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. 1.5

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Can I Take a Paying Job

At an Amateur Station?

John B. Johnston W3BE

Q.  Can I take a paying job at an amateur station?

A. Perhaps. Your prospects are limited, but have been expanding. There are, at present, three possibilities codified in Part 97: Firstly, you could accept compensation for being the Section 97.105 control operator of a Section 97.5(b)(2) club station while it is transmitting telegraphy practice or information bulletins according to specified conditions. Secondly, you could accept compensation as an incident of a teaching position during periods of time when you are using a Section 97.5 amateur station as a part of classroom instruction at an educational institution. Thirdly, you could participate on behalf of an employer in a Section 97.113(a)(3)(i) emergency preparedness or disaster readiness testing or drilling and operational testing immediately prior thereto.

W3BE-O-GRAM: Upon accepting payment, be aware, you cease being an amateur and become a professional.

Q. What is a professional?

A. In our context, it is someone who accepts compensation for doing that for which an un-paid amateur does. For example: professional/amateur athletes.

Q. I thought our amateur radio service was strictly for amateurs.

A. The radio service name "amateur" seems to suggest that it may have been so intended originally, but now our amateur service community ("hams") is comprised of two basic constituencies:

   Amateurs, i.e., duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest who utilize our radio spectrum allocations for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication, and technical investigations in accord with SEC. 3. [47 USC 153](2) of the Communications Act, international Radio Regulation (RR) No. 1.56 and Section 2.1(c) the United States Code of Federal Regulations Title 47, and Section 97.3(a)(4).

   Professionals, i.e., duly authorized persons interested in radio technique with something other than a personal aim and/or with a pecuniary interest who utilize our radio spectrum allocations to further those interests.

Q. I will be away during an upcoming DX-pedition. Could I pay a professional to work the new one for me?

A. While there is no rule that would prohibit you from paying a professional to work as the Section 97.105 control operator of your Section 97.5(b)(1) primary station, Section 97.113(a)(3) prohibits communications in which the Section 97.103 station licensee or Section 97.105 control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer, with certain exceptions codified therein. The issue, therefore, is whether the person you hire and the work to be done can meet the criteria for one of those exceptions. One possibility may be Section 97.113(c)(3)(i) operational testing. Read Commercial Communications and Section 97.113(a)(3)(i) Operational Testing BE Informed No. 7.3.  

Q. Could he make the DX contact using his station, or would he have to come over to my station and use its apparatus?

A. Either way can be acceptable as far as Part 97 is concerned. You could choose to designate him to be the Section 97.105 control operator of your Section 97.5(b)(1) primary station. Document the arrangement in your station records just in case things go sour. The ownership of the transmitting apparatus is irrelevant as long as you can prove having Section 97.5(a) physical control of it.

Q. What exactly are amateur service communications?

A. According to Section 97.3(a)(4), et al, they are radio-communications for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest. Section 97.111 authorizes an amateur station to transmit certain types of one-way and two-way communications.

Q. Must the governmental sponsor be a federal agency?

A. No. Section 97.113(c)(3)(i) says only government. No exceptions are specified. That could include, therefore, federal, state, county, borough, parish, city, tribal, etc., even foreign governments. Part 90, Private Land Mobile Radio Services, on the other hand, provides exclusively for the licensing of non-federal governmental entities.

Q. Which part of our amateur service spectrum has been made available to the professionals?       

A. Section 97.101(c) says at all times and on all frequencies, each Section 97.105 control operator must give priority to stations providing emergency communications, except to stations transmitting communications for training drills and tests in RACES.

Q. Section 97.503 says that our VEs' exams 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. Our examinations, therefore, are unsuitable for the professionals now moving onto our frequency bands. Their employers are the logical parties to determine who best serves their needs. If some form of FCC certification is mandatory, wouldn't the Part 13 commercial operator license make more sense?

A. No, that would be even more ludicrous. Section 13.3 says those rules that require FCC station licensees to have certain transmitter operation, maintenance, and repair duties performed by a commercial radio operator are contained in Part 23, Part 80, and Part 87. Part 80 contains the rules for stations in the maritime services and Part 87 contains the rules for the aviation services. (E-CFR does not show a Part 23.) 

   Those professionals are obviously not migrating to our amateur service bands to carry out transmitter maintenance and repair duties. They are being deployed there to participate on behalf of their employers in emergency preparedness or disaster readiness tests or drills and operational testing immediately prior to such test or drill.

Q. Must a person employed by a VE or VEC as a "Section 97.527 out-of-pocket expense" line item be a ham?

A. No. That matter is not addressed in the rules. The person accepting pay, however, would obviously not be a volunteer. He/she would be an employee of the VE or of the VEC. So, any necessity for the employee to be a ham would depend upon the management practices and employment policies of the employing VE or VEC.

Q. Is there a limit on what our VEs and VECs can charge?

A. Yes. Our VEs are supposed to accept no more than their actual Section 97.527 out-of-pocket expenses for performing their Section 97.507 preparing and Section 97.509 administering. Our VECs are supposed to accept no more than their actual Section 97.527 out-of-pocket expenses for performing their Section 97.519 coordinating and processing. Two of our VECs - Anchorage Amateur Radio Club VEC and Laurel Amateur Radio Club VEC - are highly successful in furnishing their services without incurring any significant out-of-pocket expense. They do not charge. Any costs incurred are covered by the associated club and/or members.

Q. Are there provisions in place to keep VE and VEC out-of-pocket expenses from skyrocketing?

A. Only the probability of very low head room for an examination fee that most potential applicants are willing to pay, and the fact that there are at least two VECs and probably tens of thousands of VEs who offer their examination services gratis.

Q. It needs explaining that a VE cannot act or perform the duties and responsibilities of a VEC or any of that organization's employees.

A. Right. Neither our VEs' Section 97.507 preparing and Section 97.509 administering duties and responsibilities extend to performing our VECs' Section 97.519 coordinating and processing duties and vice-versa. There is, however, nothing in our regulator's rules that would prevent the same otherwise qualified amateur operator from serving both as a Section 97.509 Administering VE and a Section 97.521 VEC representative, even concurrently. The employment arrangement, moreover, is not a FCC rule matter.

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November 12, 2017

Supersedes all prior editions