The following is a memo from Massachusetts State RACES Radio Officer Tom Kinahan-N1CPE and MEMA Operations Manager Jon Dillon on the recent FCC Notice on paid employees and drills/exercises.
To All Massachusetts Amateur Radio Operators and Emergency Management Directors
As you may know, the FCC recently clarified it’s position on the operation of amateur radio stations
by licensed operators acting on behalf of an employer, including those who are employees of a
government agency, during drills and actual emergencies. Below is a link to this FCC notice.
Paid employees, of any organization, including government employees may not operate an amateur radio
station for their employer during a drill, unless a waiver is requested by and granted to the
government agency who is conducting the drill.
We reaffirm the importance of including Amateur Radio in emergency drills and exercises and we
encourage Emergency Management Directors to continue to take advantage of the skills and training
available in the licensed Amateur Radio community.
We recommend that amateurs follow all FCC rules, and not jeopardize their license and risk fines.
We also suggest that only volunteer amateur radio operators operate Amateur Radio communication
systems while participating in drill operations. It will be necessary for your local government to
request a waiver of the rules for specific drills, according to the procedure indicated in the
public notice, if paid employees will be expected to operate Amateur Radio Transmitters. We request
that when and if your local government does request a waiver of the rules in this situation, that
you send a courtesy copy of your request to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency –
Communications Division, by mail or fax, or through the Massachusetts State RACES Officer who will
be able to forward your information to MEMA.
We anticipate that MEMA will request waivers for a limited number of upcoming exercises involving
MEMA and power plant staff.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Tom Kinahan N1CPE
Massachusetts State RACES Radio Officer