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FCC Rule Changes Negatively Impact GMRS Licensees

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#1
I want to point out that the FCC is once again proposing to encroach inside the band edges of the GMRS band .

Recently the FCC has approved waivers for several commercial part 90 operators to encroach in this manner. I apologize in advance for cross posting this on other boards, but this is important and is likely not to be noticed by many.

This started in about 2013 when Mobile Relay Associates of California requested to encroach on Part 95 band edges in LA and Miami. The GMRS community did not react and the FCC subsequently awarded waivers to permit MRA do do this without any reservation, nor any technical data in support that doing so would not cause interference to incumbent 25 KHz GMRS operations.




At a later date MRA attempted to obtain similar waivers to encroach on other spectrum and has been denied because "the assignment of non Part 90 spectrum to Part 90 licensees was contrary to FCC procedures". So in one case the FCC ignores their own procedures and assigns GMRS Part 95 spectrum to MRA and in another case, the FCC denies MRA access to spectrum which was part of the auctioned Radio Common Carrier band.



If you are a GMRS licensee, I urge you to respond vociferously to this FCC NPRM and make your voice heard,



"On its own motion but suggested by recent waiver requests, the FCC proposed to make available for PLMR use frequencies that are on the band edge between the industrial/business (I/B) pool and either general mobile radio service (GMRS) or broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) spectrum, to make certain frequencies that are designated for central station alarm operations available for other PLMR uses. The FCC also made certain updates and corrections and amended its rules to accommodate certain railroad operations.



Specifically in the I/B pool, the FCC proposed to amend the frequency table to add frequency pairs 451/456.00625 MHz and 451/456.0125 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 6 kilohertz.



The commission also proposed to amend the I/B pool frequency table to add frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 4 kilohertz. “We tentatively conclude that it would be in the public interest to make additional frequencies available to PLMR applicants that can be utilized without overlapping the occupied bandwidth of currently assignable frequencies and without causing harmful interference,” the NPRM said."



Link to article

http://www.radioreso....s/NewsID/14610



See also:


http://transition.fc....A-16-966A1.pdf
 
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#4
The commission also proposed to amend the I/B pool frequency table to add frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 4 kilohertz. “We tentatively conclude that it would be in the public interest to make additional frequencies available to PLMR applicants that can be utilized without overlapping the occupied bandwidth of currently assignable frequencies and without causing harmful interference,” the NPRM said."
There are no GMRS "guard bands" and this is not encroaching on GMRS at all.
 
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#5
Who is talking about guard bands. The GMRS band consists of 8 25 KHz channel pairs. This NPRM is indeed encroaching inside GMRS band. Just as much an encroachment as would occur if a BAS licensee desired to slip down to 449.9875 MHz just inside the 70 CM amateur band.
 
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#7
Yes, especially when most GMRS radios have wider IF filters that cannot adequately reject signals 12.5KHz away. The encroaching stations will be running narrow band radios and would receive little interference compared to what they cause for GMRS.
prcguy

How is placing a narrowband channel directly between two wideband GMRS channels not encroaching?
 
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#9
When I read the original order from the FCC on this:
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2016/db0829/DA-16-984A1.pdf

It appears that they wanted to use a 6.25KHz wide channel.

With proper filtering on the GMRS repeaters and radios this shouldn't be an issue. With FRS running 12.5KHz channels between the GMRS channels we do see some issues, but this is usually with poor receivers on the GMRS side.

Anyway, isn't it high time GMRS starts migrating to narrowband? I know there are a lot of old system running ancient gear, but maybe it's time to start bringing GMRS into the 21st century, especially if we want the FCC to take us seriously.
 
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#10
When I read the original order from the FCC on this:
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2016/db0829/DA-16-984A1.pdf

It appears that they wanted to use a 6.25KHz wide channel.

With proper filtering on the GMRS repeaters and radios this shouldn't be an issue. With FRS running 12.5KHz channels between the GMRS channels we do see some issues, but this is usually with poor receivers on the GMRS side.
There is no easy comparison to the FRS experience. Unlike the FRS 12.5 KHz operations, the proposed 6.25 KHz stations are digital, will have an annoying and persistent buzz and are running ERP's in excess of 20 dB more powerful than FRS, at elevations 200 to 300 feet AGL. FRS is also a very intermittent PTT operation, while these commercial trunking stations are likely to persist with a high duty cycle.

