"Emergency Radio" False and Fictitious Statements

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dwh367

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I've been getting a lot of Facebook ads touting "Emergency Radios" where the vendors are basically trying to tell the general public that, in an emergency, they can legally transmit on the ham bands to get assistance. They're using 97.403 as a basis for this but conveniently leaving out "amateur station". We all know the kind of problems this can lead up to if things would ever head south. Does anyone else think that maybe we should campaign the FCC to put a stop this nonsense? Just one person complaining wouldn't even be a blip on their radar but if multiple people complained it might actually get their attention. Here is a quote from My Emergency Radio

The FCC rules state that EVEN THOSE without an FCC license may LEGALLY TRANSMIT on a HAM Radio, in the event of an emergency/threat of life (meaning, a national emergency).

This is just one company. There are others are doing the same.
 

dwh367

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That's correct. As I mentioned a lot of places are leaving out "amateur station" though and wording it like this:
No provision of these rules prevents the use of radiocommunications at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.
They're basically trying to encourage John Q. Public to transmit on our bands without a license.
 

K4EET

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You are correct 👍🏻. Fortunately, the FCC is starting to be proactive in cracking down on some CCRs being sold here as well as some companies, i.e. Amazon. I would suspect that your concern is on the FCC’s radar screen. What we don’t know is the priority level.

Have you brought this to the ARRL’s attention to see if they are doing anything?
 

K4EET

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I can give it a try but I'm not sure how serious they would take a non member.
Let me send an eMail to the ARRL today as I’ve been a Life Member since 1974. I also used to be an “Official Observer (OO)” with the ARRL. I’ll cite this thread and see if they have any comments. I doubt if they would post here but I’ll let you know what they have to say.

73, Dave K4EET
 

dwh367

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Let me send an eMail to the ARRL today as I’ve been a Life Member since 1974. I also used to be an “Official Observer (OO)” with the ARRL. I’ll cite this thread and see if they have any comments. I doubt if they would post here but I’ll let you know what they have to say.

73, Dave K4EET
Thanks.
 

merlin

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I see many of these and nothing more than a vehicle to sell crap wothless radios. Amateur band is a very poor place for emergency backup anyway.
You would be just as legal in an emergency to use the likes of US coast guard exclusive frequencies.
They define emergency as "eminent threat to life or rescue of serious injury"
(just an example)
The last thing you would want to do is interfere with any ongoing comms of this nature.
 

K4EET

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<snip> The last thing you would want to do is interfere with any ongoing comms of this nature.
Merlin, just for clarification, are you thinking to not interfere with any communications currently going on with the FCC or are you saying not to interfere with any illegal communications with unlicensed operators? I suspect the former although both would be correct.

Thanks buddy! Dave K4EET
 

G7RUX

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That's correct. As I mentioned a lot of places are leaving out "amateur station" though and wording it like this:

They're basically trying to encourage John Q. Public to transmit on our bands without a license.
I wonder if they are interpreting "amateur station" as meaning "not professional" rather than "Licensed Amateur Radio Station" and so, in their interpretation, including Joe Le Publique in that bracket?
 

MTS2000des

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The biggest missing piece that the prepper whacker community doesn't get it isn't equipment alone, it's the skill of the operator. Any portable radio requires infrastructure to get wide area coverage. Whether it's a Bowelturd or a Motorola APX8000, without quality infrastructure that survives "the zombie invasion", a 5 watt portable radio is good for maybe 1-2 miles of reliable coverage in most urban/suburban settings.

The prepper whackers watch way too many Netflix shows where people use "walkie talkies" all over town and think their bucket o' Bowelturds will save them when AT&Trash has their next network failure.

Real hams know how to adapt, overcome, and engineer solutions to fit the need. That's the part about that "trained pool of operators" the FCC referenced in our "basis and purpose" in subpart D many overlook. It isn't the tools, it's the operator that make it or break it. Merely having something and not knowing how to use it is worse than not having it at all.
 

W9WSS

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Let me send an eMail to the ARRL today as I’ve been a Life Member since 1974. I also used to be an “Official Observer (OO)” with the ARRL. I’ll cite this thread and see if they have any comments. I doubt if they would post here but I’ll let you know what they have to say.

73, Dave K4EET
Dave, have you considered applying as a Volunteer Monitor with the ARRL? Riley Hollingsworth K4ZDH can always use more qualified applicants. Many of us were previously "OOs," and Riley will consider applicants who meet the current qualifications. Duties are much different and so are the reporting procedures for the Volunteer Monitors. Go to the ARRL website for further information.
 

