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He contends that Morse Code subbands are part of an outdated policy that underutilizes the bands.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.”