The need for Morse...

comments, arguments, email...

I am a Radio Amateur. I took and passed an exam in electronics, radio technology, operating and license conditions. A government department charged with regulating the radio spectrum is thus satisfied that I am competent to receive a license to establish and operate a tranmitting station. However, I am not allowed to use the very bands that regularly permit wide-area or international communications. I am restricted to local VHF/UHF. Or worldwide communications by satellite or by the six meter band on an infrequent basis. Why? Because I am not interested in learning the Morse code to be tested for this irrelevant skill.

   I challenge anyone to read ALL of this...   

   ... and give a valid, coherent response   

When I explain that to ordinary people, they quite rightly think such a situation is ridiculous. It is only with an in-depth appreciation of the history of Amateur radio that you can see how it came about. There is no need for this to continue.

Numerous countries have already recognized this, and have altered their Morse tests by dropping the speed down to 5 words per minute (usually from 12 or 13wpm). This is the first step on the road to abandoning this obstacle altogether.

We can help this process by educating those who feel they have a right to affect our lives. We can pressure our national administrations to vote at future World Radio Conferences for a change to the international regulations governing Amateur Radio. This needs to happen, and will. Please help this come about. We can change things that are no longer relevant to modern life. It is called progress.

At the moment I can use SSB on 50.110 and during an opening communicate with other stations in far away countries. I am not permitted to do the same thing on 28.3 MHz. Can anyone give even ONE good reason why not? I know why I'm prevented from doing so, but I'd like even ONE good reason why this SHOULD be so. Go on. Surprise me.

But there's NO WAY I'm going through all that, just for a bit of
fun on HF. I hardly get the time to play radio as it is, so I've
not got either the time OR the inclination to learn something I've
no interest in whatsoever just for HF.

It bugs me, the whole argument that you can't have HF unless you
show sufficient dedication. I took MY trouble swotting up on the
RAE manual and taking an exam. The artificial barrier between two
parts of the same radio spectrum based on some outdated international
requirement NEEDS to be put to bed. Is there really any vast
difference between 50MHz and 28MHz when both are "open" ? One I can
use, the other I can't for crying out loud. Ridiculous - and I'd be
willing to bet a large number of the general public would agree
if ONLY PRESENTED WITH THE PLAIN FACTS - and not the all the history
garbage that clutters up logical thinking ... "well it's been like
that for years, so why change it" - hell we might as well still send
small children up chimneys because it was perfectly acceptable in
the past. Bring back slavery, make someone walk in front of your
car with a red flag, keep fox-hunting going... what about PROGRESS!!!

I could rant for years about this, I really could.

I hate the whole "I know best" attitude of those who "know" that I'll
appreciate something more if I've had to work for it. It's NONE OF
THEIR ****ING BUSINESS how I live my life so long as it doesn't
adversely affect anyone. I enjoy driving my car, but that's totally
unrelated to having had to pass the test - a test that WAS necessary
in that case.

If I want to spend xxxx on flashy radio gear and then get bored of it
a year later that's MY problem, MY fault, and I don't need someone
else to protect me from that - it's MY responsbility.

The Morse requirement serves no useful purpose.

I'm aware that that is just my OPINION, but the opinions of a majority
are what democracy should be based on. There is no proof that this
is happening!

But I'll get my way in the end. The requirement will go. 
There are those who are so used to the two classes thing that they
will call for a different barrier to class A but I still disagree.
The RAE exam should be enough of a hurdle to getting a licence in
the first place.

My hope is that once almost all users of the spectrum are using
un-monitor-able digital modes the only thing an enthusiast of radio
can do is join the amateur community. That might improve things.
Could take another 10 years or so though.

All the current scanner folk will either ignore radio completely
or go ham. Computers and digital internet comms will never replace
the magic of radio anymore than the telephone did. There'll always
be a fascination in launching a signal into the air, carrying your
voice to the other side of the planet, direct. Ham radio will be
the only thing on all the bands to listen to apart from broadcasting.

The future could well be bright. Let's "make it so"!

Some of us believe that MANDATORY Morse is an anachronism.

Why should it be up to Hams to help out during disasters?
Yes, that is mentioned in the international definition of the
amateur service, but it doesn't state that CW should be

I challenge anyone to list all the times Amateur Radio has
actually been used for emergencies, and tally up the number
of times Voice was used versus CW.

It may be easier to knock up a CW transmitter (but if you're
doing it REALLY lash-up style how would you know what freq.
you were using?) BUT it's more complicated to receive than AM!

Anyone who finds that CW on Ham Bands is their last resort
for help really hasn't planned their journey well enough!

Why should an enjoyable hobby for potentially millions of
people be held back just for the mere possibility of saving
one wretched life? *get a clue* do a little research into
how many people are dying of STARVATION every MINUTE - to
put this into perspective.

Imagine the following, extremely unlikely, but possible
all the same. The irony of it would be delicious...
Say one of you Morse monkey guys finds yourself on a yacht,
with some friends, one of which is interested in Ham Radio.
You are well out to sea, away from VHF range. Your friend
is playing with the HF rig, tuning around a ham band
listening to SSB. Suddenly something terrible happens and
the boat starts to take in water and sink.
You are in a life-threatening emergency, there is no Morse
key on the radio, just a mic... and you only have time for
one brief distress call before the rig is under water.
Your message is only heard by one station, a station that
is a no-coder who is just idly tuning around.
He can't answer you because he's never needed
to sort out his antenna for transmitting, and similarly
misses some vital info due to that poor antenna.
But you even as you sank beneath the waves and started
gulping in the ocean you'd still not see the point. What
a shame!

