Do I need to get a Licence to operate my ham radio?

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Dec 28, 2015
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Appleton Wisconsin
I had a conversation the other day with someone who is highly respected in the offroad community and someone that I have a tremendous respect for if he feeels the need to get an amateur radio license before operating one offroad.

He told me has been operating an amateur radio for years and uses it all the time while wheeling but does not see a need to get his license. This came as a bit of a surprise to me considering his views on Tread Lightly, adherence to trail rules, his views on safety, and his overall do what’s right attitude.

The two main reason he cited.

1. The test is so easy it doesn’t mean anything.

2. As long he is respectful and does not abuse it he will never get caught.

The first I am not sure I understand but it flies in the face of the second.

The test is not difficult but does take a couple of days of study and memorization if all you want to do is pass. The purpose of the technician test is to give you a rudimentary understanding of how a radio works but mostly to explain the rules of radio operation and how to “be respectful and not abuse” the privilege.

I would argue that the driver’s test is not difficult and the chances are small that you would ever get caught if you never broke any traffic laws or got in an accident. I think that it would be difficult to however if you never studied what the laws were.

I contend it is a bit hypocritical if you expect others to follow rules if you only follow the ones you feel are worth while.
 
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Izzyandsue

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To follow the federal law, yes you do need a license. You don’t need a license to buy a ham radio, so people can buy and use without a license at their own risk if “hope” is their strategy. If caught, fines can be hefty.
 

John McVicker

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I don't know who your friend is, but from the tone of your post it's clear you believe he is 'wrong'. And I agree with you, pretty hypocritical thinking by your friend. Why not just follow the rules?

I know times are changing...and he will prob never get caught. But it's like: you can judge a person and his values by what he does when he thinks no one is looking.
 

LC4LIFE

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I have heard the same story many times within the off road community that the license is not necessary. I have also heard from the ham community that the four wheelers are a bunch of illegal hooligans. My view is simple, the law requires it, I will learn something studying for the test, and it sets a good example for the people who may ask me about ham usage. Inside or outside of either community. I am currently studying for the test, not because I feel like I need to in order to know what I am doing, but because it is the right thing to do.
 

WB8LBZ

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Joel, I hope you do. It is much easier than it was when I got mine. The Enforcement officers for the FCC are federal officers with the authority to arrest you and confiscate your equipment. Last I checked the test was about $15. Its real hard to squeeze all the electrons out using the microphone.

Best of luck,
Larry in El Paso
 
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Appleton Wisconsin
I hope he gets caught and fined.
I am not out to get anyone caught and fined. We are all just wanting to have a good time. One of my main points is that unless you feel ok about others deciding what rules to follow on the trail based on what they feel is a good rule get your licence and follow the rules.
 
Joined
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Appleton Wisconsin
Joel, I hope you do. It is much easier than it was when I got mine. The Enforcement officers for the FCC are federal officers with the authority to arrest you and confiscate your equipment. Last I checked the test was about $15. Its real hard to squeeze all the electrons out using the microphone.

Best of luck,
Larry in El Paso
Larry my call sign is actually WI4WD
 
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What an interesting plan, nobody is checking, so even though its illegal I'm not going to comply. Like others I've found the actual studying for the license to be quite helpful. Understanding how your equipment works is key to proper operation. Operating on restricted frequencies that others have taken the time to learn about and license on seems like cheating to me.
 
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I used to get very annoyed when I hear about people using Amateur Radio w/o a license. It is wrong but then I compare the situation to other common transgressions, like driving 85 in an 65 zone. That's not the best comparison.....but maybe the better comparison is sneaking into a national park or camping in a paid campground w/o paying. Or not telling a clerk when they give you the wrong change.

Anyway I no longer get nearly as upset about people operating amateur radio w/o license now thinking of this way. Those people behave pettily but I can forgive them.
 
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I am sure the radio clubs would also not be too happy if unlicensed operators are using their repeaters. If you don't want to get licensed why not just use CB or FRS?
 
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Most of our repeaters have a tone on them, repeater can not be used without the tone. I also do not acknowledge any radio call without a call sign. Last year a guy was whining about being stuck , using the two metre band. I did not answer him and I know that he could not use the repeater. A good walk is always good for the health.
 
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If someone were stuck or had another type of emergency I know I would answer and try to help. Legally in case of emergency anyone can use a ham radio and I support that. It is the non emergency use because for whatever reason you do not want to take the test that I take issue with.
 
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