As frequently as is practicable

Discussion in 'Areas where further guidance would be helpful' started by G3YRZ, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. G3YRZ

    G3YRZ Member

    This is the Billion Dollar Question. Clause 13 of the draft new licence.

    What did OFCOM mean? This is appallingly bad drafting, and difficult to implement. Particularly
    as the station is to be "clearly identifiable at all times".

    OFCOM do not appear to have taken adequate regard to the many submissions recommending
    retention of the current 15 minute rule, and both expressions are woolly. Radio amateurs have
    better things to do with their hobby time than consider the legal rules of interpretation. Those
    of us who do venture into those murky waters will share my concern at the bad drafting.

    What is needed is specific guidance, particularly for newcomers and returners to the hobby. The
    consultation response refers to including identification practice within OFCOM guidance.

    My view is that a station should give the callsign at the beginning and end of every over. What is
    wrong with that? That was the custom and practice when I was an SWL and first achieved my
    licence. I have no idea why anything different should be the practice now. This could be relaxed when operating breakin whether on CW or Phone, in other words very short transmissions.

    I suggest that the key question is, how long should a listener who has just come on to the
    frequency have to wait before those on frequency identify themselves?

    stevem likes this.
  2. Tim K

    Tim K Member

    My view is that at the start and end of every conversation and around every 15 minutes seems a reasonable suggestion in addition to identifying following a frequency change. There is nothing to stop another amateur asking those in conversation to identify themselves if they feel the need. Whilst SWLs have the right to listen to amateur bands, the communications are intended to be between licensed amateurs and I would see the license more towards identifying to those you are speaking to. On the HF bands it is practical to identify more often and often necessary to ensure your call sign is correctly heard and communications tend to be shorter in length if you are just making brief signal reports etc. On VHF/UHF its more likely you are having longer local conversations and less likely you will be interfering with others (e.g. with a higher power station) so a more relaxed approach (e.g. 15 minutes) seems to be a good thing.

    By removing the rule, it means Ofcom / AROS wont be asked to police it and can use their resources towards interference and more serious abuse
  3. stevem

    stevem Member

    Fully agree John, I believe its good practice and set's a good guideline/example how amateur radio should be used. Especially for those new to the hobby,
    Im finding that a majority not using call sign's at all, Even when signing off it's just a good bye.
  4. DavidN

    DavidN New Member

    I can't understand why someone would go to the trouble of studying for the exam(s) for several months if not longer, take the exam, put up aerials, buy expensive equipment, set aside a room for it, go on the air and then not want to use their callsign!

    I cannot see why on each over an op. doesn't give their callsign, it only takes one second, and it's useful to others to look them up and see where they are.... it may well indicate a lift on VHF/UHF.

    I'm proud of my callsign, sounds like there's a certain type coming on who don't for some odd reason....

    David G4TUP/9H3CU.
  5. M5AKA

    M5AKA New Member

    Ofcom's proposal to give amateurs the option to change their Secondary Regional Locator when operating in a different region caused considerable consternation, by contrast the proposal to abolish the requirement to give a callsign at least once every 15 minutes seems to have generated little adverse comment.

    Removing the 15 minute ID requirement from the licence will inevitably mean that over time an increasing number of people will cease using callsigns for contacts on VHF/UHF FM and on HF if the contact is between friends or associates in the UK.

    The last time the Regulator prosecuted anyone for breaching their Amateur Radio licence was in 2003 (the judge threw the case out). Prosecutions before then appear to mostly have had a repeater connection but jamming seems not to have been the charge. The charge usually involved the use of language, playing of music or failure to ID. Language and music are not longer prohibited by the licence, the proposed change will remove the 15m ID requirement as well.
  6. stevem

    stevem Member

    Well all these change's are not doing amateur radio any justice at all, Just reflecting back to the call sign's, Here in wolverhamptonl I here Station's calling there friend's by name, No call sign no nothing, In my view's there are to many politic's involved these day's and im just glad its not my main hobby anymore, 2 meter's/70cm is a dead band here by day and by night, With the odd one calling his mate.
  7. g6jyb

    g6jyb Moderator Staff Member

    Quite a lot of us opposed the dropping of 15mins etc

    The full new definition isnt that bad and would still apply to those with no callsign (or perhaps now with the wrong callsign in a borrowed DV radio)....