Does anyone else find it so ironic that this pro-Morse sentiment
comes to us over the internet? I assume they've all built their
own PCs (component level, not putting cards together),
written their own Operating Systems etc.
Maybe we should force people to pass an exam about TCP/IP before
allowing them onto the Internet? That would solve a problem or two,

>It sounds to me that you are just a person that lacks the
>discipline to master a new skill

Actually, I made the effort to learn it up to about 5 wpm before
finding there were more important things in life. I passionately
believe it should not be mandatory - from a balanced perspective.
It's a matter of principle. And for me personally I cannot
imagine passing the Morse test no matter how proficient I get -
a batter of poor nerves, but that's my problem, I'm not after
your sympathy or anyone else's - I wouldn't expect the unlikely.

> Have you ever missed a meal,
>participated in an Air Raid drill, served in the military, or
>shivered on a cold night because you didn't have enough blankets?

I can only apologize for my fortunate upbringing. Would you rather
we had another war, or that I was very poor? Would that be relevant
to Amateur Radio?

Times have changed, whether you like it or not. I think it's a good
thing, on the whole, although things have gone downhill in various
areas of life. C'est la vie.
These days we get what we want, regardless of how we pay for it
(either earnt through hard work or money handed to us on a plate
- irrelevant).

>Your parents probably gave you everything and you find
>yourself very uncomfortable with even the thought of having to
>struggle to get anything.

My parents did a fine job of teaching me the value of things.
Don't bring them into the argument, I'm sure yours would have
done the same.

I "struggled" to pass the exam for Amateur Radio (actually I found
it rather simple, but hey) and that's all that should be required.
If the exam is too easy, make it harder. I'll study for, and pass,
any relevant exam to retain my license. But I will not "do the code".

You seem to be stuck in the old frame of mind that people should
"deserve" things through merit. The world doesn't work that way
and it never has. I also believe that human nature is a constant
and even force and that the vast majority of us would act the
same way in the same situation having had the same upbringing.
You seem to disregard me as unworthy for some reason. I am human,
just like you. If I was going to pre-judge you I'd suspect you
leaned to the right politically, and may well even be a racist.

>After all, you have a job, you have the
>money to buy a rig, but the code is holding you back, what a

Yes it IS a shame. I'm really not asking as much as you seem to
think I am. Amateur radio is no big deal. It's a HOBBY. Can you
see what a simple point that is? Consider the word again - HOBBY.
Interest. Pastime. Why are you getting so fascist about it?
I could add to the hobby, but it seems I'm not welcome.

>Have you ever built anything electronic, or even own a
>soldering iron or a volt ohm meter? I don't think so.

Is this really necessary? Actually I've built several projects,
soldered and metered thank you very much. I even passed an
AO level (UK) electronics exam that required the building of a
project. You have fallen into the trap of thinking that lack of
interest in Morse means a poor intellect... I usually see things
the other way around - no offence :o)

>You are just
>what the ham bands need, another "Whining, Appliance Operator".

You will note I gave my regards, and apologized for any hurt feelings,
but was simply trying to speak my mind on an issue that enrages me.
There is no need to be rude - I always take that as an indication of
a lost argument.

I will get what I want, access to HF. It might take a decade more,
but I can wait, so long as God gives me the time. And when I get
it, I will be grateful. And it shall be "about time too". And I shall
laugh heartily in your direction.

Best wishes,
Welcome to the 21st century...

"The author" of ...

The use of HF spectrum as we know it changes near 26.1MHz, where usage becomes more 
like VHF/6 meters - services intended to be local, rather than long-distance.
You'd think that if any Tom, Dick or Harriet can use 4 Watts on 26 MHz (CEPT CB),
that a licenced Class B amateur would be able to use at least 3W (novice level) 
somewhere in this (28MHz) band, wouldn't you? But no, 30MHz is the cut off point (despite
not corresponding to the edge of any practical band usage) where you need to pass a
Morse test just to be able to use SSB! And who do they survey, to see if things
should change? The very people who have already suffered the ordeal!
SELFISH B*****DS. Don't get caught up in the way things happened in the past, riding
waves of nostalgia, but concentrate on the present, the future, what today's very
different generations could enjoy - share your precious bands with those who can
already do the same thing at 50MHz when the conditions are right. When ever we're at
work, that is. Or make the Morse test need to be re-taken every five years, we'll
see how quickly it gets dropped then!

Suppose there was no Amateur Radio, but such a service was being planned, to start
next year, with the rules and regulation we currently endure. There would be an uproar,
wouldn't there? Nobody would seriously suggest a morse requirement. I rest my case.
We do not NEED different licence classes apart from Novice and Full. And don't use that
tired old "wally filter" argument, I've already gone to the trouble of passing the RA Exam.
Don't interfere with MY life, go and live your OWN.

I do acknowledge the "true spirit of amateur radio" (homebrew and experimentation) IS
different from the fanatical pursuit of "radio DXing". I'd settle then for a two class
system where existing Novices and Class B licencees could use HF SSB on restricted parts
of the bands using type-approved equipment. With DXing available to the public with properly
regulated callsigns maybe 27MHz would become a peaceful haven for local FM comms, and the
Aero (R) 6.6MHz channels could be clear at last.

And I DO realise that CW can get through when all else fails, and that if I ever reached
12 words per minutes I might get to enjoy it. Maybe. But I object strongly to HAVING to.
Similar argument - you've no right to force someone to drink something that you're sure
they'll like. And if you disagree with that, change the subject to sex then try again.
Again, the Golden Rule in life - don't live someone else's life for them - live your own!

from newsgroup ...


This is the heading in the recent "closing comments" section of Monitoring Times, written by Bob Grove.

It got my attention, as I'm sure I did yours here, or you wouldn't be reading this post.

What intrigued me most about his position was the statistics relative to six months worth of enforcement action by the FCC as follows :

Of those licensees who had their licenses suspended, revoked, or under review for deliberately or maliciously disrupting legitimate communications -- playing music, keying on and off, hurling obscenities and profanities, noisemaking, and other infantile rudeness -- 85% had passed their MORSE CODE test!.

