Well, it's the end of August and already we've seen code dropped in Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Austria, Norway and a few other places. But what's next? Could the code drop happen in the US?
While the idea seems unlikely at the moment, the chances are more than likely 50/50. But as of this possibility, as many hams know, you can feel much pride in saying, "Hey, I've passed my 5 WPM!" And I now that I'll feel proud when I pass mine. As of now, I'm a 14 year old Technician operator, but I know the importance of CW in the amateur world.
As how CW is sometimes the only way to communicate, but besides that fact, if code is dropped, imagine the bandwidth problems we could face on HF, 10 meters most of all. The FCC would have to increase SSB voice bandwidth, and there would be a decrease of space for code, since the bands would be VERY crowded.
The written exams are easier than they've EVER been in ham history, and dropping code would just open up the flood gates to everyone everywhere. While the only good thing I can see coming from this would mean that CB "freebanders" on 10 meters would be eaten up, they're is still no room for this.
But only time will tell what becomes of the long glory of CW in American amateur radio.
KG4YUV -- Patrick Wilson
I don't know what will happen in the US, but the CW requirement will probably be dropped in Spain too, as many EU countries have already done. I don't know if there are still lots of people on 27 in the US, like there used to be 10 years ago. In Spain there are not. The number of people interested in the hobby has decreased drastically (even on 27mhz) so I don't think there will be any problems as to the bands getting to crowded and so on.
I think that the only reason why administrations are considering dropping this requirement, is precisely the lack of new people getting interested in ham radio. As a result of this, no "filters" are required to keep HF bands from getting too crowded (the CW test has served as a kind of filter that kept people who were not really interested away from HF bands).
I agree that there will be more people on the bands, but I don't think the increase will be worrying in any case.
As a CW enthusiast, the fact that the CW requirement will eventually disappear (even in the US) does not make me happy, as it will definitely mean that it will end up being a marginal mode on the bands. If I hadn't had to learn it for the exam I am sure I would not be a CW op now. So if the requirement is actually dropped, very few people will bother to learn it, I am afraid.
A couple of weeks ago on a Canadian Repeater I heard a couple of Hams talking through a linking system between a Victoria, B.C. Repeater and and onr in The Vally of the Sun.
In their conversation one of the Operators made the Statement that he belonged to an Organization of WWII Signal Operators and that he had had a conversation with the Secretary/Treasurer of the Organization and that the Secretary made the statement that a year ago there was over 3,800 members on their membership rooster and that on this years rooster the there was less than 1,800 members registered, that the mortality rate was really catching up on their membership rolls.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that age is catching up with a large numbers of the Ham Radio Community and unless we do something like modernize we are going to loose what we have through attrition in the ranks.
I cannot believe there are people out there who can't pass a 5 wpm code test. I do believe there are those who WON'T. CW requires less B/W than any other mode and will get thru when they won't. It'll be a shame to lose the Morse requirement.
Tom Webb W4YOK