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APRS / Airborne Amateur Radio Legislation


The following article covers the legality of using APRS in a balloon over Europe. It is advisory only and should you wish to launch a balloon using APRS you should verify any information on this page.

The following KML file indicates countries that APRS is permitted to use under a meteorological balloon.

European APRS Map Google Earth KML APRS Map in Google Maps

Key : Red = Not permitted Yellow = Unknown Green = Permitted

APRS operation in all countries is subject to local amateur radio licensing.

Austria Very simple: 16. An Bord eines Luftfahrzeuges entscheidet der verantwortliche Pilot, an Bord eines Seefahr- zeuges entscheidet der Kapitän, ob Amateurfunkverkehr durchgeführt werden darf.

Which means that the pilot of the aeronautical vessel can decide if he permits amateur radio operation on board.

However there is a similar problem with the operation of an automatic station (Bake) like in the German regulations. Info supplied by KT5TK.



Airborne Operation permitted. LZ1DEV advises there is nothing in the legislation that prohibits the use of amateur radio transmission from a balloon. The only caveats are on 144Mhz the maximum power is 5W and that you need to be a licensed radio amateur.


Czech Republic

Airborne Operation permitted. Confirmed by OK1MX





Possibly permitted. Apparently forbidden as per the Amateur radio legislation there appears to be an exemption for metrological balloons. F6AGV is investigating with the DGAC to get confirmation on this.


Airborne amateur radio transmissions are not generally restricted. Aeronautical mobile is not even mentioned in the newest AFuV: However there is some problematic gray zone concerning automatically or remote controlled transmissions. Those would normally require an application for a separate callsign. However since APRS is often used on land mobile stations and nobody complained about that they are automatic, the same should apply for aeronautical mobile stations, as long as they do not interfere with other radio services or aeronautical regulations. Info supplied by KT5TK.


Airborne Operation permitted. SV2AGW ( confirmed with Greek Amateur Union.





Airborne Operation NOT permitted. Confirmed by OZ1SKY & X-F in seperate mails to Latvian APRS infrastructure is limited anyway. Translated legislation dictates You cannot use amateur radio station on an “airship”. and then states that an “unmanned free air balloon” is considered as an “airship”. Source (Latvian)








Not permitted.

Official response from ANCOM :

The power limits were determined for land operation and the airborne usage was not intended or provisioned. Therefore, if you intend to use the power limits mentioned in our radio interface in a plane, the service area will become very large, even beyond the Romanian territory.

Taking into account the fact that you did not mention the power limits for the airborne station, the only solution will be to use power limits that, in projection, will associate the service area to a land-based station. For instance, if you work in 144 – 146 MHz, with a power limit of 400 W for land-based station, you will have to determine the service area of such a station and to adapt the power used in the airborne station, in order not to surpass this service area. This is quite difficult to achieve and, in addition, is not covered by our regulation. Of course, it may be acceptable if the plane flies at a low altitude (similar to a high tower), but if the altitude is high, then the service area will become very large, beyond the limit of what is provisioned in our regulation. As a conclusion, operating an amateur airborne station is not regulated in our legislation, therefore is not allowed. Should you need more information, please provide us with more details about your intended application.





Switzerland Art. 7 VFKV Rufzeichenzusätze mentions: Luftfahrzeug “aeronautical mobile” “/AM” 3 Die Benützung in Luftfahrzeugen ist mit Zustimmung der Luftfahrzeugführerin oder des Luftfahrzeugführers in allen Höhen erlaubt. Amateur radio is allowed in an aeronautical vessel at all altitudes with the permission of the pilot.Info supplied by KT5TK.

United Kingdom

Airborne APRS operation is not permitted. As per OFCOM Amateur Terms Section 9 Limitations 9(3) :

“9(3) Without prejudice to Clause 1 of this Licence, the Licensee shall not establish or use the Radio Equipment in any Aircraft or other Airborne Vehicle”

Section 17 Interpretation goes on to define Airborne Vehicle as : c) “Aircraft” and “Airborne Vehicles” includes full size and models and also includes balloons whether tethered or free;


Airborne APRS Operation is permitted. Confirmed by Alexander Doschych UY011 :

“As the owner of CEPT license, you can use the callsign UT/M0UPU free and without notifying the authorities (in case of use in an airborne vehicle callsign must be UT/M0UPU/AM ).

For importation of radio equipment on the territory of Ukraine are required to pay. Not required to pay for the importation of radio equipment on the territory of Ukraine, if the radio equipment is installed on the aircraft.

You should be able to provide a document (it could be letter from your radioclub's) stating that your radio equipment installed in an airborne vehicle. It should also place a copy of the document on the board of the airborn so that it can examine the authorities in your absence when airborn for some reason falls to the ground during the flight.”

Rest Of The World

USA § 97.11 Stations aboard ships or aircraft. (a) The installation and operation of an amateur station on a ship or aircraft must be approved by the master of the ship or pilot in command of the aircraft. (b) The station must be separate from and independent of all other radio apparatus installed on the ship or aircraft, except a common antenna may be shared with a voluntary ship radio installation. The station's transmissions must not cause interference to any other apparatus installed on the ship or aircraft. © The station must not constitute a hazard to the safety of life or property. For a station aboard an aircraft, the apparatus shall not be operated while the aircraft is operating under Instrument Flight Rules, as defined by the FAA, unless the station has been found to comply with all applicable FAA Rules. So APRS is generally permitted on a balloon or other aircraft. Information provided bt KT5TK.

general/aprs_legislation.txt · Last modified: 2016/03/24 20:39 by edmoore