W3BE'S BE Informed!
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 Imported 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 What Is Our Purpose Now?1.18 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 Commercial1.27 What is CW?2.0 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?2.12 Former Hams2.13 The Hunt for 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 License Grant2.19 Enough Operator Classes?3.0 Smell Tests3.1 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 ID4.4 Make the Source Known4.5 Indicator Schedule4.6 Special Event 1 by 14.7 Non-Appended Indicator4.8 Club Station ID5.0 Alternatives To Exams5.3 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/A10.5 Four Operator Classes10.6 Novice ArtifactQUIZ

BE Informed No. 2.15      

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More HF for TECHS?

John B. Johnston W3BE

Q. Just like we do on Field Day, several Techs - with my permission - use my call sign whenever they are working the Extra Class HF bands. There has been absolutely no issue with this arrangement. About half of our U.S. amateur service community is comprised of Techs. It is high time to let them to work HF with their own call signs and obtain QSL cards for their personal award collections. That would help sell more HF radios. What rule changes would be required to make this happen?

A. For one, Section 97.301(a) would have to be amended – through a (likely lengthy) formal government rulemaking procedure - to make available those Amateur Extra Class operator HF bands or segments deemed appropriate to stations having a Section 97.105 control operator who has been granted a Technician Class operator license.

   Next, our VEs should move to their Element 2 question pool – from their Element 3 and Element 4 questions pools - those questions that they consider consistent with Section 97.503(a). It says: A written examination 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. Each written examination must be comprised of a question set as follows: (a) Element 2: 35 questions concerning the privileges of a Technician Class operator license. The minimum passing score is 26 questions answered correctly.

Q. Techs already have frequency privileges on segments of the 10, 15, 40, and 80 meter bands. That should cover the matter of qualifications.

A. That would be for our Section 97.507 preparing VEs to decide. Section 97.523 says: Each question on each VEC question pool must be prepared by a VE holding the required FCC-issued operator license.  

   Section 97.307(f)(9) says: 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 on segments of the 80, 40, and 15 meter bands authorized in Section 97.301(e). It also authorizes Novice and Technician Class Section 97.105 control operators privileges in the 28.0-28.5 MHz segment of the 10 meter band. Section 97.305(c) authorizes RTTY and data emissions in the 28.0-28.3 MHz frequency segment, subject to Section 97.307(f)(4). Our VEs, therefore, should already be preparing and administering Element 2 examinations for Technician Class operator such as to prove that the examinee possesses the operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee as encountered at an HF amateur station.

Q. What are emission types J3E and R3E?

A. Any FCC-licensed ham should be able to explain it to you. They should have learned that in Section 2.201(b) it says: Three symbols are used to describe the basic characteristics of emissions. Emissions are classified and symbolized according to the following characteristics:

   (1) First symbol—type of modulation of the main carrier;

   (2) Second symbol—nature of signal(s) modulating the main carrier;

   (3) Third symbol—type of information to be transmitted.

   In this instance, the first symbol R stands for single-sideband, reduced or variable level carrier. The first symbol J stands for single-sideband, suppressed carrier.

   Second symbol 3 stands for single channel containing analogue information.

   Third symbol E stands for Telephony (including sound broadcasting).

Q. Element 2, therefore, already contains all the questions/answers that our VEs consider necessary to proving that the examinee possesses the operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee who causes or allows a station to transmit SSB on an HF Band.

A. Yes, on a segment of the 10-meter band at least. It is one of the ten bands in the HF range.

Q. Isn’t it also true that the FCC has directed our VEs to give exam credit to former hams who let their licenses expire?

A. Yes. But they will still have to pass Element 2.

Q. Then our regulator doesn’t seem to have much regard for Elements 3 and 4 and there doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm for ham policing of frequencies. The GOTA protocol has proven to our amateur service community, at least, that no exam is necessary.

A. For some Q/A on that topic, read GOTA Experience as Our License Qualifier BE Informed No. 2.8.

Q. Our VEs are the roadblock. The exams they prepare and administer for General and Extra are way above what is needed for anyone to operate a ham station properly. Our VEs are mired in the 1964 incentive licensing theory. Practically all of the questions in the Extra pool are superfluous. Our VEs can - without any rulemaking – relax the questions in the General and Extra pools exactly like they did with the Technician pool.  

A. A written examination is supposed to 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. Element 3 is supposed to be concerned with the privileges of a General Class operator license. Element 4 is supposed to be concerned the privileges of an Amateur Extra Class operator license. It seems that there is growing recognition that the VEs have padded these two elements unnecessarily with extraneous trivia.

Q. As a VE, I don’t like telling a 95-year old man that he has to take a test.

A. Then you probably shouldn’t be a VE. One’s age should not have anything to do with our Section 97.509 administering VEs’ determinations. Either an applicant does or does not need to prove his/her possession of the operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee.

Q. Why do those Techs use someone else’s call sign while they are on HF?

A. Obviously to fool the listeners within our amateur service community into thinking they are entitled to be there. They seem to get away with it with increasing acceptability. Our amateur service community seems to be way out in front of our regulators on this.

Q. Why doesn’t the FCC do something?

A. For one thing, maintenance monitoring of our amateur service has been outsourced. For another, it is not a life-threatening interference-causing disruption. Resolving such matters seems to be where our regulator is concentrating its compliance resources currently.   

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April 7, 2016

Supersedes all previous editions