Talking to unlicensed ham operators

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godofbiscuits

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I have gotten my ham license recently, KM6GCQ here hello everyone!, and I joined an off road group where some of the members use ham handsets and don't have licenses.

I do my due diligence and tell them they need to have it, telling them how simple and cheap it is, but I am wondering some things.

1. Can I get fined for talking to them? I have been on one trip with them and they only use it to tell when vehicles are stopped, they don't chat on them.

2. Do people here refuse to talk to people who don't have licenses?
 

rescue161

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You can be fined and/or lose your license for talking to non-hams on ham frequencies.
 

N4DES

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As a licensee you have to abide by the rules. In section 1, which is the umbrella rule part over all of the sections it states this:

§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.


As to your direct questions, you could, but more likely they will see a fine if caught. It doesn't matter that they don't "chat", because any transmission is a violation.

As to #2, I won't talk to anyone that doesn't properly ID or uses a made up call.
 

kma371

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You can be fined and/or lose your license for talking to non-hams on ham frequencies.
Can you cite a source for that? I don't believe that's accurate. It's the operator of the station that has the responsibility to be licensed. If i made up a callsign and you were talking to me, you certainly wouldn't be held accountable.
 

jwt873

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I assume your off road buddies are using cheapie Chinese radios.

What frequencies are they using? Are they on amateur frequencies (2m or 70cm)? Are they using FRS/GMRS? Or have they just randomly dialed up some frequency that doesn't seem to be busy?

I would get them to use FRS/GMRS for communications. Even though they are most likely not certified for these services (which makes them still illegal to use). I doubt they are going to stop using them, so encouraging them to use FRS/GMRS will cause the least interference to licensed services.

If you really want to stay legal, then get a certified FRS radio or a GMRS radio and get the proper license. That way at least you won't be breaking any laws.

You can pick up something cheap like this: https://baofengtech.com/gmrs-v1 You can get them on Amazon in the $50 dollar range.
 

robertmac

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It could be called talking to a pirate station which is generally frowned on amongst decent amateur radio operators. That is if the pirate unlicenced individuals are operating within the amateur bands. Advise them, in person, to go to frequencies such as MURS and FRS. Talking to them on amateur bands will only encourage more of this illegal activity and turn amateur radio into CB.

Banned for encouraging legal and proper use of the crappy band.
 
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KK4JUG

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I assume your off road buddies are using cheapie Chinese radios.

What frequencies are they using? Are they on amateur frequencies (2m or 70cm)? Are they using FRS/GMRS? Or have they just randomly dialed up some frequency that doesn't seem to be busy?

I would get them to use FRS/GMRS for communications. Even though they are most likely not certified for these services (which makes them still illegal to use). I doubt they are going to stop using them, so encouraging them to use FRS/GMRS will cause the least interference to licensed services.

If you really want to stay legal, then get a certified FRS radio or a GMRS radio and get the proper license. That way at least you won't be breaking any laws.

You can pick up something cheap like this: https://baofengtech.com/gmrs-v1 You can get them on Amazon in the $50 dollar range.
Aren't there some regulations regarding removable antennae, non-FRS frequencies that would make those radios illegal? I don't use either but I think that would be allowable either.
 

toastycookies

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Aren't there some regulations regarding removable antennae, non-FRS frequencies that would make those radios illegal? I don't use either but I think that would be allowable either.
It's type accepted for Part 95a. You are thinking of Part 95b.
 

Token

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Can you cite a source for that? I don't believe that's accurate. It's the operator of the station that has the responsibility to be licensed. If i made up a callsign and you were talking to me, you certainly wouldn't be held accountable.
If you know the other station is not licensed you are in violation. Of course if the other station is presenting a callsign and you have no proof / indication the station is bootlegging you cannot be held accountable.

The original question was clearly worded to indicate that the person asking knew the other stations were not ham operators. That is not allowed under 97.111(a)(1):
(a) An amateur station may transmit the following types of two-way communications:
(1) Transmissions necessary to exchange messages with other stations in the amateur service

Communicating with a station you KNOW to not be in amateur service (unlicensed) would be counter to that direction.

The FCC sent a warning to station N9RSY for just such activity on 28 March, 2014. A station on frequency would not identify and N9RSY spent significant time trying to talk the station into IDing (they never did).

Enforcement Bureau Field Notice 14-00014749, sent 31 March, 2014.

T!
 

kma371

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If you know the other station is not licensed you are in violation. Of course if the other station is presenting a callsign and you have no proof / indication the station is bootlegging you cannot be held accountable.

The original question was clearly worded to indicate that the person asking knew the other stations were not ham operators. That is not allowed under 97.111(a)(1):
(a) An amateur station may transmit the following types of two-way communications:
(1) Transmissions necessary to exchange messages with other stations in the amateur service

Communicating with a station you KNOW to not be in amateur service (unlicensed) would be counter to that direction.

