FCC Rules and Regs

Your ham radio operator license is a United States federal license subject to very specific rules and regulations that must be adhered to. These are delineated in Part 97 of the FCC rules. Here’s a sample:

  • The FCC database must contain your correct current address. If mail sent to you by the FCC is returned as “undeliverable,” your license could be revoked.
  • The FCC has the power, at any time, to inspect your “station” and records at any time. This is highly unlikely to happen, but if it does, you need to fully cooperate.
  • During a transmission, you must identify yourself by saying your call sign every 10 minutes, and then at the end of the transmission.
  • You are not allowed to use any “secret codes” during a transmission.
  • Except in an emergency situation, you cannot operate outside of the transmission privileges that correspond to your license level (Technician, General, or Extra). Doing so could result in a complaint to the FCC against you and could put your license in jeopardy.
  • An “emergency situation” is one that involves the immediate safety of human life or protection of property. Such a transmission must begin with saying “Priority” or “Emergency” plus your call sign.

You must adhere to these and all of the rules noted in FCC Part 97.

NOTE: Although the ham radio community is a brother- sister-hood and members will probably correct newbies first rather than report them in a complaint, don’t count on that leniency. Know the rules!

To access the FCC Part 97 rules:

  1. Go to Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.
  2. Select “Title 47 Telecommunications” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select “80-199” from the “Browse Parts” column.
  4. Select “97 Amateur Radio Service” from the “Part” column.