W3BE'S BE Informed!
Home1.0 W3BE Checklists1.1 RF Safety1.2 Antenna Structures1.3 Quiet Zones1.4 60 Meter Privileges1.5 Take A Paying Job?1.6 Hams At Sea1.7 Chinese Radios1.8.0 Reciprocal Privileges1.8.1 For Canadians1.8.2 Reciprocal I.D.1.8.3 More Reciprocal Q&A1.8.4 Hear Something Say Something1.9 Third Party Communications1.10 Incentive Licensing1.11 GEPs and GAPs1.12 Hamslanguage1.13 Visiting Operators1.14 Terms in Part 971.15 Amateur Station?1.16 Licenses & Call Signs1.17 All About Spectrum1.18 Transmitter Stability1.19 Selling Over Ham Radio1.20 Still an Amateur?1.21 Use My Station?1.22 Digi-Standards1.23 No Secrets1.24 Where's My License?1.25 Spectrum Management1.26 A Little Bit Commercial2.0 Ham Needs To Know2.1 VE System Management2.2 What A VE Does2.3 Remote Testing2.4 Get Your Pools Right2.8 GOTA Experience: License Qualifier?2.9.1 Get Your Ham Call Sign2.12 Former Hams2.13 Stereotype W2.14 VE's Universe2.15 More HF for Techs2.16 Can A VE Accept Pay2.17 VEC Supposed To Do2.18 Significance of license3.0 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 minutes4.5 Indicator Schedule4.6 Special Event 1 by 14.7 Non-Appended Indicator4.8 Club Station ID5.0 Our TPMSP Class5.1 VPoD Protocols5.3 Big Red Switch6.0 Constitution Go-By6.1 What Ia A Radio Club?6.2 School Radio Club6.3 Club Stations Control Op6.4 Radio Club Repeater Station7.0 EmComm7.2 RACES7.3 Commercial Communications7.11 Supposed To Be7.12 Emergency Responders & Part 978.0 Repeaters & Part 978.1 Auxiliary Stations & Part 978.2 Remote Bases & Part 978.3 Frequency Coordination8.4 Automatic Control & Part 978.5 The Internet & Part 9710.2 Deceased's Call Sign10.3 A New Era for Ham Radio10.4 New Era Q/A



Q. Is it OK to use a club station call sign on a cruise? I have been informed that an amateur station on a cruise must ID by the control operator’s primary station call sign. 

A. That may be correct when the amateur station apparatus is located aboard a non-U.S.-flag vessel. Check out the regulatory and station identification transmission necessities with the appropriate foreign government regulatory authorities. Most cruise ships seem to be registered in either the Bahamas, Panama, Italy, Malta, or the Netherlands. Where the ship will be within the territorial limits of still other countries, multiple transmitting permissions/compliances will probably be required. Don’t assume that that the rules of every foreign regulator are identical to our FCC’s Part 97. You must be competent to perform properly the duties of an amateur service licensee as required by the hosting country. 

   Otherwise - except from those places where our amateur service is regulated by some other country - a Section 97.5(b)(2) club station is authorized by Section 97.301 to transmit Section 97.109 amateur service communications from a master-of-the-ship-approved Section 97.11 ship installation located anywhere in the World.

Q. Are there any cruise ships registered in the United States?

A. For one, reportedly, the Pride of America is an ocean-going U.S.-flagged vessel staffed by American officers and crew. 

Q. Do we need permission from our club station licensee trustee to use our club call sign?

A. Of course. Your Section 97.5(b)(2) club station licensee trustee is your club’s designated station manager. Section 97.103(a) says in pertinent excerpt: The station licensee is responsible for the proper operation of the station in accordance with the FCC Rules. Read W3BE Checklists for Domestic and Foreign Amateur Service Licensees in Places Where the U.S. FCC Is Our Regulator BE Informed No. 1.0.

Q. When our cruise ship is visiting a foreign port, what call sign do we use?

A. In accordance with the station identification regulations for the hosting country, send the call sign assigned to the station as shown on your transmitting permission document. If you don’t have an amateur service license from that country, you might be eligible for some sort of reciprocal operating permission.

   In some countries, the regulator assigns to an amateur station engaged in reciprocal operation a call sign consisting of the host country’s nationality prefix appended with the FCC-issued call sign. Even so, the rules of the host country are applicable. Show respect to your hosts and your host country’s rules.

Q. Can our club station license trustee enter into some sort of arrangement with the host country so as to bypass the need for each of our members having to obtain individual reciprocal operator permission?

A. That is something for the regulators within the visited countries to determine. Routine reciprocal operating authority is usually a permission granted to an individual amateur operator. As U.S. hams should know, a Section 97.5(b)(2) club station license grant carries no operator privileges.

   FYI: Here are some Q/A reports that may be helpful to understanding this topic from the U.S. perspective.

   Hams at Sea BE Informed 1.6;

   Reciprocal Privileges in Places Where the FCC Regulates Our Amateur Service BE Informed No. 1.8.0;

   Reciprocal Privileges for Canadian Hams in Places Where the FCC Regulates Our Amateur Service BE Informed No. 1.8.1;

   Station Identification Announcements by Reciprocal Privileged Stations in Places Where the FCC Regulates Our Amateur Service BE Informed No. 1.8.2;

   More Q/A About Reciprocal Privileged Stations in Places Where the FCC Regulates Our Amateur Service BE Informed No. 1.8.3;

  These are dangerous times - Hear Something – Say Something BE Informed No. 1.8.4;

   Appending a Self-Assigned Indicator to Your Station Call Sign BE Informed No. 4.1; and

   Non-Appended Self-Assigned Indicator BE Informed No. 4.7.

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Q. Our amateur service seems to be morphing into another social media.

A. The intercommunication activity between examination-proven, technically-inclined operators has always been a mainstay of our amateur service. But our amateur service community has changed dramatically in recent years. It has morphed into a social media for persons who have nothing of importance to say to each other and don't care who knows it. 

   Half of our U.S. amateur service community is now comprised of Technician Class operators. Nonetheless, they are denied phone privileges on most of our “shortwave” HF bands, in effect almost completely shutting them out from socializing by voice radio with amateur operators located in foreign countries. Section 97.307(f)(9) says to do that, they must use only the International Morse code. This is in itself at odds with our regulators’ very own Section 97.1(e) principle. It says their rules are designed for continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill. This seems to give rise to the thinking that the rules are so far behind reality they must be stretched to accommodate today’s Technician Class operators and non-VE-certified persons while awaiting our regulators’ acknowledgement of this fundamental change in our constituency’s interests. 

   For Q/A on this topic, read The VPOD Protocols BE Informed No. 5.1.

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Q. Why do I have to pass a test in order to get a FCC call sign? 

A. Because Section 97.501 says: Each applicant must pass an examination for a new amateur operator license grant and for each change in operator class. Passing the examination results in the grant of a Section 97.5(b)(1) operator/primary station license. It is the station license that carries the call sign. It is to be used in the Section 97.119 station identification announcements whenever it transmits. In doing so, it pinpoints you on the ULS as the Section 97.103 station licensee.  

Q. What is the exam all about?

A. Section 97.503 says that a written examination for a 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. Possessing about 75% of those qualifications is the minimum acceptable for passing.

Q. Just who decides what those operational and technical qualifications are?

A. In places where the FCC is our regulator, our Section 97.507 preparing VEs are charged with doing that. It says: Each question on each VEC question pool must be prepared by a VE holding the required FCC-issued operator license. In other places, the qualifications are determined by the regulatory authority there.

Q. What are the credentials of those VE question writers?

A. Our Section 97.507 preparing VEs are VEC-accredited hams holding FCC expert Amateur Extra Class operator license grants. Section 97.507 also authorizes intermediate General and Advanced Class operators to prepare questions for certain examination elements.  

Q. Does it matter which 25% the examinee doesn’t know about operational and technical qualifications?

A. It should matter very much, but our Section 97.509 administering VEs apparently are unconcerned. They reportedly do not routinely take any action to remedy an examinee’s partial lack of correct knowledge.

   For more Q/A on this topic, read What Do Hams Really Need to Know? BE Informed No. 2.0.

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Q. I asked a ham about the need for getting a call sign. He said that my question was in the gray area of the rules. Now, what did he mean by that?

A. The translation is: “I don’t really know the answer to your rules question. And obviously neither do you. So, let us not miss out on this opportunity for us to enjoy listening to me pontificate.”

   For more Q/A on this topic, read HAMSLANGUAGE Meanings of jargon and colloquial speech used by our amateur service community BE Informed No. 1.12.

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File amateur radio interference complaint with the FCC: CLICK


   The quickest, easiest, and inexpensive way is to memorize the VEs' questions and the VECs' answers in BE Informed 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]

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