Guidelines for use of W4WC Repeaters or operations with W4WC during Special Events

Implemented 9-19-19, revised 9-27-19

This document is provided by the W4WC Trustee N4FV to assist in determining what are permitted communications when providing special events assistance. As Trustee, I am responsible for all communications that are transmitted under the W4WC callsign (repeaters or other authorized club stations using W4WC during an event). Many communications can enter a very gray area and I would prefer to stay out of that if possible.

Most of the information is taken from a document residing on the ARRL website @

I will also quote some sections of that document for this policy.

§ 97.111 Authorized transmissions.
(a)An amateur station may transmit the following types of two-way communications:

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

The key words in (2) are “and to facilitate relief actions.” In other words, does the communication relate to something that is essential and provide information for a relief action. This should carry the largest weight in determining if a communication is safety/health related and permitted under the rules.

“A good rule of thumb when evaluating a particular request for communications support is, “Who benefits?” If public safety is the principal beneficiary, then §97.1 is being fulfilled. If the entity itself and not the general public is the principal beneficiary, then they should be encouraged to use radio services other than Amateur Radio.”

Stations operating through W4WC repeaters or under the authority of the callsign should consider this as #1 priority. Public safety is not the same as a routine business communication that could be utilized in another service. Providing communications other than something related to health and safety should be avoided.

§97.113 Prohibited transmissions

(a)No amateur station shall transmit
(2)Communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise provided in these rules;
(3)Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer
(5)Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably be furnished alternatively through other radio services

#5 does offer some leeway on allowing some types of communications if a “regular basis” is not the case. It is the opinion of the W4WC Trustee that interpretation of that rule section should not be taken lightly and only apply for internal use of club functions only as it would be irregular instance.

For business related communications, Part 90 Land Mobile Radio would be the best alternative. Unlicensed “short range” services such as MURS or FRS could also be a viable alternative. GMRS may not be a good fit due to licensing requirements of individuals and applying only to their families.

Examples of permissible communications using the W4WC callsign could be:

Health and safety issues/information or requests for assistance to or from event staff that require immediate or priority assistance including 3rd party traffic.
Current or past location of participants using names or other identifiers to assist in tracking for health/safety reasons.
Food or beverage status/requests essential for health and safety of participants (but not if sales is involved).

Examples of non-permissible communications:
Communications not related to immediate health and safety of participants such as general support.
Providing participant information for other than health and safety.
3rd party communications not related to immediate health and safety of participants.

Licensed amateurs that are providing communications assistance are not prohibited from participation to assist in any event and are encouraged to do so. If an amateur chooses to provide other types of communications and isn’t in communication through W4WC repeaters or with W4WC, then that licensee is responsible for their communications and not W4WC. The licensee of that station then assumes sole liability for any infractions of FCC rules. However, since the amateur service is “self-policing”, any rule infraction may be brought to an offending station’s attention.

As a general rule, communications involving W4WC should only contain health and safety information as defined above.
One last requirement – When using “tactical callsigns or identifiers”, station identification must still be done with your amateur callsign at least once every 10 minutes and at the end of your communications.  If you are using the repeater and the repeater ID’s, use it as a reminder for all stations to ID.

If you have any questions, I can be reached via the website admin address.

Bob Gass N4FV
W4WC Trustee