BE Informed No. 1.8.1
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In Places Where the FCC
Regulates Our Amateur Service
John B. Johnston W3BE
Q. I am a
Canadian citizen and I hold a Canadian amateur operator license. Do I need permission from the FCC to operate my ham station
in the United States?
A. Yes, but you most likely already have that permission. The FCC does not issue reciprocal
permit documents nor compile a database of reciprocal-privileged aliens. Your permission, instead, is granted by a rule codified
in Section 97.107. It says that a non-citizen of the United States (“alien”) holding an amateur service authorization granted
by the alien's government is authorized to be the control operator of an amateur station located at places where the amateur service is regulated by the FCC, provided there is in effect a multilateral or bilateral reciprocal
operating arrangement, to which the United States and the alien's government are parties, for amateur service operation on
a reciprocal basis. The FCC issues public announcements listing the countries with which the U.S. has such an arrangement. Canada is one of the countries so listed.
No citizen of the
U.S. or person holding an FCC amateur operator/primary station license grant is eligible for the reciprocal operating authority
granted by Section 97.107.
Q. As a citizen of Canada, am I eligible for a FCC amateur operator license?
A. You are, in all probability. Our regulator,
in fact, encourages amateur operators who will be in the United States for extended periods of time to obtain an FCC-issued amateur operator/primary station license
grant. Any person, except a representative of a foreign government, may apply for the grant upon passing the very same qualifying
written examinations that our U.S. citizens must pass. An alien holding an FCC-issued amateur operator/primary station license
grant, take note, is ineligible for Section 97.107 reciprocal operating authority.
Q. What do I need to know in order
to pass your exams?
Our volunteer examiners’ examinations should cover everything that a person needs to know in order to operate an amateur
station properly in places where the FCC is our regulator. They should include questions about the FCC rules, good engineering and amateur practices, and the technical insight necessary
to making those rules and practices meaningful. There are three operator classes: Technician (basic), General (intermediate),
and Amateur Extra (expert). The pools of questions from which the question sets are generated are made available to the public.
Q. Can I take the examination
You can be administered the examination anywhere there is a team of at least three
Section 97.509 administering VEs at an examination session coordinated by one of our 14 VECs. If assembling such a team is problematic, perhaps audio/video (A/V) apparatus could enable your Section 97.509 administering VEs to observe the examinee as effectively from somewhere other than the examination site.
Q. Can our Canadian citizens administer your VEs’ exams?
A. Yes. U.S. citizenship is not a prerequisite.
Each Section 97.509 administering VE must be accredited by the coordinating VEC; be at least 18 years of age; and be a person who holds an amateur operator license
grant of the class specified:
Amateur Extra, Advanced or General Class in order to administer a Technician Class operator license examination;
Amateur Extra or Advanced Class in order
to administer a General Class operator license examination;
Amateur Extra Class in order to administer an Amateur Extra Class operator license examination.
None of your Section 97.509 administering VEs should be a person whose grant of an amateur station license or amateur operator license has ever been revoked or suspended.
Nor may a Section 97.509 VE administer an examination to his or her spouse, children, grandchildren, stepchildren, parents, grandparents, stepparents,
brothers, sisters, stepbrothers, stepsisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
Q. If I should obtain an FCC license, would I lose my Canadian license privileges?
A. Yes, in places where the FCC regulates our amateur service, any privileges exceeding those available to FCC licensees of the same operator class held would be negated. Read Section 97.107. Your obtaining an FCC license grant, however, probably does not diminish your privileges in Canada. Confirm with your regulator.
Q. Some countries having reciprocal
agreements with the U.S. might provide even greater operator privileges than Canada. If I held an amateur service license
from one of those countries, could I be entitled to its greater privileges?
A. Only if you are also a citizen of the country that granted the
license to you.
Q. I am a U.S.
citizen and I hold an Advanced Class operator license. I also hold a Canadian amateur operator license. I want to participate
in a 75 meter net in the U.S. that convenes nightly on a channel in the segment that is not available to my operator class.
My Canadian license privileges, however, do authorize me to use that segment. Certain members of the net, nonetheless, are
claiming that I cannot use my Canadian privileges to join the net. Are they right?
A. They are right as far as not using your Canadian license privileges
while your station is transmitting from any place where the FCC regulates our amateur service. You do not qualify as an alien to the U.S. while you are a citizen of the U.S.
Q. If I relinquish my FCC license, could I then join the net using my Canadian license?
A. Not with an amateur station located
at any place where the FCC regulates our amateur service. You would still be a U.S. citizen and thusly ineligible for alien Section 97.107 reciprocal privileges here.
Q. What can I do to join
A. You might
persuade the net participants to relocate to a channel in the segment of the 75-meter band available to Advanced Class operators;
or you might obtain the expert level Amateur Extra Class operator license, or you might become an eligible alien by changing
your citizenship to Canadian only, and surrendering your FCC license.
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June 23, 2016
Supersedes all prior editions