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Amateur Radio Info & Exams - Regulations 3

This is the last page on the regulations you need to know to pass the US Technician exam.

Control Operator & Control Point

The person controlling the station at any time is the "control operator". This person has to be either the person named as the person who is the station licensee, or a person nominated by them. The nominated person must be either a person holding a US licence, or be an overseas licensed operator, termed a person "authorized for alien reciprocal operation".

It is the privileges of the control operator which determines the frequencies, power, and modes of operations permitted to be used, not the class of the licence. This can mean that if the person operating the station is an Australian Advanced, power is limited to 400 watts PEP, or 125 watts RMS for CW (lower than Novices are allowed on HF...).

The "Control point" is "The location at which the control operator function is performed". For a transceiver it is the front panel & microphone push-to-talk. This is also called "local control". If a station is controlled via the Internet, then it is the computer or mobile device. A repeater, packet "digipeater", including APRS ones are under automatic control.

A club must have 4 members to hold a callsign, and the nominated trustee must be a person who holds a US licence.

If the licensee does not record the operation of the station by another, (in a logbook) then the FCC assume the licensee is the control operator. A control operator can allow another person to operate the station under direct supervision, but they can only speak to overseas stations is there is a "third party traffic" agreement in place with the other country.


The station callsign must be given every 10 minutes, and at the end of the contact. It is usual to use callsigns when initiating the contact. If using voice, the identification can be given in voice, in English, or using CW (Morse), with the latter normally applying to repeaters. Conversations can be in any language.

Tactical Callsigns may be used, such as "Start, this is Race Control", but the usual callsigns must be used after 10 minutes, or at the end of the exchange, something like "W5YI - W1AW out".

If you have a US amateur licence, and pass an exam to upgrade, you can immediately operate on the new bands you have just gained privileges for. Remembering that there are still Novice licence holders, those upgrading to Technician add the suffix /KT, to General /AT, and to Extra /AE. Once the upgrade is in the ULS, the operator goes back to using their callsign. Unlike in Australia and the UK, there is no need to change callsigns when upgrading, however, it is possible to request either a new systematic callsign, or a vanity callsign appropriate for the licence level achieved.

Relevant Questions

These are actual exam questions, from the published NCVEC Technician pool.

T1E01 [97.7(a)]
When is an amateur station permitted to transmit without a control operator?
A. When using automatic control, such as in the case of a repeater
B. When the station licensee is away and another licensed amateur is using the station
C. When the transmitting station is an auxiliary station
D. Never

A station must always have a control operator, so D, Never. Note that repeaters are under automatic control, but there is often a method to shut the repeater down. Note that it is legal for an unlicensed person to operate a transceiver after a road accident, or in another emergency.

T1E02 [97.7(a)]
Who may a station licensee designate to be the control operator of an amateur station?
A. Any U.S. citizen or registered alien
B. Any family member of the station licensee
C. Any person over the age of 18
D. Only a person for whom an amateur operator/primary station license grant appears in the FCC database or who is authorized for alien reciprocal operation, answer D.

A station must be operated by either a currently licensed US Amateur, or an "alien" with an appropriate licence from their country of citizenship. Thus, answer D. Remember, anyone, except a representative of a foreign government to the United States government, can hold a US licence.

T1E03 [97.103(b)]
Who must designate the station control operator?
A. The station licensee
B. The FCC
C. The frequency coordinator
D. The ITU

The station licensee, whether a personal station, or a club station, must designate the control operator, answer A. This translates to, for example, the trustee must know who the members of a contest team using the club station are, and ensure they record this in the station logbook.

T1E04 [97.103(b)]
What determines the transmitting privileges of an amateur station?
A. The frequency authorized by the frequency coordinator
B. The class of operator license held by the station licensee
C. The highest class of operator license held by anyone on the premises
D. The class of operator license held by the control operator

If an amateur is visiting another amateur's station, or operating a club station, then it is the class of the control operator which determines the frequency, modes, power, etc which can be used. As a Technician, if a Novice is visiting, then they can only use low power on 1¼ m or on 23 cm. Likewise, if an Extra visits, they can switch your HF rig from CW to SSB, and use voice; and also use FM on 10m.

