RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Amateur Radio > Amateur Radio Equipment


Amateur Radio Equipment - For general and technical discussion of Amateur Radio equipment such as transceivers, repeaters, controllers and receivers.

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 11:25 AM
W9BU's Avatar
Lead Wiki Manager
  RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Brownsburg, Indiana
Posts: 5,185
Default Attention: Volunteer fire fighters/reserve police officers/security guards, etc.

We often get folks on here who are interested in using a modified amateur radio transceiver on their department's or company's radio system. These questions are driven by different desires: the department/company didn't issue you a radio, the radios the department/company uses are expensive, you'd like to have a back-up radio, etc.

While these questions are genuine, they ignore one basic fact:

In the U.S. or anyplace where the U.S. Federal Communications System (FCC) regulates radio transmissions, transmitting with a radio that is not certified for that particular "Part" of the FCC's rules is a violation of the FCC's rules. For example, most police and fire agencies have licenses that fall under FCC Part 90. Here's a quote from Part 90:

Quote:
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 2.803 of this chapter must be of a type which has been certificated for use under this part.
Do people get caught violating this rule? Not often, but when they do get caught, the FCC often makes the person liable for fines into the thousands of dollars. If your department/company knows you are using a non-certificated radio and doesn't take action, they could also be fined or lose their license.

It's fairly common knowledge that many amateur radio VHF/UHF transceivers can be modified to transmit out of band. There are also transceivers being marketed towards the amateur radio market that come with out of band transmit capability right out of the box. But, the FCC's rules are pretty clear--the radio must be certificated under Part 90 to transmit in a Part 90 service.

Is it illegal to listen to Part 90 transmissions with an amateur radio? No.

Is it illegal to modify an amateur radio so it will transmit in Part 90? No.

Is it illegal to posses a modified radio? No.

Is it illegal to transmit with a modified radio? Yes.
__________________
Lead Wiki Manager and Forum Moderator.

"The whole world's living in a digital dream. It's not really there, it's all on the screen." -- WB6ACU
Sponsored links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 11:32 AM
KK4JUG's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: West Georgia
Posts: 1,633
Default

Good information but how many people believe "it won't happen to me? It only happens to the other guy."
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 11:34 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 576
Default

Thank you for posting this !
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 11:38 AM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: WTVLCA01DS0
Posts: 9,059
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KK4JUG View Post
Good information but how many people believe "it won't happen to me? It only happens to the other guy."
I think that's part of it. The other part is "My case is different, so it's OK", or "My chief said it was OK", or "The guy that sold me the radio said it was OK", or "Everyone else does it, so it's OK", or "It's OK because I'm a <fill in the blank>.", or "It's OK because I'm an amateur radio operator, too".

It isn't.
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 11:42 AM
KK4JUG's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: West Georgia
Posts: 1,633
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
I think that's part of it. The other part is "My case is different, so it's OK", or "My chief said it was OK", or "The guy that sold me the radio said it was OK", or "Everyone else does it, so it's OK", or "It's OK because I'm a <fill in the blank>.", or "It's OK because I'm an amateur radio operator, too".

It isn't.
Great examples. I don't recall any "special" cases ever being allowed and hams should know better.
Sponsored links
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 11:55 AM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: WTVLCA01DS0
Posts: 9,059
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KK4JUG View Post
...and hams should know better.
I've been a ham for almost 30 years now, and I've discovered that many do not.
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 5:16 PM
KE0GXN's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Echo Mike Two-Seven
Posts: 1,141
Default

Thanks for posting!

Hard to believe any public safety personnel would rely on amateur equipment to conduct life or death business, but I have seen myself on here....unbelievable, with alleged police officers and firefighters on here claiming to use Beofangs on duty..etc
__________________
Tony - KEGXN
Working the world with 100 watts and a wire!
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 5:33 PM
cmdrwill's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: So Cali
Posts: 2,905
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post

Is it illegal to modify an amateur radio so it will transmit in Part 90? No.
It IS a violation to program transmit frequencies in your radio you are NOT Licensed for.

