Special FCC Announcement

BSugarberg bsugarberg at CORE.COM
Sat Apr 1 12:09:55 EST 2006

International Press, Washington, DC.

Today, in an unprecedented move, the Federal Communications Commission
issued an emergency reinstatement of Morse code requirements for all amateur
and commercial radio licenses.  In addition, the amateur radio license
structure has been reverted to 1985 standards.  All codeless amateur and
commercial licenses have been placed on a "conditional 30 day temporary
permit" and all such license holders will have to pass an appropriate Morse
code test by May 1, 2006 or face permanent revocation of their licenses.

All American registered commercial vessels are now required to have a
crewman onboard that can copy Morse code at 13 WPM or they will be denied
port clearance.  A temporary provision has been made in the FCC regulations
that will allow amateur radio operators that completed FCC administered
Morse code tests prior to the implementation of the VEC program to meet this
requirement.  This generated such a demand for licensed amateur radio
operators that the pay scale quickly escalated to $1000 per day for  such
services.  In a bidding war, many major shipping companies have provided
generous expense accounts,  luxury accommodations on vessels, sponsorship of
DX-peditions and immediate long term pension benefits.

In a related issue, this action has caused a significant shortage of Morse
code keys, and surplus military J-38 keys that sold for a dollar each after
WW II are now fetching upwards of $300 each on ebay, regardless of

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