W3BE'S BE Informed!
1.20 BASICS
 
Home1.0 W3BE Checklists1.1 RF Safety1.2 Antenna Structures1.3 Quiet Zones1.4 60 Meter Privileges1.5 Hams For Hire1.6 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?2.9.1 Get Your Ham Call Sign2.12 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 Bases & Part 978.3 Frequency Coordination8.4 Automatic Control & Part 978.5 The Internet & Part 9710.2 Deceased's Call Sign10.3 A New Era for Ham Radio10.4 New Era Q/A

BE Informed No. 1.20

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Am I Still

An Amateur?

 John B. Johnston, W3BE

Q.  I was in college when I first got my FCC ham license. There was no question then that I was an amateur. As I grew to adulthood, however, I gravitated more toward commerce and morphed into a professional.  Until I retire and return to a clear-cut amateur status, am I still a bona fide amateur? 

A. Possibly. Our regulators condition our standing as an amateur according to our mindset, which - as you typify – can change from time-to-time. Apparently, as long as you (1) keep your license grant current and (2) use our amateur service spectrum exclusively for carrying out self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations, (3) your remaining challenge while exercising the privileges of a licensee grantee is to mentally eradicate all of your interest in radio technique except that which is solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary motivation. 

   Even then, it may be difficult for some to believe that you have no interest in the money you accept.   

Q. Who determines what it is that one must know to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee?

A. In places where the FCC regulates our amateur service, that is the job of our Section 97.507 VEs. Their Section 97.503 written examinations for a license grant 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. Internationally, ITU-R M. 1544 recommends certain minimum qualifications for radio amateurs.

Q. I’ve got my FCC license. That’s enough for me.

A. Read the fine print of our regulators: the International Telecommunication Union, our elected legislators, and our administrative regulator.

Q. What does the ITU have to say about it?

A. That is codified in international Radio Regulation No. 1.56. It defines our amateur service as (a) radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

Q. What do our elected legislators have to say?   

A. That is codified in SEC. 3. [47 USC 153](2) of the Communications Act. It says the term “amateur station” means a radio station operated by a duly authorized person interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest. 

Q. What does our administrative regulator have to say about our amateur service? 

A. The FCC defines it twice; first in Section 2.1(c), it defines our amateur service as:

   A radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

   In Section 97.3(a)(4), it says the term amateur service means: 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.

Q. OK. I get it: duly authorized person; carry out self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations; interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest. But if a thirst for knowledge of radio technology were the only criterion, my parents would tell you that I was born an amateur.

A. So might have mine although they interpreted my curiosity in things electronic as just another one of my chore-dodging character flaws. 

Q. Would I retain my status as an amateur if I used my station to intercommunicate with professional communicators?

A. You should as long as your intercommunication passes the Section 97.113 Smell Test BE Informed No. 3.0.

Q. Having a license does not mean you are an amateur, as in having non-professional abilities. It means you have a license to manage a specific amateur station and a license to operate amateur stations. Neither of which  an you charge for your services.

A. Actually, having an FCC license grant means that three Section 97.503 VEs have certified that – at some previous point in time - you passed their written examination such as to prove that you possess the operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee.

   Now that our administrative regulator has established that a person holding an FCC license grant can charge for services rendered in accord with a list that took root in Section 97.113(a)(3)(i) and seems to be flourishing, we need to reread what our regulators have enacted for us (above). From this we should find our reassurance in these basics:

   Our amateur service is still supposed to be a radiocommunication service regulated in our United States by our federal government, at least in certain places.

   Our amateur service is still supposed to be for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs. Note: In 2012, our regulator reported to Congress its conclusion that amateur radio emergency communications require not only stations in a position to originate the emergency message, but also (serve as) an alternative to the commercial communications infrastructure impacted by the emergency.

   An amateur is still supposed to be a duly authorized person interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

   A person who is interested in radio technique with something more than solely a personal aim and/or with a pecuniary interest in radio technique is still not an amateur regardless of any license grant held but has access to our amateur service spectrum.

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March 6, 2017

Supersedes all prior editions