Amateur Radio Operator Petitions FCC for Access to Morse Code Band

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has invited comments on a Petition for Rule Making (RM-11769) to designate Morse Code Amateur Radio band segments more broadly as “symbol communication” subbands. James Whedbee, an amateur radio operator from Gladstone, Missouri, submitted the petition on May 2, 2016.

Whedbee’s petition asks the FCC to modify Part 97 of the Commission’s rules to eliminate exclusively Morse Code subbands (known as CW bands, for Continuous Wave transmission) and make them available to narrowband emission modes. His proposed scheme would split the modes into three categories: “symbol communication mode” for Morse Code, digital, and other emission modes that reproduce a discrete symbol on the receiving end; “voice mode;” and “image mode.”

He contends that Morse Code subbands are part of an outdated policy that underutilizes the bands. The petition cites today’s significant reduction in CW usage and Morse Code’s inefficient use of the spectrum, as compared to efficient digital emissions from modern technology. He writes, “Nostalgia for retention of Morse Code telegraphy-only subbands is also an insufficient reason to avoid moving forward to elimination of such subbands.”

RM-11769 is posted online, with comments open for 30 days.

3 Responses

  1. David AYer

    Leave it alone or learn the code. You’ll have our forefathers rolling in their graves.
    David Ayer, BSEE
    Extra: N6WJD
    Radiotelegraph: T000000030
    Radiotelephone: PG00045069
    Marine: MP00032062
    GMRS: WQWA411
    GMDSS: DB00001061
    Ship Radar

  2. Tim Hague

    The other thing that has been forgotten is that the world does not end at the US borders/coastline. As far as I know no one in Europe has suggested this, any changes to the sub bands would have to be negotiated world wide.
    Cheers Tim Hague MIET, M0AFJ

  3. Ronald W. Parker

    Regarding Proceeding Number RM-11769 by James Edwin Whedbee entitled:
    Petition for Rulemaking Eliminating Exclusive CW Subbands(11):

    CW is one of the simplest and most economical means of transmitting radio signals.
    Other means of radio communication involve higher technologies (A.M., SSB, RTTY, etc. With higher technologies come higher equipment costs which then
    disenfranchises those who cannot afford it. This usually means the young beginners in radio communication.

    CW has the most narrow bandwidth of any radio signal. This may contribute to its appearance of inactivity.

    My first experience with amateur radio involved a two-tube transmitter kit, a 40 meter dipole and a third-hand, all-band receiver. The cost of the transmitter was $15.00.

    Eliminating CW would cut off one more avenue for those who are interested in radio.

    Ronald W. Parker, MSEE, P.E.
    Amateur Radio License Call Sign KD1L
    Radiotelegraph Operator License T1GB059052
    General Radiotelephone Operator License PG-1-7160
    Author: “Circuits I Have Known”


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