RE: CW as a licensing requirement (long)


From: Roger Hightower (
Date: Mon Jul 29 1996 - 21:05:13 EDT

OK, guys and gals. Decided to go to the source and find out just what it
was that Rod said about CW as a licensing requirement. Here is his response:

72/73, de Roger AA7QY
>Date: Mon, 29 Jul 96 19:05 EST
>From: "Rodney J. Stafford" <>
>To: Roger Hightower <>
>Cc: kb6zv <>
>Subject: RE: CW as a licensing requirement
>Roger --
>As with many so-called quotes, when they are taken out of context they seem to
>mean something other than what the speaker meant them to mean.
>In response to a question at the ARRL Forum in Dayton in May of this year I
>was asked a question about Morse Code and its continued use as a requisite to
>access to HF telephony.
>I commented that IF we were starting from scratch today and creating a new
>radio service, that is the amateur radio service, that Morse Code would
>probably NOT be a requirement for phone operation on the HF bands.
Likewise, I
>don't think we'd test for knowledge about vacuum tubes. Obviously, it was a
>hypothetical answer to a question because we are not just now creating an
>amateur radio service. Morse code was around even before the amateur radio
>service was created and will be around as an operating mode for a long time.
>Based upon the technological developments within amateur radio I think more
>more emphasis will be placed on digital modes as an alternative to voice than
>on CW in the future.
>Emotions and feelings run high on both sides of the CW issue and what might be
>likely in creating a new service may not be workable or likely to happen in
>current amateur atmosphere. I'm sure you're just as familiar as I with all
>arguments and the justifications that are given by both sides for either
>retaining or eliminating the Morse Code for access to the HF bands. I
>have to chuckle a bit to myself on the amount of time people spend on arguing
>over the matter. If those arguing they want access to HF but are unwilling to
>learn the code were to spent half as much time learning the code as they do
>arguing about it, they would probably be zipping along at better than 13 words
>per minute. Conversely, if those continually arguing for its retention
were to
>spent half as much time helping people improve their code and code speed, they
>would probably be deriving a lot more satisfaction from their involvement with
>the amateur radio service. That's not meant to be demeaning in any way but
>it's just an observation and my opinion.
>At the present time, I suspect that a majority of ARRL members are in favor of
>retaining Morse Code as a requirement for access to the HF bands. I say "I
>suspect" because I have not done any scientific survey but that is merely my
>impression of talking with quite a few members over the last few years. The
>survey that the ARRL will do in the next couple of months will, I believe,
>some guidance as to what the membership view is on this issue at the current
>A couple of years ago, the ARRL Board of Directors directed its officers and
>representatives at international meetings to make every effort to retain Morse
>Code for access to HF operation. So far as I have been able to observe, that
>policy has been followed. As an ARRL Officer I have been following that
>and will continue to do so unless the Board directs otherwise.
>There is some liklihood that the treaty obligation for requiring CW for HF
>access may be deleted in 1999. If that happens, then each country will
have to
>determine for itself whether to require CW for access to the HF phone bands.
>>From an historical point of view, I am one of 6 directors who voted against
>the establishment of the the no-code technician license a few years ago. I
>felt a no-code VHF-UHF license was appropriate to get people introduced to
>amateur radio and once having been introduced to the service, they would
>upgrade and expand their involvement with amateur radio. I felt that such a
>license at 220 MHz (now 222 MHz) and above would accomplish that result. A
>majority on the Board felt it was appropriate to include 6 meters and 2 meters
>in the proposal.
>As it turns out, the license class has attracted a number of new hams and has,
>at least to some extent, helped populate bands in the VHF and UHF frequency
>range. I think that is important because those bands are continuously under
>attack from the commercial interests (as they are right now!). I think as the
>years go by we'll see if the creation of the no-code technician license has in
>fact been beneficial overall to amateur radio. I am concerned that small
>numbers of these new licensees haven't upgraded and I hope that will change as
>time goes on.
>I hope this was responsive to your inquiry and I hope I have been able to put
>in context my comment about the CW requirement if we were just now creating
>amateur service.
>By the way, you should also be aware that I, as ARRL President, am not
>entitled to vote on matters that come before the ARRL Board. Only in the
>event of a tie vote would I have the opportunity to vote on a Board
>matter. So, if you have strong feelings on the issue, or any other issue,
>you should write to your ARRL Director. The Board makes the policy and
>the officers and staff carry out those policies.
>73, Rod Stafford KB6ZV
>President, American Radio Relay League

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