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[Discuss-gnuradio] amateur "exemption"

From: ed
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] amateur "exemption"
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 17:37:22 -0500

unfortunately, an amateur radio license is no talisman...in fact, it would be no barrier whatsoever to a federal prosecutor. bill cheek was a licensed amateur, as is john ramsey. no doubt many gnuradio list members are (or should be.)

the bottom line is a ham license really changes nothing unless you're cited by the FCC with a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) for transmitting on an allocated amateur frequency without a license. under literal interpretations of more than one existing federal law, simple possession of gnuradio software (and even simple gnuradio hardware, depending on its capabilities) can be a federal felony--like it or not.

these laws--like most laws--are selectively enforced. whether they will be enforced against people who possess or use gnuradio hardware or software is, unfortunately, only a matter of time and circumstance. thank your senators and members of congress.

as Dickens wrote, "If that is the law, then the law is an ass."

-ed, N3KOW

At 01:35 PM 12/18/02 -0800, Frank Brickle wrote:

...at the risk of sounding alarmist, don't underestimate what the FCC can enforce...

While it doesn't solve all the potential problems by any means, having an amateur radio license puts you on the right side of the law in a number of respects. An entry-level license requires a technical exam only -- no morse -- which would present no obstacle whatsoever to anybody competent to be fooling with gnuradio.

Beyond regulation of spurious emissions and power, there are essentially no constraints on amateurs as far as designing and building their own equipment are concerned.

The entry-level license restricts users to 50 MHz and above, but that's where most of the innovation is happening anyway, and where the frequency allocations for wideband signals are found. The 902 MHz and the 1.24, 2.4, 3.3, 5.6, 10, and 24 GHz bands are pretty wide and wide-open, and their express purpose is to provide places for amateur experimenters to do their thing.

Frank Brickle, AB2KT

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