Home - About AR - Learning Material - Exams - Clubs - Posters

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!). This makes the inexpensive process of passing US exams, even if licensed outside the US, makes sense.

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 or Morse key. This is also called "local control". If a station is controlled via the Internet, then the computer or mobile device is the control point. A repeater; or a packet "digipeater", including APRS ones, are under automatic control.

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.

Satellite operation questions have crept into this section. You just need to know that any Ham who can operate on the uplink frequency can use the "bird", and that only the required power should be used, to prevent overloading the input.

The question regarding issuing callsigns to clubs has changed, but never the less, the answer remains that there must be at least 4 members. There is no need for a club to be affiliated with the ARRL, or any group. There however must be a trustee, an officer of the club, who holds a US licence of any grade.


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".

Now off the exam, but 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 /AG, 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 may an amateur station 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 for the control operator to shut the repeater down remotely. A visiting ham becomes the control operator, which should be recorded in a station log.

Note that it is legal for an unlicensed person to operate a transceiver after a road accident, or in another immediate emergency.

T1E02 [97.301, 97.207(c)]
Who may be the control operator of a station communicating through an amateur satellite or space station?
A. Only an Amateur Extra Class operator
B. A General class or higher licensee who has a satellite operator certification
C. Only an Amateur Extra Class operator who is also an AMSAT member
D. Any amateur whose license privileges allow them to transmit on the satellite uplink frequency

If an amateur is allowed to operate on, say 2m, the uplink frequency, such operation is permitted, even if the output is on, say 17 metres. Answer D.

In practical terms, this means that a Technician can operate via satellites.

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

The station licensee, whether for a personal station, or a club station, must designate the control operator, answer A.

This means, 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 frequencies printed on the license grant
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.

While this may be where the transmitting equipment is, it is possible to have just the control head, microphone and speaker in a compact home-office space, and the transceiver, amplifier(s), and antenna tuner in a cabinet in a utility room. Such an arrangement would also work in a recreational vehicle or motor home, with the option to move the control head between the cab and accommodation area.

T1E06 [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.

If an Extra is directly supervising a Technician in the other circumstances above, then the Extra is the control operator. The other circumstance is during an emergency, if assistance cannot be gained otherwise.

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

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 send CW automatically
D. Using a computer or other device to identify automatically

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

T1E09 [97.109(c)]
Which of the following are required for remote control operation?
A. The control operator must be at the control point
B. A control operator is required at all times
C. The control operator must indirectly manipulate the controls
D. All of these choices are correct

All of these are true, D.

The control point of a very well appointed station in Maine can be a smart 'phone in a sports field carpark in suburban Sydney, Australia. An example of this system is http://www.remotehamradio.com/, and once you are licensed with a US licence, you can use these.

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, can be controlled using an Internet connected device, answer B.

This rule also allows control of a personal or club HF station from a hand-held radio in the local area. 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.

T1F01 [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. At any time after written notification by the FCC of such inspection 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, answer B.

T1F02 [97.119 (a)]
How often must you identify with your FCC-assigned call sign when using tactical call signs such as “Race Headquarters”?
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 means that if you have a short interaction with Control, as Bravo, you may start it using "Control, this is Bravo", but you must end your interaction with "AG9FB OUT".

T1F03 [97.119(a)]
When are you required to transmit your 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, including at the beginning of a test transmission.

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. English
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 answer D.

This would indicate that an operator from Alaska was operating in PA, DE, MD, or DC.

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 licensed amateur 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.

Applying in Countries Which Aren't America, the ITU has determined that such communications are permitted, unless the administration of the country publicises an objection.

T1F08 [97.3(a)(47)]
What is meant by the term Third Party Communications?
A. A message from a control operator to another amateur station control operator on behalf of another person
B. Amateur radio communications where three stations are in communications with one another
C. Operation when the transmitting equipment is licensed to a person other than the control operator
D. Temporary authorization for an unlicensed person to transmit on the amateur bands for technical experiments

It is a message passed on behalf of another person, answer A.

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, then 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 may attempt to prevent a group from abusing the repeater, etc.

T1F11 [97.5(b)(2)]
Which of the following is a requirement for the issuance of a club station license grant?
A. The trustee must have an Amateur Extra class operator license grant
B. The club must have at least four members
C. The club must be registered with the American Radio Relay League
D. All of these choices are correct

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

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

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

This has taken a fair bit of work to write, so if you have found this useful, there is a "tip jar" below.

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

Tip Jar: a Jefferson (US$2), A$3 or 25 Swedish Krona. Thanks!