1976: American Bicentennial. Ham could at their discretion change their prefixes to special bicentennial prefixes. WN calls were changed to AK call signs. Novices could use either WN or AK. AN prefixes were not issues for A call signs are shared. The U.S. may only issue the AA to AL prefixes.
The FCC cut the bicentennial celebration short for Novices by recalling WN call signs on October 1, 1976. Novices instead were issued sequential call signs The FCC said they were having difficulty processing distinctive N call signs.
About 1976 to late-1978: FCC issued the “WD” prefix.
1977: Licensing fees were eliminated. Novice licenses used to cost $9.
Novice power limited increased to 250 watts input. All hams were restricted to 250 watts input when operating on Novice sub-bands.
Code sending test is eliminated.
To deal with the problem of CBer’s modifying ham amplifiers onto their band, FCC started a Type Acceptance program from amplifiers capable of operating below 144mc. Hams objected saying they were being punished for CBer’s illegal operations.
There were 327,000 hams in the U.S.
FCC is overwhelmed by CB license applications at the rate of 500,000 per month.
FCC expands CB from 23 channels to 40 channels. 10M CB licenses were issued.
1978: Novices license term was extended to 5 years. Novices could renew their licenses.
FCC started a new call sign grouping system. Novices were in Group D. There were no WA and WB or even WD calls left. Novices were issued KA#xxx, KB#xxx and so on.
To combat the problem of CBers operating using illegally high power, FCC banned the sale of amplifiers which could operate between 24mc and 34 mc.
There were 330,000 hams in the U.S.; 165,000 of them were ARRL members.
Late 1978: FCC started issuing KA prefix call signs.
Late 1970s: FCC introduced Morse code comprehension tests. The old requirement required that an applicant copy perfect for at least 1 out of 5 minutes. The new rule let an applicant pass on the old 1 minute or more of perfect copy requirement or they could pass a 10 question comprehension test. A 10 question multiple choice test was introduced in which applicants were asked 10 questions about the message they copied.