Remote Operating

Paul Jarvis of Ofcom has indicated at the National Hamfest and at the RSGB Convention that improving the clarification of the Remote Operation clauses is being considered as a topic for inclusion in their Licence Review consultation next year.  The presentation slides are available for download.

The Society believes that the amateur radio community is interested in both remote operation of an individual’s station, as well as remote-stations being set up expressly for a group or club for its members.  The benefit would be for students, the elderly or disabled amateurs or others, who for a variety of reasons, cannot set up an effective station at their home.

This Litmus Test consultation has now finished, with the following outcome:

The RSGB supports Ofcom’s wish to clarify the amateur licence in respect of remote operating. The number of participants in the discussion was small, but unanimous in the view that better remote operating provision was needed. The following needs to be taken into consideration:

The RSGB supports Ofcom’s wish to clarify the amateur licence in respect of remote operating. The number of participants in the discussion was small, but unanimous in the view that better remote operating provision was needed. The following needs to be taken into consideration:
1. The RSGB understands that the originally reason for requiring remote operation was to enable remote closedown of repeaters and beacons by the authorised licence holder, hence Clauses 10(2) and 10(3) in the current Licence Schedule.

2. Clause 10(4) along with 10(3) may have been intended to facilitate remote accesses for an individual’s remote station. The RSGB would like to extend this”light touch” approach to enable other than the remote station’s licensee to access a remote-station facility. This could be informal groups or amateur radio clubs.

3. Amateur practice would be for the call sign prefix used by the operator of the remote station to reflect the country of its location.

4. The discussion considered two ways or operating a remote station. These were that the call sign to be used in remote operations shall
a. be the call sign of the licence holder who owned the remote station; or
b. The call sign of the person remotely operating the station (modified by the appropriate Regional Secondary Locator as per 3 above)
Some considered that both options were needed as they met different requirements from the UK amateur community; others felt that only 4a should be considered.

5. In general club members will want to operate their club station remotely with either the club’s call sign or their own. Ad hoc groups of friends might be content to use the call sign of the licensee of the remote station. Newcomers especially will enjoy the opportunity to use their own call sign. Those licensed for many years are likely to want to want to operate a remote station using their own call sign. With increasing RF noise, smaller gardens, flats, etc, this will provide a way for urban dwellers to enjoy the hobby.

6. Clauses 10(6) and 10(7) would need amending to allow Internet-based links for Foundation and Intermediate Licensees to access remote stations of the form discussed in 4 above;

7. Remote station operation could provide licence progression incentive as operating a remote station would provide a much enhanced experience over D-Star or Echolink for newcomers;

8. Whilst some aspects of remote station operation can be systemised, e.g. station control (frequency, maximum power, mode), security of links, etc, and made a responsibility of the licensee of the remote station, the conduct of and message content used by the operator would be difficult to supervise remotely and must be the responsibility of the operator ;

9. Funding of the remote station was only raised briefly, and here the suggestion was that this should be a private matter between station licensee and the operators. A remote station facility was thought to be akin to repeater funding and the renting out of holiday cottages that have amateur radio station facilities.