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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-23-2005, 11:32 AM
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Default Ham Radio, Out of band Transmit

Here is a question, why do manufacturers make 99 percent of the handhelds
capable of being modified to transmit out of the ham bands?
Why I know there are some MARS freqs close to the ham bands and that is
the reason for it, but why make them open to ALL freqs?
Why won't they just make it to where you do open them and that they will
only work on the MARS freqs when you do this modification?
This would save a bunch of problems with people using the radio to interfere
with police/fire and other agencies.
There is NO reason for our radios to be able to transmit up in the 150/460 mhz range.
I bought my radio to use on the ham bands, not to talk on freqs I am not allocated to use.
While receiving them is great, talking on them isn't.
Danny
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 09-23-2005, 11:52 AM
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Probably (altheough to be sure you'd have to ask the people at those companies that make that decision) for sales. People who want to use the HTs on PS frequencies wouldn't buy them if they couldn't be made to transmit on those frequencies.

Why did companies make ham transceivers capable of operation on 11 meters after it was no longer a ham band? Why did companies make "broad-band" linears that couldn't cover much more than 11 meters? Money.
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Old 09-23-2005, 12:19 PM
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Hello,

My best guess is because they aren't required to by US law. Before it was specifically outlawed, most scanners could be modified to pick up cell phones by simply removing a diode or cutting a wire. Also the Ham bands are different in other parts of the world and it is easier (cheaper) to make a radio that is easily modified to work wherever it is to be sold. I have several Ham radios, none of which have been modified to operate out of Ham bands, even though I have the instructions of how to do it to all of them (just in case).

Mark
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Old 09-23-2005, 12:25 PM
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Different bands are available in different countries, different non-amateur rules exist in different countries.

It is easier to build it to be open to the physical limits of the equipment than it is to build in all the possible combinations of rules.

And sales probably has some small impact.

Remember A ham can build his own equipment, so HE is responsible for the legal use, not the manufacturer.
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Old 09-23-2005, 12:48 PM
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As far as I know it is illegal (a violation of Part 15) to take an amateur radio and modify it to transmit on frequencies not allocated for amateur use. Even if you are using the radio legally in another service. Example: modifying an amateur 2 meter transmitter to operate on a 154 Mhz frequency used by the fire department you (a licensed amateur) are a member of. This is often because the fire department may not have or afford to have enough handhelds for everyone. As a result the Part 15 rule is often ignored in these circumstances. Another example is with search and rescue teams and in RACES/ARES. In these cases I'm not sure I can see the harm.

As a member of RACES I purchased a King handheld and had it modified to cover the 2 meter band. This was done by a licensed BK dealer. As I understand it, modifying a commercial radio to transmit in a ham band does not violate Part 15. In this way, with the permission of the sheriffs office, I was able to transmit on their radio system and state mutual aid frequencies with my personal radio while having another ham radio for my hobby. For the sheriffs department purchasing radios for each member and sitting idle 99% of the time did not make sense.


The potential for trouble is far greater for someone purchasing a surplus or new commerical radio with wide band coverage and interfering with public safety communcations than it is with a ham modifying a radio and doing same. In the first case the radio can be used right out of the box to accomplish the interfering. This is not all that hard as wide band field programmable radios can be purchased on the internet. In the second case it requires some knowledge of how to accomplish the modification (famliarity with the right web sites and some basic soldering skills will do it) and some understanding of basic radio operations like input/output frequencies for repeaters, CTCSS, DCS, is required. Most ham radios are sold to people with some sense of responsibility as the licensing requirement filters out a lot of the quick opportunists. I know it is a generalization but we are very lucky that most criminals are not very bright and lack the focus to do more harm than they already do.

When I worked for the U.S. Forest Service some licensed amateur employees had the mobile provided to them in their vehicles modified to not only cover public safety/commercial frequencies but some 2 meter frequencies as well. As far as I know problems with non-licensed employees did not occur when the vehicle was used by another driver. All of the radios we used in the Forest Service were capable of operation and programmed for use across the so called VHF high band with fire, law enforcement, EMS, business, etc. frequencies in them and I was not aware of any interference being caused by employees who took their radios with them off duty. Considering the numbers of seasonal employees natural resource management agencies have (USFS, BLM, NPS, USFWS, BIA, state forestry, state parks, regional parks, etc.) their is another source of tens of thousands of radios being used to interfere. Most of these seasonals had to receive a lot of coaching, and sometimes urging, in using the radio on the frequencies we wanted them to use, so the potential of melicious interference is somehat limited, but the potential is still there. Given modifiable radios and access to radios with public safety frequencies in them the number of incidents of interference is quite low, in my opinion. The interference from Mexico on very sensitve public safety frequencies and on amateur bands near the border is quite high and continues 24 hours a day. That would seem to be a bigger problem to solve than the problem with ham radios that can be modified.

This is not to say that interference by licensed hams has not occured. Following the FCC notes in QST is enough to prove the point. Many of the newer trunked systems, both commercial and public safety, are equipped with the ability to identify an individual radio, and by using the control channel, the system operators are able to shut an individual radio off. Of course, bootleg use of a trunked system is fairly unlikely as such an accomplishment would be very complex.

As for your question, why are the radios capable of such modification? It would seem like many of the components for amatuer radios are interchangable with radios the same manufacturer produces for commercial radio. Both Yaesu (Vertex-Standard) and Kenwood make more commercial/public safety products than amateur products. In addition amateur allocations in the VHF/UHF range differ internationally and the manufacturer has to be able to easily modifiy each radio in final assembly for sale and use to different countries. This results in the jumpers in a radio which can be modified somewhat easily to pick up additional range for the transmitter. To design and build a radio which cannot be modified would be more involved and I would presume more expensive, especially considering my last point. This paragraph is conjecture on my part as I lack the technical expertise to answer the question. Perhaps those with the technical knowledge can better answer this.