    (a) the station is clearly identifiable at all times;
    (b) the Callsign is transmitted as frequently as is practicable during transmissions, unless the specific requirements of Note (g) to the Notes to Schedule 1 of this Licence apply; and
    (c) the Callsign is given in voice or other appropriate format consistent with the mode of operation.

    It is a topic where Guidance will be important though

    Murray G6JYB
    stevem likes this.
  8. stevem

    stevem Member

    Murray, I do think that after after the foundation coarse those who do pass should be required to do at least 1 to 2 hour's training with a qualified operator on how to operate before being let loose, I have heard before new station's shouting does anyone want to chat, They do not know how to call CQ correctly, To sign a student off and say he/she has passed is totally the wrong guidance given by tutor's teaching the coarse's.
    gw0npl likes this.
  9. Tim K

    Tim K Member

    I do think dropping morse from this sentence is problematic
    • (c) the Callsign is given in voice or other appropriate format consistent with the mode of operation.
    Quite a few methods of digital communication transmit a morse id which thus isn't voice and is inconsistent with the mode of operation. E.g. the Yaesu ARTS feature springs to mind, but this could even apply to repeaters transmitting a morse ID. Does this now mean on a voice channel the identification must be by voice?
  10. G0PQB

    G0PQB New Member

    I agree with other contributors that if you have to all the trouble to pass the exams, buy and establish a station why can't you use you call sign properly. I have several nets and skeds during the course of the week and everyone always uses their callsign at the start and end of overs- it is just good practice to do so. I have one contact regularly into Europe with an ex-G station who does not give his callsign and stops mid-sentence but as the reception is often noisy and subject to fading, it is annoying to have to realise there is a silence because it has been handed back and you don't realise it. Maybe a 25 year apprenticeship as an SWL makes me more aware of this habit.
  11. G3YRZ

    G3YRZ Member

    OFCOM may have based their position on the ITU Radio Regulations. The appropriate section can be found at this link:

    This is my extract of relevant bits:

    ARTICLE 19
    Identification of Stations
    Section I. General Provisions

    19.1 §1 All transmissions shall be capable of being identified either by identification signals or by other means.

    19.2 §2 1) All transmissions with false or misleading identification are prohibited.

    19.4 3) All transmissions in the following services should, except as provided in Nos. 19.13 to 19.15, carry identification signals:

    19.5 a) amateur service;
    19.6 b) broadcasting service;
    (and so on)

    19.16 §3 In transmissions carrying identification signals a station shall be identified by a call sign, by a maritime mobile service identity or by other recognized means of identification which may be one or more of the following: name of station, location of station, operating agency, official registration mark,flight identification number, selective call number or signal, selective call identification number or signal, characteristic signal, characteristic of emission or other clearly distinguishing features readily recognized internationally.

    19.17 §4 For transmissions carrying identification signals, in order that stations may be readily identified, each station shall transmit its identification as frequently as practicable during the course of transmissions, including those made for tests, adjustments or experiments. During such transmissions, however, identification signals shall be transmitted at least hourly, preferably within the period from five minutes before to five minutes after the hour (UTC) unless to do so would cause unreasonable interruption of traffic, in which case identification shall be given at the beginning and end of transmissions.

    This is of course written to cover all types of radio service covered by the Regulations. The relevant quote is of course this:

    " order that stations may be readily identified, each station shall transmit its identification as frequently as practicable during the course of transmissions..."

    and this is the source of the imprecise word "practicable".
  12. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Just like trying to define the word reasonable, it cannot be done, the word has far to broad a meaning, wide open to abuse. If 15 minutes is anything to go by then the word "practicable" is not the right way at all.
  13. DavidN

    DavidN New Member

    Seems to me Ofcom has done a cheap cut and paste job of the 'is practicable' bit in ITU Radio regs and out of context with the rest of the document which is not really talking about Amateur Radio. Isn't it talking about User Services, flights etc as intimated in 19.16.3, where it may not be practicable to identify owing to severe circumstances happening at the time.

    What is quite practicable is for amateurs to identify on overs. I can't really think of a circumstance when a ham cannot do that.... So really then, have Ofcom changed the rule from every 15 minutes to every over? :)

    .d. G4TUP.
  14. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    The only time that an amateur does do it is if he could not be bothered to do so, and all to often this is sadly the case.
    stevem likes this.
  15. RadioG3OCR - Stu

    RadioG3OCR - Stu New Member

    I agree that we should be able, and responsible enough, to know when to send our calls . . . . .

    When operating over a repeater, with a fairly large net for our morning rag-chew, I normally start each transmission with "From, G3OCR", and at the end of a short transmission I often signal the end of the over with "OCR", primarily to indicate the end of a brief over and that it is not a signal drop-out or equipment malfunction.

    During a simplex QSO, v/uhf or hf, I start and end each transmission (unless it's a short "break") with my call as well as the other ham's call.

    When operating a RAYNET net, I use my "tactical" call (eg Checkpoint 4) at each transmission (as this is an unambiguous indication to Net Control and other stations involved as to who/where I am) but insert my Ofcom call when I've not transmitted on the net for a while. If I'm operating Net Control, the I use "Control", but insert my Ofcom call regularly (roughly every 10 to 15 minutes, depending on traffic).

    I believe these self-rules follow the "spirit of the regulations" and that the new wording clearly ratifies this. Nobody, whether they are members of the RAYNET group involved or someone just listening in, is left in any doubt of who I am - and I submit that this is the intention of Ofcom as well as the ITU.

    As for other issues mentioned above, I make it a point to answer any call (CQ) from obviously recently-licensed M6 calls, and to mentor them in a friendly way on any procedural mistakes they may make - They have only just passed their Foundation, and many have not done a lot of SWL-ing, so I think they can be excused not knowing what a more experienced ham should. As has been discussed in RadCom's "Last Words" column in the past, they should not be treated as "unwelcome kids", and it's up to us with a few more years of operating practice to help and advise on any aspects of our hobby that they might need. I've found that my comments are usually appreciated and gladly taken up.

    Stu (G3OCR - over)
  16. G3YRZ

    G3YRZ Member

    Unfortunately, OFCOM have apparently not read Article 25 of the Radio Regulations, which is all about the Amateur Service. The
    full Article 25 is available here:

    At 25.9, we find this international regulation:

    25.9 2) During the course of their transmissions, amateur stations shall transmit their call sign at short intervals.

    Looks like 15 minutes minimum was a luxury. I look forward to seeing this requirement quoted in any guidance from OFCOM, the RSGB, or elsewhere and hearing greater use of callsigns!

    I rest my case.


    stevem likes this.
  17. AlanB

    AlanB New Member

    Whilst I agree with the thoughts, how is it achieved?
    Over half our candidates are outside what would be regarded as the club catchment area. Fewer candidates remain with any club. No suggestion they don't like the club, more a case of they are not club member types. If that could be reversed maybe the number moving from Foundation to Intermediate would improve too.

    Not specifically advocating it, but if such a suggestion was to be implemented it would have to be part of the syllabus, ie required as part of the practical exercises before they are permitted to sit the exam. Having got their ticket a good 50% of them are gone.
    73 Alan G0HIQ
  18. Tim K

    Tim K Member

    One thing I think could be done is extending greetings messages and supervision to intermediate license holders, perhaps after a year of holding a license. This would allow for more interest to be generated in the hobby particularly where supervision of younger members is concerned. It would also allow for more local practical experience prior to gaining a license as outside the clubs a buddying scheme could be organised. Likewise I feel there should be some official means to define registration on a course and this should be available within the 6 months prior to the exam such that those looking to gain a license can be supervised using the equipment of another operator
  19. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Think it would be nice if we knew why a new applicant for the foundation license wanted to become a radio amateur, is it because it sounds a good idea or because they want to just chat on the radio like they have been on cb or they have a basic or more in depth knowledge of electronic technology, but at the end of the day the only way that they will understand and appreciate who to operate on amateur bands is to have a period of listening to others.
    You don't just take the theory exam to drive a car and then go on to the road behind the wheel.
    Just my thoughts on the subject which is close to my heart.
  20. AlanB

    AlanB New Member

    There always has been a way of defining registration:
    The possession of an original Record of Achievement (RoA), signed at dated at the top by a Registered Assessor(RA).
    The RoA form is not downloadable but only available to RAs from the RSGB Examination Department
    It will be paired by an Instructor's Practical Assessment Record Sheet (IPARS) held by said assessor.
    It is that which allows the named holder to Operate under supervision, where Operate includes pressing the PTT and adjusting the controls, unlike what was called a greetings message where the non-licensed person could only speak (assuming it was a voice contact).

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