W3BE'S BE Informed!
1.22 BASICS
 
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?2.9.1 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 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

Informed No. 1.22

    ●●●      ●●●    ●

Digi-Standards

 John B. Johnston, W3BE

Q. Where in the rules are our digi-standards?

A. They are few and far between. Our Part 97 rules platform was last re-written before hams became so very much interested in digital communications, and rulemaking has been sluggish in keeping up with our interests in digital developments. So, unless and until it is modernized, we’ll just have to digi-hang in there with the rules we have.

   First, become familiar with the nine simplified terms for indicating emission types defined in Section 97.3(c). RTTY and data are most likely the two of immediate interest to you. For more thorough information on emission type designators, consult Section 2.201 Emission, modulation and transmission characteristics.

 

w3be/Sect97305.jpg

   Next, refer to the authorized emission types table in Section 97.305(c). It says a station may transmit certain emission types on the frequencies indicated, as authorized to the control operator, subject to the standards specified in Section 97.307(f). Under the column heading Emission types authorized, take note of those indicating emission types RTTY and data.

   For each line item of interest, consult the Standards column for the applicable paragraph in Section 97.307(f). It codifies the standards and limitations that apply to transmissions on the frequencies specified in Section 97.305(c):

   (1) No angle-modulated emission may have a modulation index greater than 1 at the highest modulation frequency.

   (2) No non-phone emission shall exceed the bandwidth of a communications quality phone emission of the same modulation type. The total bandwidth of an independent sideband emission (having B as the first symbol), or a multiplexed image and phone emission, shall not exceed that of a communications quality A3E emission.

   (3) Only a RTTY or data emission using a specified digital code listed in §97.309(a) of this part may be transmitted. The symbol rate must not exceed 300 bauds, or for frequency-shift keying, the frequency shift between mark and space must not exceed 1 kHz.

   (4) Only a RTTY or data emission using a specified digital code listed in §97.309(a) of this part may be transmitted. The symbol rate must not exceed 1200 bauds, or for frequency-shift keying, the frequency shift between mark and space must not exceed 1 kHz.

   (5) A RTTY, data or multiplexed emission using a specified digital code listed in §97.309(a) of this part may be transmitted. The symbol rate must not exceed 19.6 kilo bauds. A RTTY, data or multiplexed emission using an unspecified digital code under the limitations listed in §97.309(b) of this part also may be transmitted. The authorized bandwidth is 20 kHz.

   (6) A RTTY, data or multiplexed emission using a specified digital code listed in §97.309(a) of this part may be transmitted. The symbol rate must not exceed 56 kilo bauds. A RTTY, data or multiplexed emission using an unspecified digital code under the limitations listed in §97.309(b) of this part also may be transmitted. The authorized bandwidth is 100 kHz.

   (7) A RTTY, data or multiplexed emission using a specified digital code listed in §97.309(a) of this part or an unspecified digital code under the limitations listed in §97.309(b) of this part may be transmitted.

   (8) A RTTY or data emission having designators with A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J or R as the first symbol; 1, 2, 7, 9 or X as the second symbol; and D or W as the third symbol is also authorized.

   (9) A station having a control operator holding a Novice or Technician Class operator license may only transmit a CW emission using the international Morse code.

   (10) A station having a control operator holding a Novice Class operator license or a Technician Class operator license may only transmit a CW emission using the international Morse code or phone emissions J3E and R3E.

   (11) Phone and image emissions may be transmitted only by stations located in ITU Regions 1 and 3, and by stations located within ITU Region 2 that are west of 130° West longitude or south of 20° North latitude.

   (12) Emission F8E may be transmitted.

   (13) A data emission using an unspecified digital code under the limitations listed in §97.309(b) also may be transmitted. The authorized bandwidth is 100 kHz.

   (14) In the 60 m band:

      (i) A station may transmit only phone, RTTY, data, and CW emissions using the emission designators and any additional restrictions that are specified in the table below (except that the use of a narrower necessary bandwidth is permitted). (Click here to view table.)

   (ii) The following requirements also apply:

      (A) When transmitting the phone, RTTY, and data emissions, the suppressed carrier frequency may be set as specified in §97.303(h).

      (B) The control operator of a station transmitting data or RTTY emissions must exercise care to limit the length of transmission so as to avoid causing harmful interference to United States Government stations.

Q. OK. Now what?

A. These rules should confine the occupied bandwidth of our stations' digital transmissions to something that is reasonably appropriate for our amateur service. The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunication Bureau, however, has been petitioned to initiate rulemaking aimed at “relieving our amateur service of outdated, 1980s-era restrictions that presently hamper or preclude amateur radio experimentation with modern HF and other data transmission protocols.” Specifically, the Petition asks that references to symbol rates be replaced with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit for HF/MF. Read W3BE’s Comments in RM-11708 BE Informed No. 10.4. We await the decision.

Q. One of the features of some digital repeater communications in use today is that the station's call sign is transmitted with every transmission and displayed on both the repeater's display and on the display of the receiving radio. That has led to questions about the legal requirement for a voice ID as well. As the area frequency coordinator, I've been telling folks to consider the voice ID requirement to be still in place until we get some kind of official statement. Any thoughts on what's going on there?

A. The availability of a digital repeater that shows the users’ call sign on a screen viewable by listeners is a welcome step. Those digital transmissions, however, can only be copied by stations with matching digital receivers. So, our measure should be when will our amateur service community have the capability to monitor our frequency bands with viewable screens and eyes sufficient to serve the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions? We are comfortable that there are enough receivers, earphones, speakers, and ears to keep on doing the job the old fashioned way. We must rely upon our Maintenance Monitors to tell us when they have the necessary capability to do their monitoring by viewing.

