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[aprssig] more Part 97 interpretation fun!

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 21 02:34:59 UTC 2005

Scott N1VG wrote
 >> I fail to see where a tracker being controlled (turned on and
 >> off is control) by a non-licensed person which is
 >> transmitting on 144.39 meets any of these conditions.  Maybe
 >> you can enlighten me.

 >For that matter, it wouldn't appear to be legal to leave your tracker
 >running in the car if you're not right there with it.

So here we get back to the question of control, and the maximum latency. I 
think Part 97 is silent on this.  Basically, like so many other things in 
life, you make a judgement call that you feel comfortable with.  If someone 
else doesn't like it, they get to make a judgement call on how to deal with 
it.  A friendly note or phone call; A rude, irate note; An angry complaint 
to the FCC, etc...

How many times does someone have a tracker in their car (while they are 
away from the car, or, perhaps even in it) run amok and babble 
endlessly?   A few times a year, perhaps.

Trade that against the few times a stolen car has been recovered

or against a "isn't that nifty what ham radio can do" marketing opportunity.

Personally, I'd like to see it left vague and ambiguous and up to your good 
judgement.  If there's wiggle room, then if someone does complain, the FCC 
has wiggle room too, and you've got a chance to "get off with a 
warning".  If it's all defined in hard limits, and you bust the limit, 
you're going to get hammered.  In general, "zero tolerance" kinds of 
approaches are frustrating for both sides. "I'm sorry sir, that's the 

I think the latency issue is best decided on a "reasonable person" sort of 
way, or, alternately, "good engineering practice".  If you have a 1 
kilowatt microwave link with a high gain antenna at ground level, 
reasonable latency for control might be milliseconds.  If you're radiating 
1 milliwatt from a tracker in the ANWR in winter, 6 months might be 
reasonable latency.

I admit that "reasonable people may differ", and of such disagreements are 
things like repeater coordination battles and lawsuits made, but overall, 
considering the millions, if not billions, of transactions and agreements 
made every day, remarkably few wind up with a dispute, even without 
explicit rules and procedures for those transactions.

Discussions like this one, in a moderately public forum, like this one, are 
quite valuable, because they allow one to get a sense of what "the 
community" considers reasonable.  And, like all communities, not everyone 
thinks alike. You also get to float "trial balloons" and get shot at (or 
praised.. both happen), and from that we arrive at a better understanding 
of "reasonable".

At least, until I am made controller of the world, in which case, you're 
all toast. Part 97 will become very simple.

Part 97.1: Jim gets to do what he wants.
Part 97.2: You get to do what Jim wants you to.
Part 97.3: Jim can change his mind capriciously.

Bwahahaha...<evil cackle>

Jim, W6RMK

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