February 1935 Short Wave Craft
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
from Short Wave Craft,
published 1930 - 1936. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
This article from an issue of Short Wave Craft shows that the necessity for Morse code in order for amateur radio operators to ply their hobby was in question as early as 1935. Elimination of the requirement to demonstrate proficiency in Morse code when earning an Amateur Radio license did not formally begin until 1991 - nearly 60 years later - when the 5-words-per-minute code test for the entry-level Technician level license was removed. It was done so to prevent scaring off potential newcomers who might otherwise seek an operator's license. Licensee numbers had been on the decline for years prior and with cellphones for ubiquitous communications on the horizon, the need for code skills were no longer deemed essential as part of the ARRL's charter to provide assistance with communications during emergency and wartime scenarios. The FCC dropped the Morse code requirement for all license levels in 2007, which does not sit well with many old-timers. I know a Ham who has been an ARRL "Life Member" since the cost was $120 (today it will set you back $1,225), and he refers to "codeless" amateur licensees as "10-4-Good-Buddy Hams" (i.e., glorified CBers). I think it's funny even though I fall into that category.
Short Wave League: Code Test Below 6 Meter Must Go!
Editor, Short Wave Craft (aka Hugo Gernsback):
I wish you would kindly print the following regarding the "Code or No Code" controversy:
Two people within hearing distance of each other cannot make themselves understood without the aid of a telegraph key.
Q. Why not? Don't they both speak the same language?
A. Yes, but even if they didn't they would still need an interpreter.
Q. Then why do they need a key?
A. It's an old "Spanish" custom.
Q. But why don't they hold their conversation with their voices '?
A. It's too simple and easy. The more difficult way is the best. Besides, they both can use a key.
Q. Strange! What manner of people are these?
A. They are what are known as "Hams". A very jealous and clannish tribe, most of them, inclined to be backward, and against progress; and very much addicted to "code."
Q. What is "code?"?
A. An old and obsolete method of expressing one's self for great distances over the air before the discovery of the modulated wave.
Q. What is a modulated wave ?
A. A means of transmitting speech over the air for great distances.
Q. Which method will cover the greatest distance?
A. Under the same given conditions the code - or C.W. waves - will carry further with more consistent success.
Q. Can phone transmission be perfected so that it will equal or better the performance of the C.VV. transmitter?
A. Nothing is impossible. When this comes to pass you will see the telegraph, key buried without any false sentimentality
Posted January 6, 2017