7
$\begingroup$

I'm considering hosting a foxhunt for a local youth group (scouts, in this case), and one of the questions asked was whether those searching for the hidden transmitter need have a license of any sort.

Will they need licenses if they are handling amateur radios, but only intending to receive transmissions?

If they don't need a license, are there precautions or steps I should take to ensure compliance with laws and regulations during the hunt?

This will occur in the US, north of Line A, if that affects the answer.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Doesn't this basically boil down to: Are you allowed to do unlicensed reception? $\endgroup$ – AndrejaKo Nov 25 '13 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ @AndrejaKo Yes, but we don't have that question already. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Nov 25 '13 at 22:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Adam Davis, would you be interested in explicitly broadening your question that way? $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Nov 25 '13 at 22:39
  • $\begingroup$ @KevinReid look good? Feel free to edit it further if desired. $\endgroup$ – Adam Davis Nov 26 '13 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ Looks good to me, and asking specifically about the use of radio equipment is a good addition too. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Nov 26 '13 at 0:34
4
$\begingroup$

As discussed, yes it's perfectly legal to receive anything. It's the transmitting that is regulated.

One easy solution is to not use a transceiver at all. Since the transmitter half of the device is your problem. So take the transmitter out of the transceiver and you end up with just a receiver. So what can you use as a receiver? The simplest thing to use would be a scanner! There are many many hand held scanners that can receive things in the HAM bands and if you used one, then you don't need to worry about giving it to someone that isn't allowed to transmit.

You could also "build your own" and the good news is that building receivers is a lot less complicated and expensive than building a transmitter, and there are lots of project instructions online or even available for purchase with parts that would let you build your own for fairly cheap. The trick is building one for the transmission mode you want to use during the game. For something like FM, for example, there should be some generally available FM receiver parts or ICs that you could use.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It is not perfectly legal to listen to 'anything'. Listening to anything in Amateur radio bands maybe. Cellphones and other cordless phone devices are technically illegal to intentionally receive. Enforcement is definitely and issue, but if evidence can be shown that you were capable of doing it when you are caught for other things, it is something a prosecutor could throw at you. $\endgroup$ – Rowan Hawkins Feb 1 '17 at 0:27
5
$\begingroup$

In general, reception of radio signals does not require a license. (Even if a government wanted to try, it'd be nearly impossible to regulate - after all, there's inherently no emission from a reception-only station, so there's no way to tell it's even happening.)

A license is only required for a transmitting operator. The HTs you're using for the hunt are probably transmission-capable, but if there's a way to prevent them from easily being keyed on (e.g. if you can preset a frequency, set a reasonable squelch, and then turn on the keypad lock) that would probably help to prevent accidental transmission.

If you wanted to be on the safe side, and had the human resources available, you could also have a licensed ham accompanying each group, in which case they could act as the control operator for the radio (and thus satisfy licensing requirements, as long as they're also willing to hold responsibility for any transmissions).

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.