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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB008 (2005)

ARLB008 FCC Morse, restructuring proposals could be out by mid-year

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 8  ARLB008
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  March 1, 2005
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB008 FCC Morse, restructuring proposals could be out by mid-year

The FCC continues to work toward developing a Notice of Proposed
Rule Making (NPRM) that will spell out what the Commission has in
mind with respect to possible changes in the current Morse code
requirement and Amateur Radio licensing.

A total of 18 petitions have been filed, including one from the
ARRL, seeking Part 97 rule changes addressing the future of the 5
WPM Morse requirement (Element 1) and revisions to the overall
Amateur Radio licensing structure. The FCC plans to tackle all 18 in
a single proceeding.

On the code issue, petitions--and comments in response to them--run
the gamut from retaining or even beefing up the Morse requirement to
eliminating it altogether. (The ARRL's proposal would retain the 5
WPM Morse examination for Amateur Extra class applicants only.)

The League and others have also put forth proposals for a new
entry-level Amateur Radio license class. At this point, personnel in
the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau are continuing to review
the thousands of comments filed on the 18 petitions.

While the FCC appears unlikely to release an NPRM any sooner than
mid-year, the issue still may be a major discussion topic during the
FCC Forum at Dayton Hamvention, May 20-22.

Once public, the NPRM would initiate another round of public
comments on what the FCC has proposed. An FCC Report and Order
implementing any new rules is unlikely before the second half of
2006, although it's possible the Commission could wrap up the
proceeding before then.


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