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As with the General, I have assumed that you have some technical knowledge, so understand what a sideband is, for example.
There is a some repetition from previous papers in the Regulations section.
Currently, on the MF and HF bands, the great majority of voice communications, termed "phone", use single-sideband, as this makes efficient use of power and spectrum. In other words, it has a narrow bandwidth for the content carried. SSB is a development from AM, or amplitude modulation. AM is most well known for its use in broadcasting, as receivers are simple. It was originally used in military and general communication, including Amateur. Now (in communications) it is generally only used in simple 27 MHz CBs, on 2182 kHz (MF Marine), and VHF airband.
Amateurs do however still use a few variations of AM. Standard AM, or DSB FC, for Double-sideband with Full Carrier, is used in historical equipment (often heavy, hence termed "boat anchors"). Homebrew gear often uses either this, or DSB without carrier, as they are more easily generated. This includes not needing the complex filtering or phasing techniques needed for SSB. The VK2WI broadcasts from Dural, NSW also use AM on selected bands, as this allows reception on simple shortwave receivers. Modern gear usually supports AM, including for talking to folks on boat anchor nets.
SSB is a single sideband, with the carrier suppressed. The tradition is that below 9 MHz LSB, or Lower Sideband is used. Above 9 MHz USB is used, and this applies all the way up through VHF, and beyond. 60 metres, or 5 MHz uses USB.
It is worth noting that older "type approved" or commercial use equipment, such as Codan equipment may only have USB available, as this is used on all non-Amateur frequencies. Thus, when such gear is used on ham bands, USB is used.
Terrestrial analogue TV uses Vestigial Sideband (VSB), where both sidebands are retained for low frequency content, to ensure the integrity of phase information. This applies for B&W, NTSC, or PAL systems.
HF phone signals typically extend either 3 kHz above or below the suppressed carrier, or in both directions for a DSB. The same distances occur relative to the carrier on an AM (DSB FC) signal. Thus we need to keep this distance from the band or segment edge in the direction which the sideband extends.
On 1.8 MHz and 3.6 MHz, or 40 and 80 metres (aka 75 m), tradition dictates Lower sideband (LSB) is used. While regulations vary by country, and licence class, the principle that the displayed frequency must be be 3 kHz above the lower band edge must be observed. Note that, in these cases, the actual band edge may be a legally defined phone sub-band, or sub-band defined in a band-plan. An Australia non-WICEN voice activity should not extend below 3600 kHz, meaning the dial frequency should not be less than 3603 kHz, or 3.603 MHz. This keeps frequencies below 3600 kHz free for CW and digital users.
Above 9 MHz Upper sideband (USB) is used. This means a station must not operate within 3 kHz of the top of the band. Given 20 metres extends to 14.350 MHz, you must ensure the dial frequency is not greater than 14.347 MHz. The same applies to band-edges all the way into VHF, UHF, and beyond.
Where USB is used on 80 metres, such as when using non-Amateur gear, the rule for USB apples to frequency selection.
On 60 m and 630 metres narrower SSB must be used, and so the rules are a little different.
For operations on 60 metres (5 MHz) SSB bandwidth is limited to 2.8 kHz. If using data on these channels, the same bandwidth applies. For CW, operation must be in the centre of each channel, and only one transmission is permitted per channel, even though several could fit. The power limit is 100 watts PEP, effective radiated power. This means, if you are using a dipole, the limit is 100 watts. This 100 watt level is the result of an increase over that initially applying.
The large wavelength of (almost) 60 metres makes high gain antennas very large. While a Yagi-like antenna made from inverted-Vs could be strung using two large trees or utility poles, a rotatable Yagi would be one of the largest, and most expensive antenna constructions in all of Hamdom. A curtain array would be another possibility, as would a rhombic. This however would have limited value, as while the improvement in receiver system gain has value, the transmit power must be reduced, to that equivalent to 100 watts into a dipole (or an antenna with the gain of a dipole).
The other antennas with decent performance for this band, given suitable supports, would be a loop. This can be a square, rectangular, delta (triangular), or other loop, hung in the vertical plane, or a horizontal loop; generally square.
All of the above said, this band probably has the greatest utility when used with an NVIS antenna. The classic NVIS antenna is a low dipole, perhaps mounted over a grounded wire or mesh.
Antennas for this band should have reasonable performance on the Alaska Emergency Frequency with a supressed carrier (dial) frequency of 5167.5 MHz, although lengthening of the elements, or the use of a tuner may be required for best performance.
Using other modes, the signal must not extend outside the band, so the direction and width of any modulation must be taken into account.
