Extra Class question of the day: Miscellaneous rules

September 17, 2012 Dan KB6NU

As the name of this section implies, it contains a hodgepodge of questions covering sometimes obscure rules. About the only way to get these right is to memorize the answers.

The use of spread-spectrum techniques is a topic that comes up from time to time. Many amateurs feel that the rules are too restrictive. For example, 10 W is the maximum transmitter power for an amateur station transmitting spread spectrum communications. (E1F10) Only on amateur frequencies above 222 MHz are spread spectrum transmissions permitted. (E1F01)

All of these choices are correct when talking about the conditions that apply when transmitting spread spectrum emission: (E1F09)

  • A station transmitting SS emission must not cause harmful interference to other stations employing other authorized emissions.
  • The transmitting station must be in an area regulated by the FCC or in a country that permits SS emissions.
  • The transmission must not be used to obscure the meaning of any communication.

The rules governing the use of external amplifiers is also somewhat controversial. A dealer may sell an external RF power amplifier capable of operation below 144 MHz if it has not been granted FCC certification if it was purchased in used condition from an amateur operator and is sold to another amateur operator for use at that operator’s station. (E1F03) One of the standards that must be met by an external RF power amplifier if it is to qualify for a grant of FCC certification is that it must satisfy the FCC’s spurious emission standards when operated at the lesser of 1500 watts, or its full output power. (E1F11)

There are some rules that spell out restrictions based on where a station is located. For example, amateur radio stations may not operate in the National Radio Quiet Zone. The National Radio Quiet Zone is an area surrounding the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. (E1F06) The NRAO is located in Green Bank, West Virginia.

There is also a regulation that protects Canadian Land/Mobile operations near the US/Canadian border from interference. Amateur stations may not transmit in the 420 – 430 MHz frequency segment if they are located in the contiguous 48 states and north of Line A. (E1F05) A line roughly parallel to and south of the US-Canadian border describes “Line A.” (E1F04) There is a corresponding “Line B” parallel to and north of the U.S./Canadian border.

As you might expect, there are some questions about not making any money from operating an amateur radio station. Communications transmitted for hire or material compensation, except as otherwise provided in the rules are prohibited. (E1F08) An amateur station may send a message to a business only when neither the amateur nor his or her employer has a pecuniary interest in the communications. (E1F07)

This next question is a bit of a trick question. 97.201 states that only Technician, General, Advanced or Amateur Extra Class operators may be the control operator of an auxiliary station. (E1F12) It’s a trick question because there are also holders of Novice Class licenses even though no new Novice licenses have been issued for many years, and the number of Novice Class licensees dwindles every year.

Communications incidental to the purpose of the amateur service and remarks of a personal nature are the types of communications may be transmitted to amateur stations in foreign countries. (E1F13)

The FCC might issue a “Special Temporary Authority” (STA) to an amateur station to provide for experimental amateur communications. (E1F14)

The CEPT agreement allows an FCC-licensed US citizen to operate in many European countries, and alien amateurs from many European countries to operate in the US. (E1F02)

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