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BigJon

Boss says I have to become a ham....

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Ok heres the deal. I know nothing about ham radios. My boss uses them to talk to the ballon (him) and the groundcrew (me). I don't have my ham license, but I would like info on the test and anything else you can throw at me. I have used radios in the EMS service and in the military so I'm not a total loss but this is a new area and would appericate any thing that might help me out. Who know I may become a life long ham. Whatever that entails. hehe Thanks in advance.

 

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Let your boss know that he is looking at substantial fines and confiscation of equipment if he mis-uses ham radio for commercial purposes.

 

FRS is legal for this, as is GMRS and/or business band.

 

The AMATEUR RADIO SERVICE is for amateurs--not business use.

 

I don't mean to sound unfriendly! Please consider this a friendly warning; there have been some businesses cited and fined for this very type of activity. They had purchased 2-meter ham radios, usually from Radio Shack, and were using them for business purposes without even getting a license.

 

If you are interested in ham radio for hobby and public service purposes,check out these links:

 

QRZ

 

EHam

 

Good luck!

 

Dave_W6DPS

 

My two cents worth, refunds available on request. (US funds only)

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I as I said before I don't know the ins and outs but he is not using it for commerical use. Yes he pays me to maintian is equipment and navigate for his ballon, but I am just replacing his family as ground crew. I don't know if he should have to change his whole system because he hired someone to do what his family used to do for him. I don't know much about FRS or GMRS either. I know he and his sons use the ham for the range. From what I have gathered we are 10plus miles from each other while in compotition. Hope this helps clarify. If not feel free to warn and I'll pass it along.hehe I'm just a pawn. But the more information I have the better game I can talk when I bring it up. Thanks.

 

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The big question is, is your boss and the other users all licensed hams? For business radio, the business is licensed and all employees are authorized to use it. For ham radio, only the user is licensed, and every user needs his/her own license. They will be using callsigns like KA5XYZ or AB5CD or some variation if they are licensed. There is nothing wrong with using ham radio for ballooning, provideed the radio users are licensed.

 

To answer your questions about licensing, go here: ARRL. This is the ARRL, the American Radio Relay League. This is the national ham radio club for the USA. Look around, you will find the info on getting started.

 

Getting a license is not hard. Several people on this forum have come on board without a license, and have studied and passed the test. You can too. Let us know if we cah help.

 

Radio is a hobby you can keep for life. Flying, skydiving, even geocaching, some day you may need to give them up. But you can be lying on your deathbed and with your last breath say goodby to your friends.

 

For me, radio is a hobby for when I can't do something else. As I get older, I expect radio will become more important to me.

 

Welcome, and good luck. We are here to help if you need us.

 

Mike. Desert_Warrior (aka KD9KC).

El Paso, Texas.

 

Citizens of this land may own guns. Not to threaten their neighbors, but to ensure themselves of liberty and freedom.

 

They are not assault weapons anymore... they are HOMELAND DEFENSE WEAPONS!

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Rather than using a business radio, your boss might look into the Aviation Radio Service. Try this link:

 

FCC Aviation Radio Service

 

I'm not 100% sure how a ballon ground crew would fit into that service, but I would think the FCC has that covered some way.

 

Also, getting an Amateur Radio license was one of the best things I've ever done. And that was 27 years ago.

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Originally posted by BigJon:

 

------------------------

I don't have my ham license, but I would like info on the test and anything else you can throw at me

-------------------------

 

To get your ham radio technician class license is easy. There are two ways to go about it. One way is to get yourself into a class being taught. To find out about classes which may be taught, contact the clubs in your area or the ARRL Section Manager and see if any classes are being offered. Other ways to see if classes are being offered is to find a local Ham Radio store and ask there. Just look for a store in your area that sells amateur radio equipment. (Don't count on Radio Shack for this information.)

 

The other way to get your license is to obtain the book "Now You're Talking" available from the aforementioned ARRL website or the aforementioned Amateur Radio Store or numerous places on the web that sell amateur radio equipment as well as amazon.com etc. Read that book, study that book, and then go to www.qrz.com and take the practice tests over and over again. Then, when you are ready, go to the ARRL website again and find a test that is being offered in your area. Go and take the test. Expect to pay about $12.00. It is a test with 35 questions on it for which you will be well prepared. You will know immediately whether or not you passed the test. In about a week to 10 days, you can check the FCC website and find your callsign. At that point, you are legal on the air on any amateur frequency above 50 Megahertz, including the very popular 2 meter band.

 

One caveat: The questions which are in the current version of "Now You're Talking" will change on July 1. So get your test in before then or try to get an updated version of the book (if it is out) or study the book and know that the questions may be different than what you expect.

