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Re: Amateur License restructuring announcement.

Do not want to start a fracas but why do say this sucks? I think it will be
good for the hobby and lets face it, code is all but dead. I am sorry that
they have reduced the code requirement. It was always a right of passage to
me and I was and am working on that right. However, with modern technology
being what it is, do we really need code?


At 04:16 PM 12/30/99 -0700, you wrote:
>The FCC has made its decision, and it SUCKS!!!
>NEWINGTON, CT, Dec 30, 1999--Amateur Radio will get a new look in the new
>millennium. The FCC today issued its long-awaited Report and Order in the
>1998 Biennial Regulatory Review of Part 97--more commonly known as "license
>restructuring." The bottom line is that starting April 15, 2000, there will
>be three license classes--Technician, General, and Amateur Extra--and a
>single Morse code requirement--5 WPM. 
>"We believe that an individual's ability to demonstrate increased Morse
>code proficiency is not necessarily indicative of that individual's ability
>to contribute to the advancement of the radio art," the FCC said. 
>Besides drastically streamlining the Amateur Radio licensing process, the
>FCC said its actions would "eliminate unnecessary requirements that may
>discourage or limit individuals from becoming trained operators,
>technicians, and electronic experts." 
>Although no new Novice and Advanced licenses will be issued after the
>effective date of the Report and Order, the FCC does not plan to
>automatically upgrade any existing license privileges. The
>ARRL had proposed a one-time across-the-board upgrading of current Novice
>and Tech Plus licensees to General class, but the FCC declined to adopt the
>idea. This means that current licensees will retain their current operating
>privileges, including access to various modes and subbands, and will be
>able to renew their licenses indefinitely. 
>Starting April 15, 2000, individuals who qualified for the Technician class
>license prior to March 21, 1987, will be able to upgrade to General class
>by providing documentary proof to a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator, paying
>an application fee, and completing FCC Form 605. 
>The FCC's decision not to automatically upgrade Novice and Tech Plus
>licensees means the current Novice/Tech Plus HF subbands will remain and
>not be "refarmed" to higher class licensees as the ARRL had proposed. The
>FCC said it did not refarm these subbands because there was "no consensus"
>within the amateur community as to what to do with them. 
>As it had proposed earlier, the FCC decided to lump Technician and Tech
>Plus licensees into a single licensee database, all designated as
>"Technician" licensees. Those who can document having passed the 5 WPM
>Morse code examination will continue to have the current Tech Plus HF
>privileges. "If documentation is needed to verify whether a licensee has
>passed a telegraphy examination, we may request the documentation from that
>licensee or the VECs," the FCC said. 
>In addition to reducing the number of license classes from six to three and
>eliminating the 20 and 13 WPM code tests, the FCC also will reduce the
>number of written examination elements from five to three, authorize
>Advanced Class hams to prepare and administer General class examinations,
>and eliminate Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) station
>licenses. RACES will remain, however. "After review of the record, we
>conclude that we should eliminate RACES station licenses because RACES
>station licenses are unnecessary for amateur stations and amateur service
>licenses to provide emergency communications," the FCC said. 
>Under the new licensing scheme, there will be four examination elements.
>Element 1 will be the 5 WPM Morse code exam. Element 2 will be a
>35-question written test to obtain a Technician license; Element 3 will be
>a 35-question written test to obtain a General license, and Element 4 will
>be a 50-question written test for the Amateur Extra license. The FCC has
>left it in the hands of the National Conference of VECs Question Pool
>Committee to determine the specific mix and makeup of written examination
>questions. Current Amateur Radio study materials remain valid at least
>until the new rules become effective in April. 
>The FCC's new licensing plan means someone will be able to become a ham by
>passing a single 35-question written examination. The plan also simplifies
>and shortens the upgrade path from the ground floor through Amateur
>Extra--especially since amateurs will only have to pass one Morse code test. 
>Elimination of the 13 and 20 WPM Morse requirements also means an end to
>physician certification waivers for applicants claiming an inability to
>pass the Morse code examination due to physical handicap. 
>The effective date provides a window of upgrade opportunity for current
>Advanced licensees. Between now and April 15, current Advanced holders may
>take the existing Element 4B, a 40-question test, giving them credit for
>having passed the current Extra written examination. Likewise, holders of a
>Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) for Elements 3B
>or 4B dated on or after April 17, 1999, will be able to qualify for General
>or Amateur Extra respectively when the new rules go into effect on April
>15, 2000. 
>The FCC disagreed with the League's suggestion that it undertake a
>restructuring of operating privileges along with licensing restructuring.
>"We believe that in light of ongoing discussions concerning implementation
>of new and more modern communications technologies within the amateur
>service community, we should accord the amateur service community an
>opportunity to complete such discussions and possibly reach a consensus
>regarding implementation of new technologies before we undertake a
>comprehensive restructuring of the amateur service operating privileges and
>frequencies," the FCC said in its Report and Order. 
>In its amendments to Part 97, the FCC's Report and Order refers to a "Club
>Station Call Sign Administrator," something that does not exist under the
>current rules and which was not explained in the R&O itself. An FCC
>spokesperson said the Commission plans to issue a Public Notice soon to
>explain the program and to solicit qualified entities to serve as call sign
>administrators for club station applications. 
>Via the amsat-bb mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
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Via the amsat-bb mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
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