Let's suppose that Person A, who does not have a license, would like to contact Person B, who is licensed, over an amateur radio frequency. I know that under certain circumstances, Person A would be permitted to transmit as long as Person B was able to ensure that all rules were followed, but would this be permitted if Person A and B weren't together? What are the laws regarding this?

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    $\begingroup$ Based on some of your other questions on other StackExchange sites, you may be asking in the context of the USA's FCC regulations? I've gone ahead and added those tags but feel free to fix if I guessed incorrectly. $\endgroup$ Nov 23, 2022 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ As I understand it person B would also have to be in control of the transmitter. $\endgroup$
    – Gil
    Nov 24, 2022 at 2:44
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    $\begingroup$ Not exactly a dup, but you'll find the answer here: ham.stackexchange.com/questions/16784/… $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2022 at 4:42
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    $\begingroup$ The key terminology her is "control operator". Both ends must be controlled by a licensed control operator. As long as both ends are in the US (or in a country that supports third party traffic), it doesn't matter who is talking, only who is controlling the radio. $\endgroup$
    – user10489
    Nov 26, 2022 at 13:16

1 Answer 1


In short, no.

Part 97 is very clear on this:

  • A licensed amateur must be the control operator at both stations; this is spelled out very clearly in part 97 and is non-negotiable. Yes, it can be the same person BUT...
  • Person A in your hypothetical is a "third party" as far as Part 97 is concerned, and it states, "The third party may participate in stating the message where ... The control operator is present at the control point and is continuously monitoring and supervising the third party's participation"
  • For any station, the station licensee must exercise control of one of 3 types:
    • local control: "[a licensed] operator who directly manipulates the operating adjustments in the station to achieve compliance with the FCC Rules." Obviously not the case in your example.
    • remote control: "[a licensed] operator who indirectly manipulates the operating adjustments in the station through a control link [emphasis added] to achieve compliance with the FCC Rules." IF you have remote control of the station, then you'd be able to key the mic, manage the freqs, etc... but make no mistake, this is you managing the key, not Person A.
    • automatic control: "The use of devices and procedures for control of a station when it is transmitting so that compliance with the FCC Rules is achieved without the control operator being present at a control point." BUT DONT GET EXCITED BECAUSE: "No station may transmit third party communications while being automatically controlled ..." so no Person A period.

In short, this use case seems specifically contemplated and rejected by Part 97 as it currently stands.

Sorry bud. If I'm a reasonable person, I don't see any way you can manage the obligation to "continuously [monitor] and [supervise] the third party's participation" as well as the control operator/control point responsibility from afar.

I'm willing to be wrong here, because this is based on my interpretation of the Part 97 text, and another reasonable mind could well find another interpretation... but I suspect it's unlikely.

For reference, part 97.


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