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Updated Guidance Concerning 97.113(a)

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N5FDL, Sep 17, 2009.

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  1. N5FDL

    N5FDL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    <p>I continue to receive many questions concerning how to proceed now that the FCC had decided to take a "get tough" policy on violations of the business communication prohibition contained in Section 97.113(a) of its rules. I have been told by the FCC that this "issue was settled" many years ago, yet this comes as a total surprise to many Amateurs.</p>
    <p>We continue to work on a rule making petition to clarify the issue in a way that does not unreasonably limit the ability of ham radio groups and the organizations they serve to work together. Please register (free) at <a href="http://www.n5fdl.com">N5FDL.com</a> to receive updates as we post them.</p>
    <p>Today, I am adding additional guidance in response to a question concerning RACES.</p>
    <p><strong style="font-size: 120%;">97.113(a): Current Guidance (09/17/2009) from N5FDL.com</strong></p>
    <p>I believe this guidance is consistent with what the FCC expects, based on my contact with the agency. If this changes, I will immediately post a clarification. <em>Disclaimer: It's your license that is at risk, not mine. I am not lawyer and this is not legal advice.</em></p>
    <p>1. <strong>If you are an employee and a licensed ham,</strong> do not do anything that appears to be providing communication on behalf of your employer at any time &mdash; 24x7, on-duty, off-duty, anytime at all. Imagine how anything you do on-the-air might be misinterpreted to be communication for your employer and avoid it.</p>
    <p>2. This means&nbsp;<strong>an employee may not do on-the-air emergency training as a representative of their employer</strong>. A firefighter ham, for example, should not check in to the city&rsquo;s ARES/RACES/CERT net since the city is the sponsor.</p>
    <p>I suppose a county net would be fine so long as the ham isn&rsquo;t representing anyone/anything but himself, but am not sure I&rsquo;d push it right now. Do not try to draw fine distinctions.</p>
    <p>Nor should the firefighter ham have a QSO about the ARES/RACES/CERT organization under any circumstance. It if it is related to your employer&rsquo;s emergency program, don&rsquo;t talk about it on the radio.</p>
    <p>3. <strong>RACES offers no protection</strong>. You cannot simply call something a RACES net or exercise as a way of avoiding 97.113(a). You may be the official staff liaison and a licensed ham, but you still can't talk on the RACES that that your agency sponsors.</p>
    <p>Yes, I know this sounds extreme, but it&rsquo;s how the law is being interpreted by the FCC.</p>
    <p>4. <strong>In an emergency it is permissible to conduct communication on behalf of your employer that is directly related to the emergency</strong>. Thus, a firefighter may participate in an ARES/RACES/CERT net during an actual emergency. Do not let 97.113(a) keep you from saving lives.</p>
    <p>5. <strong>If you are "just" a volunteer, and have no financial interest in what you are talking about on ham frequencies, this doesn't apply to you</strong>. Please do not accidentally draw someone into an unintended violation. The best thing you can do is share this guidance and the <a href="http://n5fdl.com/97113">original issue paper</a> with others in your group. Visit N5FDL.com to show your support.</p>
    <p>If it&rsquo;s not an actual emergency, my best advice is &ldquo;if it doubt don&rsquo;t&rdquo; and &ldquo;if you aren&rsquo;t in doubt, you probably should be.&rdquo; In an emergency, do what is necessary but be able to defend it if later asked to do so.</p>
    <p>I greatly regret that this is how things are right now, but a conservative approach is warranted at this time.</p>
    <p>Hope this helps. If I receive additional feedback from the FCC, I will amend these comments. I have promised the FCC that I will take steps to help people understand the law and prevent violations. I am also, as you know, working on a very targeted rule change that will be presented to the Commission &ldquo;shortly.&rdquo;</p>
    <p>Please feel free to visit <a href="http://n5fdl.com">N5FDL.com</a> for additional updates and contact me at <a href="mailto:n5fdl@arrl.net">n5fdl@arrl.net</a> if I can help you in any way.</p>
    <p>(The opinions expressed are my own. I am not a lawyer. If you need legal advice you should consult one. Nothing here implies ARRL endorsement of my views).</p>
     
  2. N9VO

    N9VO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Were you designated as the point man by the FCC to furnish guidance to the amateur ranks? There are too many posts/threads active now on this very subject. Your post only adds to the troll factor. But then I think that is your intention. Why not make it simple advice.

    If you are a emcommer/ambulance chasin wannabe, TURN your rig off! You would accomplish the same thing.

    You have a grand total of 16 posts on qrz. Surely with your lengthy and indepth bio, you would have been more active.

    Let it go.
     
  3. N8BHL

    N8BHL Ham Member QRZ Page

    a related question for all-

    What about HR 2160? Apparently, this House resolution intruduced by Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, has the stated purpose: To promote and encourage the valuable public service, disaster relief, and emergency communications provided on a volunteer basis by licensees of the Federal Communications Commission in the Amateur Radio Service, by undertaking a study of the uses of amateur radio for emergency and disaster relief communications..."
     
  4. N3XP

    N3XP Ham Member QRZ Page

    This guy again, with this ecomm stuff again? One week, two posts on the front page about the same thing. Worst of all this guy is publishing a quasi legal guide. Really, another debate on what the FCC has already spoken on. This ecomm nonsense is becoming the new code/nocode scab that keeps getting picked open.
     
  5. KC4GFW

    KC4GFW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree 100%. Let it go.
     
  6. N9VO

    N9VO XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    HR2160 is just for a "study". It's still in committee and prob won't go far.
     
  7. N3XP

    N3XP Ham Member QRZ Page

    This whole guide he is publishing is screaming whackerism. Really,"I'm not a lawyer" but I'll publish a legal guide anyway - what the heck is going on here. Again he is trolling, and more so trolling to try and drive traffic to his own website.

    There is so much other good stuff in these forums yet this ecomm whacker stuff keeps hitting the front page. I think it was quite clear from the other two ecomm posting that the majority of active hams are not in favor of where the ARRL has been pushing things and they support the FCC's recent actions.
     
  8. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    *** This is NOT NEWS. It is OPINION. It should be moved to another forum. **

    Very misleading. This is not official guidance.

    B.
     
  9. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Although I don't necessarily disagree with his opinions, the originator of this thread does NOT speak for the FCC or HAMS any more than you or I. In every issue, there are those who rush to the front of the pack and try to stake out a leadership role. Look at the site link in his post.

    I agree this belongs in "Opinions".
     
  10. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    ยง97.113 speaks for itself. (At least for the FCC.) Evev after the FCC makes a ruling or comment, why do so many argue the point, or still think they are an exception to the rules, or do not have to accept the FCC's determination and explanation of the rules?
     
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