What nations still require Morse code testing for Amateur radio license?

Amateur Radio Asked on January 2, 2022

Going a bit further I’ll ask, for which licenses (all or just for licenses for HF operation) and at what speed (5 WPM, 10 WPM, none specified)?

The reason I ask is because every so often I’ll see people from the USA wanting to visit another nation and operate their ham radio there.

The problem then comes in how to show Morse code proficiency when there’s no Morse code requirement, or a kind of "endorsement" available to people licensed by the FCC. People that have had their license for the last 20 years can often show they meet the Morse code proficiency requirement for reciprocal licensing. This is difficult or impossible if the person upgraded their license since then or has not been licensed before the Morse code testing went away.

I’ve seen exceptions but the general rule is that to get full privileges (or perhaps any at all) under a reciprocity agreement means being able to show having an Amateur Extra issued before the year 2000, or perhaps an Advanced (which by definition would have been issued before the 13 WPM Morse testing went away). Doing some searching on the web I can see some nations accepting General as sufficient for full privileges if there’s evidence of being issued before 2000 (13 WPM) or 2007 (5 WPM), but generally this may be no better than Technician.

The exceptions to the rule can be nations that accept a temporary International Amateur Radio Permit issued by the ARRL, which appears to be largely limited to those on the American continents. The ARRL will issue an IARP that notes Morse code proficiency based on any FCC licenses or Morse code testing that the ARRL would administer themselves. Another wide reaching international agreement in ham radio licensing is the CEPT permit. Apparently the CEPT permit does not require Morse code proficiency but for those that demonstrated it to the issuing authority will have Morse code proficiency noted for those nations that do require it.

Another exception was a story from a couple of licensed hams that traveled to a small Pacific island on short notice and was able to get their license issued personally by their equivalent of the FCC director on the spot (I did say SMALL island nation) by showing their FCC issued ham and commercial licenses. This is an exceedingly exceptional means to obtain a license in a foreign nation by an FCC licensed ham operator.

The reason I’d like to collect this information is to determine how often this could come up of not having Morse code proficiency noted on one’s FCC issued ham license and therefore prevent operating a ham radio overseas. I can imagine this does not come up often but if there is sufficient demand then perhaps a group of people could get together to petition the FCC to allow for a Morse code proficiency endorsement on ham radio licenses to facilitate US hams operating overseas.

4 Answers


There are four categories of amateur radio license in Russia. The first category gives you most privileges, including the possibility to use short callsing like R1AB. The exam for this category is most difficult and includes the test on receiving CW at ~12 WPM with Russian letters (that's a few additional symbols e.g. Ш is ----). Other categories don't require the knowledge of morse code.

Answered by Aleksander Alekseev - R2AUK on January 2, 2022

In South Korea, CW must take the CW test in order to qualify for a possible grade (the practice has been abolished and only the written test is required).

Answered by otstn1010 on January 2, 2022


For its own amateur radio licences, Thailand has three grades - Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. Basic allows access to the 2m VHF band only, and the higher two grades allow access to HF as well.

The Intermediate and Advanced licences require a basic Morse code test, although it looks like it's very simple.

However, Thai amateur radio licences are only available to Thai citizens.

For a reciprocal licence, you need a full amateur radio licence from one of a handful of countries. For US licences, I believe that you need a General licence or higher. I do know that for a UK licence you need a full licence (not a novice or intermediate licence).


Thai licensees get callsigns beginning with HS or E2 (but not beginning with HS0Z). Reciprocal licences begin with HS0Z followed by two more letters.

Sidenote: I have heard it said that some Thai citizens who are able to speak enough English have gone the route of getting a US licence and using that to get a reciprocal licence, since the US General test is much easier than the Thai Intermediate written test.

Answered by Scott Earle on January 2, 2022


India has two classes of licenses - general and restricted. Getting the general license requires sending and receiving morse at 8 wpm. [Source][1]


Answered by rsn on January 2, 2022

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