 

As to the validity of you and your boss's current use of radios while ballooning, I think some more information is needed before we go off thinking you are breaking the law. Once you get your book, you will know what frequencies for which you are *required* to have an amateur license. If your boss is a ham, he already knows this.

 

Take a class, or get the book, then take the test. It is not hard. You don't have to learn Morse Code at this point. Go for it.

 

Oh, by the way, welcome to amateur radio.

 

Ann KD7UEC

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quote:
The big question is, is your boss and the other users all licensed hams?

 

As far as I know him and his son's are licensed. I have never heard them talk on it as of yet, our first ballon trip is in a week to SC. I will be watching and see how they respond on it. Is the call sign all that would give them away, if I was to watch? Or is there something else they are supposed to be using or saying? I'm at work right now and haven't had a chance to look at the links yet. Well thanks for the info so far.

 

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quote:
Originally posted by Desert_Warrior:

The big question is, is your boss and the other users all licensed hams? For business radio, the business is licensed and all employees are authorized to use it. For ham radio, only the user is licensed, and every user needs his/her own license. <SNIP>


 

Actually, the big question is, is your boss in the business of giving balloon rides, or is this a private balloon that he flys for recreation under a private pilots (LTA) license.

 

The businesses I was referring to included a balloon excursion company that took paying passengers on balloon rides, and displayed advertising banners for a fee. They used two-meter ham radios to communicate between the balloon and the chase vehicle. The fines totaled over $10,000 plus the radios were confiscated and their balloon and chase truck were held by the authorities for a couple of weeks.

 

If it is a business, using ham radio is a regulatory violation--family business or not. A family of licensed hams talking to each other for business purposes can be cited and fined.

 

If you are being paid to use the radio--even incidental to your job--you are in violation of the regulations also (with a few exceptions, none of which would apply here).

 

If, on the other hand, he is a private pilot flying his own balloon for personal purposes, then using ham radio to keep in touch with family and friends is not a problem.

 

Again, I am not an FCC enforcement agent, just raising a warning that things might not be kosher.

 

Your statement that "Boss says i have to become a ham...." raised a red flag for me. I may have misinterpreted your meaning. If you are required to use ham radio a part of your job, it appears to be a regulatory violation. If it is recreational, like "Boss says I have to be a geocacher on the weekends to fit in with the team...." then it is not a problem.

 

As you study for the license you will come across the requirements and limitations of the Amateur Radio Service--in fact you should expect test questions in that area!

 

Dave_W6DPS

 

My two cents worth, refunds available on request. (US funds only)

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Q. What are the standards that I should use when deciding whether or not my station should transmit a certain type of communications?

 

A. Section 97.113 provides four general standards for you to observe. In summary, any amateur-operator-to-amateur-operator communication is permitted, unless it is:

 

Specifically prohibited, or

 

Transmitted for compensation, or

 

Done for the pecuniary benefit of the station control operator, or

 

Done for the pecuniary benefit of the station control operator's employer

 

BigJon Here's a small part of the regulation from the FCC Home Page. I will include it for you and strongly recomnmend , that your Boss help you find a local club so you can at least get started on youe Tech. class license so you can leagally operate that handheld or whatever kind of radio you use. Read the part about employer,,,,, So he is in violation of this rule which is a Federal Rule , I will paste another part here ----

Q. What types of communications are specifically prohibited?

 

A. Section 97.113 contains the specific prohibitions. In summary, your amateur station may not transmit:

 

Communications specifically prohibited by the Rules;

 

Communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise provided in the Rules;

 

Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer. You may, however, notify other amateur operators of the availability for sale or trade of apparatus normally used in an amateur station, provided that such activity is not conducted on a regular basis;

 

I would be talking to him and use FRS Or some other type radio now you can buy or better yet make him buy them for you and it does not require a license. Good luck and I Hope The FCC Man does not come into the area you are working in. 73's de WV5V in Mississippi

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Man what a can of worms I opened. Let me set some things straight.

 

quote:
Actually, the big question is, is your boss in the business of giving balloon rides, or is this a private balloon that he flys for recreation under a private pilots (LTA) license.

 

The businesses I was referring to included a balloon excursion company that took paying passengers on balloon rides, and displayed advertising banners for a fee. They used two-meter ham radios to communicate between the balloon and the chase vehicle. The fines totaled over $10,000 plus the radios were confiscated and their balloon and chase truck were held by the authorities for a couple of weeks.

 

If it is a business, using ham radio is a regulatory violation--family business or not. A family of licensed hams talking to each other for business purposes can be cited and fined.


 

Nope private ballon and no one rides. It is for competition only.

