Read the comments at the end for updates ….


Just received this letter that was sent to a USA HAM operator by the FCC. The letter came to me via Europe in case anyone is interested.  What I would like to know is this: “What exactly is this OFFICIAL OBSERVER Program that the letter refers to?”

So Google to the rescue..

Official Observer (OO)

Apply Now

The Official Observer (OO) program has been sponsored by the ARRL for more than 85 years to help Amateur Radio operators assist each other to operate their stations in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.

Official Observer appointees have assisted thousands of Amateur Radio operators to maintain their transmitting equipment and comply with operating procedures and regulations. The object of the OO program is to notify amateurs of operating and technical irregularities before they come to the attention of the FCC and to recognize good operating practices.

The OO program serves as the first line of “eyes and ears” for the FCC. It is the backbone of the Amateur Auxiliary. OOs are certified in the Auxiliary by passing a mandatory written examination.

The OO performs his/her function by observing rather than transmitting.  They keep watch for such things as frequency instability, harmonics, hum, key clicks, broad signals, distorted audio, over deviation, out-of-band operation and other potential problems. The OO completes his/her task once the notification card is sent.

In substantive rule violations cases, OOs refer problems to ARRL HQ.  After review by HQ staff, the OO may be requested to provide additional information that may be forwarded to the FCC for possible enforcement action.

Responsibilities :

  • Reporting to the ARRL Section OO Coordinator monthly on Form FSD-23.
  • Sending out advisory notices as needed.
  • Submiting good operator reports as warranted.


  • Recommendation of ARRL Section Manager
  • Pass an examination based on study of the ARRL’s Amateur Auxiliary Training Manual
  • Full ARRL membership
  • Technician class license or higher for at least four years

Recruitment of new hams and ARRL members is an integral part of the job of every ARRL appointee. Appointees should take advantage of every opportunity to recruit a new ham or member to foster growth of Field Organization programs, and our abilities to serve the public.

 So there it is..ARRL sponsored..HAMS acting out their little Hitler dreams! The SS rides again. So what do they do if you do not have a HAM license? 
But it does explain why there are so few USA callsigns on 10m. They are all on 27.555 USB dobbing in the freebanders!  I am sure if radios had been invented when the founding fathers were working on the constitution they would have allowed their citizens the freedom to bear a radio transmitter and transmit where they wanted! An integral part of freedom. In a country with a constitution that allows citizens to bear arms I find the lack of radio freedom quite paradoxical. 

ARRL Official Observer Program

Amateur Auxiliary to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau

More Google searching on the OO program..

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  1. Ken the Prick N8KC says:

    Most op’s got the same robo letter. The FCC can tell lie’s in that letter and it is ok. Now if the OP does not tell the truth he/she can go to jail, pay large fine’s, or have there radio’s taken away.

    • An Observant Ham Radio Operator says:

      If you really are Ken (N8KC) and I doubt that you are, I feel the need to allow all to know how you abused your position by sending me a OO notice and implying that I was working in the Extra Class portion of the band ….. and of all things — get this — on CW no less. I do not work CW dumb ass! I can guarantee however that you know W4AAW very well though since he put you up to sending me the bogus OO notice. It is to be expected though since W4AAW is a LID just like you.

  2. Pattra says:

    Hi Ken,

    thanks for the reply. So what is the goal of the entire operation? Is it to get the freeband free of operators and use it for some other purpose, or is it to scare the operators and get them going for a HAM ticket and get the ham bands a little more crowded. The only thing I just want to know… if the latter is the goal, what if you get your ham ticket and be a good operator on the ham band, will you still be sued?
    Or is the entire operation only to fill up the finances of the FCC and OOs?

    • dd182003 says:

      Hi Ken, Your Guess is as good as mine!!!
      I think they just need something to do…..
      A reason for their existence…
      Compensation for all the years they spent enjoying life on CB???

