ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB052 (1998)

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB052
ARLB052 ARRL Proposes Simplified Amateur License Structure

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ARRL Bulletin 52  ARLB052
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  July 20, 1998
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB052
ARLB052 ARRL Proposes Simplified Amateur License Structure

The ARRL Board has agreed to propose a simplified Amateur Radio
licensing structure with four classes. Lengthy discussion and debate
during the Board's meeting July 16-18 led to majority support for a
plan for four written examination elements to establish amateurs'
operational and technical qualifications instead of the present
five, and two Morse code examination elements instead of the present
three.

Under the plan adopted by the Board, the entry level to Amateur
Radio would be known as Class D and would convey the privileges of
the present Technician license. The written examination would be at
the same level of difficulty as that of the present Technician
examination, but consistent with the privileges of the license. All
amateurs now licensed as Technicians would become Class D.

The next step would be known as Class C and would convey the
privileges of the present General license, but with phone subbands
expanded by 50 kHz on 75 and 15 meters and by 25 kHz on 40 meters.
Class C would be the entry level to high frequency (HF) operating
privileges. To upgrade from Class D to Class C, an amateur would
pass a written examination on the operational and technical
qualifications required for HF operation and a 5 word per minute
Morse code examination. All amateurs now licensed as General,
Technician Plus, and Novice would become Class C. The expansion of
the telephony sub-bands would result from ''refarming'' of the Novice
CW bands that are no longer required for their original purpose.

The third step would be known as Class B and would convey the
privileges of the present Advanced license, but with phone subands
expanded by 50 kHz on 75 and 15 meters and by 25 kHz on 40 meters.
To upgrade from Class C to Class B, an amateur would pass a more
advanced written examination similar in difficulty to the present
Element 4A and a 12 word per minute Morse code examination. All
amateurs now licensed as Advanced would become Class B.

The final step would be known as Class A and would convey the full
privileges of the present Amateur Extra Class, with telephony
sub-bands expanded by 50 kHz on 75 and 15 meters and by 25 kHz on 40
meters. To upgrade from Class B to Class A, an amateur would be
required to pass the most difficult written examination in the
sequence. Consistent with the practice in many other countries, no
additional Morse code examination would be required beyond 12 words
per minute. All amateurs presently licensed as Amateur Extra Class
would become Class A.

In their discussions, Board members emphasized that the objective is
to rationalize and simplify the amateur licensing structure without
reducing the requirements for any class of license. Where reductions
in Morse code requirements are proposed, there would be a
corresponding increase in written examination standards. On the
other hand, Board members were adamant that simplifying the
structure should not come at the expense of privileges already
earned by amateurs. Therefore, present Novice and Technician Plus
licensees, having earned entry-level HF operating privileges, would
be granted the new entry-level HF license.

Adoption of the simplification plan marks the culmination of 30
months of work by the Board, during which time the input of
literally thousands of ARRL members and other amateurs and
prospective amateurs was considered. The Board debated a wide
variety of options including both smaller and larger numbers of
license classes, higher and lower qualification levels, and
different privileges. Nine of the 15 Directors voted in favor of the
plan, with six opposed. Following the meeting ARRL President Rod
Stafford, W6ROD, observed, ''The debate was at times contentious and
the result was not unanimous. Some Board members preferred greater
simplification; others were uncomfortable with some of the changes
being proposed. However, every Board member, without exception, left
the meeting knowing that each of his or her colleagues did what they
believe is best for the future of Amateur Radio.''

Members are urged to contact their ARRL directors to comment on this
proposal. E-mail addresses are on page 10 of any issue of QST.
Members also may comment on the proposal via the ARRLWeb site,
http://www.arrl.org or via e-mail at restrux@arrl.org.


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