K4EET

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Dave, have you considered applying as a Volunteer Monitor with the ARRL? Riley Hollingsworth K4ZDH can always use more qualified applicants. Many of us were previously "OOs," and Riley will consider applicants who meet the current qualifications. Duties are much different and so are the reporting procedures for the Volunteer Monitors. Go to the ARRL website for further information.
I had considered applying before the changeover from OO to VM occured but realistically, due to my health, I thought it best to not continue the “policing” efforts. I just don’t have the time nor energy anymore. While I wish that I could have helped as a VM, I’ll be happy in knowing that perhaps I could help in some small way as this thread indicates. I do sincerely appreciate your support and confidence in me and my abilities. You made my day!

73, Dave K4EET
 

mmckenna

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They're basically trying to encourage John Q. Public to transmit on our bands without a license.

Yes, I think someone should make sure the FCC is aware.

And while they are at it, they also need to remind amateur radio licensees that they also have zero permissions to transmit outside the amateur radio bands with their license in an emergency (either real or imagined in their whacker-addled brains). Some amateur radio operators are guilty of doing the exact same thing as this company and working hard to convince other amateurs that a misinterpreted rule gives them permission to transmit where they are not licensed and have zero permissions.

But, yes, I agree.
 

paulears

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There has not been, when I researched in a legal database back in the 90s, any record of a prosecution for using ANY radio in a genuine emergency. Plenty in most countries where people were causing trouble, or pretending to be licenced and the stupid stuff, but there are numerous examples of ordinary citizens doing things without licences. People flying planes when the pilot becomes incapacitated or worse. They fly a plane without a licence, use the radio without a licence and they get support from the other end, not threats. Passengers on boats using those radios, ordinary citizens calling on a police car radio to request help when the officer is injured or unable to use the radio. The term 'Mayday' is used when there is serious, immediate risk to life and you could use any radio system you can find.

Amateur radio equipment is way down the list, because if range, propagation and maybe even complexity of operation - plus nobody responds to some calls no matter how vital they may be. If you are on the coast, then calling on channel 16 would probably be my radio of choice to get an answer. If we're talking about independence day situations, then the real question would be who are you trying to talk to? If we are talking about a situation where normal social activity breaks down, then HF ham radio makes sense - if you know how to drive them. Walkie-talkie manufacturers routinely plaster their boxes and adverts with stupid claims anyway - this is just one more, for gullible people to waste their money on.
 

G7RUX

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There has not been, when I researched in a legal database back in the 90s, any record of a prosecution for using ANY radio in a genuine emergency. Plenty in most countries where people were causing trouble, or pretending to be licenced and the stupid stuff, but there are numerous examples of ordinary citizens doing things without licences. People flying planes when the pilot becomes incapacitated or worse. They fly a plane without a licence, use the radio without a licence and they get support from the other end, not threats. Passengers on boats using those radios, ordinary citizens calling on a police car radio to request help when the officer is injured or unable to use the radio. The term 'Mayday' is used when there is serious, immediate risk to life and you could use any radio system you can find.

Amateur radio equipment is way down the list, because if range, propagation and maybe even complexity of operation - plus nobody responds to some calls no matter how vital they may be. If you are on the coast, then calling on channel 16 would probably be my radio of choice to get an answer. If we're talking about independence day situations, then the real question would be who are you trying to talk to? If we are talking about a situation where normal social activity breaks down, then HF ham radio makes sense - if you know how to drive them. Walkie-talkie manufacturers routinely plaster their boxes and adverts with stupid claims anyway - this is just one more, for gullible people to waste their money on.
Indeed, it is really rather unlikely that anyone would find themselves in hot water for using a radio unlicensed in a real emergency. However, what many people seem to view as an emergency really isn’t and they often try to use it as a justification for not comply with the rules.

If you’re in a light aircraft and the pilot conks out you aren’t going to get “stuck on” for calling Mayday and the same is true on a boat but those events are incredibly rare.
To be honest, in a proper, worldwide or countrywide emergency of the type people often talk about then most radio stuff available to them wouldn’t be much use…they would probably get on pretty well in that eventuality with CB to be honest since they are far more likely to be able to find someone to talk to.
 

N4DES

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These rule parts trump Part 97...

§ 1.902 Scope.​

In case of any conflict between the rules set forth in this subpart and the rules set forth in parts 13, 20, 22, 24, 27, 30, 74, 80, 87, 90, 95, 96, 97, and 101 of title 47, chapter I of the Code of Federal Regulations, the rules in this part shall govern.

§ 1.903 Authorization required.​


(a) General rule. Stations in the Wireless Radio Services must be used and operated only in accordance with the rules applicable to their particular service as set forth in this title and with a valid authorization granted by the Commission under the provisions of this part, except as specified in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Restrictions. The holding of an authorization does not create any rights beyond the terms, conditions and period specified in the authorization. Authorizations may be granted upon proper application, provided that the Commission finds that the applicant is qualified in regard to citizenship, character, financial, technical and other criteria, and that the public interest, convenience and necessity will be served. See §§ 301, 308, and 309, 310 of this chapter.
 
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