  3. Eddy 43RC461 says:

    What wrong with FCC , just our ACMA down under previous , a few out of band freebanders on 11 meters giving away national secrets like the weather the local time , ther location & radio gear . You would think again why the crack down stateside & even before that 12 months before it was going on in Aussie. The world has bigger problems at hand , I do not believe 11 meter free banders are a problem to anyone or will ever bee, we are very few in number & declining more every day . I think stuck up Hams need to remember where they come from as well in past years & welcome more to enter ham radio , but here down under most think they are a cut above the freebanders instead of helping us to enter ham radio they turn us away big time . Freebanders do help keeping the hobby & radio shops afloat as well world wide & we do have a great interest in radio , antennas & conditions , even so more than a lot of hams even do . What a great hobby 11 Meter free band has been for a lot of us , but it is coming to a close , what country will be the next target of Goverment & radio branch in that location.

  4. JW says:

    What on earth do they have plans for on those frequencies? They are allotted for US Navy over here. Never being used by them as far as I’ve ever heard. BUT, I have heard the Marines use the 2meter ham band and not ID for days on end here in Charleston, SC area. A friend (fellow ham) and I went and found them and asked what they were doing we found out it was a DHS exercise for if a nuke was detonated in the Charleston Harbor and they were setting up 35 miles away, in our back yards.
    Their burst transmissions were wiping out the entire band and nobody gave a damn at the FCC or ARRL. SO “F” THE COMMISSION with all their rules an fines for utilizing an unused set of frequencies.
    I’ve long promoted going to the lower frequencies below the CB band and above the 12 meter band plan at 24 MHz. Say lower 26 and 25 MHz area. It would buy us a little bit more time before they felt their righteous indignation again and started looking where we all went! Another tip would be to run as clean as possible and use only the power needed to make contact. When a band is open 25 watts and a coat hanger(long coat hanger) will work. But y’all all know this already.

  5. Ed, VA3ES says:

    I was an OO for many years, and am quite familiar with the program today. The function of OO’s is to monitor amateur activity in the amateur bands (only), and report any possible irregularities to the operator, before it comes to the attention of the government authorities. They do this voluntarily and are not paid.

    The OOs have no authority to monitor anything outside the amateur frequencies. I repeat, OOs have no authority to monitor anything outside the amateur frequencies. Anyone doing so under OO auspices is exceeding his voluntary authority. Now this is not to say that some individual can not report “unauthorized” activity anywhere in the HF spectrum. I’m sure that there are some busybodies who do this, in an attempt to boost and inflate their meager egos. There are probably some hams who arrogantly do this too, for the same ego-boost. In my opinion, they’re spitting against the wind.

    That the FCC would specify that an infraction report was received from an OO, I find very odd. Normally, the FCC does not initially disclose their sources. I find that letter to be suspect.

    99% of the hams I know don’t give a rat’s ass for what goes on on the freeband. The very few that do (locally) are insignificant have no impact on the government or local hams. These isolated individuals are powerless and the larger ham community knows who they are. We have better things to do than harass freebanders.

    • Ed, VA3ES says:

      I should also state that for many years in my position as an OO, I saw many letters sent by the FCC to offenders. This letter is totally atypical of an FCC enforcement letter. It does not conform to the typical FCC “boilerplate” verbiage. In the first pace, any official FCC letter would start off by quoting the appropriate section of the Federal Title 47 CFR Part 97 rules that the operator contravened. This did not happen. Second, no FCC letter would describe the freeband as the “freeband”. Instead, the specific frequency or frequencies where the infraction took place would be quoted. Third, again, no mentions of any OOs would be made as the FCC would not initially disclose any sources of their information. This is just not done by any government, as they need to protect their sources.

      In my opinion, this “letter” is a Photoshop, or cut ‘n paste job done by some antagonistic hams against some one they have a grudge against, or is a rival of some kind, whom they want to get in trouble, or at very least make them shit their pants.

      I see this all the time. It has happened to me.

      • dd182003 says:

        And did the station receive multiple warnings from the OO as the ‘presummed’ FCC letter states?
        I also would not be surprised if this is just a bit of try on by someone with access to the AT address book.

    • dd182003 says:

      Thanks Ed, Excellent point…the OO is to monitor they can only tattle on Hams working outside the bands…..bugger!!!! I think a lot of us have got the licence and found it did not really fill our needs!

  6. Eddy says:

    One operator visited by 3 U.S. Marshalls.The 5 or 6 Alfa Tango operators in the New York area (most of them having tickets) who received a letter were required to call a phone number and talk to the FCC rep.. which they all did. The CB’ers letter required them to respond by mail, which they all have as well.So something is going om for sure Stateside .

    • dd182003 says:

      a visit by three Marshalls doesn’t sound good…..
      What was the result of that visit?
      Was an FCC rep with them?
      Weirder and weider….

    • Ed, VA3ES says:

      “One operator visited by 3 U.S. Marshalls.” A bit overkill, I should think!!! How do you know this? Sometimes some “perps” exaggerate.
      “The 5 or 6 Alfa Tango operators in the New York area (most of them having tickets) who received a letter were required to call a phone number and talk to the FCC rep.”
      Sounds more like it. This sounds like typical FCC methods.

      • Eddy says:

        Information came from a 11 meter freebander Stateside which is caught up in it all, not sure at this stage what action was taken by U.S .Marshalls visit & if someone was present from FCC at the time . I know ED where you are coming from the stories do get hard to confirm like here in Aussie a while back , many rumors start to arise when these times come about , far as I know information i was given I hope is correct , but there again i cannot confirm or not confirm either way 100%. But what I would say is till you all see where it is going in the States I would be not making to much noise on 11 meter freeband .You’s have a lot to lose & the FCC nothing at all it is very risky business , I hope it will all past over for you all soon & hope Europe is not next on the list . There are a few operators worldwide causing some problems from 11 meter freeband , they too can cause us to be noticed by Radio branch world wide. The normal 11 meter frebander keeps well away from other bands unless he has a license , does not go above 27..650 Mhz , does not try to cause problems to neighbors & other people , normally has a good code of conduct , but there are just a few that do not have a good code of conduct & make us look bad worst luck.Even heard of some going down & transmitting on radio bands , was even a guy down under set up a FM radio station in southern QLD , How stupid is that ? , sure brings unwanted attention , just like the guy that parks in a hospital transmitting with a 500 watt mobile amp , very stupid , I could go on about it till the cows come home about some of the stories I have heard over the years , not good for freebanders , but that is another tropic for another day.

  7. Bob says:

    Yeah,your not kidding Eddie.been on the freeband over 40 years and never,ever had a problem,then 2 days b4 Christmas I get a registered and certified letter from the FCC in regards to being on the freeband.when I called the lady that sent it too me in the enforcement bureau in Gettysburg,pa,she said as long as i stay within the regular cb band I have nothing to worry about.It`s real bullshit that they don`t have better things to do with thier time,like worry about terrorist on the internet or something.I would`nt of thought it was real,but I talked to the lady that sent it too me from the Gettysburg office. Bob 2WRC285

