Technician Class Series – Call Signs

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Hello everybody and welcome back to my Technician Class Series. I hope that everyone enjoyed part one of this series any hopefully you might even have learned something. Today we will be talking about Call Signs. This series is based loosely on the Technician Class book written by Gordon West, WB6NOA, with Eric P. Nichols, KL7AJ. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, click on the link below or goto the Buy Ham Radio Stuff link at the top of the page.

As I mentioned in my last post, I recommend that you only read the correct answer. That way when you take the test and read the question, the correct answer will be more likely to jump out at you. Some say that this is not the way to study for your test. I will agree that you don’t learn as much, maybe, but this hobby is ever-changing and you will constantly be learning about it. Lets dive right into the questions in this section…


 

T1F03 When is an amateur station required to transmit its assigned call sign?

A. At the beginning of each contact, and every 10 minutes thereafter
B. At least once during each transmission
C. At least every 15 minutes during and at the end of a communication
D. At least every 10 minutes during and at the end of a communication

EXPLANATION: A lot of new hams that I have dealt with somehow come under the impression that when you call someone on the radio, that you have to use their call sign. While it is true that it is common practice to do it. When I call my father on the radio, I normally say, KC5PWQ, K5CLM. The first call sign you say is normally the person you are calling and the second is your own. However, it is not required by FCC Rules. I can key up on the radio and say, “Hey Gerald, are you around?” or “by the radio?” or something like that and it is perfectly legal. As long as I say my call sign every 10 minutes, if we talk that long and at the end of my conversation, I’m legal.

§97.119 Station identification.
(a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station,  must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions. No station may transmit unidentified communications or signals, or transmit as the station call sign,  any call sign not authorized to the station.

T1D11 When may an amateur station transmit without identifying?

A. When the transmissions are of a brief nature to make station adjustments
B. When the transmissions are unmodulated
C. When the transmitted power level is below 1 watt
D. When transmitting signals to control a model craft

EXPLANATION: There is only one time in amateur radio where you don’t have to give your call sign over the air. That time is when you are controlling a remote-controlled model, like an airplane, boat or car. Since you really can’t transmit it over the air, you have to put a label on your transmitter with your call sign, name and address . I have seen some controllers that have little flags on the end of the antenna. It can be used to check wind speed and direction. You could make a little flag with your call sign on it and there ya go.

T8C08  What is required in place of on-air station identification when sending signals to a radio control model using amateur frequencies?

A. Voice identification must be transmitted every 10 minutes
B. Morse code ID must be sent once per hour
C. A label indicating the licensee’s name, call sign and address must be affixed to the transmitter
D. A flag must be affixed to the transmitter antenna with the station call sign in 1 inch high letters or larger

§97.215 Telecommand of model craft.
An amateur station transmitting signals to control a model craft may be operated as follows:
(a) The station identification procedure is not required for transmissions directed only to the model craft, provided that a label indicating the station call sign and the station licensee’s name and address is affixed to the station transmitter.

 

T8C07  What is the maximum power allowed when transmitting telecommand signals to radio controlled models?

A. 500 milliwatts
B. 1 watt
C. 25 watts
D. 1500 watts

EXPLANATION: Even though, one watt doesn’t like very much. One watt will actually allow you to control your device for a long distance. One of the things that you have to remember with and radio transmission, the more the modulation, the more power you need to talk farther. With a few exceptions to the rule, if you have 50 watts transmitter power, you will be able to talk further on a digital type signal over an analog type signal. A digital type signal would be like CW or RTTY or telecommand and an analog type signal is voice. If you look at a digital type signal on an oscilloscope the amplitude and/or bandwidth will be less than that of an analog type signal, therefore converting into a stronger or cleaner signal and farther distance. So, it would probably be a good idea to put your name and address on your remote-controlled vehicle, just in case you lose sight of it by accident and loose it. That would be a bad thing, I think.

§97.215 Telecommand of model craft.
An amateur station transmitting signals to control a model craft may be operated as follows:

(c) The transmitter power must not exceed 1 W.

 

T1C02 Which of the following is a valid US amateur radio station call sign?

A. KMA3505
B. W3ABC
C. KDKA
D. 11Q1176

EXPLANATION: With amateur radio call signs in the US, there are two things that you must remember: the letters W,A,N, and K and all US call signs only have one number. So lets break down the answers above. The first option, even though it starts with the correct letter, has four numbers in it, so that can’t be it. The third choice doesn’t have any numbers in it at all, so that can’t be it either. The third option is actually a commercial radio broadcast call sign, the first on in the US to be exact, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The last one has mostly numbers and doesn’t start with a W,A,N or K so that’s not it. So that leaves you with Answer B.