Of the licensees cited for LYING on FCC documents, falsifying call sign apps for non-existent clubs, and taking part in illegitimate testing sessions, 91% were certified as code proficient, with the largest representation being the EXTRA class licensee.

He goes on to exhalt the presence of Technicians in the hobby, and rightfully so.

These stats above cut through all the rhetoric I;ve seen in the groups regarding amateur radio test requirements.

After a hiatus of about a year, I have returned to 2M and 440, to find a veritable wasteland. WHERE IS EVERYONE? I feel like the guy in the British Ariways commercial who asks the same question. However, in this case, all the hams have NOT gone to London!!!

Here is where I think the Hams have gone...

5 or 6 year no-code techs, who represent the last "wave" of new hams after rule changes, such as myself, being restricted to 2M, 440 , and 6M, have become bored with the lack of activity of late. Yacking across town or across the state is nice at first, but grows old with time. Many have simply dropped out like I did a year ago.

The "elders" of the hobby, or Elmers, as the are often called, are acting more like Elmer Fudd, hanging onto old radio values, and silly elitist attitudes, and as we all must do, they are dying off.

brand new candidates who would've been attracted to this hobby in past generations, are on computers, and on the internet where they can not only talk to others in far away lands, but can wave at them in live video, and so on. No CODE required. For that matter, NO LICENSE required.

The 2M , 440, and 6M amateur bands are valuable radio real estate that will be gone, sold off to another Nextel-type company, as a result of our lack of interest.

All because we just can't let go of that damn code....

See you at the museum.


Monitoring Times

Quote : "Monitoring Times goes on record fully supporting and applauding the vigorous, new amateur radio enforcement efforts of the FCC, and repudiates the absurd notion that proficiency in Morse code is a gauge to the character or competence of a licensee."
We believe that an individual's ability to demonstrate increased Morse code proficiency is not necessarily indicative of that individual's ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art. As a result, we find that such a license qualification rule is not in furtherance of the purpose of the amateur service and we do not believe that it continues to serve a regulatory purpose.

...modern communications systems ...are based on digital communication technologies, communication system has been designed in many years that depends on hand-keyed telegraphy or the ability to receive messages in Morse code by ear. In contrast, modern communication systems are designed to be automated systems. Excerpt from Report and Order, WT Docket No. 98-143, Released December 30, 1999.

At a 1947 meeting in Atlantic City, the ITU agreed that Morse proficiency should only be required when amateur operation took place on frequencies below 1000 MHz (1 GHz). At WARC-59, the 1959 World Administrative Radio Conference dropped this level to 144 MHz. A further reduction was made at WARC-79 to its present 30 MHz level.

That still means that unless you are code proficient, no amateur radio operator can operate on the worldwide HF ham bands. The ITU does not define what code proficiency involves -- only that you have to be able to send code using a hand key and copy it with your ears. Using a computer doesn’t qualify, even though it can do it better and faster. Over the years, that manual Morse code requirement has kept hundreds of thousands of people from becoming a ham operator.

... Why the manual Morse proficiency requirement exists in this automatic digital age is a long story. Like Pogo says, "I have seen the enemy and it is us." In a nutshell, the American Radio Relay League -- the large U.S. ham society -- is the lead organization in the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU.) The IARU, made up of various national societies from around the world, is officially recognized as the worldwide Amateur Radio spokesman before the ITU. And since most long-term ham operators are Morse proficient, most of the national organizations have taken the position that all ham operators should be so skilled. Over the decades, the IARU and the ARRL have fought tooth-and-nail to keep the manual Morse requirement in ham radio.

... The NCVEC (the umbrella group National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators) said that "...except for the international Radio Regulation requirement (Article S25.5), there is no longer any public interest served by requiring code testing." But recognizing that treaty obligation, suggested a maximum Morse code examination speed of 5 wpm.

Summary of the US improvements (2000)

  • allow current Amateur Radio Service licensees to contribute more to the advancement of the radio art;
  • reduce the administrative costs that we incur in regulating this service and streamline our licensing processes;
  • eliminate unnecessary requirements that may discourage or limit individuals from becoming trained operators, technicians, and electronic experts; and
  • promote efficient use of spectrum allocated to the Amateur Radio Service.

Memorable Quote - the FCC, reinforcing its pronouncement made in the Codeless Technician Decision : "We do not concur ... that the passing of a telegraphy examination is an indication of the examinee's good character, high intelligence, cooperative demeanor, or willingness to comply with our rules. These traits are also found in individuals who have not passed a telegraphy examination rather than being exclusive to those who have passed such a test."

On - Lenof21...

Siggy, I'm not trying to equate myself to ANY pioneering of radio or electronics...just pointing out some of the rather blatant self-aggrandizement that some amateurs think is necessary to "further the service." One very large area of that is the constant propagandizing of the ARRL that amateur radio is somehow "responsible" for nearly all the advances in the radio art since radio began...that amateurs "pioneered" nearly everything with the blatant implication that they still do. They don't despite the chorusing of Chapter and Verse by the Faithful.

Back at the start of WW1, hams probably DID "pioneer" things in radio...but then, radio being so new (less than the legal age) ANYONE trying out something NEW back then was a "pioneer." An eighty year span between Then and Now has seen an enormous multiple quantum leap in radio/electronics technology, modulations, modes...and also a self-perpetuation, self-aggrandizement of "accomplishment" that is little more than third- and fourth-generation mythology. One such myth is that the shiniest badge one can wear is the tested ability to do morse cognition at 20 if the extra merit badge was labelled "Antique Radiotelegraphy Operator." Every other radio service has DROPPED that code "necessity" but those who have passed it keep insisting that everyone else who gets interested in radio MUST aspire to Your Greatness...MUST approach Your Expertise...MUST be arrogant and spiteful at the "lowly, lazy, ignorant" no- coders and, especially, treat the "unlicensed" with as much contempt as possible. Your contempt is obvious.

