W3BE'S BE Informed!
 
Home1.0 W3BE Checklists1.1 RF Safety1.2 Antenna Structures1.3 Quiet Zones1.4 60 Meter Privileges1.5 Take A Paying Job?1.6 Hams At Sea1.7 Chinese Radios1.8.0 Reciprocal Privileges1.8.1 For Canadians1.8.2 Reciprocal I.D.1.8.3 More Reciprocal Q&A1.8.4 Hear Something Say Something1.9 Third Party Communications1.10 Incentive Licensing1.11 GEPs and GAPs1.12 Hamslanguage1.13 Visiting Operators1.14 Terms in Part 971.15 Amateur Station?1.16 Licenses & Call Signs1.17 All About Spectrum1.18 Transmitter Stability1.19 Selling Over Ham Radio1.20 Still an Amateur?1.21 Use My Station?1.22 Digi-Standards1.23 No Secrets1.24 Where's My License?1.25 Spectrum Management1.26 A Little Bit Commercial2.0 Ham Needs To Know2.1 VE System Management2.2 What A VE Does2.3 Remote Testing2.4 Get Your Pools Right2.8 GOTA Experience: License Qualifier?2.12 Former Hams2.13 Stereotype W2.14 VE's Universe2.15 More HF for Techs2.16 Can A VE Accept Pay2.17 VEC Supposed To Do2.18 Significance of license3.0 Smell Test3.1 Maintenance Monitoring3.2 International/domestic3.3 Excuses3.4 Heed The Rules!3.5 Regulatable3.6 No Broadcasting3.7 Station Records4.0 Which Call Sign?4.1 Self-assigned indicator4.2 Station ID4.3 ID Every 10 minutes4.5 Indicator Schedule4.6 Special Event 1 by 14.7 Non-Appended Indicator4.8 Club Station ID5.0 Our TPMSP Class5.1 VPoD Protocols5.3 Big Red Switch6.0 Constitution Go-By6.1 What Ia A Radio Club?6.2 School Radio Club6.3 Club Stations Control Op6.4 Radio Club Repeater Station7.0 EmComm7.2 RACES7.3 Commercial Communications7.11 Supposed To Be7.12 Emergency Responders & Part 978.0 Repeaters & Part 978.1 Auxiliary Stations & Part 978.2 Remote Control, Telecommand & Part 978.3 Frequency Coordination8.4 Automatic Control & Part 978.5 The Internet & Part 978.6 Beacons & Part 978.7 Automatic Control & Part 978.8 Frequency Coordination & Part 9710.0 Comments in RM-1170810.2 Deceased's Call Sign10.3 A New Era for Ham Radio10.4 New Era Q/A

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 W3BE-O-GRAMS

Q. I read where the FCC may be petitioned for Part 97 rule amendments to accommodate persons who refuse to qualify for a General Class operator license so that they too can experience multiple facets of Amateur Radio, encouraging them to get on the air, meet other licensees, and engage in a lifetime of learning while using amateur radio on the 80-, 40-, and 15-meter band.

A. It is our Section 97.507 question-preparing VEs who should be the ones being petitioned. They should be petitioned to perform their obligation exactly as codified in Section 97.503: A written examination must be such as to prove that the examinee possesses the operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee. Their dated thinking is mired in the incentive licensing past. Many of their questions are superfluous to folks who want to do their learning after they get on the air.

Q. How so?

A. Assuming their 350+ Element 2 questions accurately concern the privileges of a Technician Class operator license grant, the next step up the ladder should not require memorizing the answers to 350+ Element 3 questions concerning the privileges of a General Class operator license. That is obviously the reason so many Techs are balking at moving up.

Q. How many questions then should be in Elements 3 and 4?

A. Again, assuming our VEs have Element 2 right, the duties associated with the additional privileges of a General Class operator license should warrant a 10-question Element 3 examination. Element 4 should be 5 questions.

Q. Our regulator should be petitioned to reduce the number of questions it specifies for Elements 3 and 4 examinations.

A. Better yet: Eliminate such micromanaging altogether. One all-privileged Amateur Operator Class might result in even more stations on the air, more licensees meeting other licensees and engaging in a lifetime of learning, more radios being sold, more neighbors being annoyed, and more radio mischief being made. Some folks may even choose to put down their smart phones.

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Q. I read where the NTIA is in the early stages of building a nationwide, hardened, wireless network expressly for the use of first responders in emergencies and disasters.

A. Yes. It is called FirstNet. FirstNet is the acronym for the "First Responder Network Authority," and was created by The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. It is an independent authority within NTIA, intended to provide emergency responders with the first nationwide, high-speed, broadband network dedicated to public safety. It is supposed to initially focus on providing data and video. Voice capability is to come much later. 

Q. Won’t FirstNet diminish ham radio’s role as a backup to Part 90 public safety systems?

A. Currently, that role is not even within our regulators’ expectations for our participation in EmComm. Hams, however, are still eyes and ears on the ground and may be useful in disaster recovery. We are now expected to provide an alternative to the commercial communications infrastructure impacted by an emergency. But our role in emergency communications will likely be limited because network failures are supposed to be far less common once FirstNet gets up and going. 

Q. What is NTIA?

A. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), located within the Department of Commerce, is the Executive Branch agency that is principally responsible by law for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues.

   For Q/A on this topic, read Providing Emergency Communications (“EmComm”) BE Informed No. 7.0.  