T1E05 [97.3(a)(14)]
What is an amateur station control point?
A. The location of the station’s transmitting antenna
B. The location of the station transmitting apparatus
C. The location at which the control operator function is performed
D. The mailing address of the station licensee

This is the point at which the control operator operates the station, answer C.

T1E06 [97.109(d)]
Under what type of control do APRS network digipeaters operate?
A. Automatic
B. Remote
C. Local
D. Manual

Digipeaters receive a "packet", a short data burst containing a station callsign, usually GPS derived co-ordinates, and supplementary data, especially automatic weather station data. These then retransmit the data to other stations, this being "automatic control", answer A. Data is often collected, and displayed online at: aprs.fi

T1E07 [97.103(a)]
When the control operator is not the station licensee, who is responsible for the proper operation of the station?
A. All licensed amateurs who are present at the operation
B. Only the station licensee
C. Only the control operator
D. The control operator and the station licensee are equally responsible

Both the control operator, and the licensee are responsible for proper operation, answer D.

T1E08 [97.3(a)(6), 97.205(d)]
Which of the following is an example of automatic control?
A. Repeater operation
B. Controlling the station over the Internet
C. Using a computer or other device to automatically send CW
D. Using a computer or other device to automatically identify

A voice or other repeater is under automatic control, answer A.

T1E09 [97.109(b)]
What type of control is being used when the control operator is at the control point?
A. Radio control
B. Unattended control
C. Automatic control
D. Local control

The only valid answer here is Local control, D. However, the control point for a very well appointed station in Maine can be an iDevice or Android 'phone in a sports field carpark in SW Sydney.

T1E10 [97.3(a)(39)]
Which of the following is an example of remote control as defined in Part 97?
A. Repeater operation
B. Operating the station over the Internet
C. Controlling a model aircraft, boat or car by amateur radio
D. All of these choices are correct

In this case it is operation of a commercially run remote Amateur Radio station in the US, or a personal station there, where a range of parameters, such as frequency, mode, switching in a linear amplifier, etc can be controlled, whether from an Internet connected device, answer B. This rule would also allow control of a personal or club HF station from hand-held radio a suburb away. A conventional repeater is under automatic control.

T1E11 [97.103(a)]
Who does the FCC presume to be the control operator of an amateur station, unless documentation to the contrary is in the station records?
A. The station custodian
B. The third party participant
C. The person operating the station equipment
D. The station licensee

A personal station is generally operated by the licensee, and this is the assumption made, unless a log entry indicate otherwise. Answer D.

T1E12 [97.119(e)]
When, under normal circumstances, may a Technician Class licensee be the control operator of a station operating in an exclusive Extra Class operator segment of the amateur bands?
A. At no time
B. When operating a special event station
C. As part of a multi-operator contest team
D. When using a club station whose trustee is an Extra Class operator licensee

Note that this asks about the control operator. A technician is only allowed to operate a station, including a club station, in the Technician segments, so it is a big "Nytt" - at no time, answer A (unless it is an emergency).

What type of identification is being used when identifying a station on the air as Race Headquarters?
A. Tactical call sign
B. An official call sign reserved for RACES drills
D. Broadcast station

This is a "Tactical Callsign", answer A. SSID is a WiFi ID. RACES is an acronym...

T1F02 [97.119 (a)]
When using tactical identifiers such as “Race Headquarters” during a community service net operation, how often must your station transmit the station’s FCC-assigned call sign?
A. Never, the tactical call is sufficient
B. Once during every hour
C. At the end of each communication and every ten minutes during a communication
D. At the end of every transmission

Normal identification is still required, so answer C. This mean that if you have a short interaction with Control, as Race Doctor, you may start using "Control, Race Doctor, Priority", but you must end your interaction with "AG9FB OUT".

T1F03 [97.119(a)]
When is an amateur station required to transmit its assigned call sign?
A. At the beginning of each contact, and every 10 minutes thereafter
B. At least once during each transmission
C. At least every 15 minutes during and at the end of a communication
D. At least every 10 minutes during and at the end of a communication

Every 10 minutes, and at the end of communications, answer D. It is however usual to use callsigns at the beginning of a transmission or contact.

T1F04 [97.119(b)(2)]
Which of the following is an acceptable language to use for station identification when operating in a phone sub-band?
A. Any language recognized by the United Nations
B. Any language recognized by the ITU
C. The English language
D. English, French, or Spanish

Despite the US having no official language, when operating using voice, you must identify in English, answer C.

T1F05 [97.119(b)(2)]
What method of call sign identification is required for a station transmitting phone signals?
A. Send the call sign followed by the indicator RPT
B. Send the call sign using CW or phone emission
C. Send the call sign followed by the indicator R
D. Send the call sign using only phone emission

CW (Morse) or voice are both approved methods of identifying when using voice, answer B. It is usual to use voice as the operator of a home or mobile station, but repeaters usually use Morse. With the availability of voice recorder ICs, some repeaters do have voice ID.

T1F06 [97.119(c)]
Which of the following formats of a self-assigned indicator is acceptable when identifying using a phone transmission?
A. KL7CC stroke W3
B. KL7CC slant W3
C. KL7CC slash W3
D. All of these choices are correct

The three terms all mean the same thing, the / symbol used when adding location or other indicators to callsings in Morse, so D.

T1F07 [97.115(a)(2)]
Which of the following restrictions apply when a non-licensed person is allowed to speak to a foreign station using a station under the control of a Technician Class control operator?
A. The person must be a U.S. citizen
B. The foreign station must be one with which the U.S. has a third party agreement
C. The licensed control operator must do the station identification
D. All of these choices are correct

The answer is B, that the other station must be in a country which allows third party communications with the US.

T1F08 [97.119(f)]
Which indicator is required by the FCC to be transmitted after a station call sign?
A. /M when operating mobile
B. /R when operating a repeater
C. / followed the FCC Region number when operating out of the region in which the license was issued
D. /KT, /AE or /AG when using new license privileges earned by CSCE while waiting for an upgrade to a previously issued license to appear in the FCC license database

When a ham has passed an exam, and either "turns up the wick" (increases power), or operates on a newly permitted band or mode, then the appropriate suffix, as shown in answer D, must be used. Mobile or region identifiers are evidently optional.

T1F09 [97.3(a)(40)]
What type of amateur station simultaneously retransmits the signal of another amateur station on a different channel or channels?
A. Beacon station
B. Earth station
C. Repeater station
D. Message forwarding station

A repeater might receive a signal on a channel, say in one part of the 2 metre band, and retransmit it 600 kHz higher or lower. If a site has additional linked repeaters on 70 cm, 6 metre, or other band, and these are linked, than the signal will be retransmitted here too. It can also be transmitted on link frequencies to one or more other repeaters across a region. It can also be linked via various Voice over IP networks. Answer B.

T1F10 [97.205(g)]
Who is accountable should a repeater inadvertently retransmit communications that violate the FCC rules?
A. The control operator of the originating station
B. The control operator of the repeater
C. The owner of the repeater
D. Both the originating station and the repeater owner

The control operator if the originating station is responsible, answer A. That said, a repeater operator should take necessary steps if a group is abusing the repeater, etc.

T1F11 [97.115(a)]
To which foreign stations do the FCC rules authorize the transmission of non-emergency third party communications?
A. Any station whose government permits such communications
B. Those in ITU Region 2 only
C. Those in ITU Regions 2 and 3 only
D. Those in ITU Region 3 only

You may pass personal messages on behalf of friends, etc to any country which permits it, or allow them to speak through your station to relatives, friends, etc, or to amateurs in these countries, answer A. A recent ITU rule change has changed these to mean all countries permit this, unless they actively object.

T1F12 [97.5(b)(2)]
How many persons are required to be members of a club for a club station license to be issued by the FCC?
A. At least 5
B. At least 4
C. A trustee and 2 officers
D. At least 2

A club must have at least 4 members to gain a club station licence, answer B.

T1F13 [97.103(c)]
When must the station licensee make the station and its records available for FCC inspection?
A. At any time ten days after notification by the FCC of such an inspection
B. At any time upon request by an FCC representative
C. Only after failing to comply with an FCC notice of violation
D. Only when presented with a valid warrant by an FCC official or government agent

An Amateur must make their station available for inspection at any time upon request of an FCC representative, B.

Amateurs are permitted to communicate with manned space stations, and via satellites. On to: Space

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Written by Julian Sortland, VK2YJS & AG6LE, December 2017.

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