What We Do

The Federal Communications Commission, when creating the Amateur Radio Service, was clear in its intent that Amateur Radio Operators must be involved in communication emergencies.  In a large sense that is what we do through programs that we’ve created, emergency exercises that we participate in, public service events where we practice communication skills and education to those interested in amateur radio.

The Amateur Radio Service is encouraged by FCC Part 97 regulations to provide emergency communications.  As such, amateur radio operators are often the first communication responders when a disaster renders normal communication devices inoperable.  This was the case with tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes striking large geographical areas.  Large forest fires in the western United States brought amateurs out to support communications needs.

97.1   Basis and purpose.

The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

  • Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

97.111   Authorized transmissions.

(a) An amateur station may transmit the following types of two-way communications:

  • Transmissions necessary to exchange messages with other stations in the amateur service, except those in any country whose administration has notified the ITU that it objects to such communications. The FCC will issue public notices of current arrangements for international communications.

  • (2) Transmissions necessary to meet essential communication needs and to facilitate relief actions.

97.403   Safety of life and protection of property.

  • No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radio communication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.