W3BE'S BE Informed!
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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. 1.13

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Visiting Operators

John B. Johnston, W3BE


Q. Our club station is in a public museum. We intend for all visitors who want to operate it to do so. What are the rules for doing this?

A. There no rules that authorize non-VE-certificated control operators of amateur stations transmitting from any place where the FCC is the regulator. Section 97.103(b) authorizes your Section 97.5(a)(2) club station license trustee to designate the Section 97.105 control operator. Section 97.7 says that the control operator must a person: (a) For whom an amateur operator/primary station license grant appears on the ULS consolidated licensee database, or (b) Who is authorized for alien reciprocal operation by Section 97.107.

   You may think the era has arrived when no unique skill is required to operate your club station properly. But our Section 97.507 and Section 97.509 volunteer examiners do not yet concur. They continue to prepare and administer written examinations which they believe determine a person’s operational and technical qualifications to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee.

Q. How can our trustee ascertain that a person is VE-certificated?

A. Consult the ULS. It contains the name, mailing address, class of operator, and primary station call sign of every currently VE-certificated licensee. In an instance of a Section 97.107 alien reciprocal operator, your Section 97.5(a)(2) club station license trustee should scrutinize the person’s operator license document issued by his/her home country.

Q. I am a General Class ham. When my Extra Class friend visits my home can he operate my station on the exclusive Extra Class frequencies?

A. Yes, provided the Section 97.119(e) station identification announcements are such as to inform listeners that the duty Section 97.105 control operator has an Amateur Extra Class operator license grant.

Q. Can I also talk on the Extra Class frequencies while he is visiting my station?

A. Yes. At his discretion he could send a Section 97.115(b) third party message for you. This rule authorizes the third party (you) to participate in stating the message where the Section 97.105 control operator (him) is present at the Section 97.109(a) control point and is continuously monitoring and supervising your participation.

Q. After he goes home, can I still talk on the Extra Class frequencies?

A. You are not supposed to do that for the reasons explained above. If – as your question seems to imply – during his presence, you somehow magically acquire his level of operational and technical competence to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee, you should have no trouble proving it to our Section 97.509 administering VEs. They are the ones who determine such things for the FCC.

Q. So what are those duties?

A. For a summary of those necessities, 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. It seems to me that the current de facto arrangement is there are but two operator classes: Those using their own call sign, and those using someone else’s call sign. Both classes have all Extra Class privileges.

A. From the gist of some of the inquiries arriving here, that seems to be the case.

Q. Why would anyone choose to use someone else’s call sign?

A. Obviously to fool our maintenance monitors and other listeners into accepting that the Section 97.105 control operator is authorized by Section 97.301 to cause or allow the station to transmit on the frequency channel being occupied.

   The call sign transmitted in the Section 97.119 station identification announcement establishes the person who is the Section 97.5(a) station licensee. Knowing the call sign, we can promptly discover the name and mailing address of the station licensee by consulting the ULS. Section 97.103(b) says the FCC will presume that the station licensee is also the Section 97.105 control operator, unless documentation to the contrary is in the station records. So must our maintenance monitors and other listeners. Our effectiveness – and the very legitimacy of our amateur service - is at the mercy of an honor system that relies upon all members of our amateur service community doing all the right things while causing or allowing a station to transmit on our spectrum.

Q. The on-the-air apprentice operator training we provide to unlicensed persons is just as good as - if not superior to - the training obtained from passing the VEs’ memory exams. We want to expand our amateur service community by introducing youth and as many other citizens as possible to what we must offer. The exams are too hard. They hamper the growth in the number of hams and the purchase of radios. Our amateur service community organizers must get rid of those old-fashioned notions. How can we skirt them in the meantime?   

A. Such ruses usually exploit the Section 97.115(b) third party communications provision. It authorizes the third party to participate in stating the message where the Section 97.105 control operator is present at the Section 97.109 control point and is continuously monitoring and supervising the third party's Section 97.115(b) “participation.”

Q. Is there any other way?

A. There is the VPOD Protocol (Verbalizing Person or Device) theory. Its hypothesis is that any person - at the discretion of, and on behalf of - the Section 97.105 control operator can compliantly originate the speech transmitted by an amateur station as well as formulate and act upon judgments that are otherwise the responsibility of, and normally are carried out by, the Section 97.105 control operator. Section 97.3(a)(6) establishes that, at least in some instances, the use of devices and procedures for control of a station when it is transmitting can achieve compliance with the FCC rules. Some persons might be able to do this almost as well as a device.

Q. When a club member assumes the role of control operator, anyone should be able to operate at the SCO's discretion. Anyone means anyone at all, licensed or not.

A. Not so fast. Section 97.103(b) says the station licensee must designate the Section 97.105 control operator. So, there is much more involved here than just a club member doing some assuming. Section 97.115(b), moreover, says the third party may only participate in stating the message.

   Additionally, there are certain prior amateur service licensees having had serious compliance issues with our regulator who are ineligible to be a Section 97.115(b) third party message-stating participant.

Q. How can our control operator make that determination? 

A. When your third party has an FCC-issued amateur operator/primary station grant showing on the ULS, there probably is no prohibiting compliance issue. Otherwise, the most expedient way is to require the third party to sign, in the station log, this statement:

   I certify that I am 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. I am not the subject of a cease and desist order which relates to amateur service operation and which is still in effect.

Q. Is there any regulation requiring that we maintain the name or copy of the license document of any visitor who speaks over our club station under the auspices of the SCO?

A. No. You may have in mind a long-ago rule that required keeping a record of all third-party message traffic sent and received. There should, however, be a record of your designated Section 97.105 control operator. Section 97.103(b) says that the FCC will presume that the station licensee is also the control operator unless documentation to the contrary is in the station records.

Q. Don’t the rules require that the control operator can ensure that there is compliance with the rules?

A. Yes. Section 97.109 says the control operator must be at the control point. It is this Section 97.105 control operator who must ensure the immediate proper operation of the station. 

Q. When a visitor who is a licensed ham wants to operate as the control operator, we need to see his license. We need to record his information in the chance that we are cited for some infraction while he or she is operating. We should go online and check to see that the license is valid. We should also ask for some ID to insure ourselves that our visitors are who they say they are.

A. Your Section 97.103 station licensee must establish that the person is whom he or she claims to be and is eligible to be the Section 97.105 control operator. Section 97.7 says the control operator must be a person for whom an amateur operator/primary station license grant appears on the ULS or who is authorized for Section 97.107 alien reciprocal operation.

   The only certain way to verify the ULS showing claim is to consult the ULS directly online. To confirm that the person is authorized for Section 97.107 alien reciprocal operation, you must determine whether or not the person is a citizen of the United States. If so - even when the person also holds other citizenships - he or she is ineligible for reciprocal operating authority in any place where the FCC regulates communications

   Next, you should consult the ULS to establish that the alien does not hold a FCC license grant.  No person holding an FCC amateur operator/primary station license grant is eligible for the FCC reciprocal operating authority.  

   You should scrutinize any alien’s license document. Section 97.107 says it must have been issued by the alien’s government and there must be 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. Consult the FCC Reciprocal Arrangements webpage for listings of the countries with which the United States has such an arrangement.

   The privileges granted to a Section 97.107 alien control operator are the terms of the agreement between the alien's government and the United States; the operating terms and conditions of the amateur service license granted by the alien's government; and the applicable Part 97, but not to exceed the privileges of an FCC-granted Amateur Extra Class operator license.

   Additionally, Section 97.301 makes available frequency bands to a Section 97.5 station having a Section 97.7(b) control operator who holds a CEPT radio-amateur license issued by a country belonging to the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations that has adopted Recommendation T/R 61–01; and to an IARP (International Amateur Radio Permit) issued pursuant to the terms of the Inter-American Convention on an International Amateur Radio Permit by a country signatory to that Convention, other than the United States.

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December 24, 2016

Supersedes all prior editions