Friday, June 28, 2013

RM11699 is a Well-Intentioned Bad Idea

I have been an Emergency Communicator. I understand the limitations of what can and cannot be communicated via amateur radio during emergency activation. I also believe that Mr. Rolph AB1PH has the best intentions in his Petition for Rule Making to the FCC (RM11699). I still think it's a bad idea to grant amateurs permission to transmit encrypted messages in any form other than remotely controlling equipment.

There are many things happening in an emergency, many of which SHOULD be encrypted for the protection of those involved. However, messages of this magnitude, should ONLY be handled by professional Emergency Personnel with the ability to act on the encrypted information. Such messages are in NO WAY the responsibility of amateur communicators. 

Amateur Radio has proven itself over and over as a viable and robust emergency communication tool and it should continue to serve the public in times of need by opening communication, "when all else fails." But, the moment amateurs are asked to shoulder the weight of highly sensitive medical and tactical communication, it is no longer amateur communication. In asking the FCC to grant the right to transmit and receive such communications, amateurs would open themselves to the full ramifications of mishandling said communications, which they are not--nor should they be required to be--trained to handle. Amateur Radio is first and foremost a hobby. Albeit a hobby that can serve the public in times of need.

It is my hope that the ARRL and the FCC consider the weight that this petition asks them to bear and that it is ultimately denied. 

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