How do hams deal with the privacy and security concern of your station location (usually a home) having the information published for everyone to see? It seems hams do not have proper concern for information shared and the security implications thereof.

For instance, I hear things like hams talking about being mobile and driving and also talking about their base stations etc. OK you're mobile and you have an expensive radio at home you were just talking about. What's the address? Let's check the FCC website and get it. This is mostly concerning for more local bands like 2m or 70cm.

There are often big social media pushes about being careful who share information with because people see you post a picture from being on vacation then ransack your home. In HAM radio, you have no idea who might be listening.

The fact the FCC publishes the data as public information baffles me. Why is it public information? Only the FCC needs it right?


2 Answers 2


It's actually your mailing address that gets listed, not your station location, however for most hams they are the same. You can, however, have a P.O. Box listed instead of a physical location, if you want. (See 97.23).

As to the security aspect: I really doubt there are a lot of thieves listening on the ham bands for who's got an expensive radio to go steal. Ham gear is hard to sell if you don't know what it is, and so few and far between that stealing laptops & TVs from any random house is probably a far better bet.

Edit: The address is useful for sending QSL cards. Self-policing via DF may play a role, but reporting the location of bad behavior to an official observer should be sufficient even if you can't turn it back into a callsign. (And consider many violators are either not licensed or not at their station location.)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yea I planned on getting a po box but still what is the purpose for publishing station address? Maybe so we can self police? Track down and report a users using directional finders? It's the only thing I can think of. I think the FCC has to confirm anyway if they are going to fine people. $\endgroup$
    – mikew
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 19:43

Compare FCC §97.103 to §97.105.

The FCC really likes to separate the concept of station license from operator license. See how all the other services work, like marine or radar, etc.

If you “have to” separate the concepts, then you need a way to ID the station, and I can't think of a better way than its location. Ditto the op, because people have similar names and it's either address or something even worse like SS number.

If the FCC only issued op licenses, and there was a way to prove to a local cop etc. that the op license matched your driver's license info that's better than SS number or address, then I'd be surprised, but if it existed then that scheme would work. Forcing FCC field offices to issue fedgov standard photo IDs would work, but oh the agony for all involved...


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