Each Stack Exchange site has a Help Center page What topics can I ask about here? detailing the scope of the site in question.

Ours is still a default stub:

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for $SiteName, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.

Seeing that we currently have 46 questions out of 578 that are either closed or on hold, I believe the site and community has now had some time to properly establish its scope.

What examples should we list as on- and off-topic, respectively?

One bullet point per answer, and specify on-topic or off-topic. Include a rationale or link to other meta posts discussing the matter if such exist. Vote to indicate which you feel should be included or not.

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  • $\begingroup$ [Commenting here to notify.] I think we should paste Phil Frost's text in the help center and call this done. It's good enough, nobody's particularly arguing for alternatives, and we'll benefit from having something in the help center sooner. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Jul 14 '14 at 3:26

Amateur radio (also called ham radio) is the use of designated radio frequency spectra for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication. Amateurs are licensed by national regulatory bodies around the world.

Radio is on-topic. Applications of radio that are not Amateur radio are off-topic.

Questions are expected to be about Amateur radio specifically, or about the technology of radio. For example, questions may be asked here about:

  • radio propagation
  • modulation
  • antenna design
  • RF electronics
  • Amateur radio regulations (please specify jurisdiction)
  • Amateur radio operating procedure

There are many applications of radio that are not Amateur radio. For example, GMRS, CB, and all manner of commercial applications. Promoting understanding and skill in radio operation is a core mission of the Amateur service, so if questions about such services can be framed to be about radio in general, then they may be asked here.

Questions may not be asked here about:

  • broadcasting
  • wireless consumer devices (remote controls, low power FM transmitters)
  • internet "radio"
  • shopping recommendations for specific products
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    $\begingroup$ While not sticking to the requested format, I think this is very good for what it is. One nitpick: the second bullet list is introduced as "non-Amateur radio" and then contains "shopping recommendations". $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Jun 26 '14 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ @KevinReidAG6YO What I meant by that were questions like Options for family short range communication in an emergency. That is, "I'm not interested in being a licensed Amateur, or understanding how radio works. I just want to use one. What should I buy?" Is there a better way you would phrase that? $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Jun 26 '14 at 15:34
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    $\begingroup$ If it were "Shopping recommendations for non-Amateur radio equipment" then that would clarify according to your comment, but in context it's odd since Stack Exchange in general doesn't want shopping even if it's otherwise on-topic. How about a separate paragraph/list for things which we'd close for "opinion-based"? $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Jun 26 '14 at 16:14

Off-topic: Radio broadcasting to the general public

Amateur radio is not about broadcasting to the general public. Such questions are unlikely to be of relevance to radio amateurs in general, and are likely to fall well outside of the national and international regulations surrounding amateur radio.

Meta post

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On-topic: CB, FRS, PMR446 and similar personal two-way radio communications

While not falling strictly into the Amateur Radio Service, these:

  • Can provide an introduction to radio and serve as a stepping stone to amateur radio licensing for the individual
  • Are technologies which are readily accessible to the general public
  • Use frequencies near or in some cases (particularly when seen in an international context) even shared with amateur radio, so many of the same considerations as in amateur radio apply

Meta post

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    $\begingroup$ Bad idea, I think. There are questions about radio in general that are just as applicable to these services as they are amateur radio (questions on propagation, antenna theory, etc). Those are fine, though unlikely to be asked by people interested in these services. Then there are questions relevant only to these services, like shopping questions. The consensus in the meta post you link seems to be "if it's interesting to amateurs, then it's good", which is agreeable, but arbitrary. I don't think expressly encouraging non-licensed radio questions will encourage interesting questions. $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Jun 24 '14 at 14:17

On-topic: Amateur radio

This is the obvious one.

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    $\begingroup$ It is obvious...I think the problem is that people don't understand what it is. I guess the reasoning goes something like, "I'm not a professional, and I'm doing something with a radio. Sounds like amateur radio to me." $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Jun 24 '14 at 11:28

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