As a result of sending out a column (nearly) every month to about 350 ham radio club newsletter editors, I get copies of many newsletters from around the country. The following appeared in the August 2014 issue of the Merrymeeting Amateur Radio Association (MARA) Squelch Tales. It originally appeared in the January 1934 issue of the magazine Short Wave Radio. PDFs of Short Wave Radio as well as many more magazines from the early days of radio can be found on the American Radio History website.
A Codeless Amateur License ? No !
ALTHOUGH we doubt if anyone in Government circles is giving the matter any serious thought, there seems to be a lot of noise at the present time about creating a special class of amateur license that will not involve a code test. Considering the numerous and unmatched privileges already enjoyed by the American amateur, it seems to us that any demands for a license class of this kind are ridiculous. Many honest amateurs admit that even the present test is too easy, and is bringing many irresponsible persons on the air. Of course, everyone has to begin some time, so we must forgive the beginner his rotten fist or his hoarse modulation, as long as he stays within band, uses d.c. for plate supply and otherwise conforms to the spirit, as well as the letter, of the Federal Radio Commission regulations.
When you stop to consider that the American amateur is not even required to pay a cent in the way of license fees, that he is permitted to operate absolutely unhampered, and that the Army and the Navy defend him at international conferences while the highly military governments of other nations try to wipe him off the map, we think it is time to stop biting the hand that feeds us, so to speak.
The recent federal economy wave was responsible for a serious reduction in the technical administrative staff of the F.R.C. You can just about imagine the mess that would be created by a lot of unchecked so-called “amateurs” who are willing to jeopardize their own freedom by their unwillingness to learn the code, which, after all, is the real language of radio.
Why do some people consider the code a stumbling -block? It is really very easy to learn, as 10 -year old children and 75 -year old patriarchs have discovered. Besides, a knowledge of the code greatly increases the enjoyment that you can obtain from a short -wave receiver, even if you have no intention of applying for an amateur license.
To many people not familiar with the code, the host of mysterious dots and dashes that sometimes interrupts music are things which should be eliminated by law; but to those with even a slight knowledge of the code, these mysterious interruptions are highly interesting.
Airplane, coastal and naval stations, all transmitting information that really makes sense, may easily provide hours and hours of entertainment, especially when you want to get away from the beaten path.