Amateur Radio Licensing : Morse Code Eliminated
|International treaty required Morse proficiency for amateur operations on frequencies below 30 MHz. In 2003 the WRC (World Radio Conference) changed their rules
By Report and Order 05-235 the FCC has modified the amateur
radio service rules, eliminating Morse code exam requirements.
The current amateur service operator license structure contains
three classes of amateur radio operator licenses: Technician
Class, General Class, and Amateur Extra Class.
Previously, the Commission, in accordance with international
radio regulations, required applicants for General Class and
Amateur Extra Class operator licenses to pass a five
words-per-minute Morse code examination.
The FCC has decided that is no longer a requirement because the FCC believes that the public interest is not served by requiring facility in Morse Code when the trend in amateur communications is to use voice and digital technologies for exchanging messages.
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
The new FCC rules went into effect on February 23, 2007. All
Technician licensees -- whether or not they have passed a Morse
code examination -- will have "Tech Plus" operating
privileges. This means you will have all of your current VHF/UHF
and above frequencies and also will have access to the
Novice/Technician Plus frequencies on HF to operate voice on 10
meters and CW on several HF bands..
If you have a Certificate for Successful Completion of
Examination (CSCE) for Element 3 (General written test) and have
been waiting for the FCC to drop the Morse code requirement. It
will not happen automatically. You also will need to wait until
the new rules are in effect. CSCEs remain valid for 365 days.
There's been no change in that rule. If you have a non-expired
CSCE for Element 3 credit, you would need to take the CSCE to a
VE test session and have the examination team prepare and submit
the paperwork for your license upgrade.
If you hold a novice license, there is no grandfather provision.
In order to upgrade to Technician, you will need to pass the
Element 2 written examination. The FCC did not change operating
privileges for Novice, General, Advanced and Amateur Extra class