W3BE'S BE Informed!
 
Home1.0 Checklist1.1 RF Safety1.2 Antenna Structures1.3 Quiet Zones1.4 60 Meters1.5 Take A Job?1.6 Hams At Sea1.7 Chinese Radios1.8 Reciprocal Operation1.9 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 Our Real Purpose1.18 Transmitter Stability1.19 Selling Over Ham Radio1.20 Still A Ham?1.21 Use My Station?1.22 Digi-Standards1.23 No Secrets2.0 Ham Needs To Know2.1 VE System Management2.2 What A VE Does2.3 TV Testing2.4 Get Our Pools Right2.5 Go VE Green!2.7 Pool Reset2.6 No Time To memorize2.8 GOTA: License Qualifier?2.9.1 Get Your Ham Call Sign2.10 Become A General2.10 Become A General July 20152.11 Top 102.12 Amnesty2.13 Grumpy Old Hams2.14 VE's Universe3.0 Smell Test3.1 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 ID4.3 ID Every 10 minutes4.6 Special Event 1 by 15.0 Our TPMSP Class5.2 Where's The Rule?5.3 Big Red Switch5.5 Rulemaking For GOTA6.0 Constitution Go-By6.1 Club Station License6.3 Club Stations Control Op7.0 EMERGENCY!7.1 Volunteer Emergency Comm7.2 RACES7.3 Commandeer Channels7.4 Non-pros emergency7.5 Disaster Radio7.6 Dipole dimensions7.9 Industrial Communications8.0 Repeater, Remote Base, et al8.2 Remote Base OK?8.3 Frequency Coordination8.4 Automatic Control8.5 Remote Base/Repeater9.0 Historic Telegraphy9.1 QCWA Caribbean Cruise9.2 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta10.0 Disconnect10.1 Filing Comments10.2 Deceased's Call Sign10.3 Comments in WT Docket 12-28310.4 Comments in RM-11708

 W3BE-O-GRAM

Special event means historical?

Q. Our one-by-one special event call signs are supposed to be used to commemorate events of historical nature. They are also being exploited for logging speed competitive advantages in Field Day and other contests. What is going on here?

A. No historical event stipulation is codified in the rules. Section 97.119(d) simply says:

   When transmitting in conjunction with an event of special significance, a station may substitute for its assigned call sign a special event call sign as shown for that station for that period of time on the common data base coordinated, maintained and disseminated by the special event call sign data base coordinators. Additionally, the station must transmit its assigned call sign at least once per hour during such transmissions.

   Section 97.3(a)(11), moreover, defines the term call sign system as: The method used to select a call sign for amateur station over-the–air identification purposes. It goes on to define our three call sign systems, including our special event call sign system:

   (iii) Special event call sign system. The call sign is selected by the station licensee from a list of call signs shown on a common data base coordinated, maintained and disseminated by the amateur station special event call sign data base coordinators. The call sign must have the single letter prefix K, N or W, followed by a single numeral 0 through 9, followed by a single letter A through W or Y or Z (for example K1A). The special event call sign is substituted for the call sign shown on the station license grant while the station is transmitting. The FCC will issue public announcements detailing the procedures of the special event call sign system.

   Those details are announced publically on the FCC website:

   When transmitting in conjunction with an event of special significance, an amateur station ("special event station") may transmit the identification announcement using a special event call sign in accord with the procedures detailed below. Substituting a special event call sign for its assigned call sign may help a special event station call attention "on-air" to its participation in the special event and to the unique opportunity for the amateur service community to exchange greetings with the station. Use of these provisions, however, must not detract from the station making the source of its transmissions known to those receiving them. The special event station must also transmit its assigned call sign at least once per hour during such operation.

   A block of 750 call signs is available for use in the special event call sign system. The format of each call sign ("one-by-one") consists of a single letter prefix "K", "N" or "W", followed by a single digit numeral "0" through "9," followed by a single letter "A" through "W" or "Y" or "Z" ("X" is not available to amateur stations). The station license grantee must obtain coordination for the use of a special event call sign through one of the following special event call sign coordinators. These coordinators maintain and disseminate world-wide a common data base for the day-to-day usage of the one-by-one format call signs (for example "K1A"). Upon completing the coordination process, the special event station may substitute the one-by-one format call sign for its assigned call sign during the period of the special event. The following volunteer entities have been certified as special event call sign coordinators.

  There are five special event call sign coordinators so listed, all of which are also among our 14 volunteer-examiner coordinators.

   Clearly, our regulator’s concern is station identification, not contest advantages. An amateur station must make the source of its transmissions known to those receiving them. The call signs assigned by the sequential and vanity systems are traceable back to the station licensee by consulting the ULS. For our special event stations, their call signs are traceable by consulting our SECSC’s world-wide common data base in conjunction with the ULS. Further, our Special event stations must also periodically transmit their sequential or vanity call signs. Our amateur service community deems operating contests as special events. Our contest sponsors should deal with any unfair competitive advantages they allow.

   For more Q/A on this topic, read BE Informed No. 4.6 What Is So Special About a Special Event Station?

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How tall can my antenna be?

A. From a strictly communications standpoint, Section 97.15(b) authorizes you to erect your antenna at a height sufficient to accommodate amateur service communications. The maximum height of the amateur service is 50 kilometers. Above that, it is the domain of our amateur-satellite service. Read Section 97.5(a).

   Before you start erecting your 31 mile high antenna tower, however, you should understand that the practical height of your antenna depends upon a number of factors, not the least of which are your financial, time, energy and know-how resources. Then there are restrictions for aviation safety, environmental protection, quiet zones, and locality concerns for safety and appearances. There are also the matters of arrangements that you have made with the owners of the land on which your station antenna stands or the entity from whom you obtained the land. So, that 50 km ceiling is the very least of your concerns.

Q.  What are the restrictions that could limit the height of my antenna?

A.  The location of your antenna structure determines whether any of the following apply to its height above ground level:

   Section 97.15(b)says that the owner of an antenna structure more than 200 feet above ground level at the site must notify the FAA and register with the FCC.

   Section 97.15(b) says that the owner of an antenna structure located near a public use airport must notify the FAA and register with the FCC.

   Section 97.13 says there are restrictions that apply to land of environmental importance or significant in American history, architecture or culture, places within a mile of an FCC monitoring facility and places where your station could cause possible harmful human exposure to RF electromagnetic fields. Your antenna is a component of your station. 

Q.  What are the aviation safety restrictions on antennas?

A. Section 97.15(a), in effect, says that unless the antenna is near or at a public use airport, the antenna may be 200 feet above ground level at the site. Otherwise, the Federal Aviation Administration must be notified and the antenna structure must be registered with the FCC. The details are in Part 17. You may have to mark your tower with specified painting and lighting in order to gain the necessary approval.

Q. How close to the airport can my antenna be before being subject to the restrictions Part 17?

A. It begins at about four miles from the nearest runway.  Section 17.7(b) describes an imaginary surface above which notification and registration are required. It extends outward and upward at one of the following slopes:

   For a large airport (any runway length more than 3,200-feet), the slope is 100 to 1 for a horizontal distance of 20,000-feet from the nearest point on the nearest runway. 

   For a small airport (longest runway length no more than 3,200-feet), the slope is 50 to 1 for a horizontal distance of 10,000-feet from the nearest point on the nearest runway.

   For a heliport, the slope is 25:1 for a horizontal distance of 5,000-feet from the nearest landing and takeoff area.

   For more Q/A on this topic, read BE Informed No. 1.2 Amateur Station Antenna Structures.

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Will Citizen Class Operators be the new standard? Our U.S. amateur service community organizers are currently pursuing a licensee expansion initiative. In RM-10870, our volunteer-examiner coordinators petitioned our regulator to make our amateur service accessible to as many citizens as possible. There are still other initiatives underway. Technician Class constitutes by far the most populated segment of our amateur service community. There is little difference in privileges with the higher operator classes. Read Q/A at BE Informed No. 2.13.

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Does a repeater have to incorporate a timer?

Q. There was a rule that a repeater had to have a timeout timer. But now I can’t find it in Part 97. Is it there?

A. There is no such how-to rule. You may have in mind the no-fault period authorized for remotely controlled stations codified in Section 97.213 Telecommand of an amateur station. It says: An amateur station on or within 50 km of the Earth's surface may be under telecommand where (among other necessities) there is a radio or wire line control link between the control point and the station sufficient for the control operator to perform his/her duties… . Provisions are incorporated to limit transmission by the station to a period of no more than 3 minutes in the event of malfunction in the control link (and) the station is protected against making, willfully or negligently, unauthorized transmissions.

Q. There seems to be a timer in many ham repeaters.

A. Some repeaters are under remote control for at least part of the time. Thus, time-out capability is essential to qualifying for being under such remote control.

   Even for those never under remote control, there is the station operation standard in Section 97.101(b): Each station licensee and each control operator must cooperate in selecting transmitting channels and in making the most effective use of the amateur service frequencies. Incorporating a timer seems consistent with that standard. It can help advance a culture in pursuit of ever more effective intercommunications.  

Q. Then there is nothing in the rules that requires a repeater to be under remote control?

A. Right. It must, however, be under at least one of our three authorized methods of control at all times. Firstly – as with any amateur station - it could be under local control. Secondly, where there is a control link between the control point and the station, it could be under remote control. Thirdly, if its coverage area is conducive, it might even be under automatic control. Regardless of the method employed, never the less, the control operator must have the wherewithal to perform his/her duties properly.

Q. Section 97.207(b) says: A space station must be capable of effecting a cessation of transmissions by telecommand whenever such cessation is ordered by the FCC. So, a space station must be under telecommand, but a repeater does not; otherwise Section 97.205 would say so. Therefore the 3-minute period must not have been intended to apply to a repeater.

A. Right. The 3-minute necessity is a condition of authorization applicable only to our remotely controlled terrestrial amateur stations. It limits the period of time the unauthorized transmissions from an out-of-control station can annoy those of us in its coverage area.

   A space station, on the other hand, is located more than 50 km above the Earth's surface. Its transmissions could conceivably degrade communications worldwide. ITU Radio Regulation No. 25.11 says that administrations authorizing space stations in the amateur-satellite service shall ensure that sufficient earth command stations are established before launch to ensure that any harmful interference caused by emissions from a station in the amateur-satellite service can be terminated immediately. This regulation is implemented in Section 97.207(b) where says that a space station must be capable of effecting a cessation of transmissions by telecommand whenever such cessation is ordered by the FCC. Read BE Informed No. 3.2 How the ITR Radio Regulations Article 25 and Recommendation ITU-R. M.1544 are Implemented In FCC 47 C.F.R.

Q. If repeaters were authorized to transmit under telecommand, it would specifically say so in Section 97.205 like it does for space stations in Section 207. Because it doesn’t, I conclude that there is no telecommand obligation for repeaters and no requirement for a 3-minute timer. 

A. Whoa! The authorization for a repeater to be remotely controlled is codified - absolutely. It is in Section 97.109(c) where it says: Any station may be remotely controlled.

   The provisions that are incorporated to limit transmissions by a remotely controlled station to a period of no more than 3 minutes in the event of a malfunctioning control link are necessary to being telecommand-eligible. While a timeout timer might be the implementation choice of the station licensee, such is a matter for him/her to decide. Possibly, your local frequency coordination takes such decision-making into consideration when determining a repeater’s worthiness for coordination.

   For more Q/A on telecommand/remote control, read BE Informed No. 8.5 Differences Between a VHF/UHF Remote Base and a Repeater.

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What Was That Callsign?

   Contact Radio Amateur Callsign Historian Pete Varounis NL7XM before tossing out any old Callbook Magazine!  "Pete the Greek" offers us an old amateur station call sign lookup service.  He will find a first license date as shown in his extensive collection.  E-mail to twelvevdc@aol.com.

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Get Your Own HAM CALL SIGN!

   The quickest, easiest, and inexpensive way is to memorize the questions and answers in BE Informed EXAMINATIONS No. 2.9.1 W3BE's NOTES - Get Your Call Sign. Take/retake the free on-line practice examinations until you pass consistently. Then visit a VE session for a license examination.  

Read the Rules - Heed the Rules!

  Our ham radio is an internationally recognized hobby. It is comprised of millions of amateur operators worldwide who must know how to cause or allow their amateur stations to transmit properly. We utilize electromagnetic radiation technology that knows no political borders. We are, consequently, subject to wide ranging domestic and international regulation. A working knowledge of the relevant rules is essential to not endangering ourselves, our families, or our neighbors; and to not disrupting other radio communications.

What are the penalties for violating the rules?

   (a) If the FCC finds that you have willfully or repeatedly violated the Communications Act or the FCC Rules, you may have to pay as much as $10,000 for each violation, up to a total of $75,000. (See Section 503(b) of the Communications Act.)

   (b) If the FCC finds that you have violated any section of the Communications Act or the FCC Rules, you may be ordered to stop whatever action caused the violation. (See Section 312(b) of the Communications Act.)

   (c) If a Federal court finds that you have willfully and knowingly violated any FCC Rule, you may be fined up to $500 for each day you committed the violation. (See Section 502 of the Communications Act.)

   (d) If a Federal court finds that you have willfully and knowingly violated any provision of the Communications Act, you may be fined up to $10,000, or you may be imprisoned for one year, or both. (See Section 501 of the Communications Act.)

[48 FR 24890, June 3, 1983, as amended at 57 FR 40343, Sept. 3, 1992]

To apply for a free subscription to FCC Daily Digest, click here.

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   This is a free-to-use website here to answer your questions on what the rules say for our amateur service in places where it is regulated by the United States Federal Communications Commission.  Should you receive a solicitation for this website, it is a scam! Nothing herein is sold or offered for sale. All legitimate communications relating to this website take place by e-mail or discussion at hamfests or other gatherings. No postal mail or telephone calls, please. Kindly do not ask for speculation on whether or not you can get away with something.

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W3BE LIBRARY CATALOG

BASICS 

   Before causing or allowing a station to transmit from any place where our amateur service is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, review your duties using BE Informed No. 1.0 W3BE Checklists.  There is one checklist for your station licensee duties and another checklist for your control operator duties.

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   Whatever did you sign?  When applying for an FCC amateur service license grant, you must use either FCC Form 605 or NCVEC Form 605.  They both require signing, among other things, this certification:

   I certify that I have read and will comply with Section 97.13(c) of the Commission's Rules regarding radiofrequency radiation safety and the amateur service section of OST/OET Bulletin Number 65.

   For the text and the tables that you must certify that you have read, and for which you must give your word to comply, read BE Informed No. 1.1 Certification Regarding Radiofrequency Radiation Safety.  It also includes what it is that you will need to understand in order to make your certifications meaningful to you.

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   How tall can my antenna be?   There are restrictions for aviation safety, environmental protection, quiet zones, and locality concerns for safety and appearances.  There are also the matters of arrangements that you have made with the owners of the land on which your station antenna stands or the entity from whom you obtained the land.  Read BE Informed No. 1.2 Amateur Station Antenna Structures.

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   Is your station in a radio quiet zone?  There are radio quiet zones within places where our amateur service is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.  It is necessary for radiation from your amateur station to be restricted.  Know where these quiet zones are located.  Disallow disrupting transmissions being made by your amateur station from within them.  Read BE Informed No. 1.3 Quiet Zone Directory – What To Do About It.

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   Why Is 60 meters channelized?  Our 60 meter band is exceptionally unique.  It is not an amateur service band internationally. We have but secondary status on five designated  frequency channels in places where our amateur service is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.  This arrangement comes with distinctive operational and technical standards - traditionally absent from our rules - necessary to sharing with the primary users.  It is to facilitate the cessation of interference to those primary users.  It enables them to ascertain the call signs of our amateur station 60 meter band users and request corrective reaction by our regulator whenever necessary.  Read BE Informed No. 1.4 60 Meter Privileges.

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  Can I take a paying job at an amateur station?  Perhaps.  Your prospects are limited, but have been expanding.  Read BE Informed No. 1.5 Can I Take a Paying Job as a Profe$$ional Communicator at an Amateur Station?  Also, read BE Informed No. 1.20 Am I Still an Amateur?

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   How must I ID my station on a cruise ship?  That all depends upon your wishes and the rules of your station’s transmitting authority.  Read BE Informed No. 1.6 Hams at Sea.

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   Can I Use Chinese Radios?  Very likely.  Many transceivers manufactured in China are apparently compliant because they are being used at FCC-licensed amateur stations.  Read BE Informed No. 1.7 Can I Use A Chinese Radio?

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   A Canadian citizen holding a Canadian amateur operator license has permission from the Federal Communications Commission to operate a ham station in the U.S.  That permission is codified in Section 97.107.  It says that a non-citizen of the United States ("alien") holding an amateur service authorization granted by the alien's government is authorized to be the control operator of an amateur station located at places where the amateur service is regulated by the FCC, provided there is 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. The FCC issues public announcements listing the countries with which the U.S. has such an arrangement. Canada is one of the countries so listed.   No citizen of the U.S. or person holding an FCC amateur operator/primary station license grant is eligible for the reciprocal operating authority granted by Section 97.107.  Read BE Informed No. 1.8  Reciprocal Operation In Places Where Our Amateur Service Is Regulated By The FCC. 

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   Some hams have very creative interpretations of Section 97.115 for third party communications.  It might help them to better accept and respect the privileges for third party communications by first understanding making one and two party communications.  Don’t be bamboozled.  Read BE Informed No. 1.9 All About One, Two, and Third Party Communications.

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   Whatever was incentive licensing?  (Shhh!)  That term is so tarnished as to best not say it aloud in ham radio conversation. It can evoke painful memories and even outrage.  Read BE Informed No. 1.10  Our Most Controversial Era.

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   Section 97.101(a) says that our stations must be operated in accordance with good engineering and good amateur practice in all respects not specifically covered by FCC Rules.  This file is a collection of observations, including proposed good engineering practices GEPs and good amateur practices GAPs.  Sections include:  Compliance, Rules, License Qualification System, Over-the-Air, and Rulemaking Process.  Read BE Informed No. 1.11 GEPS AND GAPS – Good Engineering and Good Amateur Practices.

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   Our amateur service community intercommunicates in a unique jargon.  Some of which is from the 19th Century telegraphy.  Read BE Informed No. 1.12 HAMSLANGUAGE – What Are Those Hams Saying?

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   What are the rules for visitors who want to operate an amateur station?   Don’t be bamboozled.  Read BE Informed No. 1.13 Visiting Operators.

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   Our amateur service rules use unfamiliar terms.  To make them meaningful, read BE Informed  No. 1.14 Terms Used In Part 97.

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   The Communications Act says the term “amateur station” means a radio station operated by a duly authorized person interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.  The Federal Communication Commission more or less concurs – but takes major exceptions - and goes on to say that an amateur station consists of all of the transmitters, receivers and combinations thereof, and all accessory apparatus, at any one location, necessary for carrying on radio-communications in any of our three amateur radio services.  Read BE Informed No. 1.15 What Is An Amateur Station?

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  There are a lot of superseded license documents in the hands of our amateur service community.  They can appear to be valid to those who are not yet aware of the ULS and the license-by-rule provisions codified in Section 97.5 and Section 97.7.  They are the result of operator class upgrading, changing of names and mail addresses and the obtaining of vanity call signs.  Caution!  They pose a risk of falling into the hands of persons who would misuse them to steal your identity. Read BE Informed No. 1.16 Of Licenses and Call Signs.
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  The ITU, the Congress, and the Federal Communications Commission more or less agree on the purpose of our amateur service.  But the FCC also has its own agenda for our amateur service.  It is codified in a basis and purpose of its Part 97 rules.  It is sometimes incorrectly switched for the bona fide purpose of our amateur service.  Don’t be bamboozled.  Read BE Informed No. 1.17 What Is Our Real Purpose?

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   Your amateur station transmissions must be sufficiently steady such that all emissions resulting from modulation are confined to the frequency band or segment authorized to the control operator.  Read BE Informed No. 1.18 How Steady Must My Transmitter Be?

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   Using your amateur station to sell items might be feasible in places where our amateur service is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.  There is one set of rules for bona fide amateurs and another set for professional communicators.  Read BE Informed No. 1.19 Selling Stuff Over Ham Radio.

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   There was no question when I first got my ham license that I was a duly authorized person interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.  As I grew to adulthood, however, I gravitated more toward commerce and morphed into becoming a professional.  Until I retire and return to a clear-cut amateur status, am I still a bona fide amateur?  Read BE Informed No. 1.20 Am I Still An Amateur?

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   Who - other than the control operators that I choose to designate - can use my ham station?  Don’t be bamboozled.  Read BE Informed No. 1.21 Who Can Use My Ham Station?

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   Where in the rules are the digi-rates for HF, VHF and UHF specified?  Some digi-heads that say the rules do not specify baud rates in these bands.  Digi-hang in there and digi-read BE Informed No. 1.22 Digi-Standards.

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   Section 97.113(a)(4) says that no amateur station shall transmit messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.  Does this mean it can’t transmit WEP?  If its usage would result in non-compliance with our rules, then the answer is no it can’t.  Amateur stations must be capable of understanding the communications of other amateur stations.  Read BE Informed 1.23 There Are No Secrets in Ham Radio. 

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LICENSE EXAMINATIONS
Do you know everything you need to know?  Our volunteer examiners make those determinations when they are preparing and administering our license examinations.  Section 97.503 says that a written examination for a FCC license grant 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.  For a Q&A discussion on this topic, read BE Informed No. 2.0 What Do Hams Really Need to Know and When Do They Need to Know It?

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Who is in charge of our VE system?  The enabling statute reads as though Congress envisioned our volunteer examiners taking the lead and their volunteer-examiner coordinators (VECs) performing in a supporting role.  The common meaning of the term coordinator is a non-management facilitator who conducts liaison between various organizational components to achieve harmonization.   For a Q&A discussion on this topic, read BE Informed No. 2.1 Who Is in Charge of Our VE System?

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Have you been accredited as a VE?  Whatever have you gotten yourself into now?  For a Q&A discussion on this topic, read BE Informed No. 2.2  So, I’m a VE, Now What? 

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VEs do not have to be present in the exam room.  Field trials have proven the worthiness of the VEs doing their observing from afar via video images.  Our regulator has been satisfied that remote testing methods have been developed - including audio and video links either hard-wired to a site or available through Internet or satellite technologies - that makes TV testing feasible and warranted.  Read BE Informed No. 2.3 Smile –You’re On TV!

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Keynote Address to the 2009 NCVEC’s Gettysburg Conference.  Our VECs are urged to repudiate their call to make “… the amateur service accessible to as many citizens as possible.”  Read BE Informed No. 2.4 Get Our pools right!

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Our VE system is a pencil-to-paper clerical-intensive artifact.  It wastes the time, talent and money of our 32,000 volunteers.  The bottleneck is our own inertia.  For a Q&A discussion of this topic, read BE Informed No. 2.5 Let’s Go VE Green!

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Have you ever been asked to arrange for someone to take the exam for someone else?  For one response to that solicitation, read BE Informed No. 2.6 I Don’t Have Time to Memorize Answers – Who will take the exam for me?

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Which type of HF wire antenna should be in your FCC Minimal Amateur Radio Emergency Go-Kit?  The answer is one for which every person who currently holds – or who will hold in the foreseeable future - an FCC-issued amateur operator/primary station license grant should know and observe.  The FCC has reported to the Congress that hams need training in homeland security.  That and other developments call for yet another reset in our volunteer examiner system.  Read BE Informed LICENSE No. 2.7 It’s Time for Another Question Pool Reset.

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Get-On-The-Air experience provided to unlicensed and under-licensed persons is superior to training currently being received from book study.  GOTA facilitates immediate hands-on training by Elmers at actual transmitting amateur stations.  For Q/A discussion of this topic, read BE Informed No. 2.8 GOTA Training as Our License Qualifier.

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Memorize the correct answers that our VEs want a Technician Class operator to know.  Read BE Informed No. 2.9.1 W3BE’s NOTES – Get Your Ham Call Sign.

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Memorize the correct answers that our VEs want a General Class operator to know.  Read BE Informed No. 2.10 W3BE’s NOTES Become a General.

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W3BE’s Top Ten for the Continuance of Our Amateur Service in Our United States of America.  Read BE Informed No. 2.11.

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Amnesty to former hams. Our regulator wants to encourage ex-hams to become involved again in the technical self-training and public service communications opportunities provided by our amateur service.  They will only have to pass our basic Element 2 written examination for a license grant, but may be excused from the Element 3 examination for the General Operator class. Read more at BE Informed No. 2.12 The Light Is On For You.

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Citizen Class Operator Ahead? Our U.S. amateur service community organizers are currently pursuing a licensee expansion initiative.  In RM-10870, our volunteer-examiner coordinators petitioned our regulator to make our amateur service accessible to as many citizens as possible.  There are still other initiatives underway.  Technician Class constitutes by far the most populated segment of our amateur service community.  Read Q/A at BE Informed No. 2.13.

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Can someone offer exams to anyone anywhere that is convenient for all involved?  Yes, as long that someone is a CVET (certifying VE trio) coordinated by a VEC and each examinee provides a mailing address within an area where the amateur service is regulated by the FCC and can receive mail delivery by the United States Postal Service.  Read more at BE Informed No. 2.14 Our VEs’ Universe.

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COMPLIANCE

Are your communications authorized for transmission by an amateur station?  Give it the BE Informed COMPLIANCE No. 3.0 Section 97.113 Smell Test.  For amateurs, with updates for professional communicators.

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Find out about our maintenance monitors.  Their objectives are to foster a wider knowledge of and better compliance with laws, rules and regulations governing the amateur service, to extend the concepts of self-regulation and self-administration of the service, and to enhance the opportunity for individual amateurs to contribute to the public welfare.  Read BE Informed COMPLIANCE No. 3.1 Amateur Volunteer Maintenance Monitoring.

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Compare the FCC rules with the international rules for our amateur radio service.  Read BE Informed COMPLIANCE No. 3.2 How the ITU Radio Regulations Article 25 and Recommendation ITU-R M.1544 are implemented in FCC 47 C.F.R.

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What is your excuse for not complying with the FCC rules?  If it isn't already in the assemblage, please-mail it to john@johnston.net.  Otherwise, read BE Informed COMPLIANCE No. 3.3 Collection of Excuses - Reasons Cited for Not Complying with the FCC Rules.  

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Central to the legitimacy of our amateur service, we must know and understand the rules for our 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 every station licensee and every control operator in each system making certain that there is rule compliance.  For Q&A on this topic, read BE Informed COMPLIANCE No. 3.4 Read the Rules & Heed the Rules. 

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Don't undermine our reputation of being a legitimate, relatively untroubled, lightly regulated, open-architecture hobby.  Our amateur service community has been trusted to participate in the rulemaking process and to comply with our regulators' rules and our own good amateur and engineering practices.  That has been the key to obtaining the vast privileges that we enjoy today.  We need to prove every day in every way that our service is regulatable and that it is worth our valuable spectrum allocations and public resources that it requires to administer it.  For Q&A on this topic, read BE Informed COMPLIANCE No. 3.5 WeAre Regulatable (Aren't We?) - Arguments for Complying with the FCC Rules.

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Broadcasting by FCC-licensed stations is prohibited.  Not even code practice, information bulletins, or emergency communications. Find out how the term is defined in our rules, and the types of one-way transmissions that are authorized.  Read BE Informed COMPLIANCE No.  3.6 No Broadcasting! - Not on Our Ham Bands.

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STATION IDENTIFICATION ANNOUNCEMENTS

When your ham friend operates your amateur station apparatus, which call sign should be transmitted, his or yours?  The one person eligible to answer your question authoritatively is... YOU!  Your answer, will establish which call sign must be used.  It will also determine the extent of your accountability.  Make your choice carefully.  Read STATION IDENTIFICATION ANNOUNCEMENTS No. 4.0 Which Call Sign?  - Your options and accountability when someone uses your station apparatus or vice-versa. 

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Appending a self-assigned indicator to a government-assigned call sign in the station identification announcement is an expedient way to inform listeners that the station is transmitting under the rules for special operations, from an unexpected portable location, or from a vehicle.  The desire to keep the indicator to as few characters as possible raises the issue of the listeners understanding just what it is that the shortened identifier is intended to mean.  For Q&A discussion on this topic, read STATION IDENTIFICATION ANNOUNCEMENTS No. 4.1 Including a Self-assigned Indicator with Your Station Call Sign. 

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Never compromise your station identification announcement.  Our regulator makes available the ULS from which listeners can find out the identity and class of operator license granted to the station licensee.  Your station ID identification announcement is indispensable in our uniquely unstructured radio service.   It enables maintenance monitoring and self-policing.  It exposes personal identities.  It helps to create and maintain a culture of rule and good amateur practice observance.  It is our major deterrent against would-be rule violators.  It alsodiscourages mischief-makers from causing annoying interference to our intercommunications.  For Q&Adiscussion on this topic, read STATION IDENTIFICATION ANNOUNCEMENTS No. 4.2 About That Station ID

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Let us not allow the rules to stand in the way of some pontification about our antiquated protocols for station identification.  They werebarely appropriate for the 20th Century, let alone for the 21st.  They are how-to-ism artifacts from the very beginnings of wireline telegraphy and they now attract nit-picking.  Station identification can and should becarried out automatically in the background and shown on a viewable display.  Use some contemporary techniques brought over from more forward-looking radio services.  For Q&A discussion on this topic, read STATION IDENTIFICATION ANNOUNCEMENTS No. 4.3 ID every 10 minutes.

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THIRD PARTY MESSAGE-STATING PARTICIPANTS
Is the "anything goes" mindset destructive?  Do non-licensees really have privileges on our amateur service spectrum?  Read TPMSP No. 5.0 Our TPMSP "Class." 

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The VPOD Protocol Theory hypothesizes that some persons 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 are normally carried out by, the station control operator.  After a close inspection, it seems that GOTA Rule 4.1.1 would more likely stem from the VPOD Protocol theory than from the Third party communications theory.  Both possibilities are discussed in TPMSP No. 5.1 The VPOD Protocol.  

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Can you solve the mystery of the GOTA Rules?  GOTA Rule 4.1.1.3 says:  As per FCC rules, this station must have a valid control operator present if operating beyond the license privileges of the participant using the station.  GOTA rule 4.1.1.2 says that a GOTA station may be operated by any person licensed since the previous Field Day, regardless of license class.  Non-licensed persons may participate under the direct supervision of an appropriate control operator.  Field Day 2011 rule 4.1.1, moreover, says that a GOTA station may operate on any HF or VHF Field Day band. These amazing anything goes contest rules, however, do not cite any specific FCC rule upon which they declare to be based.  Read TPMSP No. 5.2 Where's the Rule?

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Can the control operator's timely judgments and actions really be carried out properly by third party message-speaking participant?   For a collection of Q&A about transmitter activation during third party communications, read TPMSP No. 5.3 Who Must Throw That Big Red Switch?

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Do you personally have to be in your station at all times while your Tech friend uses it on 20-meters to make contacts with hams in Europe?  Yes, unless your station control point is somewhere other than at the transmitting site.  Even then, most European countries do not have agreements allowing third party communications with the U.S.  Read TPMSP No. 5.4 Techs On 20.

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CLUB STATIONS

Need a go-by template for your club's document of organization?  Here's one you can tailor to your club's situation.  Read BE Informed CLUB STATIONS No. 6.0 Document of Organization Go-by.

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To qualify for a club station call sign, an assemblage of at least four persons must have a name, a document of organization, management, and a primary purpose devoted to amateur service activities consistent with Part 97.  Submit your application to a Club Station Call Sign Administrator (CSCE).  Read BE Informed CLUB STATIONS No. 6.1 Obtaining a Club Station License Grant.

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Hey club station licenses trustees!  Make it clear to everyone - and document - exactly who it is that you designate as a club station control operators and the standards that you expect those control operators to observe. Read BE Informed CLUB STATIONS No. 6.3 Control Operator Designation.

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PROVIDING EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS

Connect the dots for several disjointed FCC pronouncements concerning what ham operators are expected to do during a communications emergency.  Bottom line:  Our regulator recommends that the Department of Homeland Security work with state, local, and tribal authorities to develop disaster area access policies and qualifications for trained amateur operators who provide emergency communications support.  Read BE Informed No. 7.0 Emergency!  

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If you want to volunteer your services in providing emergency communications and have an amateur operator license, you've come to the right radio service.  In places where the FCC regulates our amateur service, Section 97.1(a) says the rules and regulations in Part 97 are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in five principles, the foremost of which is (a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.  Read BE Informed No. 7.1 Volunteer Emergency Communications.

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The Communications Act gives the President the authority to invoke special War Emergency Powers.  In the event of an emergency that necessitates the President invoking those powers, amateur stations participating in RACES may only transmit on the frequency segments authorized pursuant to Part 214 Procedures for the Use and Coordination of the Radio Spectrum during a Wartime Emergency.  Read BE Informed No. 7.2 What Is RACES?

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 Professional communicators can commandeer our amateur service frequency channels.  Section 97.101(c) says that at all times and on all frequencies, each control operator must give priority to stations providing emergency communications, except to stations transmitting communications for training drills and tests in RACES.  Read BE Informed No. 7.3 Can the Emergency Professional Communicators Commandeer Our Channels? 

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Non-professional amateur operators can still provide emergency communications.  We are still here to do what our amateur service community does best:  Providing emergency communications through our ad hoc radio networks using our unique array of abilities: know-how capability, situational adaptability, technical flexibility, operator availability, et al.  Read BE Informed No. 7.4 What Should Non-professional Amateur Operators Do When Providing Emergency Communications?   

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Bring Back the Disaster Radio Service.  Make the best use of our national resource of our amateur service community for intercommunications related to emergencies.  Reconstitution the former Disaster Radio Service, Part 99.  The service model recommended to follow would be that of the Military Affiliate Radio Systems sponsored by our Army, Navy and Marine Corps, and Air Force.   Read BE Informed No. 7.6 Bring Back the Disaster Radio Service.  Available only by e-mail request to john@johnston.net

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A half-wave dipole antenna is one of our most relied upon amateur station antennas.  It consists of two metal conductors oriented in line with each other, with a small gap between them.  It can be constructed of copper wire.  A coaxial feed line from the transmitter - and/or receiver - is attached to the dipole's two conductors at its center.  Read BE Informed No. 7.6 Phone Band Dipole Dimensions.

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SPECIAL OPERATIONS
Technical standards for repeaters? There are no special technical standards in our rules just for repeaters.  Part 97 Subpart D contains the essential technical standards that apply to all of our amateur stations, including repeaters, remote bases, et alSubpart C contains accommodations for special operations.  Beyond that, it is our amateur service community that establishes the detailed standards, such as our repeater channel spacing and input offsets.  Read BE Informed SPECIAL OPERATIONS No.  8.0 Repeater, Remote Base, and Other Systems.

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Part 97 doesn't mention the term "remote base."  BE Informed No. 31 Hamslanguage describes a remote base as a remotely controlled amateur station having a radio or wireline control link between the station and its distant control point.  Should you have in mind an HF station located at a distance from its control point such that it cannot function properly under local control, note that Section 97.109 says that any station may be remotely controlled.  The accommodations for telecommand of an amateur station are in Section 97.213.  Read BE Informed SPECIAL OPERATIONS No. 8.2 Is My Remote Base OK?

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Can we choose either repeater segment for receive or either segment for transmit?  Yes.  Section 97.101(b), however, says each station licensee and each control operator must cooperate in selecting transmitting channels and in making the most effective use of the amateur service frequencies.  This arrangement seems to be the very model for regulation of our open-architecture let's-not-entrap-ourselves-with-rules-based-upon-yesterday's-technology systems.  For more on this topic, Read BE Informed Special Operations No. 8.3 Frequency Coordination.

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There are some very divergent ideas going around about automatic control.  Automatic control is one of the three methods authorized for amateur station control.  Any FCC-licensed amateur station may be under local or remote control.  Only five explicit types, however, may be automatically controlled.  Even then, it must cease upon notification that the station is transmitting improperly or causing harmful interference to other stations.  For more on this, Read BE Informed Special Operations No. 8.4  What IS Automatic Control? 

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HAM HOLIDAYS
Telegraphy communication without wires became practical at the turn of the 20th Century.  For hams having a curiosity in the history of pre-radio telegraphy, these places are recommended for a visit.  Read BE Informed HAM HOLIDAYS No. 9.0 Pre-radio Telegraphy Places.

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180 QCWA members, their families and friends, enjoy spectacular weather for an eastern Caribbean cruise.   Read BE Informed HAM HOLIDAYS No. 9.1 QCWA Caribbean Cruise. 

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Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.  View photos on BE Informed HAM HOLIDAYS TRAVEL No. 9.2.

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SPECIAL REPORTS
There is a major disconnection between the pool content for - and the privileges authorized to - Technician Class operators.   This is also evident, although to a lesser extent, for the General Class operator pool.  Read BE Informed Special Reports No. 10.0 The Privileges-Requirement Disconnect.

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Tell the FCC what you think about its rulemaking proposals.  You can file comments using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), the Federal Government's eRulemaking Portal via the Internet.  Read BE Informed Special Reports No. 10.1 Filing Comments on FCC Rulemaking Proposals. 

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A call sign held by a person now deceased, unless otherwise claimed, becomes available under the first-come-first-served provision of the vanity system after a hold period of two years and one day following the license expiration or cancellation.  Read BE Informed Special Reports No. 10.2 How to Obtain a Deceased Ham's Former Call Sign.

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Our regulator would instruct our VEs to give examination credit for holding any FCC-issued amateur service license document regardless of when it was issued (the FCC came into being in 1934) or when it expired.  Read BE Informed Special Reports No. 10.3 W3BE Comments in WT Docket No. 12-283.

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Should our rules be amended to permit greater flexibility in digital data communications?  Read BE Informed Special Reports No. 10.4 W3BE Comments in RM-11708. 

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w3be/w3be.jpg

Read the rules – Heed the rules

www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/ [title 47] then [Part 97].

Also see Parts 0, 1, 2, 17 and 214.

http://wireless.fcc.gov/ [amateur] or [ULS]

Question about the amateur service rules?

BE Informed!  http://www.w3beinformed.org

Want to get in touch? You can send me e-mail at:

john@johnston.net