Anyway, isn't it high time GMRS starts migrating to narrowband? I know there are a lot of old system running ancient gear, but maybe it's time to start bringing GMRS into the 21st century, especially if we want the FCC to take us seriously.
In late 2010 the issue of narrowbanding and digital was discussed and proposed by myself and others in response to the FCC NPRM Titled: "Review of the Commission’s Part 95 Personal Radio Services Rules WT Docket No. 10-119".

Among a myriad of other NPRM topics, I had suggested APCO P25 as an optional mode of operation, however given recent development of DMR technology, today I would suggest DMR Tier 2 (2 slot TDMA) as a migration platform, with analog WB FM remaining as the primary default mode of operation.

My comments here, explain more fully:

http://www.nsea.com/fcc/Leikhim Cmnts 10-119.pdf

There were dozens and dozens of comments on the NPRM, mostly by individuals. The FCC for some reason shelved it without response or action. But it is not going away, I can assure you. And yes GMRS licensees need to appear serious and committed or that slice of prime real estate will dissolve.

For example, Australia has a GMRS equivalent FM CB band in 477 MHz. It is heavily and efficiently utilized, especially in the outback where it is seen as a lifeline. They also have repeaters, though the duplex frequency offset isn't ideal.
 
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#11
I hate to say it, but this is all about money and politics. Folks with deep pockets have politicians on their side, and the FCC listens. The 902 to 928 bad has been auctioned off to vehicle location companies, so there goes my ham repeater. The day is coming when you will have to pay a subscription to talk on the air, be it a cellphone company, trunked system operator, or some new configuration we don't even know about yet. And don't think ham frequencies are safe. They aren't. This camel has its nose in the tent and it won't be long before GMRS people are asking where the camel came from.
 
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#12
I hate to say it, but this is all about money and politics. Folks with deep pockets have politicians on their side, and the FCC listens. The 902 to 928 bad has been auctioned off to vehicle location companies, so there goes my ham repeater. The day is coming when you will have to pay a subscription to talk on the air, be it a cellphone company, trunked system operator, or some new configuration we don't even know about yet. And don't think ham frequencies are safe. They aren't. This camel has its nose in the tent and it won't be long before GMRS people are asking where the camel came from.
Funny you should mention the "Camel with its nose in the tent" I had a boss who liked that expression and I had in my mind to use it in my original post. It describes exactly the erosion of the GMRS service that has been allowed to happen. In some ways the FRS ruling was the start, however I think we can mostly agree it was tolerated. However allowing a high power system to encroach without FCC requiring any engineering study or protection criteria for the incumbent GMRS users pretty much signals the end.
 
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#13
How is placing a narrowband channel directly between two wideband GMRS channels not encroaching?
The proposed channel (462.5375MHz) is not between two (wideband) GMRS channels. It is 12.5kHz away from one of them (462.5500MHz). Please correct me if I'm wrong but 462.5375MHz is not part of GMRS at all, nor is 462.5250MHz.

EDIT: Forgot about 462.7375MHz/467.7375MHz. This pair is 12.5kHz away from 462.725/467.725MHz and is also not part of GMRS.

There are no GMRS "guard band" channels at the band edges that I'm aware of.

mmckenna said:
When I read the original order from the FCC on this:
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Rele...A-16-984A1.pdf

It appears that they wanted to use a 6.25KHz wide channel.

With proper filtering on the GMRS repeaters and radios this shouldn't be an issue. With FRS running 12.5KHz channels between the GMRS channels we do see some issues, but this is usually with poor receivers on the GMRS side.

Anyway, isn't it high time GMRS starts migrating to narrowband? I know there are a lot of old system running ancient gear, but maybe it's time to start bringing GMRS into the 21st century, especially if we want the FCC to take us seriously.
I'm 100% with Matt on this one. Time for GMRS to graduate to narrow mode like Part 90. It's going to happen eventually as ancient used "wide" equipment becomes harder to get and the newest equipment will be narrow-only. An FCC rule change to GMRS could force it to happen sooner. The current crop of 22-channel bubble packs already operate in narrow mode on all 22 channels. FRS has been narrow only from day one since its creation in 1996. Note that all Part 90 radio gear including gear that also includes Part 95 type acceptance has been required to include narrow capability since 1997. This really isn't anything new.

