FCC Eliminates Morse Code Requirements for Hams

December 17, 2006


Washington - Dec 15, 2006 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration that modifies the rules for the Amateur Radio Service by revising the examination requirements for obtaining a General Class or Amateur Extra Class amateur radio operator license and revising the operating privileges for Technician Class licensees.

The current amateur service operator license structure contains three classes of amateur radio operator licenses: Technician Class, General Class, and Amateur Extra Class. General Class and Amateur Extra Class licensees are permitted to operate in Amateur bands below 30MHz, while the introductory Technician Class licensees are only permitted to operate in bands above 30MHz. Prior to the adopted action, the FCC required applicants for General Class and Amateur Extra Class operator licenses to pass a 5 words-per-minute Morse code examination. This Order eliminates that requirement for General and Amateur Extra licensees. This change reflects revisions to international radio regulations made at the International Telecommunication Union's 2003 World Radio Conference (WRC-03), which authorized each country to determine whether to require that individuals demonstrate Morse code proficiency in order to qualify for an amateur radio license with transmitting privileges on frequencies below 30MHz.

The FCC public notice states that the change "eliminates an unnecessary regulatory burden that may discourage current amateur radio operators from advancing their skills and participating more fully in the benefits of amateur radio."

WT Docket Nos. 04-140 and 05-235.



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