AFSK is Audio Frequency Shift Keying. This is typically generated by feeding audio from a PC's sound-card into the microphone or line-level input on a transceiver, and received from a headphone or similar output. In days of old, a dedicated modem or TNC would have been used; while nowadays, the PC could replaced by an Arduino, RaspberryPi, other SBC, or microcontroller. APRS can use a simple "TNC-2" to convert GNSS (GPS) data to tones.
The nature of the audio is two audio tones. This is used in Radio-teletype (RTTY); and AX.25 Packet, including APRS. Depending on data speed, a shift of several hundred Hertz is common. One frequency is the Mark, or binary 1; the other the Space, or binary 0. For those of us who used 300 and 1200 bps / baud modems in the early 1980s, such modems used this method. In fact, Bell protocols continue to be used in Ham Radio.
At VHF and UHF, the AFSK signal is typically fed into an FM transceiver, as there are cheaper, and more common, although "weak signal" modes use SSB rigs. On HF frequencies, discussed in these regulations questions, single-sideband is used.
The bandwidth twice the frequency shift plus twice the data rate. In any case, this is given in the question, typically as 1 kHz. If it is 1kHz then you must not get closer than 1 kHz below the upper band-edge for a 1 kHz bandwidth USB signal, and 1 kHz above the lower band-edge for a 1 kHz bandwidth LSB signal.
Off this section, multi-frequency shift keying exists.
DRM, Digital Radio Mondiale is a digital voice mode, also capable of supporting the still images, especially on the HF (SW bands), although this mode is also used on NW and LW, at least in trials. A range of bandwidths are possible, allowing the carriage of quality music, and/or multiple voice-grade programmes. However the question about is is a bit of a Furphy, in that the bandwidth of 3 kHz applies to pretty much any mode on the Amateur HF bands.
In the Ham world, DRM is generally encoded and decoded using PCs connected to regular HF radios.
There are also variations of DRM which compete with DAB or DAB+, on VHF.
As modes are developed by Hams and companies around the world, it is important to ensure that the mode's bandwidth complies with regulations in your country. For example, C4FM used in Yaesu's "Fusion" digital voice system is far too wide for HF. CODEC2 is of the correct bandwidth.
The RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) has two meanings, one being the use of Amateurs, voluntarily registered with the area's Emergency Operations Center, or other relevant authority, to support the operation of local, county, or state emergency operations, in support of government agencies. The second is the "nuclear option" where the Amateur Service is shut down, and replaced by RACES, on specific frequencies, under tight Federal government control, say after a nuclear strike on the US, invasion, or some form of civil war.
ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) supports non-government agencies, such as the Red Cross, during disaster relief.
To varying extents, aircraft and vessels use radio based technologies for navigation, and for communications. Thus, there is some risk Amateur transmissions will interfere with the operation of these craft. Thus, it is necessary to obtain permission of the pilot of the aircraft, or master (captain) of the vessel.
For aircraft it may well only be possible for passengers to operate on private (light) aircraft, or aircraft engaged in search and rescue work. These are normally termed "general aviation", or GA, aircraft. However, if you are a pilot, even of a passenger or freight aircraft, it will generally be possible to use one of the aircraft's HF transceivers on the Amateur bands during cruise. Typically located in the console between the pilots, these have wide frequency coverage, and are often made by Collins.
For ships this depends partly on the company operating the ship, and for cruise ships you should ask the company, and book based on their policies. Do remember the huge risk of diseases circulating on board! While Radio Officers are becoming a thing of the past, with automated satellite-based communications, the ship's main transmitter can generally operate on the Ham bands.
In all cases, a regular Amateur licence is all that is needed. On US vessels this must be an FCC licence, or an overseas licence recognised for use in the US.
Two new bands were introduced just after the release of the previous question pools, in 2017.
Given a tower a few 10s of metres is the limit of many Amateur's possibilities, such as antenna is going to be very inefficient. Loading coils can be wound in insulated wire on 20 litre pails, but some exceed the size of a 200 litre drum, and can consist of heavy copper bar, wound so that the bar has its edge inwards.
Antennas can be heavy wires strung between towers fed from one end, or a tower or mast with top-loading wires, which form a capacitive hat. A good ground system is also required. Another is a vertical wire connected to a continuous wire hung between two poles or towers, forming a T-shaped antenna.
Warning! Even modest powers fed into a high impedance antenna will result in a very high voltage on the output of the loading coil. This can be 10s of thousands of volts, and can be lethal!
This is a Low Frequency (LF) band, also termed longwave. It covers 135.7 kHz to 137.8 kHz. Power is restricted to 1 watt EIRP.
It is our only LF Band, and as there are no VLF Amateur allocations, this is the longest wavelength, and lowest frequency, Ham band.
