FCC to Reinstate Morse Code Test

NOTE: This was posted on April 1st. It’s not true at all. Well the part about Technicians programming their HT’s is a little true. – 73!

“It was a big mistake eliminating the Morse Code test,” admits FCC official

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

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.


Dan, KB6NU, is the author of the “No-Nonsense” amateur radio study guides and a leading amateur radio blogger. You can find his study guides by going to his blog at www.kb6nu.com. You can contact Dan by e-mail at cwgeek@kb6nu.com, or, after you pass the test, by CW. Look for him at the bottom of just about any HF band.

One response to “FCC to Reinstate Morse Code Test

  1. Lt Col Bruce P. Mauldin, USA(Ret)

    Hallelujah! May be now we can start reviewing the question pools.
    Bruce K6AZA