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Q. Is automatic control authorized for every type of station operation. Yes or no?

A. No. Only certain special operation stations sanctioned in Part 97 may utilize Section 97.109(d) automatic control. Even then, the station is supposed to cease transmitting upon failure to achieve full rule compliance or upon notification by a FCC District Director that it is transmitting improperly or causing harmful interference to other stations.

Q. Where automatic control is disallowed, what other methods for station control are authorized?

A. There is Section 97.109(b) local control and there is Section 97.109(c) remote control. Any station may utilize local control or remote control.

Q. A directory claims that unattended operation was authorized for repeaters by the FCC in the 1970s. True or false?

A. Some book may say that, but neither the rules or simple logic bear it out. Section 97.205(d) says A repeater may be automatically controlled. Whatever unattended operation is, it is obviously unsuitable for amateur stations in places where the FCC regulates our amateur service. Unattended usually means the opposite of attended, i.e., no one is paying any attention. That would be inconsistent with our fundamental hear-and-be-heard-now amateur service spectrum management protocol. For Q/A on this topic, read Spectrum Management in Our Amateur Service BE Informed No. 1.25.

   Repeaters captured the attention of our amateur service community in the 1970s. Pioneering hams assembled stations, developed band-plans for channelization, named frequency coordinators, petitioned for rule amendments, and did just about everything possible to adapt structured networks to our heretofore unstructured VHF and UHF bands. They were so successful that they made automatic control practical for most repeaters. But never was unattended operation of amateur repeater stations authorized on our amateur service frequencies.

Q. What are the types of operation where an amateur station may be automatically controlled?

A. There are five types of special operations authorized for automatic control:

   1. A Section 97.201 auxiliary station may be automatically controlled.

   2. A Section 97.203 beacon station may be automatically controlled while it is transmitting on the 28.20-28.30 MHz, 50.06-50-08 MHz, 144.275-144.300 MHz, 222.05-222.06 MHz or 432.300-432.400 MHz segments, or on the 33 cm and shorter wavelength bands.

  3. A Section 97.205 repeater station may be automatically controlled.

  4. An amateur station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on the 6 meters or shorter wavelength bands, and on the 28.120-28.189 MHz; 24.925-24.930 MHz, 21.090-21.100 MHz, 18.105-18.110 MHz, 14.0950-14.0095 MHz, 10.140-10.150 MHz, 7.100-7.105 MHz, or 3.620-3.635 MHz segments.  Read Section 97.221(b).

    5. An amateur station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on any other frequency authorized for such emission types provided the station is responding to interrogation by a station under local or remote control and no transmission from the automatically controlled station occupies a bandwidth of more than 500 Hz. Read Section 97.221(c). 

   Note that Section 97.109(e) says that no station, except a station transmitting a RTTY or data emission, may be automatically controlled while transmitting third party communications. Even then, every message that is retransmitted must originate at a station that is utilizing local or remote controlled.

   Also note that auxiliary stations as well as repeater stations enjoy Section 97.3(a)(22) frequency coordination recognition. Read Frequency Coordination BE Informed No. 8.3.

   Note that Section 97.109(e) says that no station, except a station transmitting a RTTY or data emission, may be automatically controlled while transmitting third party communications. Even then, every message that is retransmitted must originate at a station that is utilizing local or remote controlled. Also note that auxiliary stations as well as repeater stations enjoy Section 97.3(a)(22) frequency coordination recognition. Read Frequency Coordination BE Informed No. 8.3.

   For more Q/A on this topic, read Automatic Control & Part 97 BE Informed No. 8.4.

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Amateur radio is as old as the radio art. Intended as a non-commercial radio service for hobbyists, it has become a tradition-encrusted, largely unstructured, “hear and be heard,” two-way world-wide social media. It relies upon control operators – peer-certified in the U.S. - performing properly certain duties that are deeply rooted in mid-19th century telegraphy communications. The rules were translated from legalese into plain language over a generation ago. They have been amended from time-to-time as our regulator has deemed necessary, with the expectation of us offering  an alternative to the commercial communications infrastructure impacted by (an) emergency.

Read the Rules - Heed the Rules!

  Our ham radio is an internationally recognized hobby. It is comprised of millions of amateur operators worldwide who must know how to cause or allow their amateur stations to transmit properly. We utilize electromagnetic radiation technology that knows no political borders. We are, consequently, subject to wide ranging domestic and international regulation. A working knowledge of the relevant rules is essential to not endangering ourselves, our families, or our neighbors; and to not disrupting other radio communications.

What are the penalties for violating the rules?

   (a) If the FCC finds that you have willfully or repeatedly violated the Communications Act or the FCC Rules, you may have to pay as much as $10,000 for each violation, up to a total of $75,000. (See Section 503(b) of the Communications Act.)

   (b) If the FCC finds that you have violated any section of the Communications Act or the FCC Rules, you may be ordered to stop whatever action caused the violation. (See Section 312(b) of the Communications Act.)

   (c) If a Federal court finds that you have willfully and knowingly violated any FCC Rule, you may be fined up to $500 for each day you committed the violation. (See Section 502 of the Communications Act.)

   (d) If a Federal court finds that you have willfully and knowingly violated any provision of the Communications Act, you may be fined up to $10,000, or you may be imprisoned for one year, or both. (See Section 501 of the Communications Act.)

[48 FR 24890, June 3, 1983, as amended at 57 FR 40343, Sept. 3, 1992]

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