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Thread: Amateur radio conspiracy theory?

  1. #1
    Regular Member TechnoWeenie's Avatar
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    I was browsing the state laws, as I frequently do, looking for oddball stuff... and I found this..


    ___________________

    RCW 46.16.340
    Amateur radio operator plates — Information furnished to various agencies.


    The director, from time to time, shall furnish the state military department, the department of community, trade, and economic development, the Washington state patrol, and all county sheriffs a list of the names, addresses, and license plate or radio station call letters of each person possessing the special amateur radio station license plates so that the facilities of such radio stations may be utilized to the fullest extent in the work of these governmental agencies.

    _____________


    What, praytell, does the department of the military, county sheriffs, department of trade, etc need the address, license plates, names, callsigns, etc of those who get an amateur radio plate? No other license plate has these qualifications/restrictions/laws,etc.

    The creepy parts are..

    1. "shall furnish", not 'may furnish', not 'can furnish', but "..shall furnish.."...

    2. Why did the legislature need to make a law DEMANDING that these records be sent to multiple agencies?

    3. WTF do they mean by "..so that the facilities of such radio stations may be utilized to the fullest extent in the work of these governmental agencies."

    There's only two reasons why I can think the department of military would need a list of radio communications equipment operators in the state... Neither are good..

    I emailed my local/state legislators about it, I'll see what their reply is (5$ says it's a canned response).


    ETA: I understand the SHTF clause, a huge reason for the existence of the amateur radio service is for emergency communications, so I could understand a law if it was ONLY the department of emergency management, or something similar, but WTF does the department of commerce, trade and economic development need with amateur radio operators licenses/addresses/etc.? County sheriff? Seems ripe with potential for abuse.

    And still, if the government is knocking on MY door wanting to use MY equipment (or any joe blow amateur radio operators equipment) We're ALL FU@(#D anyway, lol.


    Can you imagine a law saying that .. 'anyone who has a Doctors only license plate will have their information forwarded to the department of health so that their skills can be utilized to the fullest extent of those governmental agencies..' ? It would make it sound like you'd be rounded up if the SHTF to 'volunteer' your services....

    Evangelical lessons are provided upon request. Anyone wishing to meet Jesus can just kick in my door.

  2. #2
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    I would assume that they want that info for emergencies when all other avenues of communication have failed. Wouldn't be the first time HAM ops and such have filled in a gap.

    EDIT I'm told that it's part of your license to agree to help out with emergencies.

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    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
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    I've contemplated getting a callsign plate from time to time. This really chills that desire. I guess I'll just have to go with a bumper sticker.

    Not to mention it's totally silly - they can get lists from the FCC if they want to know who's licensed in the area.

    Too bad we can't get NNN AAA vanity plates - 762 FAL would be just too cool! I envy whoever got that one in the luck of the draw.




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    I read a bit about this some years ago. As a once primary means of communication, Amateur Radio operations were suspended during WWI and reestablished after the war. Same thing happened during WWII. There was just too much chatter to monitor and those frequencies were also used by spies, covert ops, etc.

    I would imagine the law is old and relates to those old times, but is now used merely for emergencies as you stated. HAM liceneses are fed regulated by the FCC and no one on any local level has any idea who may or may not have a license and/or equipment. This is probably their only way of knowing.

    That's my guess.

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    BobCav wrote:
    HAM liceneses are fed regulated by the FCC and no one on any local level has any idea who may or may not have a license and/or equipment. This is probably their only way of knowing.

    That's my guess.
    It's technically true that the locals may not have their own database of radio amateurs in their area, but there's a chain of things that negate that apparent ignorance in reality.

    1. A condition of your radio license is keeping your name and address up to date with the FCC.
    2. The FCC considers the callsign->name/address database public information.
    3. The database is available all over the place. For an example, go to qrz.com and put in any valid callsign. You'll get the callsign holder's last known (supposedly current) name and address along with GPS coordinates, grid location, time zone, etc.

    This is one reason many privacy advocates who are also into preparedness will buy amateur radio equipment for use if the SHTF, but not get an FCC license.

    To elaborate on the address requirement, the FCC mandates that the address given be the actual physical address of your "primary operating station." A PO Box won't fly.

    Also, the amateur service is considered "self-policing" in that the FCC and LEO will enforce the law, but they don't typically actively patrol for violations. All too many amateurs get their kicks from trolling callsign databases and reporting people they know are operating from a primary station that doesn't match the FCC address on file.

    Finally, many amateurs are very good at direction finding. There are lots of "find the hidden transmitter" contests held every weekend all over the country. If you are operating an unlicensed station and attract the interest of the locals, chances are close to 100% that you will eventually be found and reported.

    Who needs big brother when the sheep are willing to hand you over to the wolves themselves?

