Last month, ham radio changed in a significant way. No longer do Hams have to learn Morse Code in order to get access to the best portions of the ham bands. Among the Ham community there was great debate regarding whether this was a wise move for the hobby. I submit that is is a very wise move:
1. New Blood: Our numbers have been dropping in recent years. In just the few weeks that the new rules have been in place, thousands of upgrades have been processed by ARRL and the Commission.
2. Keep Spectrum: With shrinking numbers and minimal traffic on some bands, we could have lost spectrum. New blood will be hopping all over the place. Already I'm hearing much more activity on 10 meters!
3. More Kids are Becoming Hams! Across the country more young people are coming into Ham radio. As we get kids into our hobby at a younger age because of the ease of entry, we'll make 'hams for life.'
Thus far the new traffic, while noticeable has been very easy to deal with. Nets, like The Freewheelers, that used to have 30 check-ins on a busy night, now have 50+. And, so far I'm not hearing any bad behavior on HF (other than some of the operators who have been on HF for years).
And lastly, The Code will never fade away. Like other modes, people will gravitate to it as they do packet, D-star or Echolink.
No code is definitely a plus for amateur radio! I was looking at getting one when I was 14 or 15 but I didn't know anyone with one, and I didn't know the code. Last summer I took a renewed interest, and found I no longer needed to learn code! I'm a General class now, and studying for Amateur Extra.
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