The ARRL Stand: No Code Vs Phone Speed Rules


Dateline, Washington, DC

The FCC today took what they described as an important new step to reduce QRM on amateur frequencies by setting standards for voice speeds.

The docket #200-4U will become official in the Part 97 amateur regulations effective 1 April 2007.

Citing frequent complaints about "long, boring conversations" on the ham bands, especially 75 meters, the Commission moved to impose a new standard on voice operations requiring all conversations to be at a speed of "at least 200 spoken words-per-minute".

The Commission in its ruling was especially critical of what they called "long winded, often endless conversations by old men talking about their prostate problems and other needs to get up and go to the bathroom several times during the night".

FCC staffers say they have personally heard conversations about nothing that went for hours and tied up frequencies that could be used by faster talkers.

Official Observer stations have received instructions to listen to suspect conversations and count the number of words-per-minute spoken.

Those QSOs which fail to meet the minimum speed requirements will be noted and the operators involved will receive Official Observer Advisory Notices encouraging them to follow the rules or risk receiving notice of apparent violation citations from the FCC.

Some hams in southern states complained the new regulation will impose a burden on them because they naturally talk more slowly than those up north. They are suggesting that frequencies be set aside for slow speed discussions concerning favorite country music artists (particularly Don Williams), NASCAR, huntin' and feeshin' (particularly bass and brim).

FCC says it may consider that in future rulemaking.

In a separate press release, the American Radio Relay League said they are also concerned about two-meter operation where little is discussed except "full quieting and items to be picked up on the way home". The League said that sort of thing is boring and is usually spoken very slowly as well, far below the 200 words-per-minute minimum. The League suggested conversations on how to help raise more money for League activities would be especially welcomed and will be encouraged. Future issues of QST will contain special pull-out sections containing recommended topics for on-air discussion to brighten up QSOs.



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