Monday, August 16, 2010

Part 97 of how many?

T1A03: Which part of the FCC rules contains the rules and regulations governing the Amateur Radio Service?

  1. Part 73
  2. Part 95
  3. Part 90
  4. Part 97

The correct answer is D–Part 97.

The FCC, as I mentioned in the previous post, regulates all nonfederal use of radio for communication in the United States. In the course of doing this it issues lots and lots of regulations. These are gathered together (along with selected regulations from certain other agencies) in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations. For bureaucratic reasons, the regulations are divided into numbered "parts"; the FCC is allotted parts 0 through 199. The first twenty parts (0-19) are for administrative and general rules that apply to the FCC and its licensees generally. The remaining parts, 20 through 101, are rules for different types of licensed radio uses, or "services", as they are known in radio regulatory jargon.

The four answers the NCVEC offers for this question are therefore all rules for specific radio services. Part 73 contains the rules for the broadcast media services, including AM and FM radio, television, and the international broadcast service (shortwave). Part 90 contains all the rules for what is known as the "private land mobile" service; this rather large division includes business radio and public safety radio (such as police and fire services). Part 95 covers the "personal radio" services such as CB and GMRS. And, finally, Part 97, the correct answer, covers the amateur radio service. It's generally a good idea for hams to have a copy (at least in electronic form) of Part 97 simply because the FCC expects us to be aware of the rules of the service.

The astute reader will already have noticed that when I quote the questions in these posts, there is often an "authority" section at the bottom of the question (although not in this post, because the NCVEC didn't provide an authority for this question). These are references, provided by the NCVEC, to the portion of the FCC regulations that the question under discussion is testing. These references are hotlinked to the Government Printing Office's Electronic Code of Federal Regulations Service, which is updated daily and is therefore the most up-to-date and official source for these documents (even more so than the FCC itself). There are other sources for Part 97 out there, but if you use a source other than the GPO, please ensure that the source you use is up-to-date; the FCC has amended Part 97 twice already this year alone.