A Political Letter that I Agree with & Support - "TR"

In the Number 58 - June 1998 issue of Morsum Magnificat on page 45:

RSGB and the Morse Test

I read with dismay the news that RSGB will no longer support a CW requirement for HF licensing. But I have to say that I regard such change as inevitable. Look at the facts - in the States, the novice licence is virtually a dead letter. The tech plus licensees all immediately go to 10 metre SSB and never again touch a key, except one on a keyboard agitating for more privileges for that licence class.

Sure, there are exceptions - but in truth they are rare. We are becoming dinosaurs.

I suggest we need to adopt a different tack. Change in the licensing requirements is inevitable. Let us concentrate instead on protecting what we have, and even improving it. What we need are 'protected' CW bands. Bands free of digital, AMTOR, RTTY and of course any form of voice modulation, and where only CW may be used.

We need at a minimum today 50kHz of protected spectrum on 80, 40, 17 and 12 metres, 75kHz on 20 metres, and 100kHz on 15 and 10 metres. During major CW contests of course this is not enough, but the rest of the time we do not begin to use what we have. And in the meantime, the digital modes keep encroaching ever more, mostly with unattended automatic stations. And they get away with it. We need to stop this.

I am 55 years old. I hope to be active at least 40 more years. It will all be on CW. I want bands where I can work other like-minded CW ops. I don't give a fig for what happens outside the CW bands, except as it affects amateur radio overall. But my real interest is to protect the frequencies I need for CW operating.

If we can achieve protected CW allocations, by law or by convention, we can work on bringing newcomers into CW, even though licences will no longer require CW ability. We know we have something special. We need to sell it. But there is no hope of recovering times gone by, or turning back the clock.

Let's be realistic. My credentials as a CW operator are reasonably well known. Let's work on protecting our wonderful mode on a realistic basis.

Bob Locher W9KNI
Geyserville, CA, USA

(Widespread discussion started on this issue in the USA before the RSGB made its official announcement on May 27. This is an early reaction which originally appeared on the Internet's CW Reflector. - Ed.)