Morse No Longer Required for Jamaican Radio Operators

Amateur radio operators and technicians in Jamaica will no longer be required to be proficient in Morse code, as a result of changes to the regulations for the two pieces of legislation which govern radio and telegraph control services.
Director of Legal Affairs at the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) Ida-Gaye Warburton explained to the Regulations Committee of Parliament that morse code is no longer the primary means of transmitting information to critical agencies such as the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) during national emergencies and disasters.
The amendments will effect changes to the Radio and Telegraph Control (Amateur Radio Service) Regulations of 1974, and the Radio and Telegraph Control (Radio Operations and Technicians) Regulations of 1974.
Warburton explained to reporters after the sitting that “they have more sophisticated equipment now, so the dots and tones that they used to use in 1974 to ensure that they weren't interfering with, for example, the marine operators or airline users, that restriction is no longer necessary... so they can talk to each other without using the coding messages”.
The legal director said this is significant for the Jamaica Radio Amateur Association (JRAA), because of its alliance with ODPEM.
“The hope is that they will be able to increase their membership and give Jamaica and, in particular ODPEM, the support it needs in times of disasters,” she said, noting that the changes are timely given the start of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
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