The answer is quite simple. A while ago I realized that Morse code is the heart and soul of amateur radio. There are plenty of discussions on how obsolete/inefficient/difficult Morse code is, and quite soon it will not be required by the ITU to learn Morse code to gain access to the HF bands. For me, all this is irrelevant. Why? Well, I was earlier a "no code tech". Got my tech license so that I could play with radios and whatever. I soon got quite bored, however, by old geezers on the repeaters, the odd satellite QSO now and then, and some packet radio experiments every blue moon. I then started with FM ATV experiments, trying to whip up some local activity, but still no thrill.
One day however, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a multimode 70cm rig. After working the repeaters on FM with it, I wanted to try out the "multimode" capabilities.I found out there was some kind of "test" going on every once in a while on 70cm. I didn't know what a test was, or what they were testing, but I joined using SSB, and soon found out about the monthly 70cm NAC tests (Nordic Activity Contest). It was fun for a while, but kind of "cool but no cigar". I heard a lot of Morse code on these 70cm tests, and to me it was all gibberish.
After a while I got my hands on a multimode 2m rig, and could now participate in the 144MHz NAC tests as well. On 144MHz the activity was tenfold of that on 70cm -- more stations to work, and more fun. Both these rigs had a jack on the rear panel for connecting a Morse code key. I started playing with the thought that perhaps I too could connect something to that hole in the back and get more test points and QSOs by hammering on a key? I found SSB contacts really hard sometimes, when band conditions were bad, but still I could in fact hear them, but not well enough for a contact. And aurora was quite impossible on 2m SSB.
Perhaps if I could... The CW ops seemed to work them perhaps I could... I decided to "look into" the matter. I searched the Internet for software and clues on how people usually learned the code. I read a lot of articles on how and why, don't and why not etc... So all in all I found quite a bit of info, and thought I had what I needed. However, I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong, so I did nothing. It wasn't until I read about the Koch experiments I understood what was it was. By reading the Koch paper, all the pieces fell into place.
Six weeks later I was using Morse code efficiently in the 144MHz and 432Mhz NAC tests. Working aurora late nights, enjoying the casual CW QSO with some station in Denmark or far east Sweden when conditions were adequate. Since I only had to take a Morse code test to get an A license, of course I did it. LA5EKA emerged from LC4PAT the 8th of June 2000. I was working both SSB and Morse code day and night. With new HF privileges there was a world of opportunities out there. There seemed to be no end to the excitement. I realized that I was having great fun, and that this was what amateur radio was about.
Now, almost three years after I started learning the code, I'm still as excited as ever when working HF. Though now I mainly do CW. In 2002 I had 95% CW, 0.3% PSK and 4.7% SSB. There is something magic about the Morse code. It's much easier to use than SSB, by far. Even when conditions are good, I think. No mumbling, no language problems, no constant phonetic repeating of LIMA ALPHA FIVE ECHO KILO ALPA to an operator with no ears, no ZOO like pileups, no need for kilowatt amplifiers etc...
If I hadn't started out learning the code and using it, I would still be sitting there, listening to the repeaters, whining about my technician privileges, talking down the CW ops etc... But as I said, I've gotten in touch with the heart and soul of amateur radio, and I am enjoying every minute of it. I feel sorry for all the "radio amateurs to be" in the future, feeling that they don't have to learn the code. Some of them will realize what they are missing, and learn it, but I fear that most will not.
Ok, now a comment to you digital mode people, writhing with frustration about my opinions of the "obsolete" Morse code. I'm sorry guys, but I find no challenge whatsoever in typing on a keyboard, and using a computer to decode the incoming data. It's ok for casual ragchewing I guess, and every once in a while it can be fun. I work daily with computers, and have plenty of people I can chat with using IRC and the like on the Internet. There's no more challenge in that than running PSK from my shack at home. It works fine, and is efficient in many ways, but alas, very boring. I find it a bit like flying on a commercial plane from one place to another; you're just sitting there, not actually flying the thing. Not much to brag about is it? And at last, I can communicate with others by banging two sticks together, blinking a lamp, blowing a whistle, or even using smoke signals. Can you do that with your computers?