Extra Class question of the day: automatic message forwarding; stations aboard ships or aircraft

August 18, 2012 Dan KB6NU

Some amateur radio systems automatically forward messages for other amateur radio stations. Winlink is one such system. There is always a question of who is responsible when an automatically-controlled station forwards a message that violates FCC rules.

If a station in a message forwarding system inadvertently forwards a message that is in violation of FCC rules, the control operator of the originating station is primarily accountable for the rules violation, (E1A08) This is very similar to the situation where a repeater is used to send messages that violate FCC rules.

The first action you should take if your digital message forwarding station inadvertently forwards a communication that violates FCC rules is to discontinue forwarding the communication as soon as you become aware of it. (E1A09) This is also similar to what a repeater control operator should do if a repeater user is violating FCC rules.

Operating an amateur radio station on a ship or an airplane can be a lot of fun, but there are some rules that govern this operation. For example, if an amateur station is installed aboard a ship or aircraft, its operation must be approved by the master of the ship or the pilot in command of the aircraft before the station is operated. (E1A10) Any FCC-issued amateur license or a reciprocal permit for an alien amateur licensee is required when operating an amateur station aboard a US-registered vessel in international waters. (E1A11)

Even when operating from a ship, there must be a control operator. Any person holding an FCC-issued amateur license or who is authorized for alien reciprocal operation must be in physical control of the station apparatus of an amateur station aboard any vessel or craft that is documented or registered in the United States. (E1A13)

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