Sunday, December 24, 2006

Amateur Radio and Morse

A couple of days ago, the Federal Commnications Commission (FCC) decided to cancel the requirement to pass a morse code test for the General or Extra license in Amateur Radio. This happened just after I passed my morse code test in November to get the Extra Amateur license. O well, I still think that it was worth it to go through the test because I had to practice the code, and there is nothing like a test to make you study.
I believe that morse code is still important and fun to work with, although many radio amateurs hardly use it in the age of the internet and digital communications. Morse code, however, is becoming more as a nostalgia commodity now than a necessity. Let's face it, nobody really needs to use morse code anymore when they can use voice or digital messaging. Still I believe there are situations when the only available means of communications is morse code. An example is moon bouncing of signals that are too weak and distorted to be intelligible as voice, but can be copied fine as morse code. Another example was an emergency situation when a person was too weak to speak but was able to transmit morse code signals until help arrived. So it seems that morse will still be alive and kicking in the foreseeable future.
I am kind of sorry that the FCC canceled the test to qualify for the more advanced licenses, but in the end those who want to use morse code will still do, because after all they are amateurs, and amateurs do things because they love to do them, not because they have to. What do you think?