I used to be interested in amateur a hobby activity, something to do for fun. I've never "coveted" that license. I've been licensed in other radio services, have had to work in more of the EM spectrum than amateurs are legally allowed to do, used more different modes and modulations than amateurs are legally allowed to use. In the last couple of years I've become less interested since the attitude of so many of you extras, here and off the newsgroup, is one of contemptuous arrogance at those who cannot be as "good" as You. There is NO fun in such an environment unless one is inclined to self-aggrandizement, self-glorification and feelings of superiority over "lesser" humans.

Do I "covet" Your license? Absolutely not. Is the amateur radio license (to be) in the USA "elusive?"
Only if a bunch of egotistical, self-centered licensees who think they are Gods of Radio try to Rule it out of Their "right" to have what they feel they "deserve" at the expense of all those of the future who might be interested. That changes "elusivity" to a null string, a NOP, no activity interest...a non-hobby not worth pursuing. The only worth of such an environment is if one has an ego and arrogance as high as some and wish to do battle in a clear non-radio situation. I'm not interested in that nor was my ego ever as demonstrably large as some, yourself included.

Siggy, I'm really sorry you have such an arrogant attitude towards the loathsome unlicensed who dare (horrors!) to talk back to you. It doesn't look good to other unlicensed, radio-interested folk. It does guarantee an exclusivity for your noble class that is far above others of lowly status (in your eyes). May your blood remain blue...

On-off morse code keying is totally optional to any U.S. radio amateur in any allocated band, any license class. The FCC does not require U.S. radio amateurs to operate solely using on-off morse code keying. If the FCC does not require or mandate OOK CW, then why is there a test for same in order to obtain an amateur radio license?

The answer is easy to see but quite indigestible to the pro-code- tested who are adamant on retention of the code test:

1. They had to do it for licensing, therefore all new licensees must.
2. It is a "right to passage in the brotherhood."
3. Ability to pass a morse code cognition test somehow signifies "superiority" in radio operation and knowledge.
4. They anthropomorphose all licensing requirements to their own ability and experience as if all humans were endowed with their abilities, aptitudes, and desires.

All 4 items above have been shown to be false relative to licensing by the FCC. They are all bound by some notion of already-licensed radio amateurs being the "law experts" who shall judge what all new licensees must do for their license.

The FCC regulates civil radio in the USA, not the amateur radio "brotherhood" (or whatever fraternal-order term they wish to use).

>There is no operational skill required to press a PTT button and
 talk into a microphone. Any idiot can do it, and most idiots do!

You're an arrogant ****** aren't you? It must be really wonderful
to have such a pleasant disregard for your fellow man.

Yes, people come in a wide range of intelligences, but we are
ALL capable of being foolish once in a while, and we all have
an equal right to enjoy things. You'd do well to learn that
lesson and remember it.

And, given the large number of sports folk who can do REALLY
impressive things with inflated balls but wouldn't necessarily
get a PhD, I'd say a "skill" such as Morse-by-ear doesn't
actually mean you're not an "idiot" either.

Get real. Give up the radio for a while, get a life.
See something of the real world. Meet people.
See how the "other half" live.
Learn. Then see just how important ham ****ing radio is.
Then let us live our lives without dictating to us
how it "should be".

>What a foolish comparison, comparing pasing morse test to passing
TCP/IP exam to get on the Internet.

No, it's quite a good analogy from where I'm sitting. You can
miss the compliment to Morse if you like!

>When you are on the air, you belong to a breed of elite radio
operators, who share the radio spectrum, and certain formalities
due to the open condition you are operating... 

Elite! You said it! Ha ha... what about the normal guy? Selfish!

>...It requires the highest discipline and operating technique.

Yes. I've already passed an exam about that. It has nothing to
do with Morse though, has it?

>Hams should be able to switch modes in times of need and emergency,
when your mic goes dead, when your SSB button is screwed up.

You need to educate yourself about the purpose of Ham Radio. It's
got nothing to do with emergencies. 
Anyway, a truly capable ham could fix their mic, I'm sure. Or have
a spare. What happens when your CW button gets screwed up?!!

>A Ham must be trained in Morse code, alas, you are just like those
F**** security guards holding his walkie-talkie.

"Must be"? Says who? Stop forcing your OPINIONS on the rest of us!
Talking into a walkie-talkie is entirely within the bounds of the
Amateur Service. If you don't like it, stick to the CW that you
like, and stop denying us the chance to do what we like. Fascist!

>Any fool can talk but only true hams can work CW.

Any fool can talk - well that includes you, my friend.
"True hams"?!! Love of RADIO denotes a true ham, not love of Morse.
What is wrong with talking? Speech is the ultimate form of
communication. Wired comms only really took off when the telephone
was available. So... I assume you'll never use SSB again then.

Sorry, but you are wrong. You have been caught up in an
alternative reality, believing all the things the fascist hams
WANT you to believe. You have been brainwashed.

Look at the bare facts. Nothing else. Look at the OFFICIAL ITU
definition of Amateur Radio, articles S1.56 etc.

*FACT* Amateur radio is purely for PERSONAL interest and self
training, and *OPINION* is permitted by many administrations
purely as it provides a number of the population skilled in
radio matters which could be useful in the event of war.

Morse is irrelevant to HF SSB. If Morse really IS vital, then
I propose all HF amateurs should be re-tested every 5 years,
SSB should not be permitted, and at least 100 QSL cards should
be presented at the Morse re-tests as proof of using the mode.

I think you'd find that if the above rule was brought in, ham
radio would decline dramatically.