T1C12 Who may select a desired call sign under the vanity call sign rules?

A. Only licensed amateurs with general or extra class licenses
B. Only licensed amateurs with an extra class license
C. Only an amateur licensee who has been licensed continuously for more than 10 years
D. Any licensed amateur

EXPLANATION: Once you have your license, you can change your call sign to something else of your choosing, if the call sign is available. I, myself, did this about ten years ago. When I first got my license, my issued call sign was KC5PWP. Several years after I got my license, I changed my call sign to match my initials.

There are a few limitations as to what arrangement of letters you can apply for based on what license class you are. You can choose whatever number that you like, no matter where you live. We will cover the numbering scheme for the US a little later. Aside from a very few FCC-limited choices, Extra class licensees can choose virtually any vacant but valid US call sign — FCC call sign Groups A, B, C or D. Although Advanced class licensees cannot seek the special 1×2, 2×1 or 2×2 (beginning with letter “A”) Extra class type call signs, they can seek a 2×2 or 1×3 call sign (beginning with prefix N, K or W), or a 2×3 call sign (beginning with prefix letter K or W) — FCC call sign Groups B, C or D. General or Technician class licensees can seek a 1×3 call sign (beginning with prefix N, K or W), or 2×3 call sign (beginning with prefix letter K or W) — FCC call sign Groups C or D. Novice licensees also have access to the Vanity program. Novices can seek a 2×3 call sign (beginning with prefix letter K or W) of their choice — FCC call sign Group D.

To learn more about the vanity call sign system, check out the ARRL page

T1C05  Which of the following is a vanity call sign which a technician class amateur operator might select if available?

A. K1XXX
B. KA1X
C. W1XX
D. All of these choices are correct

 

T1C01 Which type of call sign has a single letter in both its prefix and suffix?

A. Vanity
B. Sequential
C. Special event
D. In-memoriam

EXPLANATION: The 1X1 call signs, are used on a short-term basis and are called special event call signs. The are issued from 15 days or less, but the coordinators ask that they only be used during the special event. If your club is doing a veterans day special event station, you can request a call sign like W5V and use that call sign during the event. Everyone that participates in the event uses the same call sign and is able to use whatever frequencies the applying persons class license allows. For example, if an extra class operator applies for the call sign, then anyone that is using that call sign during the event can use whatever frequencies that an amateur extra class can use, even if they are a technician class operator themselves. On the other side of that though, if a technician class operator applies for it and an extra class operator is using the call sign, they can not use what their license allows, but what the technician class allows. So if you do a special event, try to have a person that has a higher class license apply for it.

(a)(11) Call sign system.
The method used to select a call sign for amateur station over-the-air identification purposes. The call sign systems are:
(iii) Special event call sign system. The call sign is selected by the station licensee from a list of call signs shown on a common data base coordinated, maintained and disseminated by the amateur station special event call sign data base coordinators. The call sign must have the single letter prefix K, N or W, followed by a single numeral 0 through 9, followed by a single letter A  through W or Y or Z (for example K1A). The special event call sign is substituted for the call sign shown on the station license grant while the station is transmitting. The FCC will issue public announcements detailing the procedures of the special event call sign system.

T2B09 Which of the following methods is encouraged by the FCC when identifying your station when using phone?

A. Use of a phonetic alphabet
B. Send your call sign in CW as well as voice
C. Repeat your call sign three times
D. Increase your signal to full power when identifying

EXPLANATION: By using the Phonetic alphabet, people can understand your call sign, especially if they have never talked to your before. In all of my years of experience, in both amateur and law enforcement, I have learned that even though you can understand a person just fine in person, they sound totally different on the radio. Either they, hold the mic to close or to far from their mouth, they talk directly into it or across it, or just don’t plain speak clearly. many things contribute to people on the receiving end not being able to understand you. Not to mention, some letters/numbers sound like other letters/numbers over the radio, like 9 and 5 for example.

