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eHam Forums => Emergency Communications => Topic started by: SOCALHT on December 14, 2018, 02:28:57 PM



Title: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: SOCALHT on December 14, 2018, 02:28:57 PM
Hello

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



Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: W9IQ 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


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: LYFAN 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.


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: SOCALHT on December 14, 2018, 07:37:25 PM
I was thinking to my local repeater, but, I understand.


Thank you


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: KE5PPH on December 17, 2018, 04:25:40 PM
No


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: WB8VLC 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.


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: KD4UPL 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.


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: N0YXB on December 23, 2018, 06:10:02 PM
Study up and take the test. It's not that difficult.


Good advice.


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: KD8DVR 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.


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: AK4YH 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...

Gil.


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: AB3TQ 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...

Gil.


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


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: KB8VUL on June 20, 2019, 04:57:11 AM
Hang on here,,, he said his local repeater. Is it HIS?  And is it commercial?
Ham stuff, you have to be licensed, end of story.

Commercial stuff is different.  The license holder can authorize anyone with a type accepted radio to talk on their COMMERCIAL repeater. 
SO, if it's YOUR repeater, and commercial, and the users have commercial radios that are type accepted (not BaoFengs) then yes, they can test, and talk with your permission.

Can you go 'testing" on your locally ham repeater without having a ham licens and an assigned call sign, no.


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: K7RJB on July 10, 2019, 10:50:39 AM
Very simply a Radio Check is not an Emergency. Don't do it.



Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: ONAIR on July 10, 2019, 07:35:39 PM
However; If it is on the Los Angeles 147.435, Zoo repeater, then it will probably be Ok and received just fine.
  LOL!  CBers with Baofengs do it all the time there!!   ;)


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: G3RZP on July 11, 2019, 02:57:46 PM
Interestingly, the Radio Regulations - which are a Treaty to which the US has signed up to - is considered as international law and makes no mention of licences in Articles 30.2 and 30.6


30.2   § 2   No provision of these Regulations prevents the use by a mobile station or a mobile earth station in distress of any means at its disposal to attract attention, make known its position, and obtain help (see also No. 4.9).
30.3   § 3   No provision of these Regulations prevents the use by stations on board aircraft, ships engaged in search and rescue operations, land stations, or coast earth stations, in exceptional circumstances, of any means at their disposal to assist a mobile station or a mobile earth station in distress (see also Nos. 4.9 and 4.16).

So distress messages could be sent by an unlicensed operator in a case of real distress, but radio checks are a 'no-no'. In fact, those provisions even allow the use of spark in such circumstances!!

Next question: Does an international Treaty to which the US has signed up take precedence over domestic rules from the FCC. Apparently not, since the 'Unwanted Emissions in The Spurious Domain' limits in the RR - to which the US signed up - are significantly less stringent than those in Part 97......

Explain it if you can....


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: W9IQ on July 11, 2019, 03:22:02 PM
Peter,

The USA is a signatory to the ITU 1979 radio regulations but I do not believe that the USA is a signatory to the many subsequent editions. Do you know otherwise?

- Glenn W9IQ


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: SM0AOM on July 12, 2019, 05:45:32 AM
These two representatives for the United States signed the Final Protocol of the 2015 WRC;

"For the United States of America
Decker ANSTROM
Julie ZOLLER"

Regarding formal ratification, the latest entry for ratification by the US of the Radio Regulations is for the 1995 WRC.

Later conferences are stated as "ipso facto", which is shared by the majority of the ITU Member States.


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: W9IQ on July 12, 2019, 09:38:33 AM
Thanks, Karl-Arne. I will need to do some more research. I would be very surprised, however, if the USA agreed to any ipso facto proviso.

Regarding the general question of international treaties and USA law, this is a very complicated subject. But in general, international agreements such as treaties, are given the effect of law in the USA only if they are self-executing or if Congress takes specific action to make it have the effect of law.

Most of the applicability of self-executing international agreements or treaties is observed in the USA court system. It has generally been the case that if Congress has implemented a law (or effectively delegated this authority to FCC rule making, for example) and the resulting law or regulation does not contradict the international agreement or treaty, then the law or regulation will prevail. If there is some dissimilarities, the court will generally try to find a compromise rather than declare a violation of an international agreement or treaty.

