FCC Technician Class Exam Study Guide - 2014-2018/Subelement T1 Group A
"Amateur Radio Service: purpose and permissible use of the Amateur Radio Service; operator/primary station license grant; where FCC rules are codified; basis and purpose of FCC rules; meanings of basic terms used in FCC rules; interference; spectrum management."
This section deals with the hierarchy that exists between the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) and non-profit organizations such as the NCVEC (National Conference on Volunteer Examiner Coordinators), the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League) and local radio organizations.
Some of these organizations, or sometimes individuals own a repeater. This is a device that listens on one frequency and simultaneously transmits the data on a separate frequency. On rare occasions, the repeater will transmit onto a different band, but usually they are within the same band and the input and output frequencies differ by a standardized offset. Repeaters allow two operators to communicate in situations where a station-to-station communication isn't possible. The frequencies of a repeater are suggested by a Frequency Coordinator that manages over a loosely defined geographical area. Frequency Coordinators are determined as a consensus of repeater operators over a given area, so this typically isn't a paid position nor part of any federal office.
There are close relationships between federal disaster response and emergency preparedness agencies and your local and national amateur radio organizations. At times, your services may be requested for a drill or an actual event. Your participation is voluntary and greatly appreciated. However, amateur radio is never enlisted to participate in political or military operations as those would harm the international reputation as an impartial social movement within a larger global society of amateur radio operators.
There have been occasions, such as World War I, where amateur radio privileges were suspended during the war effort. The suspension was enforced such that radios were actually required to be dismantled. There could be a possibility that this can occur again in the future.
The ITU is an organization within the United Nations that helps member nations develop a coherent band plan amongst neighboring nations as well as allocate communications satellite orbits. Policies created by the FCC are done in very close cooperation with the ITU to ensure compliance is feasible for all potentially impacted parties.
Many of the policies of the FCC lie within CFR 47. The part relating to ham radio is Part 97. Other uses of radio spectrum, such as WiFi devices, commercial broadcast, FRS (family radio service), Citizen Radio Service or low power ISM devices are covered in different parts. Part 15, for example, regulates practically all appliances sold in the United States and ensures that they don't unintentionally radiate excessive interference onto the radio spectrum. The value we provide is codified into Part 97.1 as five principles of amateur radio service.
- "Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications."
- "Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art."
- "Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art."
- "Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts."
- "Continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill."
Another section of the code worth being aware of is 97.3. Those are definitions of technical terms used within the legal document. A number of questions refer to §97.3
The Question Pool
- Which of the following is a purpose of the Amateur Radio Service as stated in the FCC rules and regulations?
- A. Providing personal radio communications for as many citizens as possible
- B. Providing communications for international non-profit organizations
- C. Advancing skills in the technical and communication phases of the radio art
- D. All of these choices are correct
Remember the phrase "radio art"? It is a direct quote from the second of the Five Principles listed in §97.1(b). The correct answer is C. Choices A, B and D are incorrect because there are separate and much more exclusive license classes for commercial and mass communication.
- Which agency regulates and enforces the rules for the Amateur Radio Service in the United States?
- A. FEMA
- B. The ITU
- C. The FCC
- D. Homeland Security
The correct answer is C. The FCC is responsible for enforcement of the proper usage of the radio spectrum. While the FCC is bound by certain agreements made with the ITU, we as operators, must answer directly to the FCC regarding proper and compliant use of our skills and equipment within the United States. In times of emergency, FEMA and Homeland Security may request our assistance, but that is voluntary and has no consequence with enforcement from the FCC.
- Which part of the FCC regulations contains the rules governing the Amateur Radio Service?
- A. Part 73
- B. Part 95
- C. Part 90
- D. Part 97
Title 47 CFR Part 73 is for radio and television broadcast rules. Part 95 regards GMRS and other personal radio devices and 90 regards Land Mobile Service. Part 97 is the only one that concerns directly to amateur radio. D is the correct answer.
