The rules for operating KU1CW are governed by FCC Part 97. Although not
explicitly stated in Part 97, it’s clear that CEPT rules would only apply if
the remote operator is the control operator.
As long as the control operator holds a valid US license or reciprocal
operating privileges, and is present at a local or remote control point, the
location and license status of the other station operators doesn't matter. As
we all know, the other station operators don't even have to be licensed. Any
person, licensed or unlicensed, located anywhere in the world can operate your
station as long as you or another US licensed ham is present at a local or
remote control point.
"Present" isn't defined in Part 97, but it implies that the control operator
has to monitor the station at all times and be able to take control of it at
any time (e.g., sleeping in the next room doesn't cut it.) In theory,
multioperator contest stations should always have a designated control operator
(truly) present with the requisite privileges for operating the station, but we
all know this isn't always the case. That's a different issue.
So what happens when a person operating remotely from another country becomes
the control operator? Part 97 allows a person holding reciprocal operating
privileges to be the control operator, provided that the station doesn't exceed
the reciprocal operating privileges. It also says that the control operator can
be at a remote control point. It doesn't say that the person holding reciprocal
operating privileges has to be in the US.
My conclusion is that if KU1CW had, at all times, a control operator with a
valid US license or reciprocal operating privileges that allowed the station to
be operated as it was, then the operation was legal per FCC rules, regardless
of where the control operator was located, as long as it was a control point.
Licensing authorities can set operating rules only for stations that are
physically located within their borders. They cannot set operating rules for
stations located in other countries. CEPT only says that each licensing
authority will grant certain operating privileges for stations within its
borders to citizens of other member countries, which are based to some extent
on privileges granted by the country in which the citizen holds a license. For
a U.S. operation, the only issue is whether the holder of those privileges is
the control operator, whether the control operator was at a control point, and
whether the station was operated within the control operator's privileges.
CQ WW and WPX rules state that " A remotely operated station must obey all
station license, operator license, and category limitations." Similarly, ARRL
contest rules state that "All operators must observe the limitations of their
operator licenses and station licenses at all times." On the face of it, the
"station license" and "operator license" are granted by the licensing authority
in the country in which the station is located, so in the case of KU1CW the
rules are set by the FCC.
But it's possible that some countries explicitly forbid their citizens,
licensed or unlicensed, from remotely operating stations located in other
countries. That's something of a grey area because while you could say that the
"operator license" consists of both the home country license and reciprocal
operating privilege, and the terms of the home country license must be obeyed,
the term "operator license" doesn't apply to an unlicensed individual in
another country operating a station in the US under the auspices of a control
operator who has the required privileges. That's legal per the FCC, even if
that unlicensed person broke the law of his/her country by operating a station
in another country. The wording of the contest sponsor rules doesn't address
this case, at least not clearly.
73, Dick WC1M
From: Ria Jairam [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 12:27 PM
To: Stan Stockton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: W4AAW@aol.com; email@example.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Remote operation
I don't have a problem with remote contesting either, as long as it is done
legally and ethically.
The legality under CEPT for US operations at best is undetermined.
ARRL regulatory has one opinion which says that it is not. Individuals have
other opinions. What I do not see here is the FCC saying whether it is legal or
There is also a potential violation of US regulations if foreign operators
exceed the power and frequency limits of their home license.
Despite what W5OV says, Part 97, specifically 97.107 is extremely clear about
this. The operating terms and conditions of the home license must be observed.
This includes power and frequency limits.
The ethics, well that is up to an individual and their conscience.
On Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 11:50 AM, Stan Stockton <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Totally out of line!
> 73...Stan, K5GO
> Sent from Stan's IPhone
>> On Jun 7, 2017, at 10:18 AM, W4AAW@aol.com via CQ-Contest
>> <email@example.com> wrote:
>> Paul, EI5DI, says he knows that most or all remote operations are running
>> "unattended.". Well, how can he know this?
>> He surmises it because he suffers from a visceral hatred of any remote
>> My station is certainly is NOT unattended during contests. I am at the
>> station for the full duration of any contest we enter.
>> I am the Control Operator at all times.
>> Precious Paul, we are getting a little tired of your exaggerated and
>> often, inaccurate and baseless observations about remote contesting
>> We all get it: Paul hates remote operation. We also get that remote
>> contesting is here to stay. If is a burgeoning niche within contesting.
>> Mediocre contesters who try to peddle a third or fourth rate app, to the
>> uninformed are not to be taken seriously. Does any top ten station use
>> contesting software from Ireland?
>> Thought not.
>> Mike W4AAW
>> CQ-Contest mailing list
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