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Commercial Frequency Licensing

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U2flyer

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Hello all, I am in need of a VHF repeater pair. I am a licensed ham, involved with GMRS as well however I am working with a group that wants to use VHF as a means of local communication for talkaround and disaster reasons. Most in the group are hams however many would like a dedicated frequency that encryption could be used in the future if needed. They plan on putting up a small low power repeater. My question for the groups is 1. Does the FCC require the licence to be filed from an LLC (legit business) / 501c3 or the sort? Or can a private individual obtain a licence? 2. Does the FCC require additional licencing for the use of any type of encryption other than those used by public safety entities? 3. What is the best company to assist in filling out the FCC licence application? I have seen buytwowayradios offer the service. Thank you in advance for all your help.
 

alcahuete

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1) You don't have to be a business, but I have seen a lot of applications denied for individuals, especially hams, since the impression is that they are just looking for a private channel instead of just using the ham bands.

2) No. Just be sure you include the emissions types for the digital, analog, etc. modes that you plan on using.

3) I have used WIA in the past. I'm not sure if they do VHF, but they are a great company to work with. Wireless Infrastructure Association - WIA
 

mmckenna

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Hello all, I am in need of a VHF repeater pair. I am a licensed ham, involved with GMRS as well however I am working with a group that wants to use VHF as a means of local communication for talkaround and disaster reasons. Most in the group are hams however many would like a dedicated frequency that encryption could be used in the future if needed. They plan on putting up a small low power repeater. My question for the groups is 1. Does the FCC require the licence to be filed from an LLC (legit business) / 501c3 or the sort?
A good source of info is the FCC Part 90 rules.

A good place to start is here, in the "eligibility" section.


Or can a private individual obtain a licence?
Not really. Needs to be a business reason.



2. Does the FCC require additional licencing for the use of any type of encryption other than those used by public safety entities?
No. No difference in the license for encrypted or non-encrypted traffic. You will need to ID the system in the clear, best done by CW ID built into a any reputable repeater.

3. What is the best company to assist in filling out the FCC licence application? I have seen buytwowayradios offer the service. Thank you in advance for all your help.
They are not a frequency coordinator, so unless you were doing itinerant frequencies, you don't want to use them. They are just going to bill you for filing the paper work.
What you should be doing is using a frequency coordinator. They can find a useable frequency for you, and assist with licensing. It's not free, so be ready for it.
Frequency coordinators: Industrial / Business Licensing

I've used these guys as well as APCO, but they are mainly for public safety stuff.


I'll add, since you mentioned amateur radio operators using this system...
Their part 97 amateur radio licenses grant no privileges outside the amateur radio bands, so there's some stuff they'll need to understand.

Be sure that the amateurs fully understand and comply with all the FCC rules that come with this. That means they cannot legally use their amateur only radios on this system, no matter what they think. They will be required to use Part 90 certified radios. Since the licensee is responsible for proper operation of the system, as well as any and all portable, mobile, base, etc. radios added to the system, it will be the responsibility of the licensee to make sure.

I'm only saying this since I've run into it before. Amateurs won't want to buy a new Part 90 radio. They'll turn to the internet and find modification instructions to "open up" amateur radios. It's a problem. They'll tell you it isn't. It is. I've had amateurs at work want to put their amateur radios on my systems. No.

Even though they may be amateurs, they will be operating on non-amateur frequencies. The rules are different and the behavior needs to be different. Make sure they understand that this isn't an extension of the amateur radio service.
 

U2flyer

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Thank you for the responses. For more information, I am clear on Part 90 rules for transmitters as well as narrowband compliance. Also, that Part 90 transmitters are not to have FPP enabled. All members currently use Motorola XTS 5000 M1 & M3s with a few guys with XTS 2500s. All currently operate legally in the Ham VHF Band on analog FM wide and on select simplex frequencies P25 Phase 1 Conventional. All radios have been programmed with legal copies of Astro25 CPS. Also all members of this group work "in their day jobs" in public safety at some level. Some FF, EMS & LEOs. This group is by no means official in any capacity, just concerned citizens with the desire to have radio communication abilities that can be encrypted if needed. I am not sure whether or not this would suffice as a "legitimate" reason to give up a valuable piece of spectrum to 15-20 guys however it is worth a shot even at a $700-1000 price tag. I am familiar with Part 97 repeater infrastructure IDing and remote control requirements however the commercial world is a different animal altogether. Thank you for your frequency coordination recommendations. I was under the impression that the company I mentioned had the ability to do coordination on my behalf. Thank you for all your help.
 

mmckenna

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It shouldn't be too much of an issue to license. Just depends on your justification. You might want to formally organize and have a legit sounding group name.
I know there's a neighborhood watch group near where my parents live that has done this. I think they got a UHF pair and set up a repeater at someone property.

Coordinator will help you find a frequency pair you can use. Depending on your location, that may be easy or very difficult. You'll need to fill out some paper work to get that started. You'll want to have details about where your repeater will be, how high the antenna is, what sort of coverage you are looking for, etc. Be reasonable about that stuff, if you want a repeater running 100 watts 7000 feet up, and no other co-channel users, you are going to have a hard time. If you want something that covers a small town, that's more likely to be successful. Again, it really depends on where you are. Big metropolitan area, good luck. Out in the sticks, easier.

The commercial repeaters are going to be similar to the ham stuff, just more expensive if you want new. You want to make sure you have good stuff. If you plan on leasing space on a commercial tower, they'll usually have some requirements