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W5YI-VEC : FAQs Regarding FCC Docket 05-235 and 04-140

FAQs Regarding FCC Docket 05-235 and 04-140

Here are some of the questions being asked --

Q. When will the FCC WT Docket 05-235 to eliminate Morse Code testing requirement for all license classes become effective?

The new licensing requirements abolishing Morse code testing in the Amateur Service go into effect 30 days after being published in the Federal Register, - FEBRUARY 23, 2007 FCC's December 15th Report and Order (R&O) in the �Morse code proceeding,� WT Docket 05-235, will appear in the Federal Register on Wednesday, January 24.

The new Part 97 rules deleting any Morse code examination requirement for Amateur Radio license applicants would go into effect Friday, February 23, 2007.

Q. I am a Technician, how does WT Docket 05-235 affect my privileges?

A. Once the rule making goes into effect, all Technician licensees, regardless of whether or not they have passed a Morse code examination, will automatically have Tech Plus operating privileges. You will have all current privileges, VHF/UHF and above frequencies and also access to the Novice and Technician Plus frequencies on HF....

Technician operators are limited to 200 W PEP power output on these HF frequencies:
3525-3600 kHz CW only
7025-7125 kHz CW only
21,025-21,200 kHz CW only
28,000-28,300 kHz RTTY, CW and Data
28,300-28,500 kHz CW, SSB

Technicians can upgrade by passing the General Class Element 3 written exam and then by also passing the Extra Class Element 4 written exam.

Q. I hold a CSCE) for Element 3, will I automatically be ugraded to a General license?

A. It will not happen automatically. You will need to wait until the new rules go into effect, expected to be mid-February. If the CSCE remains valid the day the rules go into effect you can "paper upgrade" at VE test session by paying the test session fee and have the VE team submit the paperwork for a license upgrade. If however your CSCE for Element 3 credit has expired or expires before you can attend an exam session to process your upgrade, you will have to retake the Element 3 to receive the credit toward your upgrade. The test session fee will apply.

Remember: A CSCE is only valid for 365 days. An expired CSCE for the General license theory will not be usable for an upgrade. If your CSCE expires before the new rules go into effect you will have to re-take the Element 3 General class theory exam in order to upgrade.

Q. I current hold a Novice license. Do I automatically get grandfathered to Technician?

A. No. There is not a grandfather provision in this rule making.. To upgrade your privileges to those of a Technician, you will need to pass the current Element 2 written examination at a local testing session , but no Morse code test will be required for upgrading to a higher class license. This rule making did not change any operating privileges for Novice, General, Advanced and Amateur Extra class licensees..ONLY new and currently licensed Technicians.

Q. My Technician license was issued prior to March 21, 1987, am I grandfathered?

A. Actually, having held a Tech before March 21, 1987, you could have already taken proof of holding that license to a volunteer examiner (VE) test session and already enjoying General privileges. This rule making did not change anything the current "grandfathering" rules allowing "paper upgrades" to General Class. Proof of holding that license prior to March 21, 1987, could be a copy of the Technician license grant or the page listing from the Radio Amateur Call Book showing your call sign / license listing as Technician.

Q. Now that I have limited HF privileges as a Technician, do I still have to pass a code test to use CW on the air?

A. Quick and short...NO! Any licensee who wishes to operate Morse code on the frequencies they are authorized to use may do so without testing be a VE team. The only exception of course is the 5 USB-only frequency channels on 5 MHz.

Q. I use to be licensed in the hobby and let my license expire. How do I get back on the air and what exams do I have to take?

A. To get your license all you need to do is take the Technician Element 2 written exam. The class of license you previously held determines what elements you receive credit for and which elements you will have to pass to upgrade. NEW AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

On or after the effective date of the new rules, an applicant holding a valid Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) for a higher license class will be able to redeem it for an upgrade. For example, a Technician licensee holding a valid CSCE for Element 3 (General) may apply at a VE exam session, pay the application fee and receive an instant upgrade. A Technician with a CSCE for Element 3 need only pass the 50 question Element 4 to upgrade to Extra Class. A CSCE is valid only for 365 days from the date of issuance. Applicants must be retested if their CSCE is dated before February 24, 2006.

As previously was the case, Technician Class applicants with an old Technician Class operator license dated before March 21, 1987 automatically qualify for a General Class ticket without further testing. But it does not happen automatically. They must bring their old license document (or other evidence) to a VE exam session and the VEs will upgrade them without examination.

Even a currently unlicensed applicant who held a Technician Class license before March 21, 1987 can become a General Class licensee by passing only Element 2. Sec. 97.505(a)(4) grants Element 3 credit even though the license is expired.

The new rules also mean that all Technician licensees, whether or not they've passed a Morse code examination, will gain HF privileges identical to those of current Novice and Tech Plus (or Technician with Element 1 credit) licensees without having to apply for an upgrade. New Sec. 97.301(e) grants Novices, Technicians and Tech Plus operators CW privileges on 80, 40, 15 meters and CW, RTTY, data and SSB privileges on 10 meters.

The exact frequencies are (CW only) 3525-3600 kHz, 7025-7125 kHz; 21.025-21.200 MHz; ...(CW, RTTY and Data) 28.0-28.3 MHz ...and (CW and SSB) 28.3-28.5 MHz. The power limit is 200 W PEP output for Novice and Technician operators. The R&O does not change the operating privileges of Novice, Tech Plus, General, Advanced and Amateur Extra Class licensees.

Follows is the new updated Element Credit regulations (Sec. 97.505) that are effective February 24, 2007.

�97.505 Element credit.

(a) The administering VEs must give credit as specified below to an examinee holding any of the following license grants or license documents:

(1) An unexpired (or expired but within the grace period for renewal) FCC-granted Advanced Class operator license grant: Elements 2 and 3.

(2) An unexpired (or expired but within the grace period for renewal) FCC-granted General Class operator license grant: Elements 2 and 3.

(3) An unexpired (or expired but within the grace period for renewal) FCC-granted Technician or Technician Plus Class operator (including a Technician Class operator license granted before February 14, 1991) license grant: Element 2.

(4) An expired FCC-issued Technician Class operator license document granted before March 21, 1987: Element 3.

(5) A CSCE: Each element the CSCE indicates the examinee passed within the previous 365 days.

(b) No examination credit, except as herein provided, shall be allowed on the basis of holding or having held any other license grant or document.

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