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 Imported 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 What Is Our Purpose Now?1.18 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 Commercial1.27 What is CW?2.0 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 The Hunt for 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 License Grant2.19 Enough Operator Classes?3.0 Smell Tests3.1 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 ID4.4 Make the Source Known4.5 Indicator Schedule4.6 Special Event 1 by 14.7 Non-Appended Indicator4.8 Club Station ID5.0 Alternatives To Exams5.3 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/A10.5 Four Operator Classes10.6 Novice ArtifactQUIZ



Q. Don’t those of us duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest who want to conduct self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations have any protection from those who aim to tinker with the exams as a means of recruiting more licensees for their own purposes?

A. There is No. 53 of the ITU Radio Regulations (Geneva, 1990) - the essence of which is carried over to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, then on to Section 2.1, and finally to Section 97.3(a)(4). It clearly defines our amateur service as being intended for bona fide amateurs such as yourself.

Q. There are all sorts of accredited schools, colleges, etc. available for learning. Our regulator is not the Department of Education. It should stick to authorizing persons who have proven their operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee.

A. For Q/A on that topic, read What Does the Possession of an Amateur Radio License Signify? BE Informed No. 2.18.

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Q. How did the basis and purpose of Part 97 come about?

A. Section 97.1 resulted from a contentious mid-twentieth century rulemaking proposal. In Docket 9295 the FCC stated that our post-WWII amateur service would very much benefit from, and needed a new overall plan or blueprint to provide scope and direction for the immediate and long range development of the service.

   The wording initially proposed differed from the adopted statement in three ways.

   First, the principle of enhancing international goodwill did not appear. It was subsequently incorporated before adoption. 

   Secondly, the principle of increasing the reservoir of trained operators, technicians and electronics experts was conditioned as being needed for the growing radio industry in peacetime and the vastly increased demands of both the radio industry and the military services in times of national emergency. This time-warped text was not adopted.

   Thirdly, the phrase particularly with respect to providing emergency communications was added later as if the phrase value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service somehow excluded such activity.

   As strange as it may sound today, any statement of purpose for the rules was very much opposed by our amateur service community organizers.

Q. What were their objections?

A. Our amateur service community organizers claimed six points during a formal oral argument held at the FCC headquarters in Washington, DC, on June 2, 1950:

   The FCC’s rule design intent for our amateur service rules was not in consonance with the regulatory procedures of other government administrative agencies;

   Amateur radio cannot be blueprinted by the government;

   Amateur radio’s progress in the past would have been hindered under such a regulatory theory;

   Amateur radio needs only minimum regulation to ensure compliance with treaties and to keep amateurs within our bands;

   Although it might be a means of strengthening amateur radio in some respects, the statement was potentially dangerous to amateur interests at international conferences;     

   It went beyond the FCC’s field of regulation and got into actual management of amateur affairs.

   Nevertheless, the basis and purpose statement was adopted on January 29, 1951. In 1980, when our regulators proposed in Docket 80-729 to expunge it from the rules, our amateur service community organizers did a surprising about face and argued for its retention so as not to reduce the traditional scope of the rationale for our service.

Q. But Section 97.1 is not about the scope of the rationale for our service. It is about our regulator’s design intent for Part 97.

A. Right. Section 97.1 says:

 Basis and purpose. The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.

(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

   The definitive purpose for our amateur radio service, however, is codified in Section 97.3(a)(4): A radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest. Supporting definitions are also in SEC. 3. [47 USC 153](2) of the Communications Act as well as international Radio Regulations (RR) No. 1.56 and United States Code of Federal Regulations Title 47 Section 2.1(c).

   Our regulator, additionally, has notified Congress of its expectations for our United States amateur service community to utilize our allocated spectrum as an alternative to the commercial communications infrastructure impacted by an emergency.

  For more on this topic, read What Is The Purpose of Our Amateur Service Now? BE Informed No. 1.17.  

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Q. Section 97.303(h), says amateur stations may transmit on five specific center frequencies in the 60-m band, control operators of stations transmitting phone, data, and RTTY emissions (emission designators 2K80J3E, 2K80J2D, and 60H0J2B, respectively) may set the carrier frequency 1.5 kHz below the center frequency. For CW emission designator 150HA1A, the carrier frequency is set to the center frequency. What is a carrier frequency? 

A. Carrier is usually the number appearing on our transceiver frequency display. It can mean the center frequency of a frequency modulation (FM) signal; the frequency of the un-modulated electrical wave at the output of an amplitude modulated (AM) transmitter, frequency modulated or phase modulated (PM) transmitter; or the output of a transmitter when the modulation is zero.  It is the frequency with which our station’s transmitted signals are compared during the de-modulation process in a receiver. The term reference frequency would have been a more meaningful choice for this how-to regulation.

Q. Is a carrier the radio signal that my station transmits?    

A. Sometimes it is. It is a major constituent, for example, of a conventional AM transmission. AM is a method for transmitting information by varying the strength of the transmitted signal in relation to the information being sent. The result is a carrier, along with sideband signals on frequencies slightly above (upper sideband) and below (lower sideband), being transmitted. Each sideband is a mirror image of the other and is equal in bandwidth to that of the modulating signal.

   For more Q/A on this topic, read 60 Meter Privileges BE Informed No. 1.4.

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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. 

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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