I'm already using narrow mode (11k2f3e) on all GMRS channels as the default mode of operation, like Part 90. My local GMRS repeater is also operating in narrow mode. All of my adjacent channel splatter problems from local bubble pack users on FRS channels 12.5kHz away from whatever GMRS primary channel I'm using completely went away as soon as I made the switch from "wide" (16k0f3e or 20k0f3e) to "narrow" (11k2f3e) mode. My GMRS repeater stopped getting hammered by local FRS users on the upper FRS channels 12.5kHz above and below the input freq as soon as I switched it to narrow. All that was required was a few simple programming changes in my radios and the repeater.

Have fun! :)
 
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#14
The proposed channel (462.5375MHz) is not between two (wideband) GMRS channels. It is 12.5kHz away from one of them (462.5500MHz). Please correct me if I'm wrong but 462.5375MHz is not part of GMRS at all, nor is 462.5250MHz.

EDIT: Forgot about 462.7375MHz/467.7375MHz. This pair is 12.5kHz away from 462.725/467.725MHz and is also not part of GMRS.

There are no GMRS "guard band" channels at the band edges that I'm aware of.
(snip)

Have fun! :)
Those proposed frequencies are indeed inside the GMRS band which consists of two bands 462 and 467 MHz each with eight GMRS channels of 25 KHz bandwidth , each 200 KHz wide block, 400 KHz total. There can be no dispute on where the band edges are. They are at the limits of the 25 KHz GMRS channel pairs # 1 and 8.

See the attached table. The attached PDF might be better to view.
 

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#15
I stand corrected then. I confirmed it by checking the US Table of Frequency Allocations.

I don't see this as being a big issue provided licensed GMRS users on 462.55/467.55 and 462.725/467.725 pairs operate in narrow mode like the 22 channel bubble packs already do.

My gut feeling is if and when the FCC acts on the NPRM from 2010 and makes GMRS an unlicensed bubble pack only service, the rules will more or less mirror Canada's rules and narrow mode will be required on all GMRS primary channels. I'm not in favor of de-licensing GMRS as proposed but I am in favor of narrowbanding all of GMRS. Switching from wide bandwidth (25kHz channel spacing, 20kHz authorized BW) to narrow bandwidth (12.5kHz spacing, 11.25kHz authorized BW) solved all of my adjacent channel splatter problems from local bubble pack users 12.5kHz away from the GMRS primary channel I'm operating on.
 
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#17
I wonder why people think GMRS will narrowband without a mandate from the FCC.
Eventual attrition. The supply of old wide band repeaters will eventually dry up. Newer gear is forced narrow band in most cases. At some point in the future it will be too difficult to find wide band UHF equipment.

Won't happen tomorrow, won't happen in the next few years, but eventually it'll happen.
Unless the FCC steps in, and I'd never rule that out, especially if they find a way to make a buck off of it.
 
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#19
Eventual attrition might be 40 or more years from now. I operate several GE Master II GMRS repeaters that are a good 30yrs old and are running perfect and I have no intention on upgrading if I don't have too.

Anyone want to guess how many current operational GMRS repeaters are capable or certified for narrow band operation? I would think less than 10% and probably less. If they light up a frequency or two 12.5 KHz away from an operational GMRS repeater, who is responsible for upgrading the receiver or replacing the repeater to exist in a 12.5KHz environment?

Also, how many GMRS radios in use are 12.5KHz radios? There is another potential expense that someone would have to pay for if there is interference.
prcguy


Eventual attrition. The supply of old wide band repeaters will eventually dry up. Newer gear is forced narrow band in most cases. At some point in the future it will be too difficult to find wide band UHF equipment.

Won't happen tomorrow, won't happen in the next few years, but eventually it'll happen.
Unless the FCC steps in, and I'd never rule that out, especially if they find a way to make a buck off of it.
 
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#20
Unless you need to avoid bleedover from the heavy use of FRS 467 MHz radios, there is no reason to narrow band GMRS. There is no increase in channel availability since FRS has taken those 12.5 KHz slots already. However going to NB DMR would increase capacity.

There is a performance penalty going from WB to NB FM. Going to NB Digital provides a benefit.

See the maps on this page for WB FM vs NB FM VS NB P25 digital (DMR is about same)

LEIKHIM AND ASSOCIATES LLC - VHF-UHF Narrowbanding

Any decision to NB should be tempered with the need for support of roaming access by WB mobiles.

By the way if you have an older repeater like a Micor, those had a very effective AFC circuit and that circuit can pull in those FRS signals 25 KHz away. There is a method to defeat the AFC which is unnecessary given the stability of modern radios.
 
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