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Ham Radio Boom Expected as FCC Drops Morse Code Requirement

Feb. 21, 2007 — Effective Friday, the Federal Communications Commission will no longer require operators of amateur radios, also called ham radios, to know Morse Code in order to get more than a basic technician license.
That's good news for local amateur radio groups, who are expecting that the number of people interested in taking to the airwaves will grow.
Mal Preston of the St. John Amateur Radio Club said that the FCC studied the elimination of the Morse code requirement for several years. "The amateur community is divided," he said.
According to Preston, many people didn't want to go to the trouble of learning the five-words-per-minute of Morse code required by the FCC because they didn't think they'd ever need it.
Preston said now that the requirement is removed, more people would get more than just the basic license, adding that there are three categories of licenses: technician, general and extra.
John Ellis, the V.I. section manager for the American Radio Relay League, said in a news release that several people passed the written theory exam for general or amateur extra licenses within the past year, but didn't pass the Morse code exam. "Now they will be able to upgrade their license," he said.
Ellis said those people who have qualified except for the Morse code requirement must attend a test session to fill out the paperwork. To meet the licensing needs, groups on St. John and St. Croix are holding testing sessions.
He urged people planning to attend the testing session to call in advance so the organizations can plan for the number of people participating.
On St. Croix, tests will be given Saturday. The session begins at 9 a.m. at the South Gate Baptist Church on the East End Road near Green Cay.
The St. John tests will be given at 10 a.m. March 31 at the Bellevue Community Center on Gifft Hill.
On St. Croix, call Al Rymsha at 773-4725 for more information. On St. John, call Preston at 693-8782 for more information or for a ride from the Cruz Bay ferry dock.
For more information on amateur radio, visit the American Radio Relay League's website.

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Feb. 21, 2007 -- Effective Friday, the Federal Communications Commission will no longer require operators of amateur radios, also called ham radios, to know Morse Code in order to get more than a basic technician license.
That's good news for local amateur radio groups, who are expecting that the number of people interested in taking to the airwaves will grow.
Mal Preston of the St. John Amateur Radio Club said that the FCC studied the elimination of the Morse code requirement for several years. "The amateur community is divided," he said.
According to Preston, many people didn't want to go to the trouble of learning the five-words-per-minute of Morse code required by the FCC because they didn't think they'd ever need it.
Preston said now that the requirement is removed, more people would get more than just the basic license, adding that there are three categories of licenses: technician, general and extra.
John Ellis, the V.I. section manager for the American Radio Relay League, said in a news release that several people passed the written theory exam for general or amateur extra licenses within the past year, but didn't pass the Morse code exam. "Now they will be able to upgrade their license," he said.
Ellis said those people who have qualified except for the Morse code requirement must attend a test session to fill out the paperwork. To meet the licensing needs, groups on St. John and St. Croix are holding testing sessions.
He urged people planning to attend the testing session to call in advance so the organizations can plan for the number of people participating.
On St. Croix, tests will be given Saturday. The session begins at 9 a.m. at the South Gate Baptist Church on the East End Road near Green Cay.
The St. John tests will be given at 10 a.m. March 31 at the Bellevue Community Center on Gifft Hill.
On St. Croix, call Al Rymsha at 773-4725 for more information. On St. John, call Preston at 693-8782 for more information or for a ride from the Cruz Bay ferry dock.
For more information on amateur radio, visit the American Radio Relay League's website.