• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Modification of a Ham Radio

Status
Not open for further replies.

Pomosapien

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
4
Hi All:

I hope that I'm not breaching a discussion that may have been posted in the past, but I'm in need of some guidance regarding the modification of a ham radio.

I work for a public agency that has an emergency response vehicle designed for communications. It has several public safety radios in it and also a ham radio. Recently, one of our guys modified the ham radio to allow it to transmit on frequency 154. Prior to the modification, the radio did not have the capability to transmit on 154.

My question is this: Is it legal for a public agency to modify a radio to enable it to do something it was/is not designed or approved for? Also, can an unlicensed (i.e., ham) public agency employee operate a ham radio, modified or not, in the course of his duties?

All help is appreciated.
 

mdulrich

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
1,610
Location
Van Wert, Ohio
Using a modified ham radio for operation in this manner is against FCC regulations and it doesn't matter who did the modification. Unlicensed people are not permitted to operate on the ham bands.

Mike
 

WouffHong

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Messages
305
Location
Jawjuh :)
In a few words: NO NO NO

Hi All:

I hope that I'm not breaching a discussion that may have been posted in the past, but I'm in need of some guidance regarding the modification of a ham radio.

I work for a public agency that has an emergency response vehicle designed for communications. It has several public safety radios in it and also a ham radio. Recently, one of our guys modified the ham radio to allow it to transmit on frequency 154. Prior to the modification, the radio did not have the capability to transmit on 154.

My question is this: Is it legal for a public agency to modify a radio to enable it to do something it was/is not designed or approved for? Also, can an unlicensed (i.e., ham) public agency employee operate a ham radio, modified or not, in the course of his duties?

All help is appreciated.
ABSOLUTELY NOT - Ham Radios are not approved for anything other than THAT usage!

Modified Ham rigs can generate spurs, spurious signals, have bandwidth problems, and the most important reason not to use them on mission-critical operations as they may make YOUR communication unreadable, as well as jamming other systems with crud from spurious emissions that place life and property in jepaordy that you could end up being sued or fined for. Tell you friend he is steaming into danger using that radio.

We have some out in use in our VFD and after they've been used for a while, the incidence of 10-1's and just plain interference with fellow PS friends and other services at times when communication is so important - a disaster with out-of area support at scene comes in and you jam them accidentally.

No - Unlicensed people CANNOT use ham Radios. The only exception is an emergency situation where loss life and/or property is in imminent and severe danger, and the Ham rig is the only way to get help.

Hmm - That wasn't "a few words",was it! ;-) :roll:

But it's a serious subject.
Da Wouff
Former 2-way radio Shop owner.
 

gewecke

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
Banned
Joined
Jan 29, 2006
Messages
7,440
Location
Illinois
Mike is correct, It make no difference if it's a law enforcement agency or a private individual.
It's still illegal as stated in the commissions rules.

73,
n9zas
 

Pomosapien

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
4
Thank you both for your responses. I've told my response commander that I, as the designated radio officer, am not comfortable with the position he wishes to place me in. I am not a licensed ham operator, which is enough evidence for me not to use the radio, not to add the additional illegalities of the modified radio.

Regarding the Rules, can either one of you cite a specific rule that supports the fact that non-licensed people are prohibited from using the radio as well as the Rule governing the illegality of the modification?

Thanks again. I knew I was coming to the right place for answers.
 

K9WG

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2010
Messages
1,364
Location
Greenfield, Indiana USA
You are operating under Part 90 of the FCC rules and regulations. Here is the part requiring certification of equipment used in Part 90.


[Code of Federal Regulations]

[Title 47, Volume 5]

[Revised as of October 1, 2006]

From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access

[CITE: 47CFR90.203]



[Page 335-338]



TITLE 47--TELECOMMUNICATION



CHAPTER I--FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (CONTINUED)



PART 90_PRIVATE LAND MOBILE RADIO SERVICES--Table of Contents



Subpart I_General Technical Standards



Sec. 90.203 Certification required.



(a) Except as specified in paragraphs (b) and (l) of this section,

each transmitter utilized for operation under this part and each

transmitter marketed as set forth in Sec. 2.803 of this chapter must be

of a type which has been certificated for use under this part.
Amateur radio equipment is not certified under Part 90

Links -

http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2006/octqtr/47cfr90.203.htm

http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_06/47cfr90_06.html
 
Last edited:

K9WG

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2010
Messages
1,364
Location
Greenfield, Indiana USA
Added information.....

It is not illegal to modify amateur equipment to transmit on Part 90 frequencies, just illegal to transmit using them. The violation is not in the modification but the use.
 

n5ims

Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2004
Messages
3,676
Please note that there are a few (very few) amateur radio tranceivers that are part 90 certified (such as the Wouxun series Wouxun KG-UVD1P - KG-UV2D - KG-UV920R Mobile Transceiver), but the vast majority are not. If your specific radio is one of these it would be legal for you to use, but otherwise you may be subject to fines of $10,000 per day for transmitting using a non-certified radio.

My recommendation would be to pull the ham radio until it has been reset to not be allowed to transmit on non-ham frequencies. It should also be specifically labeled as a ham band radio and indicate that the appropriate individual license is required to operate that radio so it isn't inadvertently used. You should also explain the legalities to the guy that made the modification, including that using that radio illegally may cause all of your licenses to be pulled - a possibility, but not really likely - if it was found during one of the "routine inspections" to have been modified for illegal operation.
 

