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An Editorial by W6DEK in response to the ARRL proposal to remove the Morse Code Requirement for amateur radio operations below 30 Mhz. Ham radio operators holding a Technician license would have voice privalages on HF. The CW debate has merit on both sides. Ont thing to remember is this; No matter what class of FCC callsign you hold, Novice, General, Advanced, or Extra, we are all hams. We'll just have to let the Commissioners, Chairman Powell, and maybe K4ZDH, Riley Hollingsworth sort it out. ~w6dek~

Dear Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, and Mr. Hollingsworth,

My name is Dennis Keizer, amateur callsign W6DEK. Please give the latest ARRL proposal all the consideration it deserves by promptly filing it in the circular receptacle. When I was first licensed in 1995 I joined the ARRL because it seemed like the thing to do at the time. After a couple of years I realized that they do not have the best interest of the hobby in mind. The ARRL is all about promoting itself these days. It's new goal seems to be obtaining new members by any means possible. The easiest way for the League to do this is by recruiting new (ignorant) hams into the hobby. Those of us that have been around a while are not renewing our memberships to the ARRL for one common reason; they no longer represent our interest in preserving the integrity of the hobby service. That's right, amateur radio is a SERVICE.

Before examining the code issue, let's first start with the "grandfathering" issue. Granting HF privileges to a large group of "hams" that have NEVER BEEN TESTED on anything regarding the HF bands, is just plain stupid. They don't even know what their privileges are, or where the sub bands are in each of the HF bands. This is the first ingredient in the recipe for disaster. The last time the ARRL proposed this in 1999 the Commission disagreed, and rightfully so. I hope that the Commission's position has not changed on this issue. This would be like removing the written test from the licensing process for operating motor vehicles. Just because a person can start their car, (or power up a radio and squeeze the PTT), doesn't mean they know the rules and are qualified to hold driver's license. That's why the DMV requires a written test AND a driving test. The same holds true for an amateur radio license.

Now, lets look at the code requirement. That's right, now that I'm on board, let's pull up the anchor! NOT! Seriously though, let's look at the pros and cons of having a code requirement: Does the code act as a "filter" to keep out some of the undesirable element. ABSOLUTELY YES.
Does it therefor, also keep out some of the good people? I think not. People of good character that have a genuine interest in amateur radio will usually take the small amount of time required to pass the code test. It's just too easy at five words per minute. The Amateur Radio Service does not exist to reward laziness. Removing the code requirement completely will most certainly spell the end of incentive licensing. Removing the code requirement will obviously create an enforcement nightmare. The enforcement bureau is already spread too thin. Many of these undesirables already exist above 30 megahertz. Allowing them unrestricted access to the "world-wide" bands is insane. It would be like granting Janet Jackson a license for amateur television! Just because a few other countries are doing away with the code requirement doesn't mean we should too. The United States doesn't follow trends, it sets them. Let's lead the world in preserving the integrity of the amateur Radio Service. Please do not turn the HF bands into CB! Please deny the ARRL proposal and make the Commission's position clear. Let the ARRL know that they have lost touch with the goals of the Commission and the majority of the amateur radio community.

Dennis E. Keizer

Chairman Michael K. Powell:
Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy:
Commissioner Michael J. Copps:
Commissioner Kevin J. Martin:
Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein:
W. Riley Hollingsworth:


Morse Code