Jamaica - No more Morse code for radio operators, technicians

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W1SAR, Jun 13, 2017.

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  1. W1SAR

    W1SAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
    Senior staff reporter, Jamaica Observer (with correction)
    saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

    Thursday, June 08, 2017 1 comment

    [​IMG]

    AMATEUR radio operators and technicians will no longer be required to be proficient in Morse code, as a result of changes to the regulations for the two pieces of legislation which govern radio and telegraph control services.Director of Legal Affairs at the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) Ida-Gaye Warburton explained to the Regulations Committee of Parliament that morse code is no longer the primary means of transmitting information to critical agencies such as the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) during national emergencies and disasters.

    The amendments will effect changes to the Radio and Telegraph Control (Amateur Radio Service) Regulations of 1974, and the Radio and Telegraph Control (Radio Operations and Technicians) Regulations of 1974.

    Warburton explained to reporters after the sitting that “they have more sophisticated equipment now, so the dots and tones that they used to use in 1974 to ensure that they weren't interfering with, for example, the marine operators or airline users, that restriction is no longer necessary... so they can talk to each other without using the coding messages”.

    The legal director said this is significant for the Jamaica Amateur Radio Association (JARA), because of its alliance with ODPEM.

    “The hope is that they will be able to increase their membership and give Jamaica and, in particular ODPEM, the support it needs in times of disasters,” she said, noting that the changes are timely given the start of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

    Meanwhile, President of the JARA Nigel Hoyow 6Y5HN explained that many countries have abolished the morse code in favour of more modern methods of communication.


    “It's really very old, although a lot of us still practise it, but the younger persons don't have the patience to learn... Morse code is not dead, but we need to get rid of it here,” he said, pointing out that the JARA needs more members.


    “We are short of members to be able to react to ODPEM's request, and the Red Cross, and all the agencies that are involved in emergency communications,” he outlined.

    JARA has MoUs with ODPEM, RJR and Digicel and has an arrangement with the Government to provide emergency communication for the first 72 hours of a national disaster.

    Morse code is a method of transmitting text information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment.

    In addition to removing the reference to the Morse code, a provision is also being included to expand the format of the certifying examinations which radio operators and technicians are now required to sit. This is to include the USA administration examination process in the granting of licences to the operators and technicians.

    Warburton explained: “Currently the examination requirements and formats follow the UK examination. There is no significant difference between the United States and the UK, so it's the format we are seeking to expand. Many of our users now have a lot of affiliation with the US, and so they would be more familiar with that format. Whatever format we ultimately settle on, it's something that would be known to our local members.”
     
    K5MTY likes this.
  2. YV5WZ

    YV5WZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What?

    It's really very old, although a lot of us still practise it, but the younger persons don't have the patience to learn... Morse code is not dead, but we need to get rid of it here,” he said, pointing out that the JARA needs more members."

    they have more sophisticated equipment now, so the dots and tones that they used to use in 1974 to ensure that they weren't interfering with, for example, the marine operators or airline users, that restriction is no longer necessary... so they can talk to each other without using the coding messages”.


    Are they kidding us? ....so...Jamaica better turn off all Ham Radio Amateurs....cause any SmartPhone even turn Air conditioned on!!!


    Note: Now I understand why I havent have a QSO with Jamaica.....they all are just taking over the cellphone
     
    N9EGM and KF4ZKU like this.
  3. K7LZR

    K7LZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think that this is a mistake for all countries who do this, including the USA.

    I do understand being progressive and I embrace new methods and technologies on a regular basis. But as it says above, Morse Code generates communication ".....that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment.". This is key in many emergency and all-out survival situations.

    So while I don't think that a Morse Code test should be so difficult as to pose a barrier into the hobby, I do believe that a basic understanding and ability should be required.

    But that isn't the real worldwide problem, this is: ".....but the younger persons don't have the patience to learn..".
     
    N9EGM, 8P6GI, N0YPD and 5 others like this.
  4. N3HEE

    N3HEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree. Nothing hard about learing Morse code. The test could be simplifed to just knowing the alphabet and numbers. Just like they simplified the writen test by giving out the answers. Also, the gap on the key in the picture above is way to wide !
     
    8P6GI, N1RCX, PY3OG and 7 others like this.
  5. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree.

    Steve / W5BIB
     
    K7LZR, KF4ZKU, AD5KO and 2 others like this.
  6. N2SUB

    N2SUB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There's a difference between "No more Morse code" and "no longer required to be proficient in Morse code". The article states that they still practice Morse code, but they need to drop the requirement for Health and Safety reasons. Odds are you will not see a lot of new CW ops in Jamaica, but some will be drawn to it. In the US, people who like CW continue to use it after passing the requirement, people who don't like it stop using it.

    I've always wondered in this day why there isn't a RTTY or SSTV or EME or JT65 or PSK or Packet or Satellite requirement. They all require skill as much as CW, but CW is the only mode you need to be proficient in to get your amateur ticket in the US. I always thought that was a little silly, not because I have anything against CW (I don't) but because I believe an operator should be versed in as many modes/methods as possible, and in many cases CW stands in the way of that.
     
    N9EGM, KR3DX, KD0TLS and 2 others like this.
  7. WU8Y

    WU8Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is wonderful news, and will be a tremendous boon to all hams.
     
    VE6JSJ, W2KS and K1FBI like this.
  8. WU8Y

    WU8Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's because of CW snobbery. I wouldn't mind requiring CW-proficient hams to write a JT65 decoder.
     
    AD0JA, W2KS, N0TZU and 3 others like this.
  9. N2SUB

    N2SUB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know if I'd call it snobbery. I am nostalgic about CW and used to make lots of contacts, but these days it's either laziness or just trying to keep up with the Jones', I don't mind using MRP40 to decode and send CW. There, I said it. I'm "that guy".
     
    N9EGM, KD0TLS, K0PIR and 1 other person like this.
  10. N4RMK

    N4RMK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page


    This I agree with. I wanted to get my amateur license f0r over 20 years, but had zero interest in learning CW. Besides that, I was too busy working, going to school, and starting a family to dedicate time to learning something I wasn't interested in learning and wouldn't help me come payday. When I finally realized the code requirement was gone, I studied for my Technician exam, passed it and started studying for my General, which I also passed. I'm currently studying for my Extra class license, and in the meantime I have been able to actually work the bands and learn a lot about amateur radio. I've joined a local ARES group and applied for a MARS license. I've been reading up on how to use various digital modes. I've built antennas and upgraded my equipment from the much-maligned $40 Baofeng handheld I started out with and used to check into my first 2m net. People harp about how ham radio is declining in popularity, but expect people to hang on to CW as if it somehow makes people a more dedidcated and professional operator. I can think of multiple times this topic has come up and people talk about how they learned just enough CW to pass the exam and haven't used it sense. Those who want to learn and use CW will learn and use it. Even I want to learn it now after seeing what it's all about and wanting the ability to effectively work DX on QRP. The goal should be to attract people to the hobby, educate them on the basics of proper and professional radio use, expose them to the vast options the hobby has, and encourage them to learn more on their own as their interests evolve.
     
    KR3DX, VE6JSJ, WC3T and 6 others like this.

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