- Which of the following meets the FCC definition of harmful interference?
- A. Radio transmissions that annoy users of a repeater
- B. Unwanted radio transmissions that cause costly harm to radio station apparatus
- C. That which seriously degrades, obstructs, or repeatedly interrupts a radio communication service operating in accordance with the Radio Regulations
- D. Static from lightning storms
Reference to §97.3.(a)(23). Harmful interference is a malicious signal that degrades legitimately generated signals. This isn't necessarily deliberate, but can sometimes be generated unintentionally. It is our responsibility to immediately mitigate such interference when we become aware that we are causing it. Answer B is incorrect because the vast majority of harmful interference will do no harm to equipment. Answer D is incorrect because acts of God are unavoidable forms of interference. Answer A is incorrect because users of repeaters will inevitably become annoyed over something, but they seldom escalate to legal consequences.
The correct answer is C.
- Which of the following is a purpose of the Amateur Radio Service rules and regulations as defined by the FCC?
- A. Enhancing international goodwill
- B. Providing inexpensive communication for local emergency organizations
- C. Training of operators in military radio operating procedures
- D. All of these choices are correct
Reference to §97.1(e). Amateur radio is rooted in humanitarian beliefs. We are on the air to share our idea and our experiences with others around the world. The correct answer is A. It is true that we do provide services to emergency organizations, but that social responsibility is not codified in law. Amateur radio is not directly involved with political or military operations and that separation is essential helps us remain credible as an impartial society in the global community.
- Which of the following services are protected from interference by amateur signals under all circumstances?
- A. Citizens Radio Service
- B. Broadcast Service
- C. Land Mobile Radio Service
- D. Radionavigation Service
Reference to §97.101(d) and §97.303 (o)(2). The answer is D. Radionavigation, such as VOR stations or aircraft navigational beacons are novelty to listen to, but these are mission critical applications that are not to be interfered with. They are used by international and military organizations and civilian purposes for aircraft, often times as a primary means of navigation. It's ideal not to interfere with the other choices either. Make certain to observe the output power limitations when transmitting using Citizen Radio Service as your transmitter may have a higher capability than is permitted and people with compliant radios will not be able to engage in communication with you due to their lower power.
- What is the FCC Part 97 definition of telemetry?
- A. An information bulletin issued by the FCC
- B. A one-way transmission to initiate, modify or terminate functions of a device at a distance
- C. A one-way transmission of measurements at a distance from the measuring instrument
- D. An information bulletin from a VEC
Reference to §97.3(a)(46). Telemetry is used in radio navigation. The speed of radio signals is very well defined as proportional to the speed of light by an exact constant. By measuring the time delay of a signal's propagation through the atmosphere, the distance from a transmitter site can be found to a high degree of accuracy. Such systems include GPS, DME or Loran (which is no longer used in the United States). The correct answer is C. Information bulletins are typically announced at scheduled intervals during repeater 'nets', or by conventional means such as mail, e-mail or http. Telecommands are often sent to equipment wirelessly, but that isn't telemetry, B is also incorrect.
- Which of the following entities recommends transmit/receive channels and other parameters for auxiliary and repeater stations?
- A. Frequency Spectrum Manager
- B. Frequency Coordinator
- C. FCC Regional Field Office
- D. International Telecommunications Union
The frequency coordinator selects appropriate frequencies for new repeaters to minimize interference. Sometimes this person may make recommendations for the technical setup of the station. The correct answer is B. The ITU is not concerned with repeater usage in the United States; they interact more directly with the FCC. FCC field offices would rather not be distracted by frequency recommendations for new repeaters. Frequency Spectrum Manager is not a formal title in any prominent organization; answer A is a false lead.
- Who selects a Frequency Coordinator?
- A. The FCC Office of Spectrum Management and Coordination Policy
- B. The local chapter of the Office of National Council of Independent Frequency Coordinators
- C. Amateur operators in a local or regional area whose stations are eligible to be auxiliary or repeater stations
- D. FCC Regional Field Office
Reference to §97.3(a)(22). Amateur radio service is self-managed and is fairly autonomous under FCC control. The FCC doesn't have the time, resources or interest in managing repeater operation. So for that, answers A and D are eliminated. The NFCC doesn't select a frequency coordinator, so B is eliminated as well. The local amateur operators in a region where the frequency allocations provide a direct impact are the ones whom decide on the title. The correct answer is C.
- What is the FCC Part 97 definition of an amateur station?
- A. A station in the Amateur Radio Service consisting of the apparatus necessary for carrying on radio communications
- B. A building where Amateur Radio receivers, transmitters, and RF power amplifiers are installed
- C. Any radio station operated by a non-professional
- D. Any radio station for hobby use
Reference to §97.3(a)(5). The correct answer is A. The rule deals directly with the equipment and the operators. The structures that house the equipment are not codified, so B is incorrect. C and D are incorrect because there are limitations to the type of station the non-professional is allowed to use, even if it's just a hobby.
- When is willful interference to other amateur radio stations permitted?
- A. Only if the station being interfered with is expressing extreme religious or political views
- B. At no time
- C. Only during a contest
- D. At any time, amateurs are not protected from willful interference
Reference to §97.101(d). Never deliberately interfere with another signal. The answer is B. If you are listening to a station with extreme religious or political views, the best strategy is to ignore them and change frequency. Chances are you won't be able to have a meaningful conversation with them, but do not interfere. Deliberately interfere during a contest, and you will learn a difficult lesson of the consequences of malicious interference.
- Which of the following is a permissible use of the Amateur Radio Service?
- A. Broadcasting music and videos to friends
- B. Providing a way for amateur radio operators to earn additional income by using their stations to pass messages
- C. Providing low-cost communications for start-up businesses
- D. Allowing a person to conduct radio experiments and to communicate with other licensed hams around the world
You can't broadcast music outside exceptionally rare instances. You can't broadcast for pay or profit. You can't be involved with commerce. Even ordering pizza using an amateur radio phone patch is edgy to some people. But you can supervise non-licenced people performing radio experiments using your FCC call sign. Anybody can transmit on a ham band if they are supervised and you have ultimate control in their ability to use your equipment. The correct answer is D.
- What is the FCC Part 97 definition of telecommand?
- A. An instruction bulletin issued by the FCC
- B. A one-way radio transmission of measurements at a distance from the measuring instrument
- C. A one-way transmission to initiate, modify or terminate functions of a device at a distance
- D. An instruction from a VEC
Reference to 97.3(a)(45). If you need to read the definitions of many of the technologies within amateur radio, section 97.3 is a list of definitions. A telecommand (the 43rd such definition) is a transmission that modifies operations of equipment at a remote site. Often times, DTMF (touch tones) are used to link repeaters, initiate telephone patches or even change frequencies of a repeater. The answer is C. If you refer to a FCC document as a telecommand, prepare to be laughed at. Answer B is actually referring to telemetry. Telemetry is the use of radio signals to measure distance from a transmitter. VEC's (Volunteer Examiner Coordinator) is a person whom is involved with issuing this test in a proctored environment.
- What must you do if you are operating on the 23 cm band and learn that you are interfering with a radiolocation station outside the United States?
- A. Stop operating or take steps to eliminate the harmful interference
- B. Nothing, because this band is allocated exclusively to the amateur service
- C. Establish contact with the radiolocation station and ask them to change frequency
- D. Change to CW mode, because this would not likely cause interference
Reference to 97.303(d). Your first priority is to immediately eliminate the interference. The correct answer is A. Sometimes, you may be transmitting within your band, but a harmonic of your transmission may be outside the band plan and interfering with other services, so B is not acceptable. The mode of communication does not affect propagation or harmonics greatly, so using CW isn't going to offer much help and with that, choice D is eliminated. It is unreasonable to ask the other agency to change frequency because often times, the frequency allocation is granted through international treaties.