90.427 Precautions against unauthorized operation.

(b) Except for frequencies used in accordance with 90.417, no person shall program into a transmitter frequencies for which the licensee using the transmitter is not authorized.
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 6:40 PM
buddrousa's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: NW Tenn
Posts: 4,534
Default

And if I remember correct that means a letter from each licensee holder on their letter head signed by them.
__________________
Support your local FIRE & EMS. PRO197-18-107-668:PSR-410 X2: BC8500XLT 785d BCD436HP SDS100 BCD536HPx3 BCT346 BCD996P2 x3 BCT15x2 BCT15X2 TRX-1 TRX-2 EFJ51SL MTX8250 TK2180 MD380x4 NX5300 NX5200
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 7:13 PM
Coyote-Frostbyte's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 607
Default

The need for equipment to meet certain technical standards, I won't argue. Goodness know the subject of non-type accepted 'ham' radios used on Part 90 etc. frequencies is a passionate topic- and even mentioning it is to touch the third rail.
.
But I'll throw out something that I find maybe worthy of a casual thought or two.
.
Once a radio is "Type Accepted" its always "Type Accepted."
.
Case in point-- I have and use an antediluvian EF Johnson UHF transceiver (PPL 6060.) Its OLD- but it works fine, it looks brand new**- it sits in my kitchen, on top of my refrigerator; its 15 watts communicates nicely on its two crystal controlled 451 MHz channels about my ranch. Its was type accepted for Part 90 back during the Millard Fillmore administration. I've held its LMR license since shortly after that....
.
I have looked at its signal on spectrum analyz'rs, and its clean as any modern radio- Part 90 Type Accepted or not... and plenty of non Type Accepted radios are very clean. This 6060 uses the old wide band FM (and I am licensed for channels that still allow it) but probably not compliant with the new narrow band frequencies...... still, its Part 90 usable. If I were to recrystal it for the new narrow band channels, I doubt it would fit-- yet it still would be legal if I could/should. The 6060 is very stable and holds its transmit frequencies 'close enuff' to be in tolerance- but nothing like a synthesized radio............... didn't these Johnson radios used to come in Model T's ??.....
.
I don't want anyone to 'sunset' my radios, but I think it rather odd that my 6060 is a perfectly legal Part 90, while well manufactured modern 'ham' radios aren't..... revolves around the $$'s to get the Acceptance?? or the hassles??- it always comes down to that.......just think what it would be like if your Alinco's had that certification.... there'd be no such discussions.
.
All this is rhetorical-- I don't expect serious responses.
.
Meanwhile, I need to go add some Coal Oil to my 6060 or it will go out tonight......
.
.
.
................................ CF
.
** I did replace the microphone with a handheld Motorola, and modernized the receiver with a few hot baubles
.
.
And NO, I am not about to engage in any "hacking' debates-- been there, done THAT...!

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 07-27-2017 at 7:30 PM..
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 8:32 PM
W9BU's Avatar
Lead Wiki Manager
  RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Brownsburg, Indiana
Posts: 5,185
Default

As I recall, 90.203 contains a grandfather provision for older radios, but I'll leave the research on that point to others.

OTOH, since narrow-band is mandated in just about all Part 90 services, an old transceiver is probably not compliant with the FCC rules today.
__________________
Lead Wiki Manager and Forum Moderator.

"The whole world's living in a digital dream. It's not really there, it's all on the screen." -- WB6ACU
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 8:51 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Watertown, NY
Posts: 38
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdrwill View Post
It IS a violation to program transmit frequencies in your radio you are NOT Licensed for.

90.427 Precautions against unauthorized operation.

(b) Except for frequencies used in accordance with 90.417, no person shall program into a transmitter frequencies for which the licensee using the transmitter is not authorized.
The term "transmitter" is debatable. I could program marine, public safety, public works, EMS, etc. into my Icom "transceiver" which many people do, so are we breaking the law according to 90.427?
I think the word "using" is the key here. I am not "using" a transmitter on those frequencies that are not in the ham band even though they may be programmed into my radio. I'm only using a "receiver" to listen.

