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Author Topic: Non-Licensed operators  (Read 21200 times)
EFUDD
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2011, 05:26:52 AM »

Okay, I am seeing many posts about using an amateur radio as a planned tool in an emergency..... Now here is my twist to this question:  I am planning on taking the Technicians test in January at a HamFest, and I have already bought a Handheld unit so I can learn how to work the functions of the unit.  In light of the Tornado producing storms that passed through my area about a week ago, "IF"  I had spotted a funnel cloud and keyed up into the Skywarn emergency net to report it......  I feel I have a Moral Obligation to report it, but the Legal Right is in question.  Would that action make me ineligible to get my license? (not that I would let that stop me in an emergency, but I just want to know)
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W0TLP
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« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2011, 08:28:47 AM »

Mr. E Fudd,

I would think that technically you'd be in violation of Part 97 and as a violator subject to extra scrutiny by the FCC when it comes time to licensing. Keep in mind that the "emergency use" clause states one may use any means of communication in "connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available."

So, if you could just as easily call the National Weather Service with a telephone, you would be in violation. Reporting to an amateur radio Skywarn net may not be the most expedient way to get the information to the people who really need it -- the NWS and EMA, who issue the warning and activate the alert systems. Not all amateur radio Skywarn nets are a direct link to either the NWS or the EMA.

Keep in mind in your scenario that Skywarn is not an amateur radio service. Amateur radio is one service used by Skywarn-trained volunteers. NWS offices take Skywarn spotter reports via multiple modes, including telephone and Internet reports.

Of course, the FCC would need to be able to track you down and have reasonable evidence that it was indeed you, Mr. E. Fudd,  who made the transmission in order to put you on the bad-boy list. There are so many licensed hams willfully violating rules and getting away with it that it's highly unlikely that you'd be caught or disqualified.

Either way, it's not good amateur practice.
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EFUDD
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2011, 05:53:13 PM »

KD0KVV , thanks for the response!  That was just something that got me the other night while I was driving home and the clouds were getting thicker and darker the longer I drove.  There were actually a few Tornado Warnings at the time, and that option just came to mind for worst case scenario.  I didn't have any numbers for the NWS, but I did have my radio tuned to listen to Skywarn.  Thanks again for your info.
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W5DQ
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« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2011, 09:21:50 PM »

At least you had the foresight to ask about a plausible scenario and understood the answer and implications. Good Luck on the exam and a hearty welcome to the hobby.

Just watch out for those wascally wabbits. There out there everywhere.   Grin

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
K1CJS
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Posts: 5997




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« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2011, 06:52:04 AM »

The best way to stay out of trouble is not to use that radio unless there is an actual, declared emergency going on.  There will always be some troubled soul, whether civilian or public service, who would complain and give you so much grief that you may likely never want to touch a radio again.  Wait until you have a license in hand unless the situation is life or death, you were the only person able to summon help, AND a ham radio was the only way to do it!

73, and good luck with your exam!
« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 06:55:36 AM by K1CJS » Logged
AE6ZW
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« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2011, 09:21:49 PM »

 I guess HAM radio are frequency agile, and cheap, large number are available , so it probably good source of communication, where number of commercial radio are limited and frequency allocation takes time. even here in Southern CA, most of the VHF / UHF frequencies are unused, even it is not for emergency, I hear a lot of commercial type dispatch operation in lower parts of 2 meter band in FM mode, where ARRL band plan is CW/ SSB.  so in the way non licensed user are already using many of the HAM band without license. one time I was using simplex frequency , the band plan is for simplex FM in lower parts of 2 mtr band, some guy come up and told me to get off from their radio. 
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LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2011, 06:22:04 AM »

AE6ZW, it sounds like those people are operating illegally. If they're not doing emergency communication or limited drills, they can't use the amateur band. Record them and report them to the authorities.
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AE6ZW
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« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2011, 03:24:32 PM »

here in Southern CALIF, there are too many of them, some actually broadcast on 2 meter FM, and they are strong,  they broadcast music , political statements , etc,  and there are others who jam those broadcasts station,  it is like during cold war BBC and VOA were jammed.   once those broadcaster come in, there is no way no one can hear you even at 50 watts at modest antenna , so they got that frequency as they own it. I think many of those stations have transmitter on mountain top and putting out a lot of power.
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KD6KWZ
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Posts: 276




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« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2011, 08:55:25 PM »

Quote
...we'll just take over a ham band to cover our lack of planning.

Unlicensed people running ham equipment could lead to some bad issues. Like, some well mean soul wanting to communicate on a frequency that seems clear to them, so, they transmit SSB in a CW band segment. Or, they don't understand repeater tones & frequency pairs. Or, they run a rig with a manual ATU, without a clue to SWR importance, causing the finals in the radio to "throttle back", or even fry. Or, they just don't understand LSB vs. USB vs. AM vs. FM, so why can't they hear the received signal clearly?
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N0LKK
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« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2012, 01:44:58 AM »

I believe the FCC has fully addressed this issue, probably not to your satisfaction, but they did address it. Some time back they addressed hospital employees, who are licensed hams, using amateur radio during an actual emergency, and more recently on using it during drills.  Many of use do share your concerns about the potential pressure on  amateur allocations, but the truth is that there would be greater pressure to release them   as an unlicensed radio service Although they still have to adhere to FCC regulations, and statement many hospitals are non-profit. In the event your statement; "EVEN if you are volunteering your time, the moment that you pass traffic that in ANY way benefits someone, your operation is illegal"  was true, that would prohibit hams from providing EMCOMM entirely. BTW I believe the FCC has ruled it's permissible to use a repeater autopatch to order that pizza. 10-15 years ago?
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N0LKK
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« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2012, 02:05:13 AM »

 In a word no.  I believe there would be no problem with myself handing my portable or a microphone to an licensed individual to use while I'm nearby. I'm sure there would be a problem with unlicensed individuals using a permanent amateur radio installation, and I wouldn't allow anyone using my radio to communicate to someone I know isn't licensed. I feel the FCC should remove that part of the regulations that says that anyone can use an amateur radio station during an emergency, remove it or clarify it it within the regulations.  As it is it's to ambiguous for many,both inside and outside of amateur radio.
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N2EY
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Posts: 3877




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« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2012, 03:11:10 AM »

I feel the FCC should remove that part of the regulations that says that anyone can use an amateur radio station during an emergency, remove it or clarify it it within the regulations.  As it is it's to ambiguous for many,both inside and outside of amateur radio.

It seems perfectly clear to me.

The intent of that rule is simple:

In the event of a genuine, immediate, life-and-death/serious-injury kind of emergency, an unlicensed person can use a radio transmitter to summon help IF there is no other option, and not be guilty of a rules violation.

Example: Unlicensed OM is driving ham XYL's car and sees serious accident on lonely road. Fire, serious injuries, nobody else around, no cell coverage, nearest phone miles away. Uses ham rig to call for help. OK with FCC - it was a real emergency, and there was no other option. (Normally he would just call 911 on the cell).

That's a completely different scenario from *PLANNING* for unlicensed people to use ham gear.

73 de Jim, N2EY


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AJ4WC
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #42 on: January 25, 2012, 05:27:36 AM »

The real issue here is planning, or apparent lack of in this case.  A typical hospital is responsible for the lives of potentially hundreds of people in any given day.  This is serious business.  And, it's big business.  There should be no shortcuts here.  Hospitals have money and resources and they must allocate some of each to handle unforseen emergencies, be it loss of power, telephones, etc.  They invest not only money, but time to plan for these things.

When someone says that their hospital is relying on two ham radios for emergency communications, I suspect that individual is not really in on the game plan and someone is just trying to make him feel needed, because no responsible hospital administration would rely on two ham radios for emergency communications for potentially hundreds of staff.  "Sure bring your two Ham radios, stand over there in that corner, and if we need you we know where you are..."  The alternative is to believe that this hospital has no emergency plan, which in this post 9/11, post Katrina, post Houston era, is impossible for me to believe.
 
Someone mentioned Marine VHF radios, well those wouldn't be legal for hospital use, but there are many options for communications available to hospitals that are legal.  Anyone that has ever been to the roof of a typical hospital can tell you it's full of commercial radio gear, much of it is rental space, but a lot of it is not.  A typical hospital will have its own paging system, a security repeater and an admin/maint repeater.  This equipment operates on frequencies licensed to them and they can add as many portables as they want.  So if there's a shortage of equipment it's because they made a conscious decision not to purchase it. They could also rent radios on a commercial trunk system, etc.  

The FCC knows this and that's part of the reason the rules are what they are.  You don't want them to rely on volunteers that may not be available when the real answer is spend the money and get the commercial gear you need and are required to have.  Remember that COOP plan you submitted where you said you had a communications plan and the grant money we gave you...






« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 05:51:07 AM by AJ4WC » Logged
AJ4WC
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #43 on: January 25, 2012, 05:49:31 AM »



I'm sure other's have seen the same and would agree that companies/employers see the amateur radio spectrum as a very inexpensive solution to insert into their disaster plans.  This frustrates a lot of us as these companies plan to utilize it for:

1. Free spectrum (no coordination or licensing costs).
2. No need to keep up on any commercial license requirements (expiration dates and build-out requirements, etc.), and
3. The employee pays for the "individual license", most if not all equipment, and is totally responsible for their actions.

[/quote]

I think these things come about because of a combination of false advertising and bad advice.  With amateur radio being touting as 'EmComm' for 'public service', why wouldn't the general public think that you be able to use it for just exatly that?  If you advertise a free service, don't be surprised when the phone rings.  The thing is, if your advertising that you will do plumbing work for free, better made sure you have a licensed plumber on staff first.  If not, you're going to be telling everyone that calls, "Sorry, I would like to help, but I'm not licensed to do that type of work...", which leaves them scratching their heads.  So then the question is why do certain groups waste their memberships' money advertising a service that their members cannot legally perform?







« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 05:51:37 AM by AJ4WC » Logged
AB0WR
Member

Posts: 77




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« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2012, 04:20:30 PM »

Maybe I missed it but here is something to think of.

Business radios are usually set up so that you don't need to be an "operator" in order to use one. You pick up the mic, press the PTT, and talk. They have limited channels (or do the channel scan automatically) and typically a volume control. That's about it.

*ANYONE*, from a janitor to a doctor, should be able to operate a well-designed commercial system with a minimum of fuss.

This just isn't true for most ham eqpt. Turn the wrong dial or press the wrong button and the radio can become useless, wrong freq, wrong mode, wrong whatever.

Any planner/coordinator/etc of emergency services that doesn't put this KISS requirement at the top of the design list probably shouldn't be doing the planning/coordination/etc anyway.
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