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    The database of amateur radio operators is public so in a SHTF scenario any local government office can look people up. I don’t think it’s necessarily your assistance they‘re hoping to utilize though. The license plate tells me that maybe they want your radio equipped vehicle for use in a SHTF situation. I hope they intend to ask, not commandeer, or there may be a firefight.

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    bobernet wrote:
    BobCav wrote:
    HAM liceneses are fed regulated by the FCC and no one on any local level has any idea who may or may not have a license and/or equipment. This is probably their only way of knowing.

    That's my guess.
    It's technically true that the locals may not have their own database of radio amateurs in their area, but there's a chain of things that negate that apparent ignorance in reality.

    1. A condition of your radio license is keeping your name and address up to date with the FCC.
    2. The FCC considers the callsign->name/address database public information.
    3. The database is available all over the place. For an example, go to qrz.com and put in any valid callsign. You'll get the callsign holder's last known (supposedly current) name and address along with GPS coordinates, grid location, time zone, etc.

    This is one reason many privacy advocates who are also into preparedness will buy amateur radio equipment for use if the SHTF, but not get an FCC license.

    To elaborate on the address requirement, the FCC mandates that the address given be the actual physical address of your "primary operating station." A PO Box won't fly.

    Also, the amateur service is considered "self-policing" in that the FCC and LEO will enforce the law, but they don't typically actively patrol for violations. All too many amateurs get their kicks from trolling callsign databases and reporting people they know are operating from a primary station that doesn't match the FCC address on file.

    Finally, many amateurs are very good at direction finding. There are lots of "find the hidden transmitter" contests held every weekend all over the country. If you are operating an unlicensed station and attract the interest of the locals, chances are close to 100% that you will eventually be found and reported.

    Who needs big brother when the sheep are willing to hand you over to the wolves themselves?
    That makes sense. I know the info is public and do remember the requirement for a physical address. I was very into radio years before joining the Navy and my best friend has every license there is by now....

    Maybe it is just to get a vehicle that's equipped with a radio. All our frigging tax dollars and they STILL want more.... sheesh....

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    Regular Member dave1289's Avatar
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    bobernet wrote:
    To elaborate on the address requirement, the FCC mandates that the address given be the actual physical address of your "primary operating station." A PO Box won't fly.
    You are no longer required to give the address of your "primary operation station". All you need is a physical address that you can be reached at. It can be a relative, friend, or anyone else. Comes in handy if you travel a lot and don't have a permanent place of residence.

    73



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    Mainsail wrote:
    The database of amateur radio operators is public so in a SHTF scenario any local government office can look people up. I don’t think it’s necessarily your assistance they‘re hoping to utilize though. The license plate tells me that maybe they want your radio equipped vehicle for use in a SHTF situation. I hope they intend to ask, not commandeer, or there may be a firefight.
    This is correct -- There is no conspiracy theory. Also -- any vehicle with Amateur Radio tags is required to have a functional communications system.

    This is VERY handy when local/state government realizes all their high-dollar toys with fancy knobs are no longer working.

    The Virginia Department of Emergency Management sponsors the "Amateur Radio Communications Auxilliary" group, complete with special privileges(key card to St. Police/Emergency Operations Center).. At least in the state of Virginia, Amateur Radio is recognized as a VERY valuable tool when SHTF..

    Many of the members of the group also have CHP's..

    So you have a group of "fully armed" individuals who can communicate independant of any infrastructure... Cool stuff.

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    Regular Member dave1289's Avatar
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    psmartin wrote:
    any vehicle with Amateur Radio tags is required to have a functional communications system.
    That's news to me. Are you sure that's not a local thing. It could be sense vehicle tags are State controlled. Here all you have to do is show your license and they'll give you a tag. No equipment required.

    73




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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    psmartin wrote: This is VERY handy when local/state government realizes all their high-dollar toys with fancy knobs are no longer working.[/quote]


    I used to meet regularly with our County's Department of Emergency Management. One of the local amateur's had a regular saying:

    "When the SHTF, the only ones that will be able to communicate will be cockroaches and those that know morse code."
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    In NC, the amateur plate requires applicants to testify they have a portable amateur transceiver.

    The Amateur Radio Service is at its core a *government* service. Hams (not capitalized BTW) get a lot of spectrum literally to play with, but also are expected to lend a hand when needed.

    Being a gov't service that also means the FCC can literally shut down the whole thing with a stroke of a pen. It's happened before during wartime, and there is still a list of countries US hams are forbidden to talk to.

    Having done Skywarn and ARES emergency traffic training, my perspective is that law enforcement and other emergency management agencies haven't the slightest interest in directly getting their hands on any of my equipment. They much prefer to operate their own gear, on its own frequencies, and engage hams only in a complementary/auxiliary capacity. How central of a role amateurs find themselves in, varies with the situation.

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    here might be a good place... always thought the amateur radio thing would be a good time.

    Any good resources available from this crowd (trust you guys more than just searchin google)?