Last edited by KK2DOG; 07-27-2017 at 9:12 PM..
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 9:11 PM
KK4JUG's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: West Georgia
Posts: 1,633
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KE0GXN View Post
Thanks for posting!

Hard to believe any public safety personnel would rely on amateur equipment to conduct life or death business, but I have seen myself on here....unbelievable, with alleged police officers and firefighters on here claiming to use Beofangs on duty..etc
Money!! That's the bottom line. Many of the firefighters are volunteers working with departments with limited funding. They're hard-pressed to buy much of their equipment. In this area, larger fire departments will donate their older trucks, some turn-out gear, etc. to smaller, volunteer departments.

The volunteer firefighter who works at the feed store during the day can't afford to spend huge amounts of money, for a radio, for instance, but he still wants to do his part.

That said, No, it's not right and No, they shouldn't be doing it.
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 10:13 PM
KE0GXN's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Echo Mike Two-Seven
Posts: 1,141
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KK4JUG View Post
Money!! That's the bottom line. Many of the firefighters are volunteers working with departments with limited funding. They're hard-pressed to buy much of their equipment. In this area, larger fire departments will donate their older trucks, some turn-out gear, etc. to smaller, volunteer departments.

The volunteer firefighter who works at the feed store during the day can't afford to spend huge amounts of money, for a radio, for instance, but he still wants to do his part.

That said, No, it's not right and No, they shouldn't be doing it.
I hear that. But I can't say that has been my experience. I once worked in county that had an entire population of 20k if that. Most if not all the fire departments in the county were volunteer. One or two guys would respond to the station and get the truck and the rest showed up in their personal vehicles to scenes. Strictly volunteer people. Yet I never once saw anyone using a Chicom or HAM radio for communications. Ancient Motorolas, Kenwoods etc...yeah, I saw those all day.

Not familiar with how they got their gear, (never cared to ask), but I suspect they either had hand-me-downs from larger agencies or I suspect (based on some of the former military vehicles some used) utilized DOD/federal surplus for used stuff and or maybe even state/federal grants programs for new stuff.

I have worked for LE agencies that have used both federal surplus and federal/state grant programs to get equipment.

Not saying you can outfit an entire department that way, but I know there is good gear out there for the asking.
__________________
Tony - KEGXN
Working the world with 100 watts and a wire!

Last edited by KE0GXN; 07-27-2017 at 10:18 PM.. Reason: Grammer
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 10:46 PM
KK4JUG's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: West Georgia
Posts: 1,633
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KE0GXN View Post
Not saying you can outfit an entire department that way, but I know there is good gear out there for the asking.
Yes, I s'pose it's out there for the asking but everyone is asking and there's not enough to go around. Every year, my band plays benefits for area volunteer fire departments. They hold BBQs, bake sales, etc., but mostly BBQs (thankfully). I see their equipment. They've never seen a new vehicle, the turn-out gear is decorated with duct tape in strategic places and they depend heavily on beepers. Two of the band members are fire department related (one is a deputy chief and the other a retired lieutenant) so we're attuned to what's going on.

I'm not sure a marginally-effective used-up Motorola is any better than a new Baofeng.
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2017, 11:21 PM
KE0GXN's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Echo Mike Two-Seven
Posts: 1,141
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KK4JUG View Post
I'm not sure a marginally-effective used-up Motorola is any better than a new Baofeng.
Maybe so. Can't say I have been in a position to say otherwise. Both civilian agencies I have worked for, I have been fortunate to have been issued quality equipment.

I guess at the end of day its like you said; "That said, No, it's not right and No, they shouldn't be doing it."
__________________
Tony - KEGXN
Working the world with 100 watts and a wire!
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 07-28-2017, 12:22 AM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: WTVLCA01DS0
Posts: 9,059
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KK2DOG View Post
The term "transmitter" is debatable. I could program marine, public safety, public works, EMS, etc. into my Icom "transceiver" which many people do, so are we breaking the law according to 90.427?
Yes, according to the Part 90 rules, you would be -IF- it was programmed in such a way as to permit transmitting. The rules are clear on that. As I'm sure you understand, a "transceiver" is a receiver and transmitter. The transmitter is the part covered under Part 90. The receivers are covered under Part 15. In this case, it's the Part 90 rules on the transmitter that are the concern.