 ITU International Phonetic Alphabet
 A – Alpha – AL fah  J – Juliet – JEW lee ett S – Sierra – SEE air rah
 B – Bravo – BRAH voh  K – Kil – KEY loh  T – Tango – TANG go
 C – Charlie – CHAR lee  L – Lima – LEE mah  U – Uniform – YOU nee form
 D – Delta – DELL tah  M – Mike – MIKE  W – Whiskey – WISS key
 E – Echo – ECK ohh  N – November – NO vem ber  X – X-ray – ECKS ray
 F – Foxtrot – FOKS trot  O – Oscar – OSS car  Y – Yankee – YANG kee
G – Golf – GOLF  P – Papa – PAH pah  Z – Zulu – ZOO loo
H – Hotel – HOH tel  Q – Quebec – KEH beck
I – India – IN dee ah  R – Romeo – ROW me o
[97.119(b)(2)] By a phone emission in the English language. Use of a phonetic alphabet as an aid for correct station identification is encouraged;

T1F12 How many persons are required to be members of a club for a club station license to be issued by the FCC?

A. At least 5
B. At least 4
C. A trustee and 2 officers
D. At least 2

EXPLANATION: The requirements for a club to apply for a club call sign are as follows:

  • At least 4 people to make up the club
  • The club must have a name
  • A document of organization
  • a list of management
  • the primary purpose devoted to amateur radio service activities

T1C14 Who may select a vanity call sign for a club station?

A. Any Extra Class member of the club
B. Any member of the club
C. Any officer of the club
D. Only the person named as trustee on the club station license grant

§97.21 Application for a modified or renewed license grant.
(a) A person holding a valid amateur station license grant:
(1) Must apply to the FCC for a modification of the license grant as necessary to show the correct mailing address, licensee name, club name, license trustee name, or license custodian name in accordance with §1.913 of this chapter. For a club or military recreation station license grant, the application must be presented in document form to a Club Station Call Sign Administrator who must submit the information thereon to the FCC in an electronic batch file. The Club Station Call Sign Administrator must retain the collected information for at least 15 months and make it available to the FCC upon request. A Club Station Call Sign Administrator shall not file with the  Commission any application to modify a club station license grant that was submitted by a person other than the trustee as shown on the license grant, except an application to change the club station license trustee. An application to modify a club station license grant to change the license trustee name must be submitted to a Club Station Call Sign Administrator and must be signed by an officer of the club.

T1F01 What type of identification is being used when identifying a station on the air as Race Headquarters?

A. Tactical call sign
B. An official call sign reserved for RACES drills
C. SSID
D. Broadcast station

EXPLANATION: Tactical call signs are very helpful, especially in a larger net. If you are operating during a bike race. You are one of 10 other operators that are stationed at the 8 different checkpoints along the race course. Even though, it is part of the net control operators responsibilities to keep track of everyone and know where everyone is at all times, stations at other checkpoints might not remember who is at the other checkpoints. Lets say that you are at checkpoint 5, and you have the bike mechanic at your location. At checkpoint 7, there is a biker that has a flat tire, or broken spoke or something like that. The operator at check point 7, probably wont know that you are at check point 5. The operator at check point 7, can call you on the radio by saying, “Check point 5, can you send the bike mechanic to check point 7 for a bike repair?”

 

T1F02 When using tactical identifiers such as “Race Headquarters” during a community service net operation, how often must your station transmit the station’s FCC-assigned call sign?

A. Never, the tactical call is sufficient
B. Once during every hour
C. At the end of each communication and every ten minutes during a communication
D. At the end of every transmission

§97.119 Station identification.
(a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least every 10 minutes during a communication, for the purpose of clearly making the source of the transmissions from the station known to those receiving the transmissions. No station may transmit unidentified communications or signals, or transmit as the station call sign, any call sign not authorized to the station

 

T1F04 Which of the following is an acceptable language to use for station identification when operating in a phone sub-band?

A. Any language recognized by the United Nations
B. Any language recognized by the ITU
C. The English language
D. English, French, or Spanish

EXPLANATION: If you are lucky enough to be able to talk to someone in another country on amateur radio and you know the language of the person you are talking to. You can talk in that language as a courtesy to the other operator, however, every ten minutes and at the end of your conversation, you are required to give your call sign in English.

[97.119(B)(2)] By a phone emission in the English language. Use of a phonetic alphabet as an aid for correct station identification is encouraged;

T1F06 Which of the following formats of a self-assigned indicator is acceptable when identifying using a phone transmission?

A. KL7CC stroke W3
B. KL7CC slant W3
C. KL7CC slash W3
D. All of these choices are correct

[97.11(c)] One or more indicators may be included with the call sign. Each indicator must be separated from the call sign by the slant mark (/) or by any suitable word that denotes the slant mark. If an indicator is self-assigned, it must be included before, after, or both before and after, the call sign. No self-assigned indicator may conflict with any other indicator specified by the FCC Rules or with any prefix assigned to another country.

