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Old 12-21-2006
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From:
Jack Richards, W4QVA
Public Information Officer
ARRL / ARES
Southern Florida Section
Palm Beach County
W4QVA@arrl.net

FOR IMMIDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2006

MORSE CODE REQUIREMENT ELIMINATED


In an official Public Notice made Friday December 15, 2006 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announce the removal of the MORSE CODE REQUIREMENTS from all amateur license classes. The release of the actual Report & Order which should provide details of this action including the effective dates did not accompany the release.

This long awaited news to the amateur community is expected to help stimulate interest and entry of new people into the ranks of amateur operators by allowing a more streamlined pathway to access to all of the amateur radio bands. The FCC originally eliminated Morse code requirements for the entry level TECHNICIAN class license in 1991 which allowed operation without code knowledge only on the bands above 30 mhz. These frequencies quickly became popular for localized emergency operations and are the backbone of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service which serves so well in South Florida during hurricane and other emergency applications. Many of the ARES operators are of the Technician class.

Upon implementation, this new ruling will give Technician class operators immediate limited operating privileges in the other amateur bands as well as a more “knowledge only” based pathway to the General and Extra class licenses. This is important not only to the hobby but to the emergency services operations as it is these “lower” bands that have the long range “skip” properties that allow extreme long range DIRECT communications. The ability of emergency managers to utilize even Technician class licensees in these operations will give a new level of flexibility for emergency communications needs.

With this hurdle out of the way, it is hoped that many members of the general public who have always seen “Ham Radio” as interesting but just requiring too much dedication to achieve entry may now see this as an exciting new hobby that is easily within their reach, as well as being able to provide an active role in an emergency if desired. Local ham clubs are already planning training sessions for interested new participants for early 2007. Anyone interested in more information on Amateur Radio and becoming part of this great adventure is encouraged to visit www.arrl.org for general information. For information concerning local opportunities interested parties can email w4qva@arrl.net for further information.

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