Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by WE4B, Mar 16, 2020.
I guess this is what it's came to!
Since the Preppers have all the rolls of toilet paper@!!
Did not realize they had 30m on there?
Sure beats undercoating and pinstripes.
I will toss my two cents in for whatever it's actually worth... and two cents is probably paying too much.
I have come to realize, or understand that the premise of the law about hams being able to transmit for life safety anywhere they have the ability to does NOT mean keying up on the local cop repeater with their modded ham radio and asking for help. What it was meant to mean was if a NOVICE had a 2 meter radio, he could get on the 2 meter repeater (remember that a NOVICE had no privilege on VHF ) and ask for help for life safety. Or could use voice communication on bands that he only had CW privilege on to do the same. Yes, we can use commercial radios for ham bands. But you can't go buy a ham radio, take it out of the box and it transmit on public safety frequencies. And that has LONG been the case. With the Baofeng radios, I know it will, but a Baofeng radio is neither type accepted, and yes, commercial ham radios are type accepted, they DO have a valid FCC ID. I just checked my TH-G71. It's really there. And here's the MAIN difference between commercial radios and ham radios. THE VFO. A commercial radio can NOT have a VFO. Says so in part 90. A ham radio CAN have a VFO, but must be limited in it's ability to transmit to ONLY the ham bands. I know there is FCC ID number on a Baofeng. But it's not a real FCC number. Go look it up. The number is for a radio that was made when wideband was still ok on commercial frequencies. And you had to program the VFO OFF in order for that radio to be legal. After Jan 1 2013, they were no longer legal. And the type acceptance was canceled because it was for a wide band only radio. They (Baofeng) just keep sticking the number on all their radios but, again, it's NOT a valid number.
Anyway, the rule was never meant to allow hams to talk on the cop repeater.
That's my take. My guess is that's how the FCC would explain it as well.
I may have to pay you for my opinion.
I would go back to 97.403 (bold mine):
Section 97 prescribes the frequencies available to an amateur radio station. It would follow that frequency allocations (even including public service) shall not prevent protecting life/property.
Again, I would only use this in accordance with the remainder of this section, that no other normal systems are available.
I don't know if FCC has issued an opinion on this.
And this is the _key_ to understanding the rule. 97.403 is an embodiment of the 'necessity defense'.
If the only way to save someone's life is to tune your cheap radio to a local dispatch frequency, then you do it. 97.403 simply makes that explicit.
But it had better have actually been necessary to break the rules. Note: necessary does not mean 'physically impossible to do anything else'; necessary means 'you can convince a judge (or jury) that it was the most prudent course of action.'.
IMHO The further you stray from 'normal' allowed communications, the better your reasoning must be. So someone straying out of their normal amateur privileges to ask for help on an amateur frequency will be less questioned then an amateur calling on a public safety dispatch frequency. (IMHO it would he hellishly unlikely that the latter would be the most prudent course of action if you happened to have the equipment to implement it.)
If we reach the point where cell phones and land lines have collapsed, then a 'prepper' using amateur frequencies without a license to actually save a life would probably be accepted without question.
But back to the original point; the declaration of a state of emergency in no way makes it necessary for people without licenses to suddenly start using their Boefengs on whatever frequency they wish.
Supposedly they have. People have posted emails allegedly from FCC officials stating that Part 97 only applies to amateur radio frequencies.
The key is in "no provision of these rules," referring to Part 97. I would wager a plenty that there are plenty of other rules, outside of Part 97, that would prohibit you using public safety frequencies, even in an emergency (though one must obviously way the practical aspect of whether it would actually be prosecuted).
PART 2--FREQUENCY ALLOCATIONS AND RADIO TREATY MATTERS; GENERAL RULES
Sec. 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 Commission at Washington, D.C., and to the
Engineer in Charge of the district in which the station is located,
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
(c) That the Commission at Washington, D.C., and the Engineer in
Charge shall be notified immediately when such special use of the
station is terminated: Provided further,
(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
(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.
PART 80--STATIONS IN THE MARITIME SERVICES
Sec. 80.47 Operation during emergency.
A station may be used for emergency communications when normal
communication facilities are disrupted. The Commission may order
the discontinuance of any such emergency communication service.
Sec. 80.311 Authority for distress transmission.
A mobile station in distress may use any means at its disposal to
attract attention, make known its position, and obtain help. A distress
call and message, however, must be transmitted only on the authority of
the master or person responsible for the mobile station. No person shall
knowingly transmit, or cause to be transmitted, any false or fraudulent
signal of distress or related communication.
PART 87--AVIATION SERVICES
Sec. 87.43 Operation during emergency.
A station may be used for emergency communications in a manner other
than that specified in the station license or in the operating rules
when normal communication facilities are disrupted. The Commission may
order the discontinuance f any such emergency service.
Sec. 87.397 Emergency operations.
(a) The licensee of any land station in the Aviation services,
during a local emergency involving the safety of life and property may
communicate in a manner other than that specified in the license (See
Sec. 87.395). Such emergency operations may include operation at other
locations or with equipment not specified in the license or by
unlicensed personnel provided that:
(1) Such operations are under the control and supervision of the
(2) The emergency use is discontinued as soon as practicable upon
termination of the emergency,
(3) In no event shall any station transmit on frequencies other than
or with power in excess of that specified in the license,
(4) The details of the emergency must be retained with the station
(5) At a controlled airport these communications must be coordinated
with the FAA.
(b) The unicom frequencies listed in subpart G may also be used for
communications with private aircraft engaged in organized civil defense
activities in preparation for, during an enemy attack or immediately
after an enemy attack. When used for these purposes, unicoms may be
moved from place to place or operated at unspecified locations, except
at landing areas served by other unicoms or control towers.
(c) In any case in which a license for unattended operation has been
granted, the Commission may at any time, for national defense, modify
PART 90--PRIVATE LAND MOBILE RADIO SERVICES
Sec. 90.407 Emergency communications.
The licensee of any station authorized under this part may, during a
period of emergency in which the normal communication facilities are
disrupted as a result of hurricane, flood, earthquake or similar
disaster, utilize such station for emergency communications in a manner
other than that specified in the station authorization or in the rules
and regulations governing the operation of such stations. The Commission
may at any time order the discontinuance of such special use of the
PART 101--FIXED MICROWAVE SERVICES
Sec. 101.205 Operation during emergency.
The licensee of any station in these services 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 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 Commission stating the nature of the emergency
and the use to which the station is being put;
(b) That the emergency use of the station must be discontinued as soon
as substantially normal communication facilities are again available;
(c) That the Commission must be notified immediately when such special
use of the station is terminated;
(d) That, in no event, will 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
(e) That the Commission may, at any time, order the discontinuance of
any such emergency communication.