 

quote:
If you are being paid to use the radio--even incidental to your job--you are in violation of the regulations also (with a few exceptions, none of which would apply here).

 

No license so I don't/can't use the radio. As far as his family they are licensed and they talk.

 

I have mentioned FRS to him and I get the reply that they don't have the range we need. What is GRMS? I saw a 2 way radio with it and it said it had 6 mile range. I talked to his wife and she turned me on to the local club and I will be talking to them to gather more info. Hopefully I can get licensed soon so I can see what is so great and way hams have so many rules. Right now I at a loss. Thanks for the advice and links they are helping.

 

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quote:
Originally posted by BigJon:

Man what a can of worms I opened. Let me set some things straight.

 

Nope private ballon and no one rides. It is for competition only.


 

Sorry about the can of worms, but there are specific regulations, and many hams are sensitized to certain portions.

 

There is a wine and balloon festival near here every Spring where dozens of balloons take off the same time, but I hadn't heard about any competition. Is it for speed, distance, or going to a specific target?

 

Anyway, again let me apologize for the sidetrack. You inadvertently hit a button and some of us (okay, me!) started slobbering like Pavlov's dogs...

 

I would expect that you are looking for a Technician license, which is the entry level now. It takes a fairly simple, 35 question, test.

 

The links above should give you plenty of information to pass the test. A common strategy is after you have read and studied a bit start taking the practice tests online, like here for example. When you can consistently score in the 80% range, find a test session near you. Tests are given by volunteer hams. You mentioned a local club. They are probably the best source of information on test sessions in your area.

 

Good luck,

 

Dave_W6DPS

 

My two cents worth, refunds available on request. (US funds only)

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Ok last night I sat down and started checking out the site. Man there is a ton of info. I have contacted the President of the local club, and asked him if I might meet a ham operator that really uses his. My boss only uses his when flying it seems. Dave_W6DPS I bet your one of the guys with the call sign stickers on your vehicle. /ribs Dave_W6DPS hehe. I know in everything there are peeps that are super into what ever it is. Remember I am looking from the outside in, and haven't the slightest what its all about yet. Well again thanks for the info. I hope to get busy and start working on the Tech license very soon, hopefully the club will hook me up with a sponsor type person to show me around.

 

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Not to flagellate an expiring equine here, but if you're being paid as ground crew, then I'm pretty sure this falls under the "prohibited transmissions" section. But you'll have to use your own judgement.

 

And just to digress, how's life down in San Angelo, BigJon? I grew up in Brownwood, and by coincidence will be there for a couple of days next week.

 

Small world, eh?

 

-----

~ Boyd

N5CTI

 

"Never ask a man where he's from. If he's from Texas, he'll tell ya soon enough. If he ain't, don't embarrass him."

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Hiya El Oso - N5CTI San Angelo is really dry atm. (at the moment) hehe was asked what that ment. The river is low and the lakes are very low. We need rain in a bad kinda way. I have started caching recently in this area and let me tell you there are some great ones in some really neat areas. I hope you will load some up and take a peek. Now back to the hams. I am not an operator as of yet and will be getting my study guide soon and hopefully the San Angelo ham club will hook me up with someone to talk to. Then I can really look into the legality of the use of hams for what we are doing. I really can't explain in detail what or how here, I'm not a very good writer. Well if your in town and have some down time give me a holler and if I'm home, we can link up and shoot the $h%&.

 

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Sorry, I know this thread has been dead for a little while but I just saw it and have to add my 2 cents. I have gone round and round with this issue before. And yes, after reading the above this does sound like prohibited use. If I was to work for a plumbing company and used an amateur band to contact a co-worker and ask them to meet me at Burger King for lunch there would be no problem (has nothing to do with my employment). However, if I was to contact a coworker and ask them to stopby a jobsite to help me load stuff into a van then we would run into prohibited conduct. It sure sounds like this falls into the latter.

Perhaps the best solution here would be use of MURS radios. No license required and good range. You would have to check on the regulation of aircraft based radios in this band though. Please remind your employer though that this is what the Aircraft radio band was created for. He should already have an aircraft radio in the ballon if for nothing other than UNICOM.

 

Just my 2 cents.

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OK so this thread has gotten cold, but I am suprised that no one looked in their AIM. 123.300 MHz and 123.500 MHz are clearly called out as the Aviation Band frequencys for Balloons. I never took the LTA test but I would expect you should know this to get the licence. There are several companys making hand helds for aviation band which have the same power as a comparable ham hand held, so should get similar range. Seemes to me that an avation band radio would be useful in a balloon for other stuff anyway...

 

This shouldn't discourage you from getting your ham licence. Ham radio is fun for, well, it is.

 

73

de N8NPA

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