As it is, I suspect that by 2005 at least one of the "big 3"
Yaesu, Kenwood or Icom will have left the amateur market. The
rest will follow.

It's up to you folks. I'm not that bothered any more. Yes, I get
wound up about the issue when there's nothing else on my mind.
I feel cheated to be denied something due to something totally
un-connected to what I want to do. But I've survived quite happily
without it so far, I can get by without ham radio thanks very
much. It's quite obvious I wouldn't be welcome on reasonable terms.
Stuff it!

I'm just about done, venting my angst in the newsgroups. I've
more-or-less got it out of my system now. I know I'm either
preaching to the converted, or wasting my time on the closed-
minded who are so set in their ways they cannot see the truth.

All I want to do is work a little DX, have a natter on 3.7 or
7 MHz sometimes, spread a little joy around the world giving
far-away fellow amateurs a chance to work my "square".

If that's too much to ask then, quite frankly, **** you all!
I'll stick to hobbies that aren't ruled by arrogant elitest
bullies. Who knows what I could have contributed to the hobby
if I'd been welcomed? Your loss!

>allowing the deaf to communicate

Well good for them! But you may have noticed that we don't force
things on people to suit minorities. We don't ALL have to learn
sign language just for the benefit of the deaf, anymore than we
have to roll around in wheel-chairs just because some people
are unfortunately unable to walk.

The deaf must be having a great time on the internet right now.
When the time comes that most 'net comms are achieved by voice
instead of typing it'll be a sad day for them but progress is

Sorry to sound harsh, but that's the way it is. S25.5 was more
than likely not put in place just to benefit the deaf.

Can't you come up with ANY good reasons for Morse testing? 
All the tired old arguments you lot come up with are so easy
shoot down in flames!

>I have never understood why a group of people who want to
>uphold high standards is...

A morse test has *NOTHING* to do with high standards - it's
just a skill for one mode. That's the key to understanding this.
Good luck.

Even if you could somehow prove that passing a more difficult
test improved the "standard" of the amateur (there's plenty of
evidence to the contrary) that might be because a test filters
out all but the real fanatics. Fine, if that's what ALL of us
can be proven to want, in a democratic way. But I'd still call
for alternative harder tests, a more technical exam for example
would be fine by me.

>Fascism, on the other hand, had to do with oppression.
>Do you feel opwessed by the bad old CW test?

Yes. You are needlessly supporting my being barred from HF,
trying to impose your "standards" on me. Again, good luck
should you ever decide to attempt to see things from my point
of view... somehow I don't think you'll bother.

>You probably doesn't even have your license anyway

I passed the British exam years ago, thanks. Rather well, too.
I have no wish to see standards drop. Just don't think Morse
should be forced down our ears.

>>determined to turn amateur radio into some radio playland for >>the people That's EXACTLY what it should be. None of this pathetic snobbery. A service for "personal" use (surprise, just how it *IS* defined) where learning more is possible (but not actually compulsory - just how it is too). DX-ing, Ragchewing, useful comms with friends, technical experimentation, and the ability to use your equipment as required to assist with emergencies. (Surprise - Morse not necessary for any of it).
>>use of HF frequencies is a privilege, not a right That a matter of opinion. I'm only interested in facts, rules and how we can democratically improve the rules to bring them into line with current conditions. I believe the radio waves are a natural resource to which we all have a right to a share, so long as we have shown by exam that we know what we are doing and are not going to cause interference. Morse need not apply. Let's get rid of all this muddled thinking about somehow *earning* the privilege, about not appreciating something unless you've worked for it, being handed things on a plate... hogwash the lot of it! There is a demand for an Amateur Service world-wide and it is there, by international agreement for as long as it still wanted. Rights and privileges do not come into it. The ITU rules are what matter. The frequency limits for non-code amateurs have been lowered several time already, and it is long overdue for either another lowering to 10MHz or scrapping a limit altogether.

I believe in progress. If a micro-processor DSP can decode
Morse for me and allow me to send typed text, I could use
Morse for low-signal work too - and I can imagine I probably
would (given the chance). With such computer power available,
and given the usefulness of the mode, CW is not going to die off.
I just object to having to do it by ear and by hand, as per the
current S25.5 .

We let technology make our lives easier in all other walks of
life, why not radio?

Don't waste your time with any of the tired old arguments about
achievement, earning something, laziness etc - that hogwash is
opinion only, and nothing to do with regulations.

Operating a black box on an amateur band (having passed the test
to prove you know enough not to cause interference) is well
within the definition of amateur radio, even if you think we
should all build our own gear and use nothing but CW.
Keep your opinion to yourself and don't force it on us, thanks
very much. "Laziness and stupidity" don't apply, and if present
in small amounts are none of your business anyway.
It's a HOBBY!! Don't tell me how I should enjoy my spare time!


1. A change long lobbied for is announced
   by the FCC, do you: 

a. complain miserably on every band for
   which you have access 
b. stock supplies in preparation for the
   obvious end of the world
c. make sure everyone knows how hard things
   were when you first became a ham
d. all of the above 

2. Proper testing procedure should include: 

a. the ability to solve a triple integral
   equations and Fourier transforms 
b. the design and construction of an
   entire HF rig using valves
c. the ability to send 30wpm cw using a
   foot paddle while standing on your head 
d. all of the above 

3. The FCC moves to another letter in
   sequence denoting new hams, you must: 

a. Listen for the new calls and let them
   know how long you have been a ham and
   that you are a higher class 
b. Coordinate with your buddies to not
   respond to these "appliance operators" 
c. Make sure to "educate" all the new
   calls as to the proper procedures of
   being a HAM according to you 
d. all of the above 

4. When you received your license it also
   gave you which rights? 

a. omnipotence: your opinion is always
   right and there is no room for other,
   obviously wrong, views 
b. your fringe interest such as QRP, CW,
   ATV, APRS, etc. must be imposed on others
c. to post and say controversial or extreme
   views and expect no dissention or debate 
d. all of the above 