The FCC sent a warning to station N9RSY for just such activity on 28 March, 2014. A station on frequency would not identify and N9RSY spent significant time trying to talk the station into IDing (they never did).

Enforcement Bureau Field Notice 14-00014749, sent 31 March, 2014.

T!
Well that's certainly a source thanks. Seems reasonable for it to be true, just wanted clarification that an actual rule existed somewhere.

https://transition.fcc.gov/eb/AmateurActions/files/Churo14_05_31_5502.oth.html
 
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N4GIX

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If they have VHF equipment, I would encourage (nay - demand!) that they use one or more of the five MURS licensed-by-rule frequencies.
 

Seven-Delta-FortyOne

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Yes, you can be fined and lose your license for KNOWINGLY communicating with an unlicensed individual on Amateur frequencies.

No, I will NEVER talk to an unlicensed individual on the Amateur frequencies. That is the quickest way to ruin the service, and lose our band allotments. If you want to use the vast amount of band space and modes and infrastructure that is available in the Amateur service, GET YOUR DAMN LICENSE.


Another reason I hate Bao-Junk.


Delta
 

Token

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I cant even believe this question is even being asked being that the OP is an Ham your answer to your question was in the tech test its called Ham Radio Theory.
To be honest, as far as I know, this question is never clearly asked in the current Tech license pool, and the one question that sort of asks it is not on every test so it is VERY possible, probable even, that the OP never saw it on their specific Tech test.

The only question that I think addresses this is T1A12. This question asks "Which of the following is a permissible use of the Amateur Radio Service?" with a correct answer of "D. Allowing a person to conduct radio experiments and to communicate with other licensed hams around the world". It implies, but never directly says, if a person is unlicensed you can't talk to them.

Even the portion of the regulation that applies, 97.111(a)(1) does not state you can't talk to an unlicensed operator. It just describes who you can talk to, and an unlicensed op is not on the allowed list. Yes, that should be good enough, no doubt, but has every ham actually read the CURRENT Part 97 and does every ham remember every word of it? I know for my part I periodically review it, but I cannot say I remember every portion verbatim.

Regardless, I can't understand this attitude that you "can't even believe this question is being asked". Why not ask the question if the OP is unsure? In my mind questions and information exchange are the primary reasons these kinds of forums exist.

T!
 
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DaveNF2G

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Licensed hams should know a bit more about ham radio, especially the Rules, than appeared in whatever questions were on their exam.
 

KK4JUG

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To be honest, as far as I know, this question is never clearly asked in the current Tech license pool, and the one question that sort of asks it is not on every test so it is VERY possible, probable even, that the OP never saw it on their specific Tech test.T!
It's not a matter of whether it was on the test. It's a matter of whether it was in the study material making it something he/she should have known, whether they were tested on it or not
 

Token

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Licensed hams should know a bit more about ham radio, especially the Rules, than appeared in whatever questions were on their exam.
It's not a matter of whether it was on the test. It's a matter of whether it was in the study material making it something he/she should have known, whether they were tested on it or not
Possibly very good points, and I generally agree with both posts above, but that could dangerously lead us into a discussion of how the current testing format and mind set, in an attempt to be appealing to the most possible potential hams, encourages passing the tests by rote instead of by knowledge.

Like it or not, the majority of the people I know who have taken the test in the last couple decades have done so by rote. Practice the test from the question pool until you can pass, take the test, and there you go. Some go on to learn what it all means later, some never do. Fewer and fewer people pass by meaningful learning of the material, either from a study guide or from a class. I have attended club classes that were teaching by rote.

Regardless of if they SHOULD know it or not, by rote test or material based, should a person be derided for asking a question in a forum like this? No, a person should be free to ask whatever question related to the subject they want within the guidelines of the forum. No one reading any of these forums knows all the answers to every question pertinent to the subject, regardless of how it appears from some of the responses. Everyone has something to learn, at this exact moment some have a deeper knowledge base than others, and the way to increase the understanding of all is to ask, and answer, questions. Even seemingly simple questions.

And remember my response was directly to the prior statement that the answer was in the Tech test.
I cant even believe this question is even being asked being that the OP is an Ham your answer to your question was in the tech test its called Ham Radio Theory.
I simply pointed out this comment might be incorrect and that it possibly was NOT on the OPs Tech Tests.

T!
 
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jwt873

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If they have VHF equipment, I would encourage (nay - demand!) that they use one or more of the five MURS licensed-by-rule frequencies.
I second this.. Cheapie Chinese radios aren't type accepted for MURS, GMRS/FRS and can't legally be used there. But, it's less serious using them on frequencies set aside for use by the general public rather than talking on unauthorized frequencies reserved for other services.

Plus, on the 2 meter band, it's possible that ham(s) might hear them and start tracking them down. We had some guys on a local construction site using 2 meter frequencies. (On one of the satellite uplink frequencies no less). We found them through triangulation and notified the local radio authority. They were shut down.
 
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