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Subelement T1
FCC Rules, descriptions, and definitions for the Amateur Radio Service, operator and station license responsibilities
Section T1E
Control operator and control types: control operator required; eligibility; designation of control operator; privileges and duties; control point; local, automatic and remote control; location of control operator
When is an amateur station permitted to transmit without a control operator?
  • When using automatic control, such as in the case of a repeater
  • When the station licensee is away and another licensed amateur is using the station
  • When the transmitting station is an auxiliary station
  • Never

You always have to have a control operator. Remember that!

The key to remember here is that the question doesn't ask for the control operator to be present at the physical equipment:

  • For remotely controlled stations: only at the control point which is wherever the station is being controlled from.

  • For automatically controlled stations: they don't have to be present at a control point but someone is still responsible for being the control operator of an automatic station.

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Who may be the control operator of a station communicating through an amateur satellite or space station?
  • Only an Amateur Extra Class operator
  • A General class or higher licensee who has a satellite operator certification
  • Only an Amateur Extra Class operator who is also an AMSAT member
  • Any amateur whose license privileges allow them to transmit on the satellite uplink frequency

There are no special requirements as far as licensing goes for talking to a satellite; it's a station like any other, it just happens to be in a very remote location. As long as you are allowed to transmit on the uplink frequency (the frequency the satellite listens on) you can communicate through it.

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Who must designate the station control operator?
  • The station licensee
  • The FCC
  • The frequency coordinator
  • The ITU

The station licensee is the licensee who owns the station; since it is their station, they can designate who the control operator is. It is not uncommon for a station licensee to allow someone else to be the control operator in order to use their higher license privileges.

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What determines the transmitting privileges of an amateur station?
  • The frequency authorized by the frequency coordinator
  • The frequencies printed on the license grant
  • The highest class of operator license held by anyone on the premises
  • The class of operator license held by the control operator

When operating, the privileges that can be used are determined by the control operator. Keep in mind that you could have an extra class operator acting as the control operator and allowing a technician class operator to operate with their privileges, as long as they are present, but the extra class operator as the control operator would be responsible for the emissions of the station.

The station licensee shares responsibility for the operation of the station, but it is the control operator who determines the privileges that can be used. Just having someone with a higher class license on the premises is not enough to allow you to use their privileges; they must be the control operator, you must be using their callsign and license, and they must be supervising (controlling) the operation of the station when their privileges are used.

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What is an amateur station control point?
  • The location of the station's transmitting antenna
  • The location of the station transmitting apparatus
  • The location at which the control operator function is performed
  • The mailing address of the station licensee

This is an important thing to understand; the control point is the location of the control operator when the station is in use. In some cases this may be the same location as the station (local control) or it could be across some sort of auxiliary link, such as a cross-band repeater, controlling through Echolink or IRLP across the internet from a computer or cellphone, etc.

It does not matter where the station is located -- what determines the control point is the location of the control operator.

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When, under normal circumstances, may a Technician class licensee be the control operator of a station operating in an exclusive Amateur Extra class operator segment of the amateur bands?
  • At no time
  • When operating a special event station
  • As part of a multi-operator contest team
  • When using a club station whose trustee is an Amateur Extra class operator licensee

The control operator of a station is the one in control of that station. You may never be a control operator of a station outside of your authorized bands. This is different than operating a station in those outside frequencies when there IS a licensed control operator present as with a special event station, a contest, or at field day, for instance.

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When the control operator is not the station licensee, who is responsible for the proper operation of the station?
  • All licensed amateurs who are present at the operation
  • Only the station licensee
  • Only the control operator
  • The control operator and the station licensee are equally responsible

The control operator is responsible for anything that occurs while they are the control operator, but the station licensee is responsible for their equipment. Therefore, they share the responsibility.

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Tags: rules and regulations operating rules control operator arrl chapter 8 arrl module 19

Which of the following is an example of automatic control?
  • Repeater operation
  • Controlling the station over the internet
  • Using a computer or other device to send CW automatically
  • Using a computer or other device to identify automatically

Automatic control means control where there isn't a control operator present at the control point -- the station is operating automatically, or autonomously. Repeaters match this description, since they have a callsign and control operator, but no control operator at a control point (local or remote) controlling them most of the time.

Conversely, using a computer in whatever way to tell the radio to do something just changes the location of the control point. When the station is being operated in these cases there is still a control operator controlling the station, just possibly not from the physical location of the station. These are examples of remote control, but not automatic control.

§97.3 Definitions

(a)(6) Automatic control. The use of devices and procedures for control of a station when it is transmitting so that compliance with the FCC Rules is achieved without the control operator being present at a control point.

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Which of the following is true of remote control operation?
  • The control operator must be at the control point
  • A control operator is required at all times
  • The control operator indirectly manipulates the controls
  • All of these choices are correct

The main thing to remember here is that the control point of a remotely controlled station is the location at which the control operator function is performed.

Therefore, "remote" does not refer to the control operator being away from the control point! It means that the control point itself (most often a terminal such as a laptop or mobile device) is "remote" from the local controls of the station and thus they're "indirectly manipulated" via remote controls.

Try to remember these definitions from CFR §97.3 and you will get all these questions right. Since the control operator is responsible for transmissions from the station, they must always be at the control point even under remote control.

§97.3(a)

(13) Control operator. An amateur operator designated by the licensee of a station to be responsible for the transmissions from that station to assure compliance with the FCC Rules.

(14) Control point. The location at which the control operator function is performed.

(39) Remote control. The use of a control operator who indirectly manipulates the operating adjustments in the station through a control link to achieve compliance with the FCC Rules.

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Which of the following is an example of remote control as defined in Part 97?
  • Repeater operation
  • Operating the station over the internet
  • Controlling a model aircraft, boat, or car by amateur radio
  • All of these choices are correct

A Repeater is operating as Automatic Control. A model aircraft, boat or car is being operated directly by the control operator. So that leaves operating the station over the Internet.

Keep these definitions in mind and you will get all of these questions right:

§97.3(a)

(13) Control operator. An amateur operator designated by the licensee of a station to be responsible for the transmissions from that station to assure compliance with the FCC Rules.

(14) Control point. The location at which the control operator function is performed.

(39) Remote control. The use of a control operator who indirectly manipulates the operating adjustments in the station through a control link to achieve compliance with the FCC Rules.

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Who does the FCC presume to be the control operator of an amateur station, unless documentation to the contrary is in the station records?
  • The station custodian
  • The third-party participant
  • The person operating the station equipment
  • The station licensee

If someone other than the station licensee is operating, it would be difficult to guess that without any information in the station records to the contrary. Since the station licensee is generally the owner of the station, it makes sense that they would be assumed to be the control operator in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

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