Check out your Jun 2008 World Radio “Rules & Regs” for a real mixed-bag of opinions on following Part 97.
John W3BE’s take that certain classes of Exam Questions (frequencies from a chart) are less than useful, and that one should consult the actual FCC Part 97 rather than depend solely on the popular rewrites sold by various amateur radio publishers, is spot on.
John W3BE’s suggestion that it is more important that an amateur know where to access information, like band charts, than memorize then, recognizes the reality that these band plans change, are complex, and memorization is likely to lead to more operator errors.
Considering publications other than the actual FCC Part 97 as “background information” also makes sense. In the end the rules will speak for themselves.
Unfortunately the common sense vacates when opinions on the /M for Maritime and “-” in lue of “/” for a separator during digital transmissions are offered.
John W3BE is right that 97.113(c) does speak on these issues. As for the use of common identifiers like /M, /P, /R or /P they must not conflict with assigned prefixes or FCC reserved identifiers. “Not Conflicting” does not mean that the same letters would be unavailable for other use, rather they should not be used where they might cause a confusion with a country prefix. Signing /M remotely might indicate English operation, but as CEPT calls for M/callsign format, there is no possibility of conflict or lack of clarity. Anything suggesting otherwise is an imagined conflict where it cannot occur.
The use of “-” in place of “/” where the computerized use of the “/” mark would confuse the computer has been interpreted by the FCC as to be allowable under the “….slant mark (/) or any suitable word that indicates the slant mark….” idea that “-” is a more suited “word” for computer use than “/”
It all comes back to common sense. The FCC rules are not intended to disable amateur operations, but to provide safety, harmony, interoperability, and coordination. Enforcement is the exception reserved for those who won’t “color inside the lines.”
Paranoia that the rules are endless extensible to include the whims of the reader is wishful thinking. Consult the rules and if in doubt consult the FCC – they responded with reasonable clarity on these two minor isses when I asked.