Chris Sokol
I agree with the proposal...morse is an outdated technology. That said, I am a Tech w/code, so my opinion does not come from being too lazy to learn code. I just do not see the need for it for amateur communications. If you really need Morse, there are readers available.

I have that reader and it only works with computer generated code. It is not reliable.
I am a general class operator and like code but it is something that you have to keep up with or you will lose the skill. There is a great software program called Codequick from Wheeler Labs (google it) which is IMO the only way to prepare for your code test.
The only reason that the FCC is doing this is because HAM radio is slowly dying on the vine and they need to keep peoples interest in it. Having to learn code requires a serious commitment and people are just not willing to do it, so they lobby to withdraw it as a requirement and there you have it. There are still alot of CW DXers out there who can talk around the world on some low power and that is the skill of learning code and then applying it to radio.
Most chasers never will need code or ever use it, but if you can't pass a 5wpm exam, you really aren't interested in the hobby. I think todays youth would be good at learning code and would love to see code and HAM radio make a resurgence. Cell phones are sadly going to make that not happen.
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This is really becoming a heated issue. I was just reading some of the posts on eham.net, and the "old-timers" (their word, not mine) are pretty upset. They too are afraid of ham becoming CB. I myself got my ticket only after learning here that you no longer need CW for a tech license. Now I have the bug and love it - the radios, making your own antennas and etc., but I do feel a bit denied that I can't move up to all frequencies without CW. I think it's an awesome skill, but I just have no interest in learning it myself. I do think though, if CW is dropped, the written tests need to be harder. Perhaps not matching the real questions to the study book questions. That would at least test someone's actual understanding and drive to learn.

Julie - KB3MGC
I think the code should stay. Yes it may be unused more than it is used, but it still presents a necessary challenge for amateurs to learn before being able to use the HF bands. I upgraded to General class in December, and the whole time I didn't think I could learn the code - but I did it. I know if you are dedicated, anyone can do it. It was actually fun learning the code because it's something not a lot of people can say they can do.

If you decide to upgrade before the change takes place, a good website to visit is www.aa9pw.com. Also, a program called Morse Academy is excellent. Those two are what I used to learn the code.

Jarrod - KC9CJY
I don't think the Code should be dropped for the higher levels of license. I think it is a skill that should not be lostand if Armegeddon ever comes, Morse Code will be one of the few things left to us for long range communications. That's not the point though. Morse Code is a skill. Yes, it's antiquated, and old, but it's common throughout the world.

I don't have my license yet. I'm finding much harder than I ever believed it would be! 3/4 of the Tech license is really a no brainer, but the radio theory is killing me! I'll get it though.

Nope, don't lose the Code requirements. The voice only is cluttered enough and sounds more and more like the 80's CB stuff every day. I was listening in this morning to our local repeater. Short of politicians, I don't think I've ever heard someone take 5 minutes on air to say nothing. I've always associated HAM Operators with professionalism and Tech. My little bubble was burst.
I don't mind the morse requirement being dropped. But if you think It's a little used mode, listen from 3.5-3.7, 7.0-7.150, all of 30M and 14.0-14.150 MHz. You'll find quite a few CW ops out there.
I'm not sure which side of the fence I'm on, but I certainly would NOT call CW an outdated mode by any means. As Pat noted, there is certainly quite a few folks still di-dah'ing around the bands. Not to mention the number of traffic nets that take place on the CW portions. I assure you it is not a dead method.

I am quite proud of the acheivement of learning the code. As someone else mentioned, it is all too easy to memorize the answers from the question pool, so I think the code is a good requirement for no other reason than it makes you put some time and effort into the process. At the same time, I'm sure it has kept a great number of people from digging further into the hobby. I fail to see how someone learning CW will keep someone from acting like an idiot (CB'er in some folks' minds) on 2m or HF for that matter. I think that is a wasted argument for keeping the amateur airwaves clean.

I guess I'll continue riding the fence until I see a major difference :wink: