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Author Topic: Unlicensed radio check / emergency  (Read 2035 times)

Posts: 3

« on: December 14, 2018, 02:28:57 PM »


Is it acceptable / allowed in the radio community to conduct an unlicensed radio check for emergency purposes?


Posts: 2820

« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2018, 02:50:32 PM »

In the USA, if the control operator is only an amateur radio operator and the frequencies in question are part 90, then a test is not permitted without authorization from the part 90 license holder and the use of a part 90 certified radio.

If the test in question involves amateur radio allocated frequencies, then a test by an appropriately licensed amateur radio operator is permitted.

- Glenn W9IQ
« Last Edit: December 14, 2018, 02:52:36 PM by W9IQ » Logged

- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.

Posts: 45

« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2018, 04:02:18 PM »

Unlicensed operation is tolerated by the FCC if and only if there is an actual emergency. That means a radio check, which is not emergency traffic, would not be legal and would probably not be tolerated.

An emergency call means just that: Someone is dying, or a major piece of something worth a lot of money is in immediate danger. So calling a fire truck or a medevac in encouraged regardless of licensing. Making a radio check? Nope, that's not emergency traffic.

Local situations and agencies may vary. If there's just been a disaster and an unlicensed party has just set up communications at a hospital...Sure, your initial radio check might be tolerated and encouraged. Or it might not, depending on who heard it.

Posts: 3

« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2018, 07:37:25 PM »

I was thinking to my local repeater, but, I understand.

Thank you

Posts: 63

« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2018, 04:25:40 PM »


Posts: 582

« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2018, 10:03:17 AM »

However; If it is on the Los Angeles 147.435, Zoo repeater, then it will probably be Ok and received just fine.

Posts: 44

« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2018, 07:36:30 PM »

A radio check is not for emergency purposes. It's for testing purposes.
Not allowed or appreciated.
Study up and take the test. It's not that difficult. My wife passed the tech exam on the first try and she knows nothing about radio.

Posts: 1514

« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2018, 06:10:02 PM »

Study up and take the test. It's not that difficult.

Good advice.

Posts: 6

« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2019, 01:48:16 PM »

Here is a blog post I made.  Essentially, under NO circumstances, EVER, is unlicensed communication legal.

There has been a lot of discussion of who can or cannot operate a two way radio in an emergency.  Note: an Emergency is defined as Where "human life or property is in immediate danger".

There has been a lot of discussion on this. Most of it is total fiction.

NO person,without an appropriate license; or under the authority of a licensee, where regulations permit, can use  radio frequency spectrum in an Emergency! ONLY appropriately licensed individuals, within their respective radio services may operate within the scope of such regulations. Licensed by rule services, such as FRS, MURS, CB, etc, for this article are considered "licensed".


In Part 97:

 The emergency rule ONLY applies to licensed amateur radio operators.  This allows any *licensed amateur radio operator* to use any *amateur* frequency, regardless of license class in an emergency. You will notice that rule is in Part 97, which only applies to licensed amateur radio operators!

Licensed amateur radio operators may, in cases of where human life is in immediate danger, may, operate outside of their license class frequencies.  An amateur station is a radio station designed for use by a licensed amateur radio operator.

§ 97.403 Safety of life and protection of property. No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.

Part 90:

It also looks like Part 90 Commercial LICENSEES also have this rule within part 90 services:

§ 90.417 Interstation communication. (a) Any station licensed under this part may communicate with any other station without restriction as to type, service, or licensee when the communications involved relate directly to the imminent safety-of-life or property. (b) Any station licensed under this part may communicate with any other station licensed under this part, with U.S. Government stations, and with foreign stations, in connection with mutual activities, provided that where the communication involves foreign stations prior approval of the Commission must be obtained, and such communication must be permitted by the government that authorizes the foreign station. Communications by Public Safety Pool eligibles with foreign stations will be approved only to be conducted in accordance with Article 5 of the Inter-American Radio Agreement, Washington, DC, 1949, the provisions of which are set forth in § 90.20(b).

As you see, these are the ONLY provisions for emergency communications. NO private citizen my operate unless they are licensed under the above rules.

Other Services:

 Licensees in other services, must conduct communications within the scope of their specific service regulations.  For example, on the CB radio service, "Channel 9" is designed for emergency communications only.

Here is definitive evidence, in another rule part:

§2.405   Operation during emergency.

The licensee of any station (except amateur, standard broadcast, FM broadcast, noncommercial educational FM broadcast, or television broadcast) may, during a period of emergency in which normal communication facilities are disrupted as a result of hurricane, flood, earthquake, or similar disaster, utilize such station for emergency communication service in communicating in a manner other than that specified in the instrument of authorization: Provided:

(a) That as soon as possible after the beginning of such emergency use, notice be sent to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the Commission at Washington, D.C., stating the nature of the emergency and the use to which the station is being put, and

(b) That the emergency use of the station shall be discontinued as soon as substantially normal communication facilities are again available, and

(c) That the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the Commission at Washington, D.C., shall be notified immediately when such special use of the station is terminated: Provided further,
****** Read this:
(d) That in no event shall any station engage in emergency transmission on frequencies other than, or with power in excess of, that specified in the instrument of authorization or as otherwise expressly provided by the Commission, or by law: And provided further,
*******(e) That any such emergency communication undertaken under this section shall terminate upon order of the Commission.

Note: Part 73 of this chapter contains provisions governing emergency operation of standard, FM, noncommercial educational FM, and television broadcast stations. Part 97 of this chapter contains such provisions for amateur stations.

[28 FR 13785, Dec. 18, 1963, as amended at 80 FR 53749, Sept. 8, 2015]

An "instrument of authorization" is a "license"

The abundance of Whackers, Preppers and Tinfoil hattists and such are just trying to make excuses for illegal operation.  This endangers the structure of the radio communications services.

Posts: 95


« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2019, 04:44:59 AM »

SOCALHT, just get your license. It's very easy and will only cost you $15. There aren't any reason not to, really. All the info you need is on the web. Study for the General at least, it's just a little bit more reading...



Posts: 15

« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2019, 06:02:40 AM »

SOCALHT, just get your license. It's very easy and will only cost you $15. There aren't any reason not to, really. All the info you need is on the web. Study for the General at least, it's just a little bit more reading...


Or find a Laurel VEC session for FREE. That is why I signed up to volunteer with Laurel.
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