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    Read this first: http://www.hello-radio.org/whatis.html

    Amateur Radio Relay League (the NRA/GOA/SAF of Hams)
    http://www.arrl.org

    Good equipment reviews, but the forums are mostly "old hams" fighting with "new hams" about the sunsetting of the morse code requirement, and "old hams" whining about "new hams" who don't build their own crystal radios to talk morse code with a key made from pine bark and a coffee can.
    http://www.eham.net

    Good general interest site and callsign lookup
    http://www.qrz.com

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    If you're into weather watching, attend a local Skywarn/NWS weather spotter presentation. You'll learn a lot about weather *and* run into a gaggle of hams.

    Also, look for "hamfest" flyers/notices in your area. Spring and fall are the most popular times but they happen throughout the year. ARRL usually has a booth, as do at least the hamfest sponsors.

    Here's another one: at the hamfest look for announcments of foxhunts (transmitter hunt). With just an HT or other receiver - usually for the 2 meter band, you can participate even if not licensed. I've been licensed since I was 9 years old and still enjoy 'em!

    Last, you may also see VEC (volunteer examiner coordinator) amateur exams offered in your area. If you stop by one of those, the hams running it almost certainly would help steer you to some good local resources, if not give you a copy of a study book.

    The ARRL is a great source of info and important legislative advocate for protecting amateur spectrum, among many other things. But I mention it last because your local organizations/events (as above) are in my opinion better places to get started - where you can talk in person with plenty of people eager to share the hobby.


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    Regular Member maclean's Avatar
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    No conspiracy theory.

    For those that "are chilled" by this thought, and avoiding getting a call sign....

    When you get a call sign, your name and address become publicly available on the internet for everyone any how.

    This is straight OEM stuff, and justifies the cheap plate.

    73
    (General Class Ham)
    Squeak!

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    To get my ham equipment they will have to pry it from my cold dead hands.



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    Regular Member maclean's Avatar
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    lockman wrote:
    To get my ham equipment they will have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

    haha!
    Squeak!

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    lockman wrote:
    To get my ham equipment they will have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

    If they really want your radio gear, that will be the outcome if you resist.

  20. #20
    Regular Member TechnoWeenie's Avatar
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    maclean wrote:
    No conspiracy theory.

    For those that "are chilled" by this thought, and avoiding getting a call sign....

    When you get a call sign, your name and address become publicly available on the internet for everyone any how.

    This is straight OEM stuff, and justifies the cheap plate.

    73
    (General Class Ham)

    Says the man who left his callsign out of his post...


    KB3JKP
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    John Hardin wrote:
    I've contemplated getting a callsign plate from time to time. This really chills that desire. I guess I'll just have to go with a bumper sticker.

    Not to mention it's totally silly - they can get lists from the FCC if they want to know who's licensed in the area.

    Too bad we can't get NNN AAA vanity plates - 762 FAL would be just too cool! I envy whoever got that one in the luck of the draw.


    As a GTO driver, I've always wanted to get LS2 FTW

  22. #22
    Regular Member maclean's Avatar
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    TechnoWeenie wrote:
    maclean wrote:
    No conspiracy theory.

    For those that "are chilled" by this thought, and avoiding getting a call sign....

    When you get a call sign, your name and address become publicly available on the internet for everyone any how.

    This is straight OEM stuff, and justifies the cheap plate.

    73
    (General Class Ham)

    Says the man who left his callsign out of his post...


    KB3JKP
    After I just got done telling everyone how to find my name?

    Yup!
    Squeak!

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    Ahhh cmon Maclean you are taking all the fun out of finding out which Dept. you and Morris work for.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    joeroket wrote:
    Ahhh cmon Maclean you are taking all the fun out of finding out which Dept. you and Morris work for.
    ROFL!... mclean, just in case you're wondering, joerocket's joking (or, at least, I'm 95% sure he is).

    We all respect you LEO's that want to keep your department affiliation quiet due to possible discrimination or discipline by superiors, as has happened to Morris. We want you to stick around and give your honest opinion on things; as such, it's pretty much necessary that you keep your dept. anon on the boards. If you decide to let us know in person at a lunch, that's probably not an issue, but just stay safe - both from your peers/superiors and the BG's.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    just_a_car wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    Ahhh cmon Maclean you are taking all the fun out of finding out which Dept. you and Morris work for.
    ROFL!... mclean, just in case you're wondering, joerocket's joking (or, at least, I'm 95% sure he is).

    We all respect you LEO's that want to keep your department affiliation quiet due to possible discrimination or discipline by superiors, as has happened to Morris. We want you to stick around and give your honest opinion on things; as such, it's pretty much necessary that you keep your dept. anon on the boards. If you decide to let us know in person at a lunch, that's probably not an issue, but just stay safe - both from your peers/superiors and the BG's.
    I second this. By all means I was joking. Thanks for the backup on that just_a_car. I didn't even think that it might come across like we were actively trying to find out who he really is.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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