The FCC has gotten rid of the morse code requirements for the Amateur Radio service.
Never in my history in ham radio have I seen so much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
I do not get it? The tests are no easier, there just isint a requirement to memorize an outdated form of communication required ot advance anymore, not that people wont continue to learn it... its just not holding those back who cant learn it.
I think, unlike many in this debate, that this will herald a new wave of people interested in this hobby and get some back in the game, all those people that wanted to get on HF but couldint because for some reason they couldint learn morse code.
Ham radio needs new blood, in an era where most ham are computerphobic and bestselling devices are easy to read ("large print")* SWR meters and somesuch. We need new people to get goign on these up and coming things. Why havent DSP based software defined radios become cheaper? Why isnt packet part of every new radio? Trunking? Digital modes?
Ham radio has certainly stagnated, and this is our only chance to win it back. And we must, because the future of radio experimentation depends on it.
So what can you do?
If your not a ham, consider trying it out? I know some of you probably might get a thrill out of talking to someone thousands of miles away over HF... How about talking to some astronauts? Talk to your friend a few states over via satellite... with your handi-talkie and a handheld antenna? The tests are not that hard, you just need some common sense, both generally and in radio and electronics, and some gumption. Do it.
If you are a ham... upgrade. Refresh your skills, get a higher class licence. Nobody wants to be a Technician all their life. Upgraded already you say? Try out new modes! Try SSB on 2 meters, try HF, try digi. Perhaps you could explore other areas, my own fave pastime is finding stuff to put in my VX-7R.
* Full disclosure: this year I bought a "large print" repeater directory... because ti lays flat on my desk, which has been important to my project of these last few days.
I was just reminded of something I found out last Saturday:
The General and Extra exam study guides are sold out at AES, Ham Radio Outlet and Powells Books.
What did I say?
Good night, and good luck.