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Technician Class Amateur Radio Operator. presented by the Hampton Public Service Team Hampton, Virginia. 0711. Chapter 6. Communicating With Other Hams. HF Identify your station Their signal report Give your name QTH Age How long a ham Rig Antenna Weather Normally, one time QSO.

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technician class amateur radio operator

Technician Class Amateur Radio Operator

presented by the

Hampton Public Service Team

Hampton, Virginia


chapter 6

Chapter 6

Communicating With Other Hams

6 1 contacts what to talk about

Identify your station

Their signal report

Give your name



How long a ham




Normally, one time QSO


Identify your station

First time contact



Etc., etc.

Normally repetitive QSOs

6.1 Contacts – What To Talk About

HPST Technician Course

appropriate topics
Appropriate Topics
  • Discuss just about anything
  • Indecent & obscene language prohibited
    • No official list
  • Try to stay clear of provocative subjects
    • Politics
    • Religion
    • Sex

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some no no s
Some No-No’s
  • Don’t use CB slang or 10-codes.
  • Don’t interrupt conversations (QSO’s) in progress.
  • Don’t tune up on the air, use a dummy load.
  • Avoid subject matter that could be offensive.
  • Don’t forget your manners – be polite.
  • Don’t whine and complain.
  • Don’t forget that the whole world can hear you!

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good operating
Good Operating
  • Speak clearly, use a normal tone of voice
  • No one has a “right” to a specific frequency
  • Be polite – there’s no excuse for rudeness
  • Use the minimum power to establish & maintain communication
  • Don’t be a “Lid”

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signing off
Signing Off
  • How to end it – the jargon
    • Final
    • QRU
    • Down the Log
    • 73
    • 88
    • Clear or off & clear

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q signals
  • The use of Q-signals began in the days of the telegraph, where operators developed a way to exchange commonly transmitted information (location, output power, etc.) more efficiently.
  • Q-signals are a kind of “short-hand” hams use to communicate quickly, especially via Morse Code.
  • Most Q-signals can be used as a question or a statement:

“My QTH is Georgia.”

“What is your QTH?”

  • Some common Q-signals are on the next slide…

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q signals1

QRM - Is my transmission being interfered with?/Something is causing interference

QRN - Are you troubled by static/noise?/I am troubled by static/noise.

QRO - Shall I increase transmitter power?/I am running high power.

QRP - Shall I decrease transmitter power?/I am running low power.

QRQ - Shall I send faster?/Please send faster.

QRS - Shall I send slower?/Please send slower

QRT - Shall I stop sending?/I am going off the air.

QRZ - Who is calling me?

QSB - Are my signals fading?/Your signal is fading.

QSL - Can you acknowledge receipt?/I received the message.

QSO - Can you communicate with ____ direct?/I will communicate with ____ directly.

QSY - Shall I change frequency?/I am changing frequency to _______.

QTH - What is your location?/My location is _______.

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the rst reporting system
The RST Reporting System

The RST system is a quick way amateurs use to describe a received signal.

Readability 1 = Poor 5 = Good

Signal Strength 1 = Poor 9 = Good

Tone (CW only) 1 = Poor 9 = Good

Signals stronger than S9 are reported as “XX Db over S9”

Note: Do not use the RST system on repeaters.

Strong FM signals are referred to as “full quieting”

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the rst system
The RST System

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the quality system
The Quality System
  • Used as a simple indicator of signal quality
    • Voice only
    • Q1 = Barely understandable
    • Q5 = Perfectly readable

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  • Where am I??
    • QTH
      • City, State (HF)
      • Part of town (VHF/UHF)
    • Grid Squares
      • Maidenhead system
      • 1 deg latitude, 2 deg longitude
      • FM17sb

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maidenhead grid squares
Maidenhead Grid Squares

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advising assisting
Advising & Assisting
  • Methods & Procedure
    • Be helpful
    • Be nice
  • Radio & Antenna Checks
    • Make sure you can describe the problem verbally before transmitting
    • When helping, be able to provide with detailed information about what you are hearing
      • 59 isn’t much help
      • Is there a hum, broken signal, bad audio, etc.
  • Noting violations
    • Ham radio is self-policing
    • Be courteous and diplomatic when helping rules breakers

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logging confirming contacts
Logging & Confirming Contacts
  • Keep a log of contacts
    • All HF
    • All VHF/UHF simplex
  • QSL cards
    • Exchanged to confirm 2-way contact
    • Used for display or for awards
  • E-logbook
    • ARRL Logbook of the World

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qsl cards
QSL Cards

A QSL card is a written confirmation of contact

between two amateur radio stations.

