BE Informed No. 5.0
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Alternates to VE-certification
John B. Johnston W3BE
Q. I worked hard to get my license. Now I am aware of operators on our ham bands who did
not pass exams. That is not fair. What gives?
A. Alternatives to VE-certification protocols (“AVEPs”) seem to spring up to
slash examination preparation, administration, and coordination administrative delays – some completely.
Q. What is an AVEP?
A. It is any sort of protocol whereby a VE-certified Section 97.105 control operator entrusts his/her privileges onto un- or under-licensed amateur station operators. It seems to be accomplished orally on-the
Where are AVEPs authorized in the rules?
They aren’t specifically authorized as yet. They typically seem to be based upon a convoluted reading of Section 97.115. Paragraph (a) therein authorizes a Section 97.5 amateur station to transmit messages for a third party to certain other domestic and foreign stations. Paragraph (b) follows with: The
third party may participate in stating the message where:
(1) The control operator is present at the control point and is continuously monitoring
and supervising the third party's participation; and
(2) The third party is not a prior amateur service licensee whose license was revoked or not
renewed after hearing and re-licensing has not taken place; suspended for less than the balance of the license term and the
suspension is still in effect; suspended for the balance of the license term and re-licensing has not taken place; or surrendered
for cancellation following notice of revocation, suspension or monetary forfeiture proceedings. The third party may not be
the subject of a cease and desist order which relates to amateur service operation and which is still in effect.
Q. A young non-ham recently checked
into our 2-Meter training net. He was a Scout working toward the Radio Merit Badge. His father is K4***, the call sign
the young man used. He was present, monitoring his son’s activity and insuring that proper procedure was used. I am
being informed that the father - as the control operator - was supposed to both open and close the transmission using his
own voice to state his call sign. True? Who has to identify the station? Is it the control operator or is it the third
necessarily either person. There is no “how-to” rule codified for this. Rather, the responsibility for a Section 97.5 amateur station transmitting the Section 97.119(a) station identification announcement ends up with the Section 97.103 station licensee. He/she should make certain that the station transmits its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end
of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source
of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions.
Q. What about the propriety of the non-ham son being the AVEP control operator?
A. The father should be able to determine
whether his son’s participation – as a Section 97.115(b) third party message speaking participant is appropriate:
Firstly, he should
know whether his son’s participation is being continuously monitored and supervised by the designated Section 97.105 control operator whose presence is supposed to be at the Section 97.3(a)(14) control point.
Secondly, he should know whether his son is not a prior amateur service licensee whose license was revoked or not renewed
after hearing and re-licensing has not taken place; suspended for less than the balance of the license term and the suspension
is still in effect; suspended for the balance of the license term and re-licensing has not taken place; or surrendered for
cancellation following notice of revocation, suspension or monetary forfeiture proceedings.
Thirdly, he should know whether his son is
not the subject of a cease and desist order which relates to amateur service operation and which is still in effect.
Fourthly, he should know whether his son does not wish to operate the amateur station. ITU-R M. 1544 codifies recommendations
for the minimum qualifications of radio amateurs. First on the list is: That administrations take such measures as they
judge necessary to verify the operational and technical qualifications of any person wishing to operate an amateur station.
If the son wishes to operate the station, therefore, he should obtain a Section 97.5(b)(1) operator/primary station license grant.
Additionally, there is the unlikelihood that
his son's Section 97.115(b) third party message speaking participant communications - being transmitted on the 2-meter VHF band - will encounter any station within the jurisdiction of any foreign government
whose administration has not made arrangements with the United States to allow amateur stations to be used for transmitting
international communications on behalf of third parties.
Finally, there is the issue of the salty language sometimes encountered on our ham bands.
Most notorious for this disparaging behavior are our R-rated 75, 40, and 20 meter bands. Whether a minor should be introduced
into such social conduct is something for only the parents to decide. Here, it was the father doing the facilitating.
Q. What is a VPoD?
A. VPoD is an acronym for verbalizing person or device. The
designated Section 97.105 control operator simply makes an on-the-spot judgement whether or not a surrogate or a device possesses the Section 97.503 operational and technical qualifications required to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee.
Its hypothesis is that a surrogate or a device - at the discretion of the
designated Section 97.105 control operator - can compliantly originate the Section 97.3(c)(5) speech transmitted by a Section 97.5 amateur station as well as formulate and act upon judgments that are otherwise the responsibility of, and are normally carried out by, that
designated Section 97.105 control operator.
Q. I hear a lot of chatter on simplex
channels these days with but few call signs.
A. Our amateur service community has changed dramatically in recent years. It has morphed into a
social media for intercommunication by persons who have nothing of importance to say to each other and don’t care who
knows it. This seems to have given rise to the thinking that the rules are so far behind reality they must be stretched while
awaiting our regulators’ acquiescent to this fundamental change in our constituency’s interests.
Q. That “anything goes" mindset
is destructive, as is that "everyone gets Amateur Extra Class privileges" and the other nonsense that goes with
Field Day. Should our once-valued protection against encroachment by unqualified communicators become routinely compromised,
there may be no U-turn on the superhighway to our amateur radio morphing into CB on steroids.
A. Our future, hopefully, is
of concern to our amateur service community organizers.
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October 29, 2017
all prior editions