[aprssig] APRS on expedition, but non ham?

Steve Dimse k4hg at tapr.org
Tue Nov 2 08:26:33 EST 2004

On 11/1/04 at 11:06 AM Ray McKnight <shortsheep at worldnet.att.net> sent:

>I know that "immediately" was in .109 at least until very recently.
>So this section must have been revised within the last year or two.
>Just to save face, I'll look at my copies on one of the other machines
>That should have still have them stored somewhere.
I do not believe this has been changed, it seems this discussion has occurred
many times on the sig before...

>Regarding the control operator issue, there are those like yourself
>Who do not believe that turning a transmitter off is necessarily a
>Function restricted only to a control operator.  I disagree, and there
>Are others on this SIG who have expressed agreement, that ANY control
>Of the transmitter requires a control operator.  Some folks seem to
>Trivialize the responsibility of the control operator, especially for
>Equipment operating under automatic control.  But the regulations do
>Not imply that the primary station licensee has immunity or is less
>Responsible for compliance with Part 97 when station control is delegated.

I never claimed otherwise. If I give a tracker to an expedition, it is my
responsibility to ensure its correct operation. That means I must be sure the
hard is in good condition, and that it is programmed correctly. 

We all place faith in the correct operation of our radios...if the dial says
144.39, we assume that is where it is transmitting...if there is a failure, and
it is transmitting on a local police frequency, we are responsible. Same is true
for any automatically controlled station.

>... Just because the
>station is operating under automatic control, and control has been delegated
>to someone else, shouldn't blur the lines.  

This is where you are not following my argument. Control has NOT been delegated
to someone else, if it is my tracker I am still the control operator.

>Again, I believe that turning a
>transmitter off requires control operator intervention, and cell or
>satellite phones as the control link may serve to accomplish this, relying
>on a non-Amateur on the other end doesn't relive final responsibility of
>compliance with Part 97.  

Again, I never claimed that. If it is my tracker, operating with my call, I am
completely responsible. All I claimed is that the operation is legal, but still,
like every other time I transmit, I am responsible for that transmission.

>If the transmitter cannot be turned off, whether
>it be a technical issue, physical access issue, or just plain "I'm too busy,
>lazy, or stupid" issue, the regulatory burden still falls upon the licensee,
>and I personally wouldn't want to give the FCC some lame excuse like "the
>dog sled was running away and the guide couldn't catch them for 3 days".
I don't want to be in the position to have to give the FCC any response...I do
my best to ensure that by operating within the rules and making sure my hardware
is functioning properly. The scenario you propose requires first some sort of
technical failure in the tracker that causes interference, second for the FCC to
notice and for the EIC to notify me, and third for the inability of anyone to
reach the transmitter. Three very rare events, but sure, it could happen.

And no, I wouldn't want to have to give the FCC that excuse, but if it were what
really happened, I would. I'd accept responsibility for it, and let the FCC do
what they will...

FCC rules require that satellite stations be under remote command as well, you
must be able to turn them off. However AO-10 has been uncommandable for over a
decade and continues to transmit. No one lost their license over that
one...clearly regulatory bodies understand hardware failures occur, and give
leeway in such cases. 

I maintain that not only is this sort of operation legal under part 97, but also
completely within the spirit of amateur radio. You feel differrently, that is
your right. Those that feel as I do will place trackers outside their physical
control, those that feel as you do won't. No big deal...

Steve K4HG

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