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FCC Eliminates Morse Code Requirement (Finally!!)

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  • Tom VanderMel
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEWS MEDIA CONTACT: December 15, 2006 Chelsea Fallon: (202) 418-7991 FCC MODIFIES AMATEUR RADIO SERVICE RULES, ELIMINATING MORSE CODE
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2006
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      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
      December 15, 2006 Chelsea Fallon: (202) 418-7991

      FCC MODIFIES AMATEUR RADIO SERVICE RULES,
      ELIMINATING MORSE CODE EXAM REQUIREMENTS AND
      ADDRESSING ARRL PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION

      Washington, D.C. – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
      adopted a Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration (Order) that
      modifies the rules for the Amateur Radio Service by revising the examination
      requirements for obtaining a General Class or Amateur Extra Class amateur
      radio operator license and revising the operating privileges for Technician
      Class licensees. In addition, the Order resolves a petition filed by the
      American Radio Relay League, Inc. (ARRL) for partial reconsideration of an
      FCC Order on amateur service rules released on October 10, 2006.

      The current amateur service operator license structure contains three
      classes of amateur radio operator licenses: Technician Class, General
      Class, and Amateur Extra Class. General Class and Amateur Extra Class
      licensees are permitted to operate in Amateur bands below 30 MHz, while the
      introductory Technician Class licensees are only permitted to operate in
      bands above 30 MHz. Prior to today’s action, the FCC, 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.

      Today’s Order eliminates that requirement for General and Amateur Extra
      licensees. This change reflects revisions to international radio
      regulations made at the International Telecommunication Union’s 2003 World
      Radio Conference (WRC-03), which authorized each country to determine
      whether to require that individuals demonstrate Morse code proficiency in
      order to qualify for an amateur radio license with transmitting privileges
      on frequencies below 30 MHz. 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 radio.

      Today’s Order also revises the operating privileges for Technician Class
      licensees by eliminating a disparity in the operating privileges for the
      Technician Class and Technician Plus Class licensees. Technician Class
      licensees are authorized operating privileges on all amateur frequencies
      above 30 MHz. The Technician Plus Class license, which is an operator
      license class that existed prior the FCC’s simplification of the amateur
      license structure in 1999 and was grandfathered after that time, authorized
      operating privileges on all amateur frequencies above 30 MHz, as well as
      frequency segments in four HF bands (below 30 MHz) after the successful
      completion of a Morse code examination. With today’s elimination of the
      Morse code exam requirements, the FCC concluded that the disparity between
      the operating privileges of Technician Class licensees and Technician Plus
      Class licensees should not be retained. Therefore, the FCC, in today’s
      action, afforded Technician and Technician Plus licensees identical
      operating privileges.

      Finally, today’s Order resolved a petition filed by the ARRL for partial
      reconsideration of an FCC Order released on October 10, 2006 (FCC 06-149).
      In this Order, the FCC authorized amateur stations to transmit voice
      communications on additional frequencies in certain amateur service bands,
      including the 75 meter (m) band, which is authorized only for certain
      wideband voice and image communications. The ARRL argued that the 75 m band
      should not have been expanded below 3635 kHz, in order to protect
      automatically controlled digital stations operating in the 3620-3635 kHz
      portion of the 80 m band. The FCC concluded that these stations can be
      protected by providing alternate spectrum in the 3585-3600 kHz frequency
      segment.

      Action by the Commission on December 15, 2006, by Report and Order and Order
      on Reconsideration. Chairman Martin and Commissioners Copps, Adelstein,
      Tate, and McDowell.

      For additional information, contact William Cross at (202) 418-0691 or
      William.Cross@....
      WT Docket Nos. 04-140 and 05-235.
      – FCC –

      News and other information about the Federal Communications Commission
      is available at www.fcc.gov.

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