W3BE'S BE Informed!
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. 1.8.1

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Reciprocal Privileges


Canadian Hams

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?

A. 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 in Canada?

A. Yes. 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 the net?

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