ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB004 (2007)

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ARLB004 Codeless Amateur Radio testing tentatively begins February 23

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ARRL Bulletin 4  ARLB004
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  January 19, 2007
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB004
ARLB004 Codeless Amateur Radio testing tentatively begins February 23

The ARRL has learned that the FCC's Report and Order (R&O) in the
''Morse code proceeding,'' WT Docket 05-235,
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-178A1.pdf,
is scheduled to appear in the Federal Register Wednesday, January
24. Assuming that occurs, the new Part 97 rules deleting any Morse
code examination requirement for Amateur Radio license applicants
would go into effect Friday, February 23, 2007. The League cautions
that this date is tentative, pending official confirmation and
publication.

''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,'' the FCC remarked in the Morse code R&O.

Publication of the R&O in the Federal Register starts a 30-day
countdown for the new rules to go on the books. Rules and
regulations that appear in the Federal Register constitute their
official version.

Deletion of the Morse requirement is a landmark in Amateur Radio
history. Until 1991, when a code examination was dropped from the
requirements to obtain a Technician ticket, all prospective radio
amateurs had to pass a Morse test.

On or after the effective date of the new rules, an applicant
holding a valid Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination
(CSCE) for a higher license class will be able to redeem it for an
upgrade. For example, a Technician licensee holding a valid CSCE for
Element 3 (General) could apply at a VEC exam session, pay the
application fee -- which most VECs charge -- and receive an instant
upgrade. A CSCE is good only for 365 days from the date of issuance.

The new rules also mean that all Technician licensees, whether or
not they've passed a Morse code examination, will gain HF privileges
identical to those of current Novice and Tech Plus (or Technician
with Element 1 credit) licensees without having to apply for an
upgrade. Novices and Technicians with Element 1 credit have CW
privileges on 80, 40, 15 meters and CW, RTTY, data and SSB
privileges on 10 meters.

The FCC R&O includes an Order on Reconsideration in WT Docket 04-140
-- the so-called ''omnibus'' proceeding. It will modify the Amateur
Service rules in response to ARRL's request to accommodate
automatically controlled narrowband digital stations on 80 meters in
the wake of other rule changes that were effective last December 15.
The Commission designated 3585 to 3600 kHz for such operations,
although that segment will remain available for CW, RTTY and data.

The ARRL has posted all relevant information on these important Part
97 rule revisions on its ''FCC's Morse Code Report and Order WT
Docket 05-235'' Web page, www.arrl.org/fcc/morse/.
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