Tag Archives: W3BE

Poppycock All Stirred Up – World Radio Calls it Wrong Again

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.



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Differing Opinions – The Field Day Control Operator (and at Other Times)

It is always something I enjoy, receiving and reading the newspaper “World Radio” publication.

Never fail to find something of interest in it.

One column that has left me puzzled though, is John johnston W3BE’s “Rules & Regs.”

So often the opinions offered in that column are completely at odds with the interpretations of the FCC, ARRL, OOs and about every amateur out there.

The May 2008 issue offers a rash of opinions – mind you “opinions” – on Control Operators, Club Stations, Field Day Stations and the like which are skewed enough, whether exploring special cases or full of logical fallacies based on unstated conditions assumed, as to be impossible to use as a guide.

The motives of creating such confusion or misrepresenting a very narrowly held ultra-restrictive view of FCC rules as broadly accepted FCC practice is most likely an editorial decision we will never really get an insight into.

But the questions covered are serious, deserving accurate interpretation & guidelines.

The ARRL has a great summary FAQ on the Control Operator question:

Who’s in Control of Your Station?

The ARRL expands on a whole group of common FCC questions at:  

Regulatory Frequently Asked Questions

Topics covered include:


  • Amateur Operation in International Waters FAQ
  • Application Filing FAQ
  • ARES® vs RACES FAQ: Two Flavors of Amateur Radio Emergency Operation
  • Bandwidth Proposal
  • Club Station License FAQ
  • Equipment Authorization FAQ, FCC
  • FCC Amateur Communications and Operations FAQ
  • FCC Duplication and Call Sign Research Contractor
  • Local Government Zoning Restriction “How To” Chart
  • Prospective Amateur Radio Operator FAQ
  • Reciprocal Licensing FAQ
  • Repeaters, Auxiliary Stations, and “Remote Base” FAQ
  • Special Event 1 X 1 Call Sign FAQ
  • Vanity Call Sign FAQ, ARRL
  • Vanity Call Sign FAQ, FCC
  • Voice over the Internet Protocol and Amateur Radio FAQ
  • Who’s in Control of Your Station?
  • 60 Meter FAQ
  • So there is no need to worry about what a single individual reinterprets the FCC rules as, when you have access to the actual FCC rules and “plain text” from the ARRL to guide you.


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