Morse Code Eliminated by FCC

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AA7BQ, Dec 16, 2006.

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  1. KB3OJG

    KB3OJG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good observations about language, there.
    Actually, also good to see somebody refering to it as "Morse Code" rather than by the (rather slipshod) typically-used term of "CW". CW is nothing more than a designation for "continuous wave" -- an unmodulated carrier. If somebody was using the AMERICAN Morse code it would still be CW if the carrier itself wasn't modulated.

    That's what gets me about this whole 'debate" -- nobody on the "Code pride" side of the debate can actually give a persuasive answer (other than bad chickenband jokes, and accusations of "laziness"/stupidity against the other side.

    Yes, of course the "Magic" of Morse Code (blah blah blah). It's a mode -- one among many, and NOT the crown jewel of Ham radio. It WAS a justifiable requirement to know the International Morse code PRIOR to the advent of other modes. THe books I have from ca. 1960 (which also talk about tube-type gear and list what are today classified as 'boatanchors' as new) states that there were two "modes" of operation at the time -- Morse Code, and voice. That's it. No Packet, RTTY isn't even mentioned -- presumably because at the time it required actual teletype machines. The books all state that the Morse Code requirement was to "ensure that Radio Amateurs are versatile." This MADE sense, at a time when:

    1. Other services still used morse code on a routine basis.
    2. Morse Code was STILL the cheapest and easiest mode to impliment technologically.

    Nowadays, the situation is markedly different:

    1. No other services use Morse code to NEARLY as great of an extent. (That IS important, because one of the big reasons for HAVING a Morse Code requirement in the first place, was the issue of inter-operability between different services.

    2. It is now possible to produce microminiaturized "radio on a chip' for just about any circuit-design imaginable.

    Yes, CW is "still" useful in a great number of contexts -- like for instance, weak-signal intelligibility. BUT, the big rationale for having it as a license requirement is totally gone. There are probably only three populations using Morse Code actively:

    1. Ham Radio operators (who seem to alternate between a nostalgic fantasy about the "magic" of morse code, and considering it as a "filter" to keep out the riffraff.)
    2. The Boy Scouts (who up until relatively recently gave a merit badge for Morse Code -- and also taught how to use other useful stuff like semaphore signaling with flags in an emergency situation.)
    3. Some researchers dealing with severely disabled people are using Morse Code as an "adaptive technology interface." A severely paralyzed person can (for example) "Key" Morse code using muscular movements, or chewing on a mouth-stick, or etc. This is then output either to a speech synth, or text display.

    Now, I dunno about YOU, but that LAST one actually seems "magical" to me -- infinitely more compelling than the persnickety OT blather about "chickenband". Until and unless somebody -- ANYBODY -- can demonstrate that there has been a measurable slippage in the quality of HF operations in those areas which have ALREADY gone "no-code" as far as their license requirements, then NOBODY on the "proud to KNOW code" side has anything valid to say. If mere knowledge of Morse Code was somehow valuable in and of itself, then those small children who have Morse Code decals on their walkie-talkies should be demonstrably better in school, for example. Quit claiming Morse Code to be the "holy Grail."
     
  2. WR5AW

    WR5AW Ham Member QRZ Page

    You're leaving out one important service. There are hundreds if not thousands of navigation aids called VORs that identify themselves by transmitting morse code 24/7. Granted it's one-way communication. But, in an emergency situation, it can be a life-saver for the pilot.
     
  3. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some TX voice as well. Code knowledge is typically not needed to use the VORs.
     
  4. WR5AW

    WR5AW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Provided the ones in range are transmitting voice and you can read your maps, see the instruments, etc. Twas just an example is all. Most folks don't realize they're out there. And yes, not "typically" required. But I was considering an atypical situation.
     
  5. W1EBB

    W1EBB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am glad code is going away. I have for so long listened on my HF rig so many coder who was sending it wrong, and averaging only 2 to 3 wpm according to my code reader. Last summer, my elderly father and I went to Maine to a Naval reunion. Well, the battleship Dad served on during WWII had been scuttled after the war, but we went on a tour of a new modern battleship. It's name escapes me, but it was a war machine. Dad was a Communications Officer, and can still to this day semaphore and code like nobody's business, wanted to view the communications room. When we got there and had a tour of the equipment, Dad asked, "Where are the key paddles?" And a nearby Communications Officer responded, "Hell, Sir, they done away with that $^#! years ago!"
    When I go to Field Day, I see all the coders using keyboards and code readers to work CW. That is not in the true spirit of CW, according to Dad. So if the coders don't use paddles or a key, why make using code a requirement for the rest of us that have no desire to learn it? In my field of work, it is better for me to learn braille!
    And no, I am not a "Chicken Bander" or a Free Bander. I have been a local net operator off and on for about 7 years. I have participated as the "on the scene man" for our local emergency preparedness practice sessions. I can take a 50 watt 2 meter FM rig and throw up a 30 ft antenna and have enough juice to transmit for over 24 hours.
    Just becareful who you coders (keyboard operators and code reader-readers want to condemn.

    73, de KD5CQV
     
  6. W1EBB

    W1EBB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am glad code is going away.  I have for so long listened on my HF rig to so many coders who were sending it wrong, and averaging only 2 to 3 wpm according to my code reader.  Last summer, my elderly father and I went to Maine to a Naval reunion.  Well, the battleship Dad served on during WWII had been scuttled after the war, but we went on a tour of a new modern battleship.  It's name escapes me, but it was a war machine.  Dad was a Communications Officer, and can still to this day semaphore and code like nobody's business, wanted to view the communications room.  When we got there and had a tour of the equipment, Dad asked, "Where are the keys and paddles?"  And a nearby Communications Officer responded, "Hell, Sir, they done away with that $^#! years ago!"
    When I go to Field Day, I see all the coders using keyboards and code readers to work CW.  That is not in the true spirit of CW, according to Dad.  So if the coders don't use paddles or a key, why make using code a requirement for the rest of us that have no desire to learn it?  In my field of work, it is better for me to learn braille!
    And no, I am not a "Chicken Bander" or a "Free Bander."  I have been a local net operator off and on for about 7 years.  I have participated as the "on the scene man" for our local emergency preparedness practice sessions.  I can take a 50 watt 2 meter FM rig and throw up a 30 ft antenna and have enough juice to transmit for over 24 hours, to any remote location on my four-wheeler.  
    Just becareful who you coders (keyboard operators and code reader-readers) want to condemn.

    73,  de KD5CQV
     
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