[aprssig] APRS legality

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Tue Jan 27 19:40:59 EST 2009

On Jan 27, 2009, at 11:09 AM, Robert Bruninga wrote:

>> On the other hand, if you get on a repeater
>> where on one is talking and say "it is a nice
>> day", unless you do it to for the purpose of
>> starting a QSO, it is illegal.
> Yes, we agree.  It is the intent of the operator that is being
> judged, not the details of what he says, or how he says it, or
> what mode, or anything else.

Yes, in this one, specific case of allowed one-way communication,  
namely "Brief transmissions necessary to establishing two-way  
communications with other stations." The intent is everything. In the  
other allowed cases, intent matters not at all.
> You are correct.  I disagree completely with your definition
> that attempts to turn APRS into a lifeless one-way,
> lights-on-nobody-home, broadcast-for-public consumption system,
> on which no one can find anyone to communicate with in real
> time.

My definition attempts to turn APRS into nothing, my definition allows  
hams to use APRS for those things that interest them. Sorry it isn;t  
what interests you, but APRS belongs to every ham now, and every ham  
needs to be free to use those parts of the Swiss Army knife that fit  
their own needs and desires.
> The legal way to use the system is to participate in the network
> as it was designed...

How can you cling to this idea that a network is needed to make APRS  
legal in the US. Show me one single place in the rules where the word  
or even the concept of network appears (other than the afore mentioned  
219-220 section).
> So anyone that calls CQ on a dead band is in violation of the
> rules?

No, that is allowed by "Brief transmissions necessary to establishing  
two-way communications with other stations"

> Anyone that calls for someone else without first calling
> him on the phone to see if he is listening is a violation of the
> rules?

No, that is allowed by "Brief transmissions necessary to establishing  
two-way communications with other stations"
> But, APRS is not one-way communictions!

Again, it is a shame that the FCC felt one-way was such an obvious  
concept they did not define it. I maintain that any transmission not  
directed at one or more specific amateur stations as part of a  
bidirectional exchange is one way. Calling CQ is a one way  
transmission as the FCC sees it, otherwise they would not have added  
the specific passage necessary to make calling CQ legal. "Brief  
transmissions necessary to establishing two-way communications with  
other stations"
> And yet sensible amateur radio operators for nearly a century
> have used the NET concept to facilitate, improve and otherwise
> maintain good communications on shared frequencies in support of
> the intent of the amateur radio service as authorized by the
> FCC.  It is fundamental teaching in amateur radio (and all other
> 2-way radio services) that there has to be net discipline on
> shared frequencies in order for the communications channel to
> operate effectively under stress.

I did not say nets were bad, simply that they have nothing to do with  
the rules. Operating in a net or not, the same rules apply. Operating  
in a net does not free you from a single requirement of the rules.

> Positions (or weather for that matter) of APRS operators
> participating in a net are no more telemetry than my saying "its
> cold outside".

Except they are one-way.

> Hence, APRS was designed for operators
> participating in the APRS network and exchannging tactical
> relevant real-time information using a digital channel for net
> efficiency.
> We do agree that these so-called "one-way" trackers and remote
> instruments are telemetry under the part 97 rules.

Thank you. And so are home and mobile stations who automatically  
transmit their weather or position data. If you don't say this, then a  
station that transmits when no one is listening MUST be violating the  
rules. Can't you see it is ridiculous to have legality determined by  
who is listening???

> But I want
> to encourage the licensed operators of those "trackers"
> installed in a vehicle with a live human licensed radio operator
> on board to also have the means to be contacted and participate
> in the APRS netork if by nothing else than including his voice
> monitoring frequency in his position text.  So that he can be a
> two-way participant in the APRS network.

Encourage whatever you want, but don't disparage those who use APRS  
for functions different than you want. APRS is open to participation  
of any licensed ham.

Steve K4HG

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