FCC to reinstate Morse Code test

This just in…

Washington, D.C. – April 1, 2014 – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission or FCC) approved Report and Order 14-987af which reinstates the Morse Code test for General Class and Amateur Extra Class licensees. “It was a big mistake eliminating the Morse Code test,” admits Dotty Dasher, the FCC’s director of examinations. “We now realize that being able to send and receive Morse Code is an essential skill for radio amateurs. As they say, it really does get through when other modes can’t.”

Not only will new applicants have to take the test, but General Class licensees who have never passed a code test will have one year to pass a 5-wpm code test. Similarly, Amateur Extra class licensees that never passed a code test will have one year to pass a 13-wpm test. Those amateurs that fail to pass the test will face revocation of their operating privileges. Materials for administering the examinations will be distributed to Volunteer Examiner Coordinators by the end of April, so that they can begin the testing on May 1, 2014.

“This isn’t going to be one of those silly multiple-choice type tests,” noted Dasher. “We’re going to be sending five-character random code groups, just like we did in the old days. And, applicants will have to prove that they can send, too, using a poorly adjusted straight key.”

Technician Class licensees will not be required to take a Morse Code test, nor will a test be required for new applicants. “We discussed it,” said Dasher, “but decided that since most Techs can’t even figure out how to program their HTs, requiring them to learn Morse Code seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.”

When asked what other actions we might see from the FCC, Dasher hinted that in the future applicants taking the written exam may be required to draw circuit diagrams, such as Colpitts oscillators and diode ring mixers, once again. “We’re beginning to think that if an applicant passes an amateur radio license exam it  should mean that he or she actually knows something,” she said.

For further information, contact James X. Shorts, Assistant Liaison to the Deputy Chief of Public Relations for the FCC at (202) 555-1212 or jim.shorts@fcc.gov. For more news and information about the FCC, please visit www.fcc.gov.

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  1. April Fools!

  2. April Fools says:

    April Fools!

  3. Rob KD8PUC says:

    I hate to say it, but I believed this for a minute. *facepalm*


  4. Tom Wilson says:

    I wish the FCC would reinstate the code requirment

    73 Tom

    • Adam VA7OJ says:

      This piece of ordure seems to pop out of the sewer-line every April 1st.

      The Guomindang will march triumphantly across Tiananmen Square, and the Ecumenical Patriarch will celebrate the Easter Liturgy in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, long before the FCC reinstates a Morse requirement in the ARS.

  5. This letter was written in a very condescending way and really got under my skin.. If it is an April fool prank the writer is the fool. KB6NU is a bigger fool for publishing it to his website.

    • Dan KB6NU says:

      I’m sorry if this offends you, Kevin. It’s just a joke. If you’ve read anything else that I’ve written, you’ll know that I’m anything but condescending, and do what I can to help all hams get the most out of the hobby.

  6. Dotty Dasher…that was the instant clue it was April fool…I enjoyed the spoof but also know that the morse code has saved many lives and still remember in WW II when POW’s use to use that as a way of communicating in their camps . I realize that nowadays there are so many ways to communicate but if the power goes out and in the emergency if you still have a flashlite and remember the code you can still get through.

  7. I really enjoyed the article. You had me till the part where us techs can’t program our HT’s. I thought that was brilliant.

  8. Hello, Dan. I don’t think we know each other, but I bet you had 10,000 operators sweating like 10 men is a sauna. LMBO. That is really a good one I will say. Have A Great Day!

  9. I wanted to believe this so badly. I want the old days back when a ham knew how his radio actually worked. Todays hams are not technically knowledgeable like the hams 30 or 40 years ago. We need morse code. Hams need to be using it. When digital modes fail morse code wil get thru. Our hobby has degraded to the point that I am ashamed to be a ham. Too many fly by wire hams on the air now. I and many like myself are dissillusioned and unbelieveable disappointed at what has become our hobby. How mnay radio men are actually left to complain?

  10. Ha Ha. Very funny. Soon as I saw “Dotty Dash”, I knew it was satire. I love it. Very good.

  11. CW should be a choice. There are some people who find the sound of CW to be the cause of great anxiety. I am one of them. Still I wish technical aptitude (rf, basic electronics, physics) would have greater importance, in the certification and testing process. Moreover, in the perfect world, amplifiers would be illegal without first completing a number of low power international qso’s e.g. 500 ‘confirmed’ qso’s on low power, before an operator can use 250watts, 500 w, 750 w, …
    The big power stations and “contest” mentality are bigger problems on HF than tech’s who don’t know CW.
    Sorry guys, as a hater of the CW mode, but an even bigger hater of poor knowledge and bad operating etiquette, I found this prank understandable, but offensive.

    Julian, OH8GEJ

  12. Dan KB6NU says:

    N5MRM read this “news item” on the W5HRC repeater. Click here to listen.

  13. Tom N2UHC says:

    I bet a lot of Technicians felt the sting of that shot about not being able to program their HT’s! Of course with the Wouxun radios, you probably have to have a degree in trigonometry to program them without a computer.

    • Dan KB6NU says:

      I didn’t find the Wouxun to be too difficult to program manually, but the Baofeng UV-5RA was nearly impossible. I don’t know about the degree in trigonometry, but I think an Extra Class license might be helpful. (just kidding, just kidding)


  1. […] Chiming in on April 1st, Dan KB6NU reported that the FCC is going to reinstate the Morse Code test. […]

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