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band plans 2 meters
144.00-144.05 EME (CW)

144.05-144.10 General CW and weak


144.10-144.20 EME and weak-signal


144.200 National calling


144.200-144.275 General SSB


144.275-144.300 Propagation beacons

144.30-144.50 New OSCAR subband

144.50-144.60 Linear translator inputs

144.60-144.90 FM repeater inputs

144.90-145.10 Weak signal and FM simplex

(145.01,03,05,07,09 are

widely used for packet)

145.10-145.20 Linear translator


145.20-145.50 FM repeater outputs

145.50-145.80 Miscellaneous and

experimental modes

145.80-146.00 OSCAR subband

146.01-146.37 Repeater inputs

146.40-146.58 Simplex

146.52 National Simplex

Calling Frequency

146.61-146.97 Repeater outputs

147.00-147.39 Repeater outputs

147.42-147.57 Simplex

147.60-147.99 Repeater inputs

Band Plans – 2 Meters

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starting a contact
Starting a Contact
  • Initiating a contact
    • Ascertain whether or not the frequency is in use
    • Calling CQ (I am calling any station) on HF
    • Announcing your call on VHF or UHF repeaters
  • Answering another station
    • Another station calls CQ or announces on the repeater
    • Answer with your call sign
    • Use phonetics, especially if your cal sign is hard to distinguish

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taking turns breaking in
Taking Turns & Breaking In
  • Taking turns in roundtable conversations
    • Use “over”
    • Listen for repeater courtesy beep before keying
    • Wait your turn to speak
    • Avoid doubling
  • Breaking in
    • Listen to the conversation
    • Make sure that you have something to add
    • Say “break” and add your call sign, or just say your call sign
    • Wait to be recognized to enter the conversation

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itu phonetic alphabet
ITU Phonetic Alphabet
  • Internationally recognized
  • Used for accurate copy when band conditions are noisy or crowded.
  • Always use the proper words, they were carefully selected so no two sound alike.
  • Avoid being cute.
  • Generally not needed on repeaters.

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finding repeaters
Finding Repeaters
  • To find a repeater:
    • Check the band plan to see what segment is set aside for repeaters
      • Tune through that segment
    • Listen for conversations or repeater ID
      • ID may be in voice or Morse code
      • Good reason to learn the code
    • Scan the repeater band segments (radio should have scan feature)
    • Use a repeater directory (paper or online)

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using repeaters
Using Repeaters
  • Find frequency (such as 146.730)
  • Set offset (-600 kHz)
  • Set sub-audible tone (CTCSS)
  • Wait for a clear frequency
  • Key and say “<call sign> listening”
  • Observe repeater output signal on your S-meter
    • Squelch tail

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repeater id and control
Repeater ID and Control
  • ID
    • Repeater will ID at least every ten minutes
  • Timer
    • Normally 3 minutes, kills transmitter
    • May announce “Time Out”
    • Will reset when carrier goes away
    • Reset during long conversations by unkeying until courtesy tone
  • Linking
    • Some repeaters are linked (audio sharing)
    • Wide area coverage
    • Several states coverage possible
    • May be physically connected or use a control link
    • Several repeaters may be linked into a network

HPST Technician Course

repeater controller
Repeater Controller
  • An electronic device that directs the repeater how to operate
  • Usually controllable by RF tone or by telephone tone
  • Generates ID
  • Contains repeater timer
  • May have several features
    • Voice ID synthesizer
    • Clock feature
    • Autopatch
    • Digital Voice Recorder
    • Weather station input

