I’m slowly but steadily making progress on my amateur radio license project. From the ARRL FCC Rule Book:
Q. Can we sing “Happy Birthday” to our friend on the local 2-meter repeater?
A. No. Singing is music, and is prohibited, no matter how badly you sing.
The reason for this rule (and lots of others) is that the content of the amateur’s communication “must be such that no party would be compelled to use the public telecommunications system to communicate the same information” — in order to protect various revenue flows. Amateur bands aren’t supposed to replace the phone system or the broadcasting network. In the words of the ARRL, “[t]hese rules protect the amateur service from encroachment by commercial news media [and other media] that would use Amateur Radio as an inexpensive alternative to its more expensive systems.”
Hence – no music, and no business communications (or at least no daily business communications). There are certainly exceptions. You can communicate encoded music. “As long as no musical notes can be detected on the air, you’re okay.” You can mention prices for apparatus you want to sell — “but the ‘haggling’ should be handled on the telephone.”
In the early days of radio, there was essentially no limit to the content of amateur messages. That all changed in the 1930s, according to the ARRL, “at the insistence of European governments for whom the telecommunications monopoly was a source of considerable revenue.” It took a while for the FCC to start regulating the content of what amateurs were doing, but starting in 1972 the Commission began prohibiting business communications.
Amateurs are supposed to be dedicated to “advancing of communication and technical skills,” according to the ARRL. The tradeoff: As long as they’re not paid for it, amateurs have a great deal of flexibility in transmitting and receiving.
I found this inspiring: “Dr Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), received his Amateur Radio license October 8. Toure, who holds the call sign HB9EHT, is from Mali. He has a Master’s Degree in electrical engineering from the Technical Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications of Leningrad and a PhD from the University of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics of Moscow.”
(I can hear the Michigan marching band playing ‘Hail to the Victors‘ through my office window. I guess there’s always a need to rehearse. They just better not try doing that on the amateur bands.)