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Old 15-12-2006, 21:04   #1

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FCC Drops Morse Code Requirement!

In an unexpected act of rationality, the FCC made a last-minute announcement Friday that they will be issuing a correction to a recent order AND formally dropping the Morse Code requirement for all amateur radio license classes in the immediate future. A formal announcement should be issued in the next couple of weeks with the new rules taking effect 30 days after that, i.e. sometime in February.

This was totally unexpected news, since the order being revised has been in process for almost two years "ahead" of the Morse Code considerations on their agenda, leading many of us to expect it would be two more years before any announcement or change in CW was coming.

Kudos to the FCC, someone must have accidentally been drinking real coffee this week!

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Old 15-12-2006, 23:44   #2
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This was brought up about 1-1/2 years ago with the link. Gees, all that practice for nothing.

No More Code ?

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Old 16-12-2006, 11:50   #3
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But, is this a precursor to decreasing our bands? No code requirement means fewer people getting turned onto code, and fewer people using those portions of the bands.
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Old 16-12-2006, 14:59   #4
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End of an Era: FCC to Drop Morse Testing for All Amateur License Classes

"This change eliminates an unnecessary regulatory burden that may discourage current Amateur Radio operators from advancing their skills and participating more fully in the benefits of Amateur Radio," the FCC said. The ARRL had asked the FCC to retain the 5 WPM for Amateur Extra class applicants only. The FCC proposed earlier to drop the requirement across the board, however, and it held to that decision in today's R&O."
"Typically, the effective date of an FCC Order is 30 days after it appears in the FederalRegister. If that's the case, the Morse requirement and the revised 80-meter segment for automatically controlled digital stations would likely not go into effect until late January or early February 2007. That's not clear from the public notice, however. The FCC can order its decision effective upon release."

ARRLWeb: End of an Era: FCC to Drop Morse Testing for All Amateur License Classes
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Old 16-12-2006, 21:11   #5

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"This was brought up about 1-1/2 years ago with the link."
No, it wasn't. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking about 18 months ago on this subject. But that's just a statement saying "We are considering a change...does anyone have comment on it?" And it is *NOT* an actual rule change, nor is it a promise that a rule change will happen.

Friday's statement, in contrast, is an actual announcement of a RULE CHANGE. It's the difference between saying "One day maybe I'll go cruising." and actually casting off the lines and doing it.

It's even bigger news because the most recent rule changes (which just went into effect this month) were the result of NPRM's that were published about FOUR YEARS ago, two years before the NPRM asking for comment on Morse. Since the FCC usually does not make changes in these rules more than once every two years, there was no reason to expect Morse to be dropped until 2008-2009 until this totally unexpected announcement. The FCC tucked this in along with a correction to the December rulemaking, which allows Pactor3 to continue in a slightly modified frequency range instead of cutting off 80-meter Pactor3 entirely.

Considering the usual pace of the FCC bureaucracy...This is surprisingly radical totally unexpected good news.
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