BE Informed No. 2.18
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What Does the Grant
Amateur Radio License Signify?
B. Johnston W3BE
Q. What does the grant of an amateur radio license signify?
A. In places where the FCC regulates our amateur service, a Section 97.5(b)(1) amateur operator/primary station grant shown on the ULS signifies that the person named therein has been certified by three Section 97.509 administering volunteer examiners (“certifying VEs”) as having proven their operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly
the duties of a FCC-authorized amateur service licensee (“ham”).
Q. What are those duties?
A. For a catalogue of the duties entrusted to a Section 97.103 station licensee, a Section 97.105 designated control operator, and a Section 97.107 alien reciprocal operator, read W3BE Checklists for Domestic and Foreign Amateur Service Licensees In Places Where the U.S. FCC Is Our
Regulator BE Informed No. 1.0.
Q. What abilities are required in order to perform these duties properly?
A. They are extensive. Every ham should be expected to possess the
ability to read, understand, apply, and follow the rules – including knowledge of over eighty technical terms (e.r.p.,
isotropically radiated power, modulation index, multiplex, PEP, etc.) that must be understood in order to make the rules meaningful.
Read Terms Used in Part 97 Of The FCC Rules BE Informed No. 1.14.
More generally, every ham should be expected to possess and apply the ability to determine
whether or not an amateur station’s transmissions are compliant with the technical standards codified in Part 97 Subpart B Technical Standards Section 97.301 through Section 97.313. This provides the assurance that the transmitting apparatus can be exempt from
FCC equipment authorization oversight without unwanted consequence.
Every ham should be expected to possess and apply the ability to properly assemble amateur stations composed of apparatus
not necessarily FCC equipment authorized. Section 97.1(b) states our regulators’ expectation for the continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute
to the advancement of the radio art. The FCC does not include amateur station transmitters in its equipment authorization oversight. The Section 97.103 station licensee, rather, is the only person accountable for the amateur station being compliant with the necessary technical standards.
Every ham should be expected to possess and
apply the ability to properly assemble systems of amateur stations. The FCC does not pre-approve systems of amateur stations
transmitting in the amateur service. The individual participating stations do not even have to be provided by the same Section 97.103 station licensee.
Every ham should be expected
to possess and utilize the Section 97.101(a)-required good amateur practice transmitting protocols in widespread use in the amateur service. Self-policing of our amateur service spectrum is expected.
Q. What are the types of amateur service licenses grants?
A. There are three types granted by the FCC. Section 97.5(b) says the types of station license grants are: an operator/primary station license grant (800,439), a
club station license grant (12,595), and a military recreation station license grant (41).
In the instance of a Section 97.5(b)(1) operator/primary station license grant, there are five classes of operator license grant in ascending order according
to their operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of a FCC-authorized amateur service
licensee as certified by three Section 97.509 certifying VEs. The classes of amateur operator license grants are: Novice (2%), Technician (57%), General (26%), Advanced (7%), and
Amateur Extra (21%). No new Novice or Advanced Class operator licensee are being granted presently.
Q. What an operator/primary station license grant
A. Section 97.9(a) says, in pertinent part: The person named in the operator license grant is authorized to be the control operator of an
amateur station with the privileges authorized to the operator class specified on the license grant.
Section 97.5 says, in pertinent part: Station license required.
(a) The station apparatus must be under the physical control of a person named in an amateur station license
grant on the ULS consolidated license database or a person authorized for alien reciprocal operation by §97.107 of this
part, before the station may transmit on any amateur service frequency from any place that is:
(1) Within 50 km of the Earth's surface and at a place where the amateur
service is regulated by the FCC;
(2) Within 50 km of the Earth's surface and aboard any vessel or craft that is documented or registered in the United
(3) More than
50 km above the Earth's surface aboard any craft that is documented or registered in the United States.
Q. What is a club station license grant?
A. It signifies that the grantee is the
person who is the license trustee designated by an officer of the club. The trustee must be a person who holds an operator/primary
station license grant. The club must be composed of at least four persons and must have a name, a document of organization,
management, and a primary purpose devoted to amateur service activities consistent with this part (97). There are 11,518
club station license grants shown on the ULS.
Q. What is a military recreation
station license grant?
It signifies that the grantee is the person who is the license custodian designated by the official in charge of the United
States military recreational premises where the station is situated. The person must not be a representative of a foreign
government. The person need not hold an amateur operator license grant. There are 41 military recreation station license
grants shown on the ULS.
Q. What do each of the five classes
of operator/primary station license grant signify?
A. They signify that the grantee has been VE-certified as having proven their operational
and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee exercising the privileges
of the particular license class. Section 97.301 authorizes frequency bands to an amateur station according to the class of operator license grant held by the designated Section 97.105 control operator. For each operator class step, more spectrum is authorized.
Elsewhere in Part 97, various operator privileges are class dependent. A Section 97.205 repeater station, for example, is not authorized to the holder of a Novice Class operator license grant.
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October 30, 2017
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