With that said, if the incidents of interference grow in number, something like the non cell phone modification in scanners feature might be required in amateur radios. This would be similar to the Electronic Communication Privacy Act in the 1990's. Now the radios would get more expensive because each area of the world would have to have a radio that is significantly different. The radios could not be modified for amateur/public safety dual use by volunteers (EMS/fire/RACES/search and resuce) and this would make a difference to many of these organizations. Another possibility would be more agencies converting to more complex radio systems they don't really need based on the marketing of manufacturers of trunked and digital systems, something we are already seeing.
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Old 09-23-2005, 1:24 PM
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OK, with the quote problem, I am not going to do a line by line on the above post, but here is a short correction to some of the errors.

It is not illegal to modify a radio any way you want.

It may be illegal to buy, sell, import, a radio modified beyond the limits of certain FCC rules. (Depending on the particular rules)

It MAY be illegal to modify a radio for someone else, especially for money, again depending on the particular rules potentially violated by the equipment.

A ham can use, build, modify, create, any thing he wants as long as it is USED within the restriction and rules applying to amateur radio.

A commercial/Public safety (Part 90) user MUST use equipment authorised for the service and within the license he is on.

People try to read a lot more into what is legal and illegal.
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Old 09-23-2005, 1:45 PM
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Default Agree w/N-Jay and addition

While agreeing with the above, I would also add that a previous poster, and several
others seem to conflate the concepts of merely programming a radio and modfying it.

My motorola MT200 covers 136 to 174 MHZ w/out modification, it merely has to be programmed with the appropriate features. I notice this confusion comes up alot, and mentioned such regarding the NY anti scanner/radio regulation laws, which appear so stupid as to ban all commerical radios (ie, almost any commercial radio w/out modification, only programming, can use public safety freqs.).
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Old 09-23-2005, 2:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb5udf
While agreeing with the above, I would also add that a previous poster, and several
others seem to conflate the concepts of merely programming a radio and modfying it.

My motorola MT200 covers 136 to 174 MHZ w/out modification, it merely has to be programmed with the appropriate features. I notice this confusion comes up alot, and mentioned such regarding the NY anti scanner/radio regulation laws, which appear so stupid as to ban all commerical radios (ie, almost any commercial radio w/out modification, only programming, can use public safety freqs.).
And just to continue the confusion;

There is no difference (FCC wise) between a "Commercial" radio and a "Public Safety" radio.
They are both in Part 90! (Same rules).
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 09-23-2005, 2:15 PM
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Big reason- For a first responder, a modified IC-T7H is alot cheaper than a dual-band public safety radio. The only technical problem is the lack of DCS if needed.

I personally haven't done this, but I know quite a few people who have.
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Old 09-23-2005, 2:29 PM
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I've always been of the persuasion that doing bad stuff (eg: interferring with public safety or business communications) should be punished swiftly and sternly, but that banning stuff because of what it MIGHT get used for is a really really bad idea.

That goes for radios, guns, cars, knives, sudafed, etc.

I've seen modified ham rigs in service for public safety use by legitimate users without problems. Was it illegal? Yes. Did I report them? No.

I guess I don't know why people get so upset about this. I'm not condoning or advocating the use of non-type accepted radios out of band, but getting worked up because the radios are capable of being modified seems a bit silly to me.

Not trying to flame, just an opinion.
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Old 09-23-2005, 9:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyltnVFD
Big reason- For a first responder, a modified IC-T7H is alot cheaper than a dual-band public safety radio. The only technical problem is the lack of DCS if needed.

I personally haven't done this, but I know quite a few people who have.
And that makes it no more legal!
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Old 09-23-2005, 9:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_Jay
And that makes it no more legal!
And he never said it did.

Just gave a reason as to why.
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Old 09-23-2005, 9:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk
I guess I don't know why people get so upset about this. I'm not condoning or advocating the use of non-type accepted radios out of band, but getting worked up because the radios are capable of being modified seems a bit silly to me.

Not trying to flame, just an opinion.


I don't get worked up because they CAN be modified, I get worked up when they are USED iillegally!

There are lots of specifications that are not even checked that could be illegal. What about adjacent channel noise and interference specifications, deviation limiters, etc.

If it was programmed illegally, what is the chance it was programmed (and tested) properly?
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Old 09-23-2005, 9:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingwolf
And he never said it did.

Just gave a reason as to why.

Very true, but he did say "The only technical problem is the lack of DCS", and that is probably not true.

I doubt the deviation limiter is set right (if it has one), I doubt it is designed for narrow-band operation (as now required), I doubt anyone checked the out of band emissions (since you are now outside the designed spectrum).
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Old 09-23-2005, 9:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingwolf
And he never said it did.

Just gave a reason as to why.
Exactly. I'm not going to give an opinion on this issue one way or the other. All I am saying is that I have seen them in use, and people do have their own reasons for using them, legal or not.

Although there is a reason why a certain radio company got the nickname "Moneyrolla"
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Old 09-23-2005, 9:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyltnVFD
Exactly. I'm not going to give an opinion on this issue one way or the other. All I am saying is that I have seen them in use, and people do have their own reasons for using them, legal or not.

Although there is a reason why a certain radio company got the nickname "Moneyrolla"
You're not required to buy Motorola. There's plenty of cheap Part 90 junk out there. But if you want Motorola quality ...
 

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