T1F08 Which indicator is required by the FCC to be transmitted after a station call sign?

A. /M when operating mobile
B. /R when operating a repeater
C. / followed the FCC Region number when operating out of the region in which the license was issued
D. /KT, /AE or /AG when using new license privileges earned by CSCE while waiting for an upgrade to a previously issued license to appear in the FCC license database

[97.119(f)] When the control operator is a person who is exercising the rights and privileges authorized by §97.9(b) of this part, an indicator must be included after the call sign as follows:
(1) For a control operator who has requested a license modification from Novice Class to Technical Class: KT;
(2) For a control operator who has requested a license modification from Novice or Technician to General Class: AG;
(3) For a control operator who has requested a license modification from Novice, Technician, General, or Advanced Class to Amateur Extra Class: AE.

T1B01  What is the ITU?

A. An agency of the United States Department of Telecommunications Management
B. A United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues
C. An independent frequency coordination agency
D. A department of the FCC

EXPLANATION: The United States, like most other countries, is a member of the International Telecommunications Union. The ITU helps to establish uniform and agreed-upon regulations and frequency rules for radio services of member nations.

T1B12 Why are frequency assignments for U.S. stations operating maritime mobile not the same everywhere in the world?

A. Amateur maritime mobile stations in international waters must conform to the frequency assignments of the country nearest to their vessel
B. Amateur frequency assignments can vary among the three ITU regions
C. Frequency assignments are determined by the captain of the vessel
D.Amateur frequency assignments are different in each of the 90 ITU zones

EXPLANATION: The ITU manages world-wide communications by dividing the Earth into three large regions. There are different frequency allocations for land and maritime operations.

T1B02 Why are the frequency assignments for some U.S. Territories different from those in the 50 U.S. States?

A. Some U. S. Territories are located in ITU regions other than region 2
B. Territorial governments are allowed to select their own frequency allocations
C. Territorial frequency allocations must also include those of adjacent countries
D. Any territory that was in existence before the ratification of the Communications Act of 1934 is exempt from FCC frequency regulations

EXPLANATION: The majority of the US Territories are located in region 2 of the ITU regions, however there are a few that are located in region 3 so there can and probably are some differences.

T1D01 With which countries are FCC-licensed amateur stations prohibited from exchanging communications?

A. Any country whose administration has notified the ITU that it objects to such communications
B. Any country whose administration has notified the ARRL that it objects to such communications
C. Any country engaged in hostilities with another country
D. Any country in violation of the War Powers Act of 1934

EXPLANATION: The ITU publishes the “Status of Radio communications between Amateur Stations of Different Countries” in its document 9658. As of the last printing in November, 2010, there were only two countries that prohibit communications between amateur stations: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Eritrea.

§97.111 Authorized transmissions.
(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, except those in any country whose administration has notified the ITU that it objects to such communications. The FCC will issue public notices of current arrangements for international communications.

T1C03 What types of international communications are permitted by an FCC-licensed amateur station?

A. Communications incidental to the purposes of the amateur service and remarks of a personal character
B. Communications incidental to conducting business or remarks of a personal nature
C. Only communications incidental to contest exchanges, all other communications are prohibited
D. Any communications that would be permitted by an international broadcast station

§97.117 International communications.
Transmissions to a different country, where permitted, shall be limited to communications incidental to the purposes of the amateur service and to remarks of a personal character.

T1F07 Which of the following restrictions apply when a non-licensed person is allowed to speak to a foreign station using a station under the control of a Technician Class control operator?

A. The person must be a U.S. citizen
B. The foreign station must be one with which the U.S. has a third party agreement
C. The licensed control operator must do the station identification
D. All of these choices are correct

EXPLANATION: Third-party traffic is any communications by amateur radio on behalf of a non-licensed person. The can include an unlicensed person talking over an amateur radio stations or an amateur passing a radiogram on behalf of a third-party. Some countries consider this type of communications to be in competition for their commercial radio communications and therefore forbid such traffic. Always verify that the US has a third-party agreement with a country before doing any third-party traffic in that county. A list of countries allowing third-party traffic is supposed to be on the FCC Website, but after about 20 minutes of searching, I couldn’t find it. If anyone locates it, please post a comment down below for everyone else, including myself.

§97.115 Third party communications.
(a) An amateur station may transmit messages for a third party to:
(1) Any station within the jurisdiction of the United States.
(2) Any station within the jurisdiction of any foreign government when transmitting emergency or disaster relief communications and any station within the jurisdiction of any foreign government whose administration has made arrangements with the United States to allow amateur stations to be used for transmitting international communications on behalf of third parties. No station shall transmit messages for a third party to any station within the jurisdiction of any foreign government whose administration has not made such an arrangement. This prohibition does not apply to a message for any third party who is eligible to be a control operator of the station.

