[amsat-bb] Re: Way-OT: Re: Full Duplex HT's (Howard Kowall) (Ben Jackson)

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Wed Jun 10 17:21:04 PDT 2009

Hi Clint!

> The original post described a commercial HT ... operating WAY OUT of
> the 2M and 440 amateur bands. For marketing and sales within the
> United States, FCC certification is required.
> Do people purchase non-FCC-certified commercial rigs and use them on
> the amateur bands? Yes.
> Is it legal to do so? No.

The problem with this whole line of messages is that two completely separate
issues are being thrown together - the purchase and use of the non-FCC-
certified radios by hams on the ham bands.  I am not a lawyer.  Here goes...

First of all, FCC requires certification for ham gear in two instances:

1. Amplifiers for bands below 144 MHz. (see 97.315 and 97.317 of the
FCC rules, http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/news/part97/ )
2. Ham receivers or transceivers that cover outside ham bands above
30 MHz (receivers outside ham bands are covered by FCC Part 15;
transmitters outside the ham bands would be covered by another part
or part of the FCC rules depending on the frequencies covered).

Take a look at this web site:


This lets you search the FCC Equipment Authorization Database.  Take
the FCC ID number off your radio, cell phone, or anything else that might
have that number, and you get access to information about that item.
There is the grant of certification, sometimes there is other information like
test reports, copies of manuals, photos (internal and/or external), and other
items submitted by the manufacturer or importer/distributor as part of the

If you have a dual-band HT or mobile, put that ID number into the link above
and read the grant.  The grant only covers the receiver, not the transmitter
part of the radio.  It will be certified according to some subpart of FCC Part
15, *not* Part 97.  Sometimes the grant will be for the frequency ranges
outside the ham bands (this is all that FCC requires), but many will also
get certification for the ham bands to simplify the application.  If the gear
only covers the ham bands, or is confined to operation below 30 MHz
(i.e., no expanded low-VHF or 6m coverage), certification is not required.

It appears that US Customs is not concerned with individuals buying these
non-certified radios in very small quantities from offshore shops or eBay
storefronts etc.  If HRO, AES, etc. wanted to advertise one of these non-
certified radios, then I would expect FCC to step in and question it.  Note
that the major ham manufacturers tease us with advertisements for new
radios in the magazines before certification has been granted by FCC,
but with a disclaimer that the radio cannot be offered for sale or lease
until that certification is granted.  A way to step around restrictions on
marketing a non-certified radio, I think.  It appears that FCC has not
tried to get eBay to stop those non-US sellers of the non-certified gear
from being visible to US visitors to that site.  And the big 3 or 4 ham
manufacturers still announce radios without FCC certification with that
disclaimer in the ad.

Now on to using these radios.  Clint - since you have been stridently
insisting on the illegality of using non-FCC-certified radios on the US
ham bands, could you please show us the specific law/rule/regulation
that states that hams cannot use non-certified commercial gear in the
ham bands?  I am aware of is the technical requirements in FCC
Part 97, Subpart D, which cover whatever radio - homebrew, kit, or
made in a factory - that we may decide to use on the ham bands
and other parts about not causing interference etc.  The radio may
not be FCC certified, but if it meets Part 97 - and the licensee is not
transmitting outside the bounds of his/her license with it - that's what
FCC is interested in.  FCC Part 97 does not speak to the origin of
the radio or whether or not it has certification (except for HF and 6m
amplifiers, which require certification as outlined in 97.315 and

Now, where was I again?  Oh, yes, the AMSAT-BB list, talking about
amateur satellites...    ;-)



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