Marine requires a Part 80 radio.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KK2DOG View Post
I think the word "using" is the key here. I am not "using" a transmitter on those frequencies that are not in the ham band even though they may be programmed into my radio. I'm only using a "receiver" to listen.
It's not about "using", it's specifically about having frequencies programmed into the radio that are not authorized under the license that covers the radio.
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 07-28-2017, 12:26 AM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: WTVLCA01DS0
Posts: 9,059
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KK4JUG View Post
I'm not sure a marginally-effective used-up Motorola is any better than a new Baofeng.
For fire service, they usually require a FM/CSA/IS type certification for use in hazardous environments.

I have yet to see one of the Cheap Chinese Radios that have those ratings. If one did, I'd be highly suspect of it. Same goes for opened up amateur radios used on the fire ground.

As for the clapped out Motorola, the FM/CSA/IS rating would entirely depend on if the radio was maintained/serviced by an authorized shop following the appropriate procedures to maintain the rating.
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 07-28-2017, 12:54 AM
Coyote-Frostbyte's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 607
Default

I was being a little flip when I compared my Johnson 6060 with the Paleolithic.
.
Anyone familiar with the Motorola 80D's, T44's, RCA Carfones?... Now those were truly Wide Band FM. My grandfather would get these ancient RCA's, GE's, Motorolas, and convert them to amateur FM- 52.525, 146.94--- or cannibalize the PA sections, 807's and such-- change the bias, and turn them into VHF linear amplifiers. Those were true FM - and the audio was superb broadcast quality....
..... But
.
These would hardly pass the Part 90.203/209 today-
.
My 6060 still handily qualifies under Parts 90.35 and 90.209 - and the FCC continues to renew my license.
__________________________________________________ _________
All of that is an aside-
.
I originally approach'd the topic thinking its too bad there aren't less expensive solutions for those individuals that belong to the rescue squads, the volunteer fire departments, etc., that need to buy their own equipment. I attached a copy of part of the Certification requirements that clearly spells out what acceptable equipment must be. These 'type accept'd' radios are hardly ham radios with their highly restrictive parameters- and with their attendant higher prices. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground.
.
Do I have a point to make?.. None, other than I can understand and sympathize with those otherwise highly responsible individuals that step over the line and use non certified radios.
.
My home is in a very rural, sparsely populated mountain county, where emergency services are by volunteers. I will be the last person to ever point out to one of these neighbors that their radio is not type accepted as they rescue me, a friend or family ...... I'm not excusing it, I'm just looking the other way...........
.
................................CF

.
.
.


__________________________________________________ _____________________
.
90.203
(e) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, transmitters designed to operate above 25 MHz shall not be certificated for use under this part if the operator can program and transmit on frequencies, other than those programmed by the manufacturer, service or maintenance personnel, using the equipment's external operation controls.

(f) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, transmitters designed to operate above 25 MHz that have been approved prior to January 15, 1988, and that permit the operator, by using external controls, to program the transmitter's operating frequencies, shall not be manufactured in, or imported into the United States after March 15, 1988. Marketing of these transmitters shall not be permitted after March 15, 1989.
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 07-28-2017, 1:15 AM
krokus's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Southeastern Michigan
Posts: 3,225
Default

Please sticky this thread, so it shows up before people ask the questions answered in the thread. (Any of us that have been around the system for awhile have seen it too often.)

Sent via Tapatalk
__________________
Generic radio geek, in southeast Michigan.
PSR-500, TM-742, TM-V71,TH-78, HTX-420, IC-2AT, IC-2E (clone), Pro-39, BC-235XLT, TK-290, XTS-5000
Closed Thread

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 6:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2015 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions