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 I'm a VE - Now What?2.3 VEs Using A/V2.4 Get Our Pools Right2.5 Go VE Green!2.7 Pool Reset2.6 No Time To memorize2.8 GOTA: License Qualifier?2.9 Get Your Ham Call Sign2.9.1 Get Your Ham Call Sign2.10 Become A General3.0 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 minutes5.0 Our TPMSP Class5.1 VPOD5.2 Where's The Rule?5.3 Big Red Switch5.4 TECHS ON 206.0 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 Control9.0 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

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 BASICS 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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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 BASICS No. 1.15 What Is An Amateur Station?

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYqZ1vqm7cg (Preview) is a video of the K3WX/R 200 foot repeater tower taken with KA3EJJ’s unmanned six-bladed helicopter.  It has GPS that allows it to hover at preset locations and return, a camera, gimbal, and extra duty lithium ion batteries.  The tower also supports cell and commercial antennas. 
 

DO NOT use 146.400 MHz for simplex when in the greater Baltimore-Washington area, asks our Ashton Radio Communications Society.  Its K3WX/R open 147.000 MHz (-600 kHz) repeater has preempted the 146.400 MHz channel for some 40 years and there are no plans to change.  Chances are, however, that your 2-meter radio came out of the box already programmed with 146.400 MHz as a simplex channel.   So, when you are in the receiving range of any of the Society’s seven 2-meter receivers, get out your instruction book and try to reset your transceiver for 147.000 MHz (-600kHz).  Otherwise, move to some simplex channel other than 146.400 MHz.  DXers take note: the K3WX/R stations transmit from Montgomery County, Maryland; not Russia.

 

   Q.  A repeater can accommodate only one user station at a time.  The greater the area that is blanketed by a repeater, the greater the number of stations that are denied the use of the channel.  Here we have the perfect example:  a repeater on a 200 foot tower at a high elevation above terrain.  It ties up the 147.000 (-600 kHz) channel pair for over thousands of square miles in two major metropolitan areas.  It also discourages the use of the 147.000 MHz (+600 kHz) channel that comes programmed into most 2 meter transceivers.  Three channels for a simple two-way exchange.  How can this possibly be considered compliant with Section 97.101(b)?  It 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. No frequency will be assigned for the exclusive use of any station.

   A.  It all depends upon who is doing the considering.  So far, the considerers have been the amateur service communities in the Baltimore-Washington area whose stations are eligible to be repeater or auxiliary stations.  If they choose to recognize an entity as their frequency coordinator in that area to recommend repeater transmit/receiver channels and associated operating and technical parameters, the repeaters that are thereby frequency coordinated are eligible for the interference resolution priority proffered in Section 97.205(c).  Whenever the frequency coordinator bombs in recommending a particular repeater channel pairing arrangement, the considerers can replace their coordinator with another entity more responsive to their biddings.

 

   Q.  My question has to do with the station identification announcements.  In addition to transmitting the FCC-assigned call sign in station identification announcement, the Ashton repeaters append the nationality indicator assigned by the ITU to the Russian Federation.  It is transmitted, moreover, over and well-beyond our nation’s capital.  Why is this allowed? 

   A.  That appears to be one for our maintenance monitors to tackle.  Section 97.119(c) clearly disallows for self-assignment the nationality indicators of other countries. 

   FYI:  The one-character prefixes assigned to other countries that are disallowed for self-assigned indicators in places where the FCC regulates our amateur service currently are: B (People's Republic of China); F (France); G (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland); I (Italy); M (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland); R (Russian Federation); 2 (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). 

   The prefixes K, N, and W are assigned to our United States.  Hopefully, hams in other countries have better respect for our entitlement to use them exclusively for our self-assigned appendages.     

 

   Q.  The reason for the minus 600 kHz repeater input is that in 1974, our available equipment tuning range was not broad enough to cover the approximate 1 MHz split between the repeater users’ transmit frequency segments.   Because the 147.000 MHz channel was on the “edge” between the two repeater segments, the frequency coordinator permitted either a plus or minus input.  The previous 147.000 MHz repeater station licensee made a decision to go with the minus input because of the possible transmit bandwidth limitation of the users’ transmitters.    

 

   A.  Aha!  So, our 1970 era coordinators couldn’t decide, so they punted.  Eventually, the offshore manufacturers had to make the tough decision for us.  Now, they provide us with apparatus that comes pre-programmed with plus 600 kHz pairing for 147.000 MHz repeaters.  Re-programming by the user is necessary, therefore, to access the Ashton 2-meter repeater.   

 

   Q.  It is interesting to learn that the hams are still playing the “king of the hill” game or suffering from “repeater-envy” (my repeater’s coverage area is bigger than your repeater’s coverage area) while the commercial world has gone to higher frequencies and smaller “cells” so they can fit in more communicating.  Which shows that hams do not understand the value inherent in spectrum or they would be re-using it more.  Commercial, cellular, Part 15 Wi-Fi providers, etc. do understand its value.  

   A.  Apparently our amateur service community is mired in the 20th Century belief that radio spectrum is cheap and obtainable.  That seems to be the message they are sending out.  Otherwise, they would be taking Section 97.101(b) and rule compliance a whole lot more seriously.  Let’s hope the spectrum sharks are not listening.  

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   Q.  I own a repeater. A very small subset of repeater users insist on using it in ways I find objectionable. They are driving other repeater users away. Their use of the repeater consists largely of blatantly racist remarks, denigrating others' religions, political rants, and making hateful remarks about certain socioeconomic groups as well as other nations. However they are not doing anything specifically prohibited by the rules. I am wondering where the FCC stands on this. I notice some repeater owners and groups claim to have "acceptable use" policies. Is that legal? Can I ask these users to stop what they are doing? Can I ban them from the repeater? I note that 97.205(e) says, in part "Limiting the use of a repeater to only certain user stations is permissible." but does not specify any conditions or reasons.

   A.  You have the correct applicable rule.  Section 97.205(e) authorizes you to select the users of your repeater.  Your repeater is under no obligation to retransmit any other amateur station. 

   The companion issue is whether the acceptable usage standards that you impose on your repeater’s users are deemed by your local amateur service community to be any more or less desirable than another licensee who would like to place a repeater on that channel.  That is where your frequency coordinator comes in.  Read Sections 97.3(a)(22) and 97.205(c). 

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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 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.  If you intend to take the test after June 30, 2014, click here for BE Informed EXAMINATIONS No. 2.9.1.

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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.

   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 BASICS 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 BASICS 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.

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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 BASICS 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 BASICS 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 BASICS 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 BASICS No. 1.5 Can I Take a Paying Job as a Profe$$ional Communicator at an Amateur Station?  Also, read BE Informed BASICS 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 licensing authority.  Read BE Informed BASICS 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 BASICS 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 BASICS No. 1.8  Reciprocal Operation In Places Where Our Amateur Service Is Regulated By The FCC.

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Some hams are following some 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.  Read BE Informed BASICS 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 BASICS No 1.10  What Was Incentive Licensing?  Our Most Controversial Era.

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Section 97.101(a) says that in all respects not specifically covered by FCC Rules each amateur station must be operated in accordance with good engineering and good amateur practice.  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 BASICS No. 1.11 GEPS AND GAPS - Good Engineering and Good Amateur Practices.

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Our amateur service community intercommunicates with unique jargon and colloquial speech.  Some of which are from 19th Century telegraphy.  Read BE Informed BASICS No. 1.12 HAMSLANGUAGE - Understand What Hams Are Saying.

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What are the rules for visitors who want to operate an amateur station?   Read BE Informed BASICS No. 1.13 Visiting Operators.

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The amateur service rules use unfamiliar terms.  To make them meaningful, read BE Informed BASICS No. 1.14 Terms Used In Part 97 of The Federal Communications Rules?

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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 BASICS 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 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.  They pose a risk of falling into the hands of persons who would misuse them to steal your identity.  If you don't want to destroy your old document, permanently mark it superseded and secure it in your station records.  Read BE Informed BASICS 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 a basis and purpose for our Part 97 rules.   The purpose of the FCC rules is often incorrectly substituted for the purpose of our amateur service.  Don't be bamboozled.  Read BE Informed BASICS 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 BASICS 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 BASICS No. 1.19 Selling Items 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 BASICS 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?  Things are changing.  Read BE Informed BASICS 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 BASICS No. 1.22 Digi-Standards.

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Does Section 97.113(a)(4) mean that an amateur station can't transmit WEP?  It says that no amateur station shall transmit messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.  Answer: FCC-licensed amateur station control operators must be capable of understanding the communications of other stations.  If WEP usage would result in non-compliance with our rules, then the answer is no it can't.  Read BE Informed BASICS 1.23 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 LICENSE EXAMINATIONS 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 LICENSE EXAMINATIONS 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 LICENSE EXAMINATIONS No. 2.2 So, I'm a VE, Now What? 
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Using A/V, some VEs have shown that they do not have to be present in the exam room.   Now, our regulator says it believes that permitting remote examination administration can increase the availability of examination opportunities, which would reduce the difficulty and expense that some examinees and VEs experience in traveling to an amateur radio license examination session.  For a Q&A discussion on this topic, read BE Informed LICENSE EXAMINATIONS No. 2.3 Can VEs and SCOs Use A/V?

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Keynote Address to the 2009 NCVEC's Gettysburg Conference.  The VECs are urged to repudiate their call to make "... the amateur service accessible to as many citizens as possible."  Read BE Informed LICENSE EXAMINATIONS No. 2.4 Get Our pools right!
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Our VE system is a paper-bound 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 on this topic, read BE Informed LICENSE EXAMINATIONS No. 2.5 Let's Go VE Green!

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Have you been asked to arrange for someone to take the exam for someone else?  For one response to that solicitation, read BE Informed LICENSE EXAMINATIONS 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 EXAMINATIONS 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 on the topic, read BE Informed LICENSE EXAMINATIONS 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 prior to July 1st.  Read BE Informed LICENSE EXAMINATIONS No. 2.9 W3BE's NOTES - Get Your Ham Call Sign.  For the answers after June 30, Read BE Informed LICENSE EXAMINATIONS 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 LICENSE EXAMINATIONS No. 2.10 W3BE's NOTES - Become a General.
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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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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