ITAR restrictions on US radio amateurs to be eased

ITARThe International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) inexplicably applies to amateur radio satellites. It threatens US radio hams with jail terms or six figure fines if they cooperate with amateurs outside the USA on satellite projects. Cooperation includes talking about or publishing on the web certain information regarding amateur radio satellite systems.

Satellite Today reports that after 15 years of restrictions and intense scrutiny, the United States Department of State is reclassifying satellites and several related components so they will no longer be treated as weapons. The changes affect Category 15 of the U.S. Munitions List (USML), which covers spacecraft and related articles, by shifting most commercial, civil and scientific satellites and accompanying equipment to the Department of Commerce’s Commerce Control List (CCL).

“The Department [of State] has committed to reviewing during the six months after the publication of this rule whether further amendments to the USML controls on civil and commercial remote sensing satellites are warranted, and seeks additional public comment on this matter,” according to a statement released by the Federal Register.

This rule is effective November 10, 2014, except for Sec. 121.1, Category XV(d), which is effective June 27, 2014. Interested parties may submit comments on paragraphs (a)(7) and (e)(11) of USML Category XV and ITAR Sec. 124.15 by June 27, 2014.

Read the Satellite Today article

Federal Register – Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Revision of U.S. Munitions List Category XV

Among the projects affected by ITAR has been the New Zealand Amateur Radio satellite KiwiSAT. A 2009 IARU Region 3 report highlights that ITAR requirements made AMSAT-NA direct its members to cease cooperation with AMSAT-ZL in the development of KiwiSAT.

ITAR impact on the Eagle project

The 2005 amateur radio P3E IHU project killed by ITAR

Export Control Reform initiative

April 2012 ITAR – Section 1248 Report Released

April 2012 ITAR and Amateur Radio – Progress Report

Read the Section 1248 Space Export Control Report

2011 ITAR submission by the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT)

2009 AMSAT files CJ requests with US State Department

ITAR in ARRL Executive Committee Minutes

ITAR impact on satellite launches