ARRL Supports Employee Participation in Drills

There has been recent discussion on amateur communications that can be provided by licensee-employees on behalf of their employers. This applies to organizations that have amateur radio station in the event of an emergency or disaster such as hospitals and private first response companies and ambulance systems. Currently as wavier has to be granted by the FCC for each event the organization was to participate in, such as emergancy prepariness drills.

In March 2010, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) (WT Docket No 10-72) that proposed to amend the Part 97 rules — specifically 97.113(a)(3) — governing the Amateur Radio Service. The new rules would provide that, under certain limited conditions, Amateur Radio operators may transmit communications on behalf of their employers during government-sponsored emergency and disaster preparedness drills. While current rules provide for Amateur Radio use during emergencies, the rules prohibit communications where the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer, except for government-sponsored drills for which a waiver has been granted. The NPRM asked for comments from interested parties. As such, on May 24, the ARRL filed its initial comments and on June 7, filed its reply comments. The ARRL’s filings reflect the position by the Board of Directors at its January 2010 meeting.

…the ARRL proposes a slight revision to the proposed rule change set forth in the NPRM: The ARRL’s proposed wording includes some very specific language for the revised Section 97.113(a) (3) that will:

  • Accommodate the specific needs of Amateur Radio licensees who are employees of entities who actively participate in organized, bona fide emergency communications and disaster readiness drills and tests.
  • Permit effective and seamless emergency and disaster relief communications preparedness drills and exercises incorporating Amateur Radio.
  • Protect the Amateur Service to some extent against potential commercial exploitation by business entities in lieu of other, more appropriate radio services.
  • Protect Amateur Radio licensees who are employees against pressure from their employers to conduct inappropriate communications utilizing their Amateur Radio licenses.

For more information on this current development read more at: