FCC Licensing for Receive-only Ground Stations

I am planning to setup a satnogs ground station. I was wondering if I’d need a license from FCC to operate a downlink-only ground station. I am seeing conflicting info about this, so just want to query the forums to see if anyone has done this before.

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No, you do not need a license from the FCC, ITU or anyone to only receive data over RF.

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You are in the USA, correct? If yes, as stated, no licenses required. Local laws may require you to get a permit if erecting an external antenna/tower - but that’s a zoning issue and doesn’t have anything to do with RF…

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Please don’t oversimplify. There are countries that need license even for monitoring stations.

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Hmm I’ve never heard of a country that puts this limitation… Which ones require you to have such license (I highly doubt @deepakv’s country requires a license, but it’s always good to know the countries this regulation applies to)?

I am in the United States, so it seems I should be okay. I was confused by this FCC document here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/47/25.115 , since it says receive-only stations also need a licence. I don’t know if this is limited to certain frequencies or particular use cases.

I think it might be to let them know so they can help mitigate RFI etc., but I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know if I’m interpreting things correctly. Best to get in touch and explain your situation to them - they should be able to help you and elaborate on what is needed and what’s not required. We’ve gotten in touch with the ITU for figuring out the legal issues with our sat (not quite true*), but their regulations can certainly differ from the FCC’s, so I don’t think I know enough to comment on FCC’s regulations…

Which sat/mission was that?

Then you are totally fine with the frequencies that are operated within SatNOGS

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DPRK is one of them. I know, odd example, but still :wink:

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Which sat/mission was that?

AcubeSAT (I think we were figuring the legal comms issues during the early stages of the development of the PocketQubes)

DPRK is one of them. I know, odd example, but still :wink:

“Illegal reception”… sounds crazy! :stuck_out_tongue:

How did you end up contacting ITU? Cause I remember talking with Ilektra about the API-A process following our experience with QUBIKs. (we can take it online in the #satnogs channel)