5. HAM radio should always maintain the same
   set of rules since Marconi because: 

a. You had to do it, so should everybody else
b. We wouldn't want to ruin the neighborhood
   by letting all those lazy CB rejects into
   the hobby 
c. You can't possibly be a good HAM radio
   operator without an EE degree and 20wpm
   code skills 
d. all of the above 

6. A good way to assert you opinion is to: 

a. say and write vile right wing diatribes
   but laugh or put a smiley on it and say
   is is a "joke" 
b. hang out only in groups of people who
   believe as you do to reinforce your
c. let everyone know that it is not an
   opinion, but rather a fact and only an
   idiot couldn't see that 
d. all of the above 

7. The HAM radio motto is: 

a. intolerance, self-righteousness, arrogance
b. exclusion, close-mindedness, bitterness 
c. conservatism, the Klan, the NRA 
d. Veni, Vidi, Vinci 

8. The recent "proposal for change" in
   rulemaking has asked for the following: 

a. reciting 500 memorized stories, chants,
   and formulas in a dark, candle lit room to
   12 hooded elders 
b. electric shock therapy for any question
   missed regarding Q signals or pro-signs 
c. skills test showing the ability to solder
   50 surface mount components in 5 minutes 
d. proficiency in setting up a remote
   mountain top station using magnet wire,
   chewing gum and burlap

9. The proper way to maintain your skills
   as a HAM are: 

a. troll newsgroups and nets to learn clever
   catch phrases like "appliance operator"
   and "codeless tech" 
b. get on 2m repeaters and use Q signals
   like "QTH" and "QSL", and terms like
   "ROGER" and "OVER" 
c. put down others so that you can appear to
   be above them without actually having to
   elevate yourself 
d. all of the above 

10. When you first became a HAM radio operator

a. You aced all exams without a missed
   question, could send 30wpm CW, and built
   all of your own equipment 
b. You had to walk 20 miles in a blizzard,
   at night, with a broken leg to take your
   tests at the FCC office 
c. You didn't have to worry about those damn
   parasites that didn't have to pass a code
d. Marconi was still a Novice 

"VHF/UHF ONLY" licensing doesn't work. Maybe for a small number,
who get what they want, after a while on VHF the average ham
gets bored of the locals and if they haven't got any GOOD mates
to chat to on a regular basis they decide DXing is the only thing
ham radio has to offer. With HF denied to them they simply give
up. There must be thousands of no-HF hams holding on to their
callsigns "just in case" but never going on-air.

Easy nattering on the internet will kill ham radio. Before long
we'll all have cheap mobile internet access. Anywhere you go
you'll be able to have a chat with people. Imagine the newsgroups
with each message being a quickly downloaded sound file instead
of text. Cool or what?!! It's coming. Makes Ham Radio a look a
little sick, doesn't it?

It would be easy to combine a voice version of IRC with a
"simulated rig" interface and provide Virtual Ham Radio.
You'd register, giving your location. The server would determine
"propagation" for that time, and you'd tune to a "frequency"
where you'd only hear other "stations" if the server decided
you should be able to. It could simulate all the noise and
fading we expect! And guess what? Worldwide comms with no Morse
requirement. Why can't we just use the real radio?!!

"You might cause interference, we can't trust you" - Hello!!
We've already taken an operating/technical exam!!

"You might misbehave, it's wally filter" - What?!! Knowing Morse
would make me sensible?! Wake up... the Morse barrier doesn't
prevent me doing something wrong, it only prevents me doing
something right - can't you understand that distinction?
Listen, the lowest band we can use is 50MHz. Single band 50MHz
equipment is very hard to come by and not worth buying when
50MHz is almost standard issue with new HF rigs. There must be
thousands of VHF/UHF-only hams out there with the ability to
tranmit on HF already. But do they? NO!!! Credit us with some
intelligence, please. It must be horrible to have such a low
opinion of your fellow man as you pro-testing folk have.

"We've got to keep the numbers down" - What?!! Why bother
trying to attract newcomers with Novice licenses then?
What is wrong with nice busy bands? Even if the SSB sections
are nice and full that's not going to stop your CW is it? 

Ham radio will be left with the die-hards who love it for what it
is. The numbers will be so small that Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom etc
will give up making gear. The decline will accelerate...

I believe the 11m crowd would jump at the chance to "do it
properly". Even though, listening to 27.555 at the weekend
impressed the heck out of me - they put the hams to shame in
many ways.

Wake up Ham Radio, or die in your sleep!

That is exactly the problem with these self-absorbed types.
It makes them feel so good and superior to look down upon
those who have not learned code that they don't think about
what they are doing. It is so easy for them to bask in the
glory of this one achievement they have made that they can't
look at the big picture. By pointing their fingers at the
lazy, stupid, dogs they convince themselves that because
they did learn code they must be by default un-lazy,
un-stupid, and superior to us dogs. See "even my dog can
learn code" posted by one of these fossils above.

If we take this crutch away from them then they will have no
other yardstick by which they can measure their "superiority"
and the harsh light of reality will creep in and show just
how pathetic their little lives are. I really feel that many
of these code-worshipers have nothing else to cling to so
that is why they hang on so tenaciously. Once they lose this
they know that they will only have stories of the "good old
days" to comfort them. It is sad and I do feel sorry for
them because this is all many of them have.

Read the following descriptions of two fictitious amateurs...


