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by disinfoniacs #69 & #1

operating in extraordinary conditions


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for the regulation and enforcement of radio law within the United States and its territories, while the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) oversees international communication. It is important to note that communication with any country whose administration has notified the ITU of its objections to such communications is prohibited.

As a licensed amateur radio operator, you are permitted to transmit from any vessel or craft located in international waters and registered or documented in the United States.

A space station, as the name suggests, is an amateur station located more than 50 km above the Earth's surface.

Any amateur allowed to transmit on a satellite uplink frequency can communicate through an amateur satellite or space station, and many of these fall in the Technician class frequencies. As a Technician class licensee, you have the opportunity to establish communication with the International Space Station (ISS) on VHF bands -- that's right, you can chat with astronauts.

It is important to note that the transmission of encoded or encrypted messages, intended to conceal their meaning, is only permitted in one specific case, transmitting control commands to space stations or radio-controlled craft. Similarly, the transmission of music is prohibited, with the exception of being incidental to an authorized retransmission of manned spacecraft communications.

Many amateur radio satellites employ the use of a beacon, which is a one-way transmission of communications for the purposes of observing propagation or conducting related experimental activities. In layman's terms, a beacon serves as a station that transmits information pertaining to its status or health. It is important to note that communication with a beacon is not possible.


Public service communications are an important part of amateur radio. One group you will hear of is RACES, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service.

What is the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)?

ARES, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, is another major emcom organization. Each region has different levels of participation in these orgs so you may have to ask around to see which is more popular.

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