HPST Technician Course

repeater etiquette
Repeater Etiquette
  • Join the sponsoring club & support the repeater
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • ID your station (the repeater takes care of itself)
  • Keep power to minimum necessary for effective communications
  • Pause briefly between transmissions
  • Don’t hog the repeater
  • Don’t interrupt conversations unless you have something to add

HPST Technician Course

repeater signal reports
Repeater Signal Reports
  • RST system doesn’t apply well to VHF & above
    • Full quieting
      • No receiver noise is present
    • White noise
      • Hiss present, not as good as full quieting
    • Scratchy
      • Noise almost as loud as your signal
    • Mobile flutter or picket fencing
      • Rapid fading in and out
    • Dropping out
      • Marginal copy, sometimes signal not into the repeater
    • Broken or breaking up
      • Short periods where signal is audible

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other repeater signal issues
Other Repeater Signal Issues
  • Distorted audio
    • Possibly off frequency
    • Up/Down buttons may have been bumped
      • Use Lock feature
  • Weak or dead batteries
    • Can cause distorted audio as well

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  • You can make phone calls from your radio
  • All repeaters are required to have a 3 minute transmit time-out feature. This applies to the autopatch as well.
  • Do not abuse the autopatch.
  • Use judgment calling 911.
  • Use of autopatch may be subject to payment of dues to the repeater owner or club.

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open special use private repeaters
Open, Special Use & Private Repeaters
  • Closed repeaters are not available for public use
    • Closed repeater versus closed autopatch
  • Some repeaters dedicated to special purpose communications
    • Emergency communications
  • Most repeaters are “open”

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repeater coordination
Repeater Coordination
  • Who Decides?
    • Volunteers!
    • Several repeater “coordination groups” throughout the US
    • SERA Southeast Repeater Association for our area
  • Input vs. Output “pairs” of frequencies are coordinated
  • Coordinators determine what freq is best based on location, HAAT, power, etc. to avoid interference with other repeaters
  • The FCC will typically side with a coordinated repeater over a uncoordinated repeater

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simplex frequencies
Simplex Frequencies
  • Band plans provide blocks of “simplex” frequencies
  • Direct communication, no repeater required
    • Establish contact on the repeater
    • Check input frequency to see if you can hear the other station
    • If so, move to a simplex frequency
    • Frees up the repeater for other weak or mobile stations

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repeater digital systems
Repeater – Digital Systems
  • The marriage of ham radio and the Internet
    • Echolink
    • IRLP
    • WIRES II
    • D-STAR
  • Similar technology to internet telephone services

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echolink irlp

Normally links operator to repeater via the internet

Operator sits at the computer

Selects repeater from a list

Uses space bar as PTT switch

Normally no codes are needed, only a computer & software


Normally links repeaters to other repeaters via the internet

Requires radio link from the operator to a repeater

Must know codes to initiate & terminate link to node

Once repeaters are linked, regular repeater rules apply

Echolink & IRLP

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types of nets
Types of Nets
  • Social
    • Least formal, most common
    • Themes vary widely
  • Traffic
    • On-air routing of messages
    • National Traffic System
  • Emergency & Public Service
    • Established specific to an emergency or public service event
    • Pass traffic, coordinate reporting & response activities

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net structure participation
Net Structure & Participation
  • Net Control Station (NCS)
    • Conductor of the net
    • Must have a clear, strong signal heard by all net members
    • Should be skilled & experienced
    • Generally uses a script
    • Note net Q signals in table 4-5

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participating in emergency nets
Efficiency and accuracy are most important

Listen, listen, listen

Check in

Then don’t transmit unless requested to do so, or;

Information that you have is being requested by the NCS

Traffic priority



Health & Welfare


If no NCS present, announce that you are the temporary NCS

Take check-ins, turn the list over to a more experienced operator when he/she comes on the air

Participating In Emergency Nets

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traffic handling
NTS Format



Handling Instructions

Station of Origin


Place of Origin

Time & Date


Text (Up to 25 words)


