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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB008 (2006)

ARLB008 FCC WRC-03 amateur rule changes now in effect

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 8  ARLB008
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  May 3, 2006
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB008 FCC WRC-03 amateur rule changes now in effect

Several FCC Part 97 Amateur Radio rule revisions to implement
changes agreed to at the international level during World
Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) now are in effect. The
FCC Order, released in January, affects 97.111, Authorized
transmissions; 97.113, Prohibited transmissions; 97.115, Third party
communications, and 97.117, International communications. The
Federal Register published the changes May 3.

''These amendments will ensure that the Commission's Amateur Radio
Service rules conform to Article 25 of the international Radio
Regulations adopted at the 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference,
and will further the Commission's ongoing efforts to streamline its
Amateur Service Rules,'' the FCC Order said. ''The overall effect of
this action is to update the Part 97 Amateur Radio Service rules in
the Code of Federal Regulations to conform to now-effective
international agreements.''

The FCC Order revises:

* 97.111(a)(1) to permit ''transmissions necessary to exchange
messages with other stations in the Amateur Service, except those in
any country whose administration has notified the ITU that it
objects to such communications. The FCC will issue public notices of
current arrangements for international communications.'' The old
language permitted communication among amateur stations in different
countries ''except those in any country whose administration has
given notice that it objects to such communications.'' The FCC said
the change does not prejudice its proposal to amend 97.111(a)(2) to
clarify that amateur stations may, at all times and on all
authorized channels, transmit communications necessary to meet
essential needs and to facilitate relief actions.

* 97.115(a)(2) to facilitate the transmission of international
communications on behalf of third parties in emergency or
disaster-relief situations, whether or not a third-party agreement
is in place between the US and the countries involved. The revision
now permits communication with any non-US station ''when transmitting
emergency or disaster relief communications'' as well as with any
non-US station ''whose administration has made arrangements with the
United States to allow amateur stations to be used for transmitting
international communications on behalf of third parties.'' The
revised rule further provides that no station may transmit
third-party traffic other than emergency or disaster relief
communications to a station in a country lacking a third-party
arrangement. Still excepted from the prohibition is any third party
eligible to be the control operator of an amateur station.

* 97.113(a)(4) to prohibit amateur stations exchanging messages with
amateur stations in other countries from making transmissions that
are encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning, except for
control signals exchanged between Earth command stations and space
stations in the Amateur-Satellite service, something Part 97 already
provides for. The old rule referred to the use of ''codes and
ciphers.'' The same rule also already prohibits transmitting music,
communications intended to facilitate a criminal act, obscene or
indecent words or language and false or deceptive messages, signals
or identification.

* 97.117 to state that amateur stations may transmit communications
incidental to the purposes of the Amateur Service and to remarks of
a personal character.

The FCC also revised 97.3 and 97.309 to update the definition of
International Morse code and of various digital codes in the amateur
rules to reflect changes in the international Radio Regulations.


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