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?
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.
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.
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.