By WBØRUR, on the scene
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission is announcing sweeping changes to the Amateur Radio Service as a result of the 2013 congressionally mandated sequester budget cuts. The sequestration order requires all branches of U.S. government to implement across-the-board spending cuts.
Effective next month, the FCC will begin issuing ham radio call signs in only the 2×1 format (i.e., KF5X), a reduction from the routine 2×3 format (KF5XXX).
“The FCC feels it is necessary to do our part in this challenging time. The two letter reduction will save millions in red ink. It will also save black ink, since we won’t have to print as many letters on each call sign license,” said FCC spokesman Phillip Von Stroosman. “Think about that.”
When Stroosman was asked about the possibility of ham radio call signs being duplicated, reporters were met by a “deer in the headlights” blank stare.
Additionally, the agency has announced changes in the ham radio licensing and testing program, also designed to save expenses.
“Are you familiar with the online practice exams at QRZ.com?” Stroosman asked the gathering of reporters. “Going forward, you only need to pass an online practice exam to earn your operating license. It would be nice if you dropped us a note to let us know, however.”
Stroosman says if Congress isn’t able to resolve the sequester issue soon, additional expense cutting steps will be necessary.
“We’re looking into allowing odd-numbered call areas to alternate operating days with even-numbered call areas. But that’s what we’re calling the “nuclear option” and we doubt it gets that far. But it sure would make the Worked All States Award more valuable, huh!?”