Certificate of Code Proficiency

This is not an operating award in the most traditional sense. No contacts need be made to achieve it. But it does require radio reception and a certain skill called CW copying.

For some time now the ability to accurately copy Morse Code has been removed as a requirement to obtain an Amateur Radio license. When I was getting started in the 1980’s it was still in place. The CW test held up my licensing a bit but I eventually fought through it and passed both the 5 words per minute (WPM) and 12 WPM tests.

I haven’t made a CW contact in a number of years, though with my newly erected station I hope to rectify that in the future. However, all that effort I put into learning the Morse Code has strangely come in handy in situations well outside of the Amateur Radio realm. On a recent company team building outing to an escape room one of the clues we needed to find was provided by a flashing light emitting numbers in Morse Code. Though a handy sign provided the mapping between characters and Morse’s dots and dashes I was able to get the team the answer more quickly by simply reading the characters as they went by. You never know when it might come in handy!

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) regularly transmits qualifying runs of CW text and different speeds to test listeners’ CW skills. W1AW sends text in Morse code at different speeds between 5 and 35 words per minute (WPM). By turning in one minute of solid copy an award like the one above can be yours.

As of 2019 the charge for the certificate was $10.00. Endorsements are available for $7.50. Looks like I have some endorsement space to fill up.

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