[AWA] CW, the Expansion of Phone and Amateur Radio

Ron Lawrence KC4YOY kc4yoy at CAROLINA.RR.COM
Sat Dec 16 14:24:55 EST 2006

Well said Gary, 73 Ron kc4yoy

Gary Carter wrote:
>     I have been an amateur radio operator for over 32 years. In that 
> time I have enjoyed working various modes such as CW, SSB, AM, PSK31, 
> SSTV, FM, etc. I have never been an ardent "flag waver" for any 
> particular mode. I enjoy them all, because I enjoy amateur radio in general.
>     In the first few months as a Novice, before I upgraded to General at 
> the FCC regional office using the 13 WPM CW door, I would spend evenings 
> working CW stations that were packed from one end of that tiny 50 kHz 
> sliver of a band to the other. Every night that little segment was 
> filled with signals of stations from all over the country, and some from 
> outside of it!
>     Since that time I have gone on to enjoy many modes of communication 
> in amateur radio, as I mentioned earlier. Occasionally I will work some 
> CW just to keep my hand in, and because I enjoy it. Starting about 10 or 
> 15 years ago I started noticing a change in band usage. Just for grins I 
> would go over to my old Novice stomping grounds on 80 and 40 meters, 
> scan the frequencies and hear...........two, maybe three CW QSOs on a 
> good day. And down below the old Novice segment on 80 meters it was 
> worse! A veritable no mans land between 3.6 and 3.7 MHz, except for the 
> odd digital signal or two. I know a  lot of this was due to the phasing 
> out of the Novice license and the popularity of the Technician license 
> as the preferred means of entry into amateur radio.
>     With the expansion of the phone bands into segments once teaming 
> with CW signals the cry has gone up "they can't do this to us!", 
> "they're cramming CW into a tiny 75 kHz window", etc. Funny, seems that 
> when I've operated CW in the past 15 years that's where almost all the 
> activity has been anyway. Seems to me this "they shall not pass" 
> attitude doesn't appear to have the operational record to backup such a 
> stance. Remember the whole "use it or lose it" campaign for 10 meters 
> sometime in the mid to late 1970's? 'Nuff said!
>     I for one welcome the expansion of the phone bands into the under 
> utilized frequencies. The Canadians have been enjoying voice 
> communications on some of those frequencies for decades, and it will be 
> a nice change to be able to work European stations on 75 and 40 meters 
> SSB and AM without having to work split frequency.
>     As to the subject of the elimination of the CW requirement for 
> operation below 30 MHz, this has been coming for decades. It has NEVER 
> been a barrier to keep the LID operator and card carrying moron from 
> joining our ranks, contrary to the misguided belief of some. Do a bit 
> research into the history of amateur radio. The LID and lunatic have 
> been with us since 1906. I have seen it proved time and time again that 
> the ability to pass an Extra Class exam with the difficulty level of an 
> EE doctorate (no matter what decade you passed it in), and then be able 
> to send and receive CW anywhere from 20 to 20,000 WPM *DOES NOT* 
> guarantee that the licensee is either intelligent or a good and 
> courteous operator. Those qualities are not arrived at through mere tests.
>     What are those of us who enjoy using CW to do? I'll tell you. Stop 
> treating it as a requirement, some testosterone-soaked right of passage 
> that "manly" ham operators should do in order to prove they're a "real" 
> ham (whatever THAT is), and instead look at it, and encourage use of it 
> for what it really is and has been for over 100 years: an art form. Yes, 
> an art form. A mode of communication that demands a level of skill from 
> it's operator that is not required by any other mode. Also emphasize to 
> any prospective ham what a fun mode it is! A code that you can actually 
> keep in your head and spout about without assistance from a computer.
>     This is not the end of amateur radio. The "sky is falling" faction 
> has always been out there. They screamed during the transition from 
> spark to CW, they bellowed their disgust when AM joined CW, they kicked 
> at SSB, and they've lamented anything that has the word "digital" 
> associated with it.
>     Am I denouncing tradition and all that has made amateur radio great 
> to the present day, throwing it away as old and useless? Not a bit of 
> it! I relish operating my homebrew one tube 1929 replica CW transmitter. 
> I delight in making AM contacts with my boatanchor station from the 
> 1950s. But I also enjoy running PSK31. I marvel at those hams who are 
> into moonbounce, microwaves and satellites. To those experimenting with 
> digital voice I say "go forward"! We amateur radio types are not a 
> stagnant bunch, and we never shall be. The day we do become stationary 
> in experimenting with technology and providing value to the nation 
> through our public service work, that will be the day the FCC pulls the 
> plug on us. And we'll deserve it.
> 73,
> Gary Carter - WA4IAM
> Amateur Extra Class (and still damn proud of it!)
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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