Was Eliminating Morse Code Requirement Bad Idea?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KN4ICU, May 2, 2018.

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  1. W1BR

    W1BR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Please show me where I said there were any proposals to do so????? Where in the world did you get that????

    Just read the numerous threads on eHam and over here on the Zed you will see all of that and more. Arguing about eliminating the CW test, bringing it back, giving Generals CW Extra subband privileges during CONTESTS... (and no, I am making that up,) It is all out there for your reading enjoyment.
  2. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, yes.....but remember the history...

    At first, Radio was a technology looking for an application. The first obvious commercial application was maritime; the telegraph linked every town in every developed country, and even crossed the oceans, but ships were completely isolated once they went beyond the horizon.

    At first, Radio was simply allowed to evolve without regulation. It was the Gilded Age, and Government was seen as not having any real role. Then the Titanic disaster happened, and everything changed.

    Starting just before World War 1, and continuing for decades, the US Federal government took a very active role in the regulation of radio - ALL radio. They supported licensing of both operators and of stations. Those in charge knew, understood and supported the concept of the skilled, knowledgeable, licensed Radio Operator in all radio services.

    In some services the required skills and knowledge would be mostly technical, in others they would be mostly operational, and in most a mixture of operational and technical, but in all cases the skilled, licensed Radio Operator was indispensable.

    There were Amateur licenses, Commercial Radiotelephone licenses and Commercial Radiotelegraph licenses. There were station licenses and operator licenses. There were several operator license classes, serious test requirements, and a whole flock of endorsements for things like radar.

    Amateur Radio was often the first step in the licensing process of commercial operators, though not all - in fact, not most - commercial operators started out as hams.

    The regulations created a lot of jobs, and soon a whole profession. Every radio service needed FCC-licensed Radio Operators of various levels for various tasks. Whether it was routine transmitter checks at a daytime-only AM BC station, running a vital SOLAS maritime shore station, or any of dozens of other jobs, the FCC-licensed Radio Operator was an absolute necessity, by law. And these were pretty good jobs, with decent pay and benefits.

    You could have a Ph.D. in EE, the Nobel Prize in physics, years of military radio experience, etc., etc., but without the proper License you were not a Radio Operator and could not legally do any of the Radio Operator’s jobs.

    The end result was that for many decades a commercial license of the right type, plus a high-school-equivalent education and a clean record, were practically a Golden Ticket to a decent-paying career. (For a healthy WASP male, anyway). This doesn’t mean all the jobs or the licenses were easy to do or get, nor that a Radio Operator didn’t have to know his/her stuff. Far from it! But it was a way for folks who knew something about Radio to get a decent living without a college degree and without a whole bunch of low-priced competition, both domestic and “offshore”.

    None of the licenses required anything close to the knowledge of an four-year EE degree. Nor were they meant to. They were meant to be about practical radio.

    It was a Good Thing. Too good, in fact.

    The Captains of Industry didn’t like paying for all those licensed Radio Operators, nor their benefits and other costs, for what seemed to them to be simple, easy, unnecessary jobs. Unionized or not, the License requirements meant the Captains couldn’t hire just anybody for the jobs, nor could they combine certain jobs to reduce the head count, nor could they neglect or delay doing certain things to reduce expenses. Nor could they export the work to other countries, nor use legal or illegal immigrants; Commercial licenses were only issued to US citizens.

    So the Captains of Industry got the regulators, and the regulations, changed. A little here and a little there, but the overall effect was HUGE.

    Over a number of years they succeeded in all but eliminating even the concept of the skilled, knowledgeable, licensed Commercial Radio Operator. Saved them lots of money and aggravation. All we have left now are bits and pieces of the old rules and requirements.

    And since they did it for commercial services, some of that was also applied to the Amateur Service. But the Amateur Radio Service is still all about the technically knowledgeable, operationally skilled Radio Operator.

    At least to some of us, anyway. That's the "legacy". The idea that there is such as thing as a Radio Operator who has skills, not just technology.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
    N8AFT, N0NC, W5BIB and 1 other person like this.
  3. W1BR

    W1BR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Technology killed the jobs. AM and FM transmitters no longer need 24/7 supervision. Totally reliable and stable. Yearly F&M checks for commercial two way radios also not needed. Ships at sea use automated technology, along satellite communications and GPS navigation. Radiomen were doing purser duties to justify their jobs.
    N8AFT and W5BIB like this.
  4. KD2RDG

    KD2RDG Ham Member QRZ Page

    The morse code requirement seemed antiquated to me even back in the 80s when I got my Novice license. I can't believe ham radio stuck with it as long as it did.

    Now that I jumped back in and got my General license, I'm kind of glad I learned it as a kid because it is coming back fairly easily. I'm having more trouble decoding all the jargon that has crept in than I am understanding the letters.
    N8AFT likes this.
  5. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

  6. W2IHY

    W2IHY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I had to also pass a 20 WPM CW test to get an Amateur Extra ticket. When you look at the number of US licensed amateurs they had been in a decline from about 2000 to 2007 (682K to 655K) in 2007 they started to go up and now the US licensed population is over 800K. I believ the US resurgence of the amateur population has been helped by eliminating Morse Code in Mid 2006. Julius(W2IHY)
    N8AFT likes this.
  7. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hello Julius!
    Code and my inability to master it even at entry level kept me from a ham ticket.
    I am now abt 100% Morse op here now tho...
    Yes, in a way it's sad when times change but it is for the better more often thn not IMO...

    Learn Morse.
    Do CW.
  8. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    Heard a related joke-line once yrs ago-
    "What do you call a broadcast engineer now-a-days?
    The Pizza Man!" :p
    My pal K8BBQ tells me even the cameras are no longer manned in modern TV studios!
  9. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was gonna say "W9JEF" :D:rolleyes:
  10. K8HIT

    K8HIT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would not have even tried for a license if CW was a requirement. I really like the digital modes, maybe knowing those could be a requirement! Nah.
    N4AAB likes this.

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