From the ARRL letter...
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From: ARRL Letter Mailing List <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: The ARRL Letter, Vol 26, No 03 (Jan 19, 2007)
==>CODELESS AMATEUR RADIO TESTING TENTATIVELY SET TO BEGIN FEBRUARY 23
The ARRL has learned that the FCC's Report and Order (R&O) in the "Morse
code proceeding," WT Docket 05-235
scheduled to appear in the Federal Register Wednesday, January 24. Assuming
that occurs, the new Part 97 rules deleting any Morse code examination
requirement for Amateur Radio license applicants would go into effect
Friday, February 23, 2007. The League cautions that this date is
*tentative*, pending official confirmation and publication.
"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 remarked
in the Morse code R&O.
Publication of the R&O in the Federal Register starts a 30-day countdown for
the new rules to go on the books. Rules and regulations that appear in the
Federal Register constitute their official version.
Deletion of the Morse requirement is a landmark in Amateur Radio history.
Until 1991, when a code examination was dropped from the requirements to
obtain a Technician ticket, all prospective radio amateurs had to pass a
Morse test. Once the new rules are in place, Amateur Radio license
applicants no longer will have to demonstrate Morse code proficiency at any
level to gain access to the HF bands.
On or after the effective date of the new rules, an applicant holding a
valid Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) for a
higher license class will be able to redeem it for an upgrade. For example,
a Technician licensee holding a valid CSCE for Element 3 (General) could
apply at a VEC exam session, pay the application fee -- which most VECs
charge -- and receive an instant upgrade. A CSCE is good only for 365 days
from the date of issuance. Candidates for General or Amateur Extra between
now and the effective date of the new rules still must have Element 1 (5 WPM
Morse code) credit to obtain new privileges, however.
The new rules also mean that all Technician licensees, whether or not
they've passed a Morse code examination, will gain HF privileges identical
to those of current Novice and Tech Plus (or Technician with Element 1
credit) licensees without having to apply for an upgrade. Novices and
Technicians with Element 1 credit have CW privileges on 80, 40, 15 meters
and CW, RTTY, data and SSB privileges on 10 meters. Technician licensees who
have not passed a Morse code test should *not* operate on any HF bands until
the Morse requirement is officially deleted.
The FCC R&O includes an Order on Reconsideration in WT Docket 04-140 -- the
so-called "omnibus" proceeding. It will modify the Amateur Service rules in
response to ARRL's request to accommodate automatically controlled
narrowband digital stations on 80 meters in the wake of other rule changes
that were effective last December 15. The Commission designated 3585 to 3600
kHz for such operations, although that segment will remain available for CW,
RTTY and data.
The ARRL has posted all relevant information on these important Part 97 rule
revisions on its "FCC's Morse Code Report and Order WT Docket 05-235" Web
The ARRL Letter is available to all, free of charge, from these sources:
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