This band is below the the European long-wave broadcast band, where antennas exceeding 350 metres are standard, and Iceland's 412 metre one is the largest LW one standing, following an accident during the replacement of the guys of a 646 metre Polish tower. (Taller guyed towers exist on the US praries, but these just support VHF and UHF systems).
Given the various challenges, specially chosen modes are used, especially very slow Morse code, termed "QRSS". This is both generated and received using equipment connected to PCs. Other, narrowband "weak signal" digital modes can also be used, along with regular Morse. That said, QRSS Morse beaconing is the most common operation in this band.
630 metres is the second MF Amateur band, in spectrum previously used for maritime communications. It is below the MW / MF AM broadcast band. As an example of antennas here, 2CR at Cumnock on 549 kHz covers much of rural NSW using 50 kW into its top-loaded 198 metre (600 foot) tower.
The frequency range is 472 to 479 kHz. Power limits are 5 watts EIRP in most of the US. However, this band is not used by Hams in Russia, so within 496 miles of it the power limit is 1 watt EIRP. This equates to 798.235 km, and this area is entirely within Alaska.
As with 2200 metres, the wavelength is large, and acheiving 5 watts EIRP will be difficult for many stations. Output power of transmitters is limited to 1500 watts PEP.
While CW and digital modes are encouraged, this band is wide enough to support a narrow SSB voice signal.
Systems such as Packet Radio typically use VHF radio to transmit text-based massages, and small files. Messages often go from your station to a local BBS (Bulletin Board System), to other BBS stations, etc, and finally the recipient. It is also possible to connect to remote station or BBS by "digipeating" through several stations. There are also "gateway" stations which pass messages globally via HF radio or low-orbiting satellite.
One problem with this is that on occasions a station may send messages or files with inappropriate or unlawful content. Just as Twitter may not be liable for the content of tweets, BBS operators are not liable for forwarding a dodgy message. However, like the social media company and the bufoon squatting in Pensylvania Avenue advocating racist violence, the BBS operator has a responsibility to discontinue (or remove) the offending messages.
SSTV" is an image transmission format where a still image is sent in a 3 kHz bandwidth, such as an HF SSB channel. There are many formats, however each image takes 8 to 114 seconds to send. It is essentially an analogue system.
The original system involved a video camera, modems, and a video display, using an old radar video tube, which has long persistence phosphor. Modern systems use PCs, interfaced via their soundcards.
As an image mode, transmissions on the HF bands must be in the phone portion of the band.
Unlike the transmission of an image file between stations, using error correction and retransmission, SSTV images will often have visible interference or noise. The upside is that a station, even on the International Space Station, can transmit an image to a large number of stations, and unlicensed hobbyists can receive images.
The United States National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ) is an area based around Green Bank Observatory (a radio telescope, like Parkes), and Sugar Grove satellite communications interception facilities, located in West Virginia. The large rectangle takes in portions of WV, Virginia, and a tiny bit of Maryland. Operation is not prohibited, but is restricted, depending on the distance from the sites, and bands used. MF, HF, and 6m are less restricted. If you live in this zone you can contact the Interference Office, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, P.O. Box 2, Green Bank, WV 24944. The big No-No in the area are satellite 'phones, as these operate at 1400 MHz, the "hydrogen line", where radio astronomy is conducted.
This is an order issued by the FCC in 1985 requiring state and local planning authorities to make reasonable provision for Amateur Radio. In practice, this means that antennas of some undefined reasonable size must be permitted.
These however do not affect the often karen-heavy "homeowner associations", or HOAs. That said, perhaps getting onto the committee is a good idea.
These are the actual questions from the Extra licence exam pool, as published by the NCVEC. Numbers in square brackets refer to FCC rules, such as [97.313] or [1.303]. These numbers are NOT provided in the exams.E1A01 [97.305, 97.307(b)]
With a LSB signal, the signal occupies spectrum below the (suppressed) carrier frequency displayed on the radio. If we operate on 18.068 MHz, our signal will be below the segment edge, answer A.E1A02 [97.301, 97.305]
The LSB signal extends nearly 3kHz below the suppressed carrier, so you must stay at least 3kHz above the lower band edge, or more usually, the bottom of the "Phone" segment, answer D. Outside the US, where the data and phone segments are often not legally mandated, unless you wish to be known as a "lid", you still need to take note of the voluntary band plans, and avoid the data / RTTY segments.E1A03 [97.305, 97.307(b)]
This question is a bit unfriendly, as it requires you to remember that the demarcation between the data and voice parts of this band is 14.150 MHz. However, it is then just a simple tasks to subtract 1 kHz, or 0.001 MHz, from this number, and get 14.149 MHz, answer C.E1A04 [97.301, 97.305]
No, as your sideband would extend around 2 kHz down into the data / RTTY segment, answer C.
Depending on the the nature of the DX station's operation, you may be supposed to be working split anyway, so can be above 3.603 HHz, and legal anyway. "Split" means stations replying to te DX station are up (or down) around 5 kHz from the DX station.
If you are in VK (Australia), for example, it is legal to ask him or her to move up a few kHz, to clear the data segment. "3D2PI VK2YJS Can you QSY up 2 kHz please?"E1A05 [97.313]
This is 100 watts PEP fed into a dipole. Howver, if you have something like a rhombic, you have to work out its gain relative to a dipole (dBd), and reduce your power by this factor. Answer C. It is worth nothing that only the correct answer mentions either gain, or the half-wave size of the dipole, making it the best formed answer.E1A06 [97.303(h)(1)]
The actual CW signal must be on the centre of the channel, answer B. Despite the fact several CW signals would fit, this is not permitted, as it would confuse a government user who is the primary user of the frequency, and only had a USB radio.E1A07 [97.313(k)]
This is 1 watt EIRP, answer C. Given the very large wavelenth of the signal, compared to the size of the antenna most amateurs are able to construct, achieving 1 watt EIRP is actually very difficult.E1A08 [97.219]
This is the control operator of the station which originated the message, answer B.E1A09 [97.219]
You should discontinue forwarding the communication, ASAP, answer A.E1A10 [97.11]
You must have permission of the master or pilot, answer A. For cruise ships, you need to select an amateur friendly company, and get permission in advance.E1A11 [97.5]
This is asking about operating an amateur station on a vessel, not a marine one, so it is any FFC issued amateur licence, answer B.E1A12
These are restricted to the phone segments of the bands, answer C. The frequencies listed have fallen out of the back of a proto-hamburger, as these are NOT common SSTV channels.E1A13 [97.5]
It must be a US licensed amateur, or an amateur with an appropriate overseas licence who may operate in the US, answer B.E1A14 [97.313(l)]
Away from Russia, the power limit is 5 watts EIRP, answer D.E1B01 [97.3]
These are "garbage" emissions, outside the signal's bandwidth, and transmitters and amplifiers should be adjusted to eliminate these, answer D.E1B02 [97.307(f)(2)]
Let me restate this: "Which of the following is an acceptable bandwidth for (pretty much any) transmissions made on the HF amateur bands?" It is 3 kHz, answer A.
DRM is a digital voice broadcasting system capable of displaying images (including album covers), designed for the HF / SW bands. The spoilers are bandwidth which may be used for broadcasting.E1B03 [97.13]
It is the shortest distance, stated in the regulations as 1600 metres, being about 1 old-fashioned mile, answer A.E1B04 [97.13, 1.1305-1.1319]
An Environmental Assessment must be sent to the FCC, answer C.
Note that this refers to a part of the FCC regulations which applies to all radio facilities. This applies to more significant structures, and there is a help number for the Office of General Counsel listed in 1.1304. This does not apply to operating a portable or mobile station with minimal impact.E1B05 [97.3]
This is the area around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, located in West Virginia, answer C.E1B06 [97.15]
It if includes antennas or masts of a significant height, depending on the proximity to the airport, the FAA and FCC must be notified, answer A.
This follows certain glide-slopes, depending on the nature of the airport or heliport. Note that even a fairly short pole on a building that is at the height limit for its location may be problematic.E1B07 [97.15]
Unfortunately this only applies to state and local government zoning rules, answer C.E1B08 [97.121]
There are specific hours which must avoid transmitting if your signal interferes with signals from US broadcast media, if the FCC places these conditions on your station, answer D.E1B09 [97.407]
Any FCC licensed amateur station may participate, provided they are registered with the local civil defense organisation, answer C.
What is illogical about "except a Technician" is that there remain many Novice operators, with significantly fewer privileges than Technicians, and you would assume the wording would also exclude them.E1B10 [97.407]
All frequencies that the control operator can normally use may be used during a RACES operation, answer A.E1B11 [97.15]
Towns, cities, counties and states must permit antenna structures for Amateur Radio of a reasonable size for the environment, answer B.E1B12 [97.303(b)]
Amateur Radio is a Secondary service in the 70 cm band. The primary use is defence radar, or "radiolocation" services. Given that these may well be for detecting incoming missiles and other significant threats to North America, repeaters must close down until interference to these can be solved, answer A.
On to: Extra Regulations 2 - Control Operators, IARP & CEPT, Amateur satellites
You can find links to lots more on the Learning Material page.
Written by Julian Sortland, VK2YJS & AG6LE, May 2022.
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