Q. I can’t find any unique provisions in our rules for APRS. What gives?

A. Apparently our amateur radio community organizers and user groups decided that no special provisions are needed. They probably consider it as just another one of the many systems that our amateur service community is encouraged to assemble from our individual amateur stations. 

   Part 97 regulates our stations and control operators, not our systems. This open architecture approach works in our favor. It makes us free to design and implement all sorts of new systems as ideas and technology appear. We are allowed to configure and operate our stations depending upon our interests, our resources, our ingenuity and our good judgment.

Q. I haven’t been able to find in the rules where the FCC approval of the AX.25 protocol is codified. Can you point me to it?

A. No, it is not there. Part 97 does not approve or disapprove of such. Protocols are the domain of our amateur service community organizers. In cases of default, the oversight falls upon our interested specialized user groups.   

Q. If I had a complex amateur radio system under development, how should I go about determining if it is compliant?

A. One way would be to draw a system diagram showing each station in your system and every transmitting unit in each station. Determine the Section 97.3(a)(14) control point, the designated

Section 97.105 control operator, and its type of Section 97.109 control for each. Then examine them one-by-one for compliance with the Part 97. W3BE Checklists for Domestic and Foreign Amateur Service Licensees In Places Where the U.S. FCC Is Our Regulator BE Informed No. 1.0 can help you with this. It lists the duties of each Section 97.103 station licensee and each designated Section 97.105 control operator.

Q. When my station transmits PSK-31, does it have to ID in CW?

A. No. Although your station identification announcement may be transmitted in CW - under the authority of Section 97.119(b)(1) - it may more convenient for it to be transmitted it under the authority of Section 97.119(b)(3): By a RTTY emission using a specified digital code when all or part of the communications are transmitted by a RTTY or data emission. Just keystroke your call sign ID announcement at the appointed time. Some programs have provisions for doing this automatically. Obviously, it has been accepted that our Maintenance Monitors and other hams have the wherewithal to determine the call sign being transmitted.

Q. The rule-making process can add years of delay to the introduction to newer data emission types. What can be done to remove such bureaucratic gridlock?   

A. News reports inform us that our regulator is under pressure to fry much bigger fish: emergency communications, spectrum auctions, robocalls, cell phones, et al.

Q. Any RTTY and data emission code that our maintenance monitors can maintenance monitor should be authorized.

A. A century or so ago, when AM came along, our regulator probably decided “fone” should be contained on the upper end of each amateur service band so as not to disturb deeply imbedded CW communication activities. That must have set in motion the notion that the ham radio emission type spectrum occupancy should be micromanaged by the government. From that grew a nifty arrangement where our amateur service community organizers more or less decided on what spectrum occupancy arrangement they wanted and passed the matter on to their regulator for the decision, taking credit when the hams liked the outcome, and blaming their regulator when they didn't.

   Now that there appears to be a very slim chance of any FCC enforcement activity for such things, that there is a volunteer maintenance monitoring agreement in effect, and that there are in place frequency coordinators, international band plans, repeater band plans, gentlemen's agreements, et al, Part 97 Subpart D should be stripped of all emission type sub-band baggage. It should be replaced with language that authorizes the transmission of any emission type that can be received and converted to accurate plain meaning by our maintenance monitors, and is in accord with the Section 97.101 general standard for spectrum occupancy as is supposed to be practiced by our amateur service community.

Q. How’s this for a proposal?

   Authorized emission types. Except as specified elsewhere in Part 97, an amateur station may transmit a CW, data, image, MCW, phone, pulse, SS, or test emission on any frequency authorized to the control operator in accordance with Section 97.101(b).

   RTTY and data emission codes. An amateur station may transmit a RTTY or data emission using any digital code that can be converted to plain meaning by the volunteer maintenance monitors and provided to the Commission upon request.

A. Yes, you’ve got it!

Q. We want to build a new digital amateur television system. Our question concerns its applicability to Section 97.113(a)(4): It says no amateur station shall transmit messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning. Does this mean it can’t transmit WEP? 

A. Yes. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is a standard for Wi-Fi wireless network security. It is a system that allows a group of devices on a local network to exchange encoded messages with each other while hiding the contents of the messages from easy viewing by outsiders, i.e., obscure their meaning. So, as such, it would conflict with our no encryption in ham radio protection against our “friends” who want to share our amateur service spectrum. There Are No Secrets in Ham Radio Read BE Informed No. 1.23.

Q. It is inconsistent that a station can identify in RTTY "using a specified digital code when all or part of the communications are transmitted by a RTTY or data emission" but can't use a data emission when all of the communications are transmitted by a data emission. Especially since the world has moved to data communications. Other than for CW and SSB, many hams probably have no idea what emission type is being transmitted.

A. That inconsistency could be fixed with a minor rule change to "modernize" the rule, but someone will have to request it.  

   There could be hams thinking their stations are transmitting a digital emission when it really is a digital modulation scheme that is superimposed upon some other emission type. Perhaps the time is at hand to halt trying to frequency-manage our bands according to analog and digital emissions types. On our highways, for instance, automobiles, trucks of all sizes, busses, motorhomes, and motorcycles all share the same lanes. Maybe we could do our Section 97.101 general standard for spectrum occupancy sharing job better without inflexible rules.

     ●●●      ●●●    ●

 

March 6, 2017

Supersedes all prior editions