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Read The Rules – Heed
John B. Johnston W3BE
It is central to the very legitimacy of our amateur service that we – including you - know
and understand the rules for our amateur station’s operation especially when it is a constituent of one of our ad
hoc amateur service communication systems. Our systems are not regulated as such; they are predicated upon – and
rely upon - every Section 97.103 station licensee and every Section 97.105 control operator in each system making certain that there is rule compliance.
There can be no passing the buck on to our amateur service community organizers and
our system designers. They are responsible only to us. We are the persons who passed the examinations proving that
we possess the operational and technical qualification required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee.
We are the persons who are regulated by the federal government.
Section 97.103(a) says: The station licensee is responsible for the proper operation of the station in accordance with the FCC Rules. When
the control operator is a different amateur operator than the station licensee, both persons are equally responsible for proper
operation of the station. Section 97.105(a), moreover, says: (a) The control operator must ensure the immediate proper operation of the station, regardless of the
type of control. There just is no way to deflect the blame for there being a wayward system.
Q. So, why should we even bother with rules?
A. Here’s the core argument: Our
hobby has long enjoyed an enviable reputation of being a legitimate, relatively untroubled, lightly regulated, radio service
- wherein we can be counted on to participate in the rulemaking process and to comply with those rules. That has been
one key to obtaining the vast privileges that we enjoy today.
You may know something of what others are doing that is not in compliance. We are to rely upon
our volunteer monitors to better achieve compliance. Give them your full support and appreciation.
This next argument is, however, of growing concern: The immense
value of the spectrum has caught the full attention of our federal, state, and local governments.
Our valuable spectrum has also caught the notice of entrepreneurs. Our
hobby is facing its greatest challenge since television arrived in the late 1940s. The hams of that very contentious era had
to resolve the TVI monster or else. The public feared ham radio was a threat to their newly-found television viewing pleasures.
Our families and neighbors even favored TV over ham radio. If so many of those early telecasters had not been hams themselves,
we probably wouldn’t be here today.
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July 15, 2012
Supersedes all prior editions