Specific to amateur radio regulations, the FCC has substantially implemented the treaty language. If a party of standing disagrees with this assertion, they will need to seek remedy through the court. This is often a time consuming and very expensive venture as the defense will be the USA government.

- Glenn W9IQ


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: SM0AOM on July 12, 2019, 12:33:07 PM
In many, if not most, countries before deregulation the provisions of the ITU-RR were "incorporated by reference" and thus had legal force in national law and radio rules.

This had the effect that e.g. amateur radio regulations could be quite to the point and only deal in detail with purely national subjects, such as licence classes, requirements for operator proficiency and allowed power levels.

After deregulation, many administrations got instructions not to regulate anything more than absolutely necessary, as the ITU regulations were seen by the politicians as impeding market-based decisions regarding spectrum allocation and use.

For this reason, law-makers specifically instructed the writers of new legislation and rules not to refer to the ITU-RR, so the only regulations were actually those expressly written.

This may have made telecom markets more adapted to modern business practices, but had unintended consequences for less market-oriented pursuits such as amateur radio.

It had to be specially pointed out that a radio amateur needed licences and officially recognised callsigns to operate, which the rule-makers were reluctant to do.
In their views, amateur radio was just another form of CB.

It was only by repeatedly pointing to the EU Radio Equipment Directive, in which the competence of radio amateurs is stated as the sole reason for exemptions from requiring compulsory type-acceptance of equipment and as a measure for avoiding harmful interference, that they finally budged and required an examination and the issue of a call-sign.

Currently, many of the provisions of the ITU-RR are incorporated verbatim in the FCC regulations.
This is a sign that deregulation still is quite far away in the US telecom markets.

When the FCC finally decides to deregulate spectrum access, there may be quite drastic changes to amateur radio.

One change, which seems entirely plausible in the light of what has happened in other countries, is that the FCC will finally "off-load" all licencing, handling of call-signs and enforcement matters to a third party, most likely the ARRL.
 


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: K6CPO on July 12, 2019, 04:14:42 PM
All of this quoting of obscure FCC and international regulations is pointless.  It does nothing but muddy the issue.  The best thing anyone can say in answer to the OP's question is "If the radio service in question requires a license and you don't have one, DON"T TRANSMIT ON THAT SERVICE!  Period..."


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: W9IQ on July 12, 2019, 04:26:18 PM
All of this quoting of obscure FCC and international regulations is pointless.  It does nothing but muddy the issue.  The best thing anyone can say in answer to the OP's question is "If the radio service in question requires a license and you don't have one, DON"T TRANSMIT ON THAT SERVICE!  Period..."

The OP's question has already been well answered early in the thread. The OP has acknowledged that.

Regarding your statement, that isn't fully accurate. There are several services where no license is required. There are other services where an individual or entity holds the license but you may transmit if given permission - even though you don't have a license. And if you are an amateur radio operator, Part 97 describes scenarios where you may transmit on any mode or frequency without regard to licensure.

- Glenn W9IQ


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: K6CPO on July 13, 2019, 12:10:11 PM
All of this quoting of obscure FCC and international regulations is pointless.  It does nothing but muddy the issue.  The best thing anyone can say in answer to the OP's question is "If the radio service in question requires a license and you don't have one, DON"T TRANSMIT ON THAT SERVICE!  Period..."

The OP's question has already been well answered early in the thread. The OP has acknowledged that.

Regarding your statement, that isn't fully accurate. There are several services where no license is required. There are other services where an individual or entity holds the license but you may transmit if given permission - even though you don't have a license. And if you are an amateur radio operator, Part 97 describes scenarios where you may transmit on any mode or frequency without regard to licensure.

- Glenn W9IQ

Did you read my post completely?  I said "if the radio service in question requires a license..."  It's a given there are services that don't require a physical license (FRS, MURS, CB.)  And yes, I am aware of the provisions of Part 97 regarding emergencies.  However, the FCC has never definitely outlined just exactly what constitutes enough of an emergency to trigger that section.  A lot of people interpret that to mean they can transmit when it's an emergency in their eyes. Perhaps what I should have said that if there's any doubt about what constitutes an emergency, stay off the air.


Title: RE: Unlicensed radio check / emergency
Post by: W9IQ on July 13, 2019, 12:14:23 PM
As I said:

Quote
Regarding your statement, that isn't fully accurate. 

I think that was a fair assessment.

- Glenn W9IQ