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Amateur Radio Info & Exams - General Regulations 3 - Station Control

Third Party Traffic

Station licence holders are allowed to permit others to speak via their station, under direct supervision, or write a message and have the station licensee transmit it, under certain conditions. One is that people who have had their amateur licence revoked cannot initiate such a message.

While there are few restriction regarding communications in the US, communications on behalf of third parties are restricted to those going to, or coming from, countries with which there are third party traffic agreements in place. I believe that the ITU had liberalised the passing of such messages between other countries, unless they specifically object. However, the US / FCC still insists that such agreements be in place. The use of any language is permitted, but ID must be in English (or using the modulation method used, if say sending Morse).

Messages on behalf of other amateurs, say arranging a contact, are not usually considered third party communications, but communications incidental to the operation of an Amateur station.

Note that, assuming a third-party agreement is in place, third party traffic across the northern or southern borders on VHF or UHF is fine, and so can be conducted by a Technician.

Control Types

Local Control is when an amateur is sitting at the control panel of their radio, or using a handheld, or a handheld with a headset or hand-microphone. This includes a radio using a remote head, with the actual radio in the boot (trunk), etc.

Remote Control is when you use the Internet, or other methods to control a station at another locations. This can be your own station, a club station, or a commercially run one. This term does not apply to telecommand of models, the normal use of "remote control", these are normally local control, as you are holding the transmitter.

Automatic Control is when a station transmits telemetry data, APRS position or weather data packets; or when a packet station connects to your home packet station, to deliver a message, and your station responds with acknowledgement and similar packets. Other examples are repeaters, and digipeaters. It means that you can clip an APRS tracker to a search and rescue worker's backpack, and have it transmit your callsign, or the callsign of your RACES / ARES group.

Automatic Data Stations

Stations are allowed to transmit RTTY or data emission under automatic control on the 6 metres and up (except the CW segments on 6m and 2m), and on the following segments: 28.120-28.189 MHz, 24.925-24.930 MHz, 21.090-21.100 MHz, 18.105-18.110 MHz, 14.0950-14.0995 MHz, 14.1005-14.112 MHz, 10.140-10.150 MHz, 7.100-7.105 MHz, and 3.585-3.600 MHz.

Except on 60 metres, a station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on any other frequency where such emission types are permitted, provided that the station is responding to interrogation by a station under local or remote control, and the transmission from the automatically controlled station occupies a bandwidth of 500 Hz or less.

Relevant Questions

These are actual questions from the General exam pool.

G1E01 [97.115(b)(2)]
Which of the following would disqualify a third party from participating in stating a message over an amateur station?
A. The third party’s amateur license has been revoked and not reinstated
B. The third party is not a U.S. citizen
C. The third party is a licensed amateur
D. The third party is speaking in a language other than English

It is only a person who has had their US licence revoke, and not reinstated. I suppose, among other things, it prevents those with sociopathic tendencies coercing or conning others to allow them to operate under their licence, answer A.

G1E02 [97.205(b)]
When may a 10-meter repeater retransmit the 2-meter signal from a station having a Technician Class control operator?
A. Under no circumstances
B. Only if the station on 10-meters is operating under a Special Temporary Authorization allowing such retransmission
C. Only during an FCC declared general state of communications emergency
D. Only if the 10-meter repeater control operator holds at least a General Class license

The US does not have the same restrictive regulations as Australia, so a Technician can transmit into a repeater system which includes an output on 10 metres. It is the General or better licence of the repeater's control operator which matters in this case, answer D, for Delta.

G1E03 [97.221]
What is required to conduct communications with a digital station operating under automatic control outside the automatic control band segments?
A. The station initiating the contact must be under local or remote control
B. The interrogating transmission must be made by another automatically controlled station
C. No third party traffic may be transmitted
D. The control operator of the interrogating station must hold an Extra Class license

If a person operating a station under local or remote control contacts your digital station, it may respond under automatic control, answer A.

G1E04 [97.13(b), 97.303, 97.311(b)]
Which of the following conditions require a licensed Amateur Radio operator to take specific steps to avoid harmful interference to other users or facilities?
A. When operating within one mile of an FCC Monitoring Station
B. When using a band where the Amateur Service is secondary
C. When a station is transmitting spread spectrum emissions
D. All of these choices are correct

A large signal in close proximity to a monitoring station could interfere with their monitoring work, so you need to take care in these areas, especially within 1600 metres of the station; using a band where Amateur is secondary means you need to be careful to avoid interfering with the primary user; and when using spread spectrum, you need to be careful nto to interfere with those in the band your signal is spreading across; thus all are correct, D.

G1E05 [97.115(a)(2),97.117]
What types of messages for a third party in another country may be transmitted by an amateur station?
A. Any message, as long as the amateur operator is not paid
B. Only messages for other licensed amateurs
C. Only messages relating to Amateur Radio or remarks of a personal character, or messages relating to emergencies or disaster relief
D. Any messages, as long as the text of the message is recorded in the station log

Only ham related material, personal message, or disaster and emergency communications may be sent, answer C.

G1E06 [97.301, ITU Radio Regulations]
The frequency allocations of which ITU region apply to radio amateurs operating in North and South America?
A. Region 4
B. Region 3
C. Region 2
D. Region 1

The Americas are Region 2, answer C.

The numbers perhaps coincide roughly with the Old World, New World, and the non-aligned "Third World".

G1E07 [97.111]
In what part of the 13-centimeter band may an amateur station communicate with non-licensed Wi-Fi stations?
A. Anywhere in the band
B. Channels 1 through 4
C. Channels 42 through 45
D. No part

Hams using hacked WiFi gear for ham purposes, or at ham powers, etc, may not use it to communicate with non-hams, answer D.

G1E08 [97.313(j)]
What is the maximum PEP output allowed for spread spectrum transmissions?
A. 100 milliwatts
B. 10 watts
C. 100 watts
D. 1500 watts

Spread Spectrum may be used at up to 10 watts, answer B.

It appears this limit may also apply to hacked WiFi gear use on the Amateur bands.

G1E09 (A) [97.115]
Under what circumstances are messages that are sent via digital modes exempt from Part 97 third-party rules that apply to other modes of communication?
A. Under no circumstances
B. When messages are encrypted
C. When messages are not encrypted
D. When under automatic control

Never, answer C.

G1E10 [97.101]
Why should an amateur operator normally avoid transmitting on 14.100, 18.110, 21.150, 24.930 and 28.200 MHz?
A. A system of propagation beacon stations operates on those frequencies
B. A system of automatic digital stations operates on those frequencies
C. These frequencies are set aside for emergency operations
D. These frequencies are set aside for bulletins from the FCC

These frequencies are used by the system of 18 IARU propagation beacons around the world, answer A.

G1E11 [97.221, 97.305]
On what bands may automatically controlled stations transmitting RTTY or data emissions communicate with other automatically controlled digital stations?
A. On any band segment where digital operation is permitted
B. Anywhere in the non-phone segments of the 10-meter or shorter wavelength bands
C. Only in the non-phone Extra Class segments of the bands
D. Anywhere in the 6-meter or shorter wavelength bands, and in limited segments of some of the HF bands

This is in the VHF and above bands, and certain parts of some HF bands, answer D.

This fails to identify the CW only segments in the lowest 100 kHz of 6 and 2 metres, and the data only part of 1.25 metres.

Congrats! That is the regulations done!

On to: Operations 1 - Phone operations, Courtesy, and Emergency Comms

You can find links to lots more on the Learning Material page.

Written by Julian Sortland, VK2YJS & AG6LE, March 2022.

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