SCPD

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
Wouxun radios are not amateur radios certified for Part 90 they are Part 90 radios period,Amateur radio may be used in a Part 90 certified radio, hence the Wouxun radios are capable of having amateur frequencies programmed into them legally and as far as I no there is no Part 97 certification for amateur radio
 
Last edited:

burner50

The Third Variable
Moderator
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
2,096
Location
NW Iowa
First and foremost... It is NOT illegal to modify a radio.


What is illegal is using a radio for something that it was not type accepted for, or being used by somebody without a license.


Make sure that everyone knows that it is a ham radio and that users need to be properly licensed, or be under the direct supervision of a properly licensed individual, and go about your day.


You're not going to get your licenses revoked, you're not going to get arrested, you're not going to be sued, and more than likely nobody will ever know or care.
 

SCPD

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
ABSOLUTELY NOT - Ham Radios are not approved for anything other than THAT usage!

Modified Ham rigs can generate spurs, spurious signals, have bandwidth problems, and the most important reason not to use them on mission-critical operations as they may make YOUR communication unreadable, as well as jamming other systems with crud from spurious emissions that place life and property in jepaordy that you could end up being sued or fined for. Tell you friend he is steaming into danger using that radio.

We have some out in use in our VFD and after they've been used for a while, the incidence of 10-1's and just plain interference with fellow PS friends and other services at times when communication is so important - a disaster with out-of area support at scene comes in and you jam them accidentally.

No - Unlicensed people CANNOT use ham Radios. The only exception is an emergency situation where loss life and/or property is in imminent and severe danger, and the Ham rig is the only way to get help.

Hmm - That wasn't "a few words",was it! ;-) :roll:

But it's a serious subject.
Da Wouff
Former 2-way radio Shop owner.
no unlicensed person is allowed to use any licensed frequency unless lives or property are in danger unless"all other means of communication aren't available" and the FCC means all... people have been arrested for this.
 

majoco

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2008
Messages
3,193
Location
New Zealand
Make sure that everyone knows that it is a ham radio and that users need to be properly licensed, or be under the direct supervision of a properly licensed individual,
Not even a licensed ham is allowed to use a ham radio outside of the ham bands - both the radio and the operator must have the correct certification/license for the frequencies they are using. When hams get involved with emergency services they are still using their own bands and equipment and if they are required to communicate with other emergency services the supervisor provides a suitable radio.
 

burner50

The Third Variable
Moderator
Joined
Dec 24, 2004
Messages
2,096
Location
NW Iowa
Not even a licensed ham is allowed to use a ham radio outside of the ham bands - both the radio and the operator must have the correct certification/license for the frequencies they are using. When hams get involved with emergency services they are still using their own bands and equipment and if they are required to communicate with other emergency services the supervisor provides a suitable radio.
Yes, that is what I meant by make sure that everybody knows it is a ham radio. That it should be used on the ham bands.
 

Pomosapien

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
4
So, at least thus far, as I understand it, there is no exemption for public agency (i.e., emergency personnel) employees to use ham radios?

Also, it appears that while it may be allowable for a modification of a ham radio, the use of it to transmit on frequencies it is not certified for is illegal?

Thanks again for everyone's help.
 

Pomosapien

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
4
More information on the radio, which I'm not very familiar with because I don't use it. It's a dual-band Kenwood. I'm sorry that I don't have the model number.
 

N5TWB

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 20, 2003
Messages
1,023
Location
Sand Springs OK
So, at least thus far, as I understand it, there is no exemption for public agency (i.e., emergency personnel) employees to use ham radios?

Also, it appears that while it may be allowable for a modification of a ham radio, the use of it to transmit on frequencies it is not certified for is illegal?

Thanks again for everyone's help.
It appears you are missing the point which is the ham radio may be used in your van as long as the operator holds the appropriate license for the ham radio service and the transmissions are within the authorized ham radio frequency bands. It is all about the operator and not the fact of what vehicle the radio is in or the purpose of the operation.

Modification or programming for operation outside the approved service is just bad radio technical practice for multiple reasons that have already been noted. Splitting hairs about illegality or legality is, again, missing the point.
 

krokus

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
3,775
Location
Southeastern Michigan
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.973 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

FCC states that you may use any means at your disposal to help in a true emergency. With using a ham radio outside the ham bands, all other "normal" methods better have been exhausted. (Most VHF/UHF ham radios, more than a few years old, are not going to be compatible with non-ham radios, as narrow-band requirements are implemented.)

Whomever is using the ham radio must be a currently licensed ham. (There are ways to let a non-ham talk, but a ham must be at the controls.)
 

CoolCat

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
514
Location
781
So, at least thus far, as I understand it, there is no exemption for public agency (i.e., emergency personnel) employees to use ham radios?
Public safety personnel are allowed to transmit only on the frequency that the FCC has assigned for their agency. Transmitting on a frequency other than what the FCC has assigned to them is illegal. It doesn't matter if they are public safety, that does not allow them to disregard federal law. The only "exemption" they might get is the ability to keep their own radio license after they are caught (and they will get caught), although their equipment would be confiscated, and they would be fined.

As already stated; if [human] life is at stake, then anyone (not just public safety) may use a HAM radio if (and only if) all other forms of communication are unavailable. This is the only real exemption.

Also, it appears that while it may be allowable for a modification of a ham radio, the use of it to transmit on frequencies it is not certified for is illegal?
Correct.

---

P.S. - You never mentioned why your "response commander" has told you to do this. Is he/she trying to save money on new radio equipment? or trying to get access to additional channels beyond what the FCC has licensed them for?
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top