Adam has used CB since the illegal days in the 1970s. Adam loves voicing his opinions on CB. Adam is fairly arrogant, and downright rude to anyone not in his favour. Adam gets fed up with the music on CB, and likes to jam such stuff by "keying them out". Adam enjoys DXing too, and when the FM CB channels are too crowded with SSB he thinks "if you can't beat them, join them" and uses 11m "freeband" SSB channels - against the terms of the license he would never dream of paying for. The idea of Ham Radio appeals to him, and having picked up a bit of knowledge here and there, decides to read a bit of the RAE manual and take the test. He eventually scrapes through on the third attempt. He still doesn't care much for the terms and conditions (BR68) and thinks you should sign /P if using a portable rig. The lure of HF is too great, and he gets some help from the local amateur club to learn Morse. A pass is eventually awarded even though Adam has no intention AT ALL of ever using CW. He still can't solder a PL259 onto a feeder. He's hardly ever listened to any HF. Ionospheric layers and propagation are a mystery to him. Adam is well pleased with his nice new M0xxx callsign and gets 500 QSL cards printed up straight away.


Bob loves radio. He has done ever since he was a child. He had his fun on CB too, but saw Amateur Radio as the real thing. With his love of electronics, and a few years listening on various bands, Bod had no trouble passing the RAE the first time (age 14) with a distinction on both papers. Bob joined in on VHF, converting an old PMR rig to do so. All his antennas were homemade. He built a linear amplifier for 144MHz, even a mic compressing pre-amp. He is an active member of the local ham club, and helps teach the novice course. Bob has worked through many satellites, and has hours of HF under his belt while "supervised" at the club. On 50 MHz, Bod has worked many many countries and has an impressive collection of QSL cards. Bob has even taken part in DX-peditions to activate rare "squares". Bob has been on the winning team during numerous contests. Bob enjoys Amateur TV and has helped contruct a repeater for the benefit of the local amateur community. Bob monitors the local 70cms repeater and always welcomes amateurs visiting the area, even giving them a room for the night if needs be. Bob is very well liked and respected, but unfortunately finds CW completely unappealing. Bob remains a G6xxx.
... Which one most deserves access to HF? Which one actually gets HF?

Japan took an excepton to the code requirement very early on. 
You are referring to RR 2735, which now is known as S25.5. 

>Does this article will be rediscussed in the next mondial meeting
>on next may in Turkey ?? Because with Japan, there is a break in the RR.
Amateur Radio regulations are supposed to be discussed at the WARC in 2003. 

Other countries can make the break too legally. Japan has taken exception
to the code requirement, others can too if they so wish.

Read another "anti" opinion and VOTE for or against here at 32010.

See the No-Code organisation's site for more details of the campaign.

WIA Victoria has a nice page detailing the status of the struggle.

In a way, I can understand the attitude of those who have already passed the Morse test. It's human nature to want to protect your acheivement. How annoying it would be to struggle to pass the test (and never use Morse) only to find that a few years later it isn't needed any more!

That is why I say "Don't Listen to Them!" on this issue. They are too biased. Listen instead to the larger number of people who are currently prevented from enjoying HF. Some of the more opinionated pro-testing advocates can be extremely unpleasant individuals hell-bent on not only protecting "their" frequencies (we don't want the CW sub-bands!) but denying others the pleasure of working any HF whatsoever simply because we don't "deserve it". We are not "real" hams. We are simply "whingeing". Sad. Sometimes I wonder if the Morse skill actually fries their brains and renders them unable to argue correctly - then I remember it's really the other way around; the mentally impaired are more likely prepared to subject themselves to the ordeal of learing the skill and then carp on about how everyone should have to, because they managed it. Stuff the snobbery, all this talk of what a REAL ham should be - that's just outdated minority opinions. We all have to start somewhere, we can't all start off as 'real' hams. Anyone who has passed the relevant exams and communicated on amateur bands IS A RADIO AMATEUR. Learning more can follow later.

What seems to be most upsetting about my view on this is the following - a lot of amateurs are very caught up in the whole history of ham radio, and the customs and practices that have become "the norm" - the accepted way of doing things by a community that has evolved over many decades. This leads to an artificial definition of "real" ham radio carrying a lot more baggage than the official one.

I, on the other hand, only care about what my license says I can and cannot do - and how the international rules and regulations dictate how my government sees fit to allow the Amateur Service in my country. My definition of amateur radio is therefore slightly at odds with that of the code-testing supporters. Any operating of radio equipment, bought or home-made, for personal use, IS amateur radio in my opinion, as it's defined by the ITU. If not taking place on amateur bands (CB, pirate, pmr446/FRS/GMRS, etc) then it is still amateur radio in a way (to me), which is why I object to the whole "CBers as lower lifeforms" attitude. If two top-class (!) amateurs communicate with each other over a CB channel using amateur procedures, there is no difference except the frequency involved.

I guess we'll never agree then. But the difference is, I can understand their viewpoint and admit it is reasonable in it's own way, but they seem unable to get their heads around my viewpoint at all!

Be honest, I could have worked hundreds of countries on 50MHz by now, or by satellite, could have built all my own equipment, but in the eyes of some I'd still not be a "real" ham. Pathetic.

How absurd all this is, can be brought into sharp focus by the fact that only passing the test is asked for... actually using CW is not a requirement at all! That's one of the best points I know to illustrate the absurdity of it all.

Don't get me wrong, I can see that Morse is a VERY efficient mode that is useful for low-signal work, and is enjoyed by many. But that doesn't mean it needs to be a requirement, to limit access to HF. Let's not cloud the argument slagging off one mode against another, it's the artificial barrier needs to be consigned to history.

I'm just calling for democracy. If everyone affected by this is consulted, and represented fairly I'm sure the requirement will go. That's not too much too ask for, is it? Democracy? Unreasonable?

Here are the ITU regulations (international agreed treaty)
concerning the Amateur Service and anything about the service
that has INTERNATIONAL effects :


Amateur services


Section I. Amateur Service

S25.1   § 1.      Radiocommunications between amateur stations of different countries shall be forbidden if the administration of one of the countries concerned has notified that it objects to such radiocommunications.

