ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB007 (2007)

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB007
ARLB007 No Code-Free Upgrades Available Until February 23

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ARRL Bulletin 7  ARLB007
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  February 7, 2007
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB007
ARLB007 No Code-Free Upgrades Available Until February 23

Code-free upgrades to General or Amateur Extra will not be available
at volunteer examination sessions until the 5 WPM Morse code
requirement disappears from the FCC's Amateur Radio Service rules on
February 23. ARRL Regulatory Information Specialist Dan Henderson,
N1ND, says that, judging from the questions he's been getting, many
in the amateur community -- including some Volunteer Examiners (VEs)
-- don't fully understand the new rules that resulted from the FCC's
Report and Order (R&O) in the ''Morse code proceeding,'' WT Docket
05-235. He stresses that VE teams may not accept upgrade
applications in advance of February 23, then hold the paperwork.

''There will be no instant midnight upgrades February 23 for
applicants advancing to General or Amateur Extra,'' Henderson
explains. ''You must make application.'' He further advises that a
Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) valid for
Element 3 (General) or Element 4 (Amateur Extra) credit does not
confer any operating privileges and, lacking Morse code credit, is
no good for an upgrade until the new rules become effective.

''Anyone holding or earning a valid CSCE for element credit must wait
until February 23 to redeem it at a volunteer examination session,''
he says. ''You may not operate as /AG or /AE until you have upgraded
and have been issued a CSCE marked for upgrade.'' A CSCE is good for
365 days from the date of issuance, no exceptions.

Henderson further emphasizes that those who qualified as Technician
licensees under the examination regime in place from March 21, 1987,
until April 15, 2000, do not get General class Element 3 credit on
that basis. That's because the ''old'' Element 3 is not the same as
the current Element 3.

Applicants upgrading at a test session on or after February 23 on
the basis of a valid CSCE must present the certificate for element
credit, fill out an application and pay any applicable exam session
fee, which most VECs charge. Between now and then, Henderson points
out, upgrade applicants still have the option of passing the 5 WPM
Element 1 Morse code test in addition to the General or Amateur
Extra written tests.

Technician licensees who have not passed a Morse code examination
automatically gain new privileges on February 23 without having to
apply at an exam session.

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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