FCC Eliminates Code Requirements for Amateur Licenses

I must admit, I haven’t been a particularly active ham (in fact, I’ve been completely inactive for a number of years), but I was still pleased to see that the FCC swept aside the Morse Code requirement for all radio amateur licenses on the 12/15.

FCC Eliminates Code Requirements for Amateur Licenses

No doubt a great number of old timers will be moaning and groaning that this represents the end of ham radio. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is ham radio has been dying for at least two decades, in nearly direct proportion to the rise in the Internet. It used to be that the apex of electronics experimentation occurred with ham radio, but the combination of cheap compute power, cheap bandwidth, inexpensive part 15 wireless equipment and no barriers to entry have made the Internet the place where most technically minded people choose to learn and play.

That’s not to say that ham radio has nothing to offer. I’m fascinated by QRP operation, particularly narrow band modes like PSK31, or even old fashioned modes like RTTY and slow scan television, and being able to experiment in the HF bands is certainly a bonus. But Morse code has been a kind of hazing ritual for at least 30 years, long ago having any practical place in ham radio operation regulation. It will undoubtably continue to be practiced by reasonably large numbers of hams who actually enjoy it, but it is alltogether a very good thing that it is removed as a requirement.

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