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Author Topic: Rules clarification  (Read 539 times)
KB0TXC
Member

Posts: 80




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« on: January 04, 2009, 04:02:21 PM »

Hi,

I had a question about one aspect of the amateur radio service rules, and have heard two different answers. Thus, I come here with my question seeking clarification.

What are the rule(s) concerning a proper QSO vs. a "broadcast"?

I have always been told (until recently) that a Ham op may only engage in either a one on one QSO with another Ham, engage in third party traffic as long as a licensed Ham op is the control op of the station, or in a round table discussion or net.

My question is this: is it legal to transmit a signal that might be of interest to Ham ops without calling for one of the above listed activities? Specificaly, is it legal to transmit a 'bulletin' that contains Ham relevant material, on a mode such as RTTY or digital? Maybe something that is regularly schedualed for anyone to tune into? I know that the ARRL does this with their code practice and what not, but I do not know whether or not that this is a special dispensation from the FCC.

I have been told both ways on this, either it is illegal and that under some circumstances, it might be legal. I am not talking about emergency situations were a lot of the procedures can be waived. I would soon like to put together a weekly schedualed RTTY transmission that would be for other RTTY ops that would have information that might be useful for their interests in the mode. If this is legal, are there any special considerations that I need to be aware of (besides the usual ID and good operating procedures?)

Thank you for in advance for your thoughts and comments.

Best and 73

Joe KB0TXC
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12995




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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2009, 04:18:19 PM »

Broadcasting by amateur operators is illegal. However, 97.3(a)(10) defines broadasting as transmissions intended for reception by the general public, either direct or relayed.

If the content of your transmission is aimed at an amateur radio audience (rather than the general public) then it is quite legal - provided you meet all other requirements such as not QRMing someone already using the frequency.
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2825




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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 05:32:13 PM »

I don't think the ARRL's "Official Bulletin Station" program still exists.  I was an "OBS" back in the '60s.  I'd get bulletins in post card form through the mail (which meant they were several days old by the time I got them), and I'd transmit them on a fairly regular schedule on both AM and CW. This lasted until I went on active duty in the Navy, and my folks said that the post cards stopped about that time, so either my tenure was up or the program was terminated.

73
Pat K7KBN
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12995




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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 05:16:38 AM »

The OBS still exists. http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/org/obs.html
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W9IQ
Member

Posts: 104




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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 02:16:28 PM »

Joe,

I agree with Bob's perspective. The key term is information bulletin.

An information bulletin is defined in 97.3(a)(26):

“A message directed only to amateur operators consisting solely of subject matter of direct interest to the amateur service.”

The specific section that authorizes information bulletins as a one-way transmission is 97.111(b)(6):

“Transmissions necessary to disseminate information bulletins.”

- Glenn W9IQ


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N2EY
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Posts: 3913




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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 02:48:42 PM »

I agree with the other posts about "broadcasting" meaning "items of interest to the general public".

For lack of a better term, consider what amateurs do as "narrowcasting", meaning transmissions specifically of interest to others in the amateur community. I can think of at least three kinds of one-way transmission that meet these criteria:

1) Information bulletins specific to Amateur Radio. These include propagation forecasts, amateur satellite orbital data, news about Amateur Radio, retransmission of Space Shuttle images, and much more.

2) Morse Code transmissions intended for training and practice.

AFAIK, the above two require a control operator.

3) Beacon stations intended for propagation observation. Note that there are additional rules limiting beacon power, frequency selection, and unattended operation.

---

Historic note: At one time it was legal for US amateur stations to broadcast, including the transmission of music. This was before broadcasting as we know it existed - indeed, some early broadcast stations were really just elaborate amateur stations.

But as the broadcast industry grew, limitations were placed on US amateur stations regarding broadcasting and the transmission of music, until both were completely banned so that amateurs would not compete with broadcasters.

73 de Jim, N2EY


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W3ML
Member

Posts: 169




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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2009, 03:05:28 PM »

No, the OBS does not exist any longer. A Board decision ruled that once an OBS station's appointment expired they would no longer be renewed.

John
W3ML
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W9IQ
Member

Posts: 104




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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2009, 05:16:08 PM »

Joe,

In a more general sense, 97.111 lists four types of permitted two-way communications and seven types of permitted one-way transmissions.

- Glenn W9IQ
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