S25.2   § 2.    1) When transmissions between amateur stations of different countries are permitted, they shall be made in plain language and shall be limited to messages of a technical nature relating to tests and to remarks of a personal character for which, by reason of their unimportance, recourse to the public telecommunications service is not justified.

S25.3             2) It is absolutely forbidden for amateur stations to be used for transmitting international communications on behalf of third parties.

S25.4             3) The preceding provisions may be modified by special arrangements between the administrations of the countries concerned.

S25.5   § 3.    1) Any person seeking a licence to operate the apparatus of an amateur station shall prove that he is able to send correctly by hand and to receive correctly by ear, texts in Morse code signals. The administrations concerned may, however, waive this requirement in the case of stations making use exclusively of frequencies above 30 MHz.

S25.6             2) Administrations shall take such measures as they judge necessary to verify the operational and technical qualifications of any person wishing to operate the apparatus of an amateur station.

S25.7   § 4.    The maximum power of amateur stations shall be fixed by the administrations concerned, having regard to the technical qualifications of the operators and to the conditions under which these stations are to operate.

S25.8   § 5.    1) All the general rules of the Convention, the Convention and of these Regulations shall apply to amateur stations. In particular, the emitted frequency shall be as stable and as free from spurious emissions as the state of technical development for such stations permits.

S25.9             2) During the course of their transmissions, amateur stations shall transmit their call sign at short intervals.

S25.10   § 6.    The provisions of Section I of this Article shall apply equally, as appropriate, to the amateur-satellite service.

Obviously it is S25.5 that needs to be re-negotiated internationally.
This WILL happen eventually - it HAS to!

NOTE that no mention of any speed requirement is given in S25.5 - thus
administrations are free to drop the speed necessary to 5wpm or even less.

NOTE also that no mention is made of the REASONS why Morse is required,
thus rendering most of the pro-Morse camp's arguments irrelevant.

Now... how EXACTLY is amateur radio defined?
Simple - ITU articles S1.56 and S1.57 :

S1.56     amateur service: A radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

S1.57     amateur-satellite service: A radiocommunication service using space stations on earth satellites for the same purposes as those of the amateur service.

As an aside, consider the following :

S1.96     amateur station: A station in the amateur service.

S1.98     experimental station: A station utilizing radio waves in experiments with a view to the development of science or technique.

This definition does not include amateur stations.

... so all that stuff about Amateur experimentations leading the
way in developments of "science or technique" is hogwash - amateurs
are only allowed to carry out "technical investigations"!

So - what is Amateur Radio?

We can see from the above that Amateur radio is purely for personal reasons - self-training and investigations combined with intercommunication. No mention of monitoring for distress calls or HAVING to use a mode like CW that suits the deaf or any other of the usual pathetic arguments peddled by the pro-Morse-testing lobby. Without any of the reasoning behind S25.5 being given, we are free to argue it's relevance in these modern times, in the light of the internet, satellites, and other technologies that freely permit international communication - even 50MHz, cross-border VHF/UHF or CB!

We do not need to be able to understand any requests to QSY on PRIMARY bands, and given that Morse is no longer widely used by any other service this makes proficiency in Morse unecessary from that angle. It could even be argued that the clause "receive correctly by ear, texts in Morse code" could well be re-negotiated to "receive correctly by ear or automatic apparatus, texts in Morse code" to allow the computer to take the strain. Consider that Morse was actually originally designed to be sent and read by machine - operators found they could do the job easier themselves but that is irrelevant to today's issue of Amateur access to HF.

The only other reasoning behind S25.5 that I can think of is that is makes communication easier between those who do not understand each other's languages. If this turns out to be democratically wanted by the majority then I'll accept it and shut up. I can communicate just as easily on the internet. I'd like to do it by radio, but that's life. I would however want to see an altnernative route - I'm not LAZY (just don't like CW) - I would willingly learn Esperanto instead, or study for any more difficult higher-class radio-electronics exam if that would make the difference.

Making communication easier internationally really doesn't need to be mandatory in my opinion. Anyone who wishes to contact such stations will acquire the necessary skills of their own accord. A lot of foreign DX-ers already speak English, and Q codes and the phonetic alphabet makes CW-style contacts just as simple on voice modes as on CW. Again, this doesn't affect international 50MHz or satellite so why should it affect 28MHz or lower?

Having a common means of intercommunicating is a nice ideal, but let's live in the real world, shall we? They say this allows the "proper co-ordinated use of a limited resource" but when was the last time you ever heard that happening? It's a smokescreen, it really is. I personally am sick and tired of laws and regulations that are based on some idealists' Utopia that only exists in their pink and fluffy imaginations. Why not examine what real people are actually doing and legislate so that 85 per cent (or more) of the population will not be breaking the law? Anyone with half a brain can appreciate how legislating to ban something for which there is a clear demand drives such activity underground and leads to more crime. In the case of amateur radio this over-complicated Morse demand leads to frustrated would-be amateurs who turn their backs on the hobby, and to pirate use of 27MHz, 6.6MHz etc.

One thing that many over-zealous amateurs seem to fail to remember is the following - it's a HOBBY! One that should be fully available to anyone able to prove their ability by passing the exam.
The useful and delightful art of CW is NOT fundamental to running an amateur station on all bands below 30MHz.
CW should be left to those who WANT to do it AND NOT FORCED ON ANYONE.

Those control freaks who wish to stop me enjoying my interest should pay close attention to this part of the S1.56 definition of Amateur Radio : "solely with a personal aim" - now leave my personal aims alone!

Some might feel that this goes against all the history and traditions that have made Amateur Radio what it is today. I say take a good look at what Amateur Radio is today, what it will be tomorrow if nothing is done, and what it could be tomorrow if given the chance.

Progress. I rest my case.

28th Jan, 2002