T1F11  To which foreign stations do the FCC rules authorize the transmission of non-emergency third party communications?

A. Any station whose government permits such communications
B. Those in ITU Region 2 only
C. Those in ITU Regions 2 and 3 only
D. Those in ITU Region 3 only

T1C04 When are you allowed to operate your amateur station in a foreign country?

A. When the foreign country authorizes it
B. When there is a mutual agreement allowing third party communications
C. When authorization permits amateur communications in a foreign language
D. When you are communicating with non-licensed individuals in another country

EXPLANATION: There are over 75 countries that hold reciprocal operating agreements with the US. You will need to obtain a permit to operate in different countries ahead of time and some European countries don;t require any special paperwork other than having copies of an Extra Class US License and reciprocal agreement paperwork.

§97.107 Reciprocal operating authority.
A non-citizen of the United States (“alien”) holding an amateur service authorization granted by the alien’s government is authorized to be the control operator of an amateur station located at places where the amateur service is regulated by the FCC, provided there is in effect a multilateral or bilateral reciprocal operating arrangement, to which the United States and the alien’s government are parties, for amateur service operation on a reciprocal basis. The FCC will issue public announcements listing the countries with which the United States has such an arrangement. No citizen of the United States or person holding an FCC amateur operator/primary station license grant is eligible for the reciprocal operating authority granted by this section. The privileges granted to a control operator under this authorization are:
(a) For an amateur service license granted by the Government of Canada:
(1) The terms of the Convention Between the United States and Canada (TIAS No. 2508) Relating to the Operation by Citizens of Either Country of Certain Radio Equipment or Stations in the Other Country;
(2) The operating terms and conditions of the amateur service license issued by the Government of Canada; and
(3) The applicable rules of this part, but not to exceed the control operator privileges of an FCC-granted Amateur Extra Class operator license.
(b) For an amateur service license granted by any country, other than Canada, with which the United States has a multilateral or bilateral agreement:
(1) The terms of the agreement between the alien’s government and the United States;
(2) The operating terms and conditions of the amateur service license granted by the alien’s government;
(3) The applicable rules of this part, but not to exceed the control operator privileges of an FCC-granted Amateur Extra Class operator license; and
(c) At any time the FCC may, in its discretion, modify, suspend or cancel the reciprocal operating authority granted to any person by this section.

T1C06 From which of the following locations may an FCC-licensed amateur station transmit, in addition to places where the FCC regulates communications?

A. From within any country that belongs to the International Telecommunications Union
B. From within any country that is a member of the United Nations
C. From anywhere within in ITU Regions 2 and 3
D. From any vessel or craft located in international waters and documented or registered in the United States

NOTE: If you do plan on using your amateur radio equipment while traveling through international waters, you must first get the permission of the ship’s Captain before going on the air.

§97.5 Station license required.
(a) The station apparatus must be under the physical control of a person named in an amateur station license grant on the ULS consolidated license database or a person authorized for alien reciprocal operation by §97.107 of this part, before the station may transition any amateur service frequency from any place that is:

(2) Within 50 km of the Earth’s surface and aboard any vessel or craft that is documented or registered in the United States; or

T1D02 On which of the following occasions may an FCC-licensed amateur station exchange messages with a U.S. military station?

A. During an Armed Forces Day Communications Test
B. During a Memorial Day Celebration
C. During an Independence Day celebration
D. During a propagation test

§97.111 Authorized transmissions.
(a) An amateur station may transmit the following types of two-way communications:
(5) Transmissions necessary to exchange messages with a station in a service not regulated by the FCC, but authorized by the FCC to communicate with amateur stations. An amateur station may exchange messages with a participating United States military station during an Armed Forces Day Communications Test.

That wraps up this section of the Technician Class series. Next Sunday we will be covering the topic of Control. We will be covering the questions that talk about being or using a control operator, responsibilities of a control operator and user, automatic control operation. We will even talk about one of the major rarities of when an amateur operator can be paid for using his/her station.

Thanks again for stopping by and reading my blog. I hope that everyone learned at least a little bit from my post, I know I did. Please subscribe to my blog, like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter, Google+ and/or LinkedIn. If you have any questions or comments about today’s topic, please leave them in the comments below.

Until next time…

73 de Curtis, K5CLM

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