Category Archives: Legal

Status Report: The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 – S. 1534is alive, but with legislative action slowed to a glacial pace on Capitol Hill in recent months, there’s been no real progress to report since this past summer. At present, the bill is under consideration by the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and it remains an active concern for ARRL. The League is working diligently to shake the bill loose and move it forward.

While it may appear that time is short, S. 1534 does not need to pass the Senate by this years’ end. We have until the current session of Congress adjourns, which is not until December 31, 2018. Once the bill passes both Houses, the FCC would still have to implement its essence in the Part 97 Amateur Service rules.

Introduced on July 12, 2017, S. 1534 marked another step forward for the landmark legislation. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sponsored the bill in the Senate. The US House version of the legislation, HR 555, passed the House of Representatives by unanimous consent in January 2017.

Source: http://www.arrl.org/news/status-report-the-amateur-radio-parity-act-of-2017

AB-1222 Signed by Governor Brown

Governor Brown approved AB-1222, Vehicles: electronic wireless communications devices, on September 26, 2017.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.

Section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

23123.5.

(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.

(b) This section shall not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in the vehicle.
(c) A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of Section 26708 or is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.
(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
(d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.
(f) For the purposes of this section, “electronic wireless communications device” includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, or a pager.

ARRL Posts Amateur Radio Parity Act FAQs

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 is now in the US Senate (S. 1534). ARRL has developed and posted a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), “The Amateur Radio Parity Act: Setting the Record Straight,” to explain and to clarify what the passage of the legislation would accomplish — as well as what it would not.

“There has been so much misinformation floating around on forums, blogs, podcasts, etc. regarding the Amateur Radio Parity Act, that we realized a listing of facts as to what the bill is and what it does was long overdue,” said ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, who chairs the ARRL Board’s ad hoc Legislative Advocacy Committee.

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Revised FCC Form 605 Will Ask Applicants “the Felony Question”

A revised FCC Form 605 — Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services — going into effect in September will ask all applicants to indicate if they have been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony. The Communications Act obliges the Commission to ask “the felony question,” as it did on the old Form 610 and still does on other applications. This action will correct its omission on Form 605, which has existed for years. Applicants’ responses and explanations will be used to determine eligibility to be a Commission licensee. The FCC told ARRL that it’s still deciding whether to issue a public notice on the change.

Continue reading Revised FCC Form 605 Will Ask Applicants “the Felony Question”

Amateur Radio Parity Act is Introduced in US Senate

The Amateur Radio Parity Act was introduced in the US Senate on July 12, marking another step forward for this landmark legislation. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are the Senate sponsors. The measure will, for the first time, guarantee all radio amateurs living in deed-restricted communities governed by a homeowner’s association (HOA) or subject to any private land use regulations, the right to erect and maintain effective outdoor antennas at their homes. The Senate bill, S. 1534, is identical to H.R. 555, which passed the US House of Representatives in January.

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FCC Issues Amateur Radio Licensee a Notice of Violation for Pirate Broadcasting

The FCC Enforcement Bureau has sent a California Amateur Radio licensee a Notice of Violation (NoV) alleging that he engaged in unlicensed — or “pirate” — radio broadcasting — on the FM band. The NoV to Lyle E. Hilden, KD6LUL, of Vista, was released on May 26. Depending on Hilden’s responses, the NoV could be a precursor to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (fine).

According to the FCC’s Los Angeles Office, the Enforcement Bureau in March received a complaint of an apparently unlicensed FM broadcasting station on 93.7 MHz in Vista. The NoV does not indicate the origin of the complaint, but these sometimes come from legitimate broadcasters in the listening area. The NoV also does not recount the nature of the alleged pirate broadcasts nor indicate how long they had continued.

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California AB-1222 ammended to exclude Specialized Mobile Radio Devices from Current Law

With the passing of California AB-1785 there has been a lot of confusion and concern that use of amateur radio devices in a mobile setting was now outlawed.

Existing law makes it a crime to drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device, as specified. Existing law defines an electronic wireless communications device as including, but not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.

Recently California Assembly Bill 1222, introduced by Assembly Member Quirk, was amended in Assembly on April 17, 2017 that looks to allow for use of mobile commercial radio systems.

This bill would remove a specialized mobile radio device and a two-way messaging device from the list of devices specifically included as an electronic wireless communications device.

Specialize Mobile Radio device

The Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) service is defined by 47 CFR, Part 90. and utilizes the 800/900 MHz spectrum.

Two-way Messaging device

Two-way messaging device is a vague term and open to much interpretation by the public and authorities. One could argue that texting is using a two-way messaging device.

Again just was when the original Bill was passed, it looks like non-technical, legislators and staff that have no real knowledge of the basic technical aspects of radio are writing these laws.

Text of the Bill can be viewed here:  http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1222

Two-Way Radio Users Worried California’s Cellphone Ban Is Too Broad

by: Macy Jenkins

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Back in January, it became illegal to hold your cell phone while driving. But now some drivers say the law unfairly targets radio users as well and they want that to change.

“I’m driving down the road and talking on this radio,” said Norm Lucas, holding his high frequency radio microphone. “Doing that simple act while driving is a $20 ticket.”

Continue reading Two-Way Radio Users Worried California’s Cellphone Ban Is Too Broad