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FCC Dismisses Two Amateur Radio-Related Petitions


On Wednesday, December 9, the Federal Communications Commission dismissed two separate Petitions for Rulemaking: One filed by Murray Green, K3BEQ, concerning the operation of repeater stations in the Amateur Service, and one filed by Glen Zook, K9STH, requesting amending Section 97.119(a) to change how often stations must identify themselves.

Murray Green, K3BEQ (DA 09-2559)

In his Petition, Green -- who filed his Petition on March 23, 2009 -- requested that the FCC amend Section 97.205(e) of its Rules "to prohibit a repeater station licensee or control operator from limiting the use of a repeater to only certain user stations, unless a user blatantly violates the Commission's Rules." Green argued that Section 97.205(e) -- which permits a repeater station licensee or control operator to limit the use of a repeater to certain user stations -- conflicts with Section 97.101(b) which states that no frequency is for the exclusive use of a particular amateur station, and each station's licensees must cooperate in selecting transmitting channels and in making the most effective use of the Amateur Service frequencies. In his Petition, Green argued that Section 97.205(e) permits "a pay for use policy in the Amateur Radio Service, enables user censorship and intimidation, breeds on the air inactivity by not using frequencies effectively and creates a negative public image."

In denying Green's Petition, the FCC concluded that Section 97.205(e) does not establish an exclusive assignment of a frequency to a repeater, saying that Green's contention that a coordinated closed repeater has "exclusive control of an Amateur Service frequency." The Commission noted that coordination is not required as a condition of operating a repeater: "Coordination does not and cannot result in assignment or establish control of an Amateur Service channel," the FCC said in its reply, "and nothing in the rules prohibits other amateur stations from using the channels for which a repeater has been coordinated when they are not being used by the repeater. Section 97.205(e) merely enables a repeater licensee or control operator to control the repeater so that he or she can ensure the repeater is properly operated as required by Section 97.105(a). Accordingly, there is no conflict between the rules, and no grounds for the Commission to propose to amend Section 97.105(a)."

The FCC advised Green that questions concerning the impact of the operational decisions of a repeater control operator, licensee or trustee -- such as limiting the repeater's use to certain stations -- should be addressed to the local frequency coordinator so that repeater problem can be "expeditiously dealt with at the local level by people with first-hand knowledge of the facts."

Glen Zook, K9STH (DA 09-2564)

Zook filed his Petition on April 7, 2009, requesting that the Commission's Rules "be amended to incorporate certain portions of the Commission's former station identification rule." He said that "the Section 97.119(a) are open to individual interpretation which may, or may not, meet the expectations of the Commission," and that certain portions "are, on a very routine basis, ignored by a significant number of amateur radio operators." The FCC noted that Section 97.119(a) currently provides that an amateur station "must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions."

Zook proposed that the FCC add to Section 97.119(a) certain portions of the Commission's former station identification rule, specifically "to require that an amateur station transmit its call sign during the first transmission of any communication or series of transmissions, and to allow an amateur station to not transmit its call sign at the end of a communication when the communication or series of transmissions lasts less than three minutes."

The FCC noted that in May 2006, Zook had filed another Petition requesting that the Commission amend Section 97.119(a) to require that call signs be transmitted at the beginning of each transmission or series of transmissions: "In response, the Commission received approximately one hundred comments, generally opposing the petition. In 2007, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's Mobility Division dismissed this petition, concluding that the requested rule changes were not necessary and were not supported by the Amateur Radio community, and noting that the commenters believed that the current station identification rule properly balances the burden of requiring the station to transmit its call sign with the convenience of those receiving the transmissions to determine the identity of the station making the transmissions."

In denying Zook's present Petition, the FCC said that his request "does not assert or demonstrate that circumstances have changed since 2007 with respect to the adequacy of the current station identification rule," the FCC concluded that it does not present grounds for the Commission to propose amending Section 97.119(a): "Your current proposal, like your previous petition, does not demonstrate that revising the station identification requirement as requested would address the concern that many Amateur Radio operators do not identify their station timely or at all, or that the problem of station operators not complying with the present rule cannot be addressed by enforcement of the present rule rather than a rule change."



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