  8. PattraPansing says:

    Open letter to Kenneth, N8KC.
    Ken, please tell me the reason why you are taking down the CB operators? Are these bad people. Why the hatred? You happened to be surrounded by HAM’s when you started the hobby. That is your luck. Most of the guys on the CB radio happened to grow up and be surrounded by CB operators. Are you punishing people just being surrounded by different people? Is that how you look to others’ people’s live? Are CB operators doing something wrong in your eyes. When I was a kid, my first words were: mama, papa and CQ DX. As long I have been living, I have been on the radio. I grew up with it and got the hobby from my beloved dad. CB radio is my life and is my family and you probably share the same ideas and have a likewise story.
    Maybe it is because you feel more powerful than CB operators you want to put your feet on top of their head and crush them down like someone who is crushing a cockroach. So how do you feel now? Good. How is your moral? How can you dare looking at yourself in the mirror and think you are a good person, when you try to literally kill a big family.
    I don’t want to generalize anybody. There are good operators and bad operators, in the free-band community and the HAM community. Have your mom and dad never learned you any values to respect other people and give them freedom? Because that is what it is all about. The free-band is a free-dom band, where people just make friends all over the world and try to learn.
    Most of the operators I know are lovely people, from different nations, Most of the CB operators are not that rich to get the ham ticket and extend the hobby to the HAM band. Ham equipment is expensive, and many of the operators don’t have the financial power.
    So enjoy crushing down the modest people financially and taking their hobby, lifestyle and past away from them.

    • dd182003 says:

      Despite this lovely note to a ham operator we have to be realistic. Freebanders are on the wrong side of the law and as such are open prey to anybody who wants to take a shot at you. Just like outlaws in the west..they were preyed on by bounty hunters..dead or alive…the outlaws may have been good people..probably some were..forced into it by circumstances beyond their control. But freebanders break the law knowingly and willingly and have to be prepared to face the consequences when caught. Just like speeding..its fun at times..but against the law. You might get caught. Be prepared. There will always be people like Ken who will take it upon themselves to perform public service..just like there will always be hangmen. The law is the law. No excuses. We get caught; we go down. No mercy. So don’t get caught. !!!! Be smart. Be careful. Give nothing away. Let Ken be Ken. He is what he is. He likes what he is. He has found something that is fun to him.
      It all adds to the fun and excitement.
      let the DX roll…..He probably won’t be around for the next cycle anyway….
      Let the freedom bells toll on the freeband…keep ken busy!!!

    • Ed, VA3ES says:

      A note to PattraPansing and dd182003:
      Dave you’re right, the freeeband is, effectively, illegal. So, you get haughty and elitist bigots like Kenneth, N8KC trying to satisfy some egotistical and psychological need to “get” freebanders. It all stems from an elitist bigotry. I use to feel the same way back in the early ’70’s when freebanding first started. Back then we called it “HFing”. Freebanders had “HF” numbers. And boy was I pissed at these operators! How dare they operate on non-CB frequencies! How dare they try and emulate (however poorly back then) ham operators! How dare they! What a bunch of poseurs, I thought.

      Eventually, after trying to alert hams to this phenomenon, and trying to contact various authorities, I gave up and simply ignored them. Live and let live. Today, I ignore them and simply follow Bill Orr, W6SAI’s advice….
      I don’t bother them… they don’t bother me. I guess I’m just not an elitist snob (and closet bigot) like some. I would advise N8KC to get a life, and read Bill Orr’s article.

      • Bob says:

        Hello i`m bob,also a cber who also received a letter from the fcc regarding talking on the freeband,and a warning to cease and desist.but anyways to try to answer your question a official observator or o o is someone who keeps the fcc informed on someones transmissions by recording them,looking up thier info on qrz or qrz11,facebook,youtube or anywhere they can find any info they can use to send the fcc on a person or people on the freeband.then they forward it to either washington or gettysberb,pa and they in turn send you a letter warning you.I hope this helps you.


      • dd182003 says:

        Thanks for that Bob.

  9. Dave says:

    Doesn’t the new ZELLO application take away any of this? When you dx on a Phone surely it can’t be the same, no radios can be taken? ? ? 43AU001

  10. Bob says:

    Bullshit, anyone can use Zello. there`s nothing illegal about talking on there.

  11. Eddy says:

    Zello is ok on its own , but if a illegal radio repeater is used & hooked up to zello & transmits , the person using the radio gear via Zello is responsible & can be charged for his radio transmission under the radio act , I know it sucks but that is the law , So be aware there is a great risk in using a illegal repeater via Zello , sorry that is how it stands what ever you may think beware.

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