Use ARRL Radiograms

Traffic nets make heavy use of Q signals

Finding Nets

ARRL Net Directory

Online lists

Check into the local traffic nets to gain experience in handling traffic

Traffic Handling

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emergency communications
Emergency Communications
  • Generally, hams can’t communicate with other services
  • Sometimes hams may communicate with non-hams during declared emergencies
  • RACES operators may talk with government stations during emergencies
  • Military station/ham contacts permitted on Armed Forces Day

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emergency conditions public service
Emergency Conditions – Public Service
  • Emergency communications have precedence over all other amateur activities on any frequency
  • Essentially, you are authorized to do whatever you need to do to deal with an emergency
    • Except business communications, personal info without consent
  • News reports and messages are not emergency communications

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emergency operating tips
Emergency Operating Tips
  • Don’t become a part of the problem
    • You’re not in charge
  • Never speculate or guess
    • Be 100% accurate, ask for clarification, say “I don’t know”
  • Don’t give out unauthorized information
    • Refer curiosity to the Public Information Officer
  • Maintain your own safety
    • Stay out of harm’s way
  • Maintain radio discipline
    • Follow prescribed protocol and refrain from idle conversation
  • Protect personal information
    • Get consent, use packet or Morse code

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emergency declarations
Emergency Declarations
  • FCC may declare temporary state of communications emergency
  • Normal rules may be suspended or changed
  • Frequencies may be restricted to emergency communications
    • Steer clear unless involved in the emergency
  • Amateurs may be authorized to communicate with other services

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making distress calls
Making Distress Calls
  • Mayday, Mayday, Mayday (voice) or SOS, SOS, SOS (CW)
  • ID with your call sign
  • Give your location
  • State the nature of the emergency
  • Describe the assistance required
  • Give other pertinent information
  • Pause for response, repeat if necessary


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answering distress calls
Answering Distress Calls
  • Suspend ongoing communications immediately
  • Record everything said by the station calling
  • Respond, get any clarification
  • Notify the proper authorities
  • Stay on frequency until help arrives

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tactical communications
Tactical Communications
  • Tactical call signs may be used
    • Hampton EOC, Shelter 1, etc.
  • You must still meet all FCC requirements for ID with your call sign

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emergency equipment
Emergency Equipment
  • Have a “GO-Kit” for responding to emergencies
  • Equipment & supplies required dependent on situation
  • Generally mobile radio, HT with charger & spare batteries, mag mount antenna, etc. will be adequate for one day event
  • Other options include headphones, identification, WATER & food, flashlight & batteries, clothes, toiletries, sleeping bag, tent, generator, gasoline & oil, bug repellent, list of repeaters, etc.
  • Ask those that have gone before you for advice

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ARES is the local community emergency services organization where hams can serve as only amateur radio can…providing communications for emergencies and special events.

Assist organizations such as Red Cross during emergencies, may also help government agencies.

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  • Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
  • Established by the FCC in 97.407
  • Support local, state & federal emergency management organizations in time of declared emergencies
  • Register with the local Civil Defense Organization

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fema nims
  • Amateur radio operators are desigated as first responders by FEMA
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS) is method of managing any event or emergency
  • NIMS training available on the FEMA website – free I highly recommended
  • ARRL emergency communications courses (EC-001, EC-002, EC-003) highly recommended
  • Participate in local drills & exercises – Practice with the orchestra

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dxing awards contesting
DXing, Awards & Contesting
  • DXing is making contacts with stations outside of the continental US
    • Usually involves the exchange of QSL cards
    • Log your contacts
  • There are numerous awards available, check out Ted Melinowski’s K1BV Contesting website

  • Contesting is trying to make the most contacts in a set period of time
  • Special events are stations set up and operated for a short period of time to commemorate or publicize an activity of special significance

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  • There are several amateur satellites currently in orbit - OSCAR
  • Some are data, some are voice
  • Most use VHF and UHF frequencies for uplink/downlink
    • Signals are not refracted in the ionosphere
  • Circularly polarized antenna systems
  • Doppler effect causes signal frequency to shift as satellite moves closer or further away
  • International Space Station is a satellite
    • Normally in range for 4-6 minutes per pass

HPST Technician Course

satellite apogee and perigee
Satellite Apogee and Perigee
  • Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites orbit in an elliptical orbit – predict with a satellite tracking program
  • The path of the orbit is described by a set of mathematical parameters called Keplerian Elements or Keps
  • The Beacon is transmission of information about the satellite
  • Apogee is the point when the satellite is furthest from the earth
  • Perigee is the point when the satellite is closest to the earth

HPST Technician Course

satellite operation
Satellite Operation
  • Use a circularly polarized antenna pointed at the satellite
    • Some birds can be worked wit a vertical
  • Set your output to the uplink frequency & listen on the downlink frequency - Adjust for doppler effect
  • Always use the minimum power necessary
  • Check out the AMSAT website for more information

HPST Technician Course

digital techniques
Digital Techniques
  • Digital modes offer the ability (in some) to perform error correcting, so that a 100% accurate copy is received at the other end
  • A computer, sound card, interface to your radio & some software will put you on the digital airwaves

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packet packet networks
Packet & Packet Networks
  • With only a few watts, you can connect to an on-air network. Your data packets will be forwarded to hams all over the country.
  • Packet type protocols include:
    • Packet and APRS
    • PACTOR
    • G-TOR
  • Computer-TNC-Radio

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a packet network
A Packet Network

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a packet network1
A Packet Network

A digipeater is a

packet-radio station

capable of recognizing

and selectively repeating

packet frames.

By the use of digipeaters,

a packet can be reliably

sent error free over great


All the stations on a

packet network share

the same frequency.

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keyboard to keyboard
  • RTTY
    • Uses Baudot Code (5 bit, only upper case characters)
  • TOR – Teletype Over Radio
    • G-TOR
    • AMTOR
    • PACTOR
  • Phase Shift Keying 31 (PSK-31)
    • Very precise timing
    • Cheap but very effective

HPST Technician Course

automatic position reporting system
Automatic Position Reporting System
  • APRS is meld of computer, GPS and amateur radio
  • Mobile station periodically sends position through a system of digipeaters
  • Data is relayed through the system and stored on servers
  • Others can view positions of APRS equipped stations on a computer screen

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winlink 2000
WinLink 2000
  • WL2K is an e-mail via amateur radio system
  • Combination of digital mode (PACTOR), packet radio and an e-mail program
  • Connect to gateways called participating mail box operators (PMBO) to deliver and retrieve e-mail

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  • Image transmissions include all modes that will produce a picture, either video or paper copy (like a FAX) at the receiver.
  • These modes include:
    • SSTV (slow scan television)
    • ATV (amateur television)
      • Wide bandwidth (~6 MHz), UHF & above
    • FAX (facsimile)

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A sample amateur SSTV transmission.

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Amateurs like to

receive weather

images direct from

the satellites.

The equipment is

inexpensive and you

don’t even need a


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earth moon earth operation
Earth-Moon-Earth Operation
  • It is possible to bounce signals off of the moon and back to earth
  • Requires high gain antennas such as parabolic dish or an array of yagi or other type antennas
  • Normally CW is used, some voice
  • Time delay of a couple of seconds (it’s a long round trip!)



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meteor scatter
Meteor Scatter
  • As meteor travel through the atmosphere they leave a short-lived cylinder of ionized air in their trail
  • Amateurs can bounce VHF & UHF signals off of the meteor trails
  • Permits contacts thousands of miles away
  • High speed CW or other data mode most commonly used

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16 – 14 Ele Yagis on 70 cm

20 foot Dish on 70 cm

4 – 32 Ele Yagis on 70 cm

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remote control of model craft
Remote Control of Model Craft
  • Telecommand of model aircraft
  • Station identification not required for transmissions directed only to the model aircraft
    • Control transmitter must have licensee callsign, name and address
  • Control signals not considered codes and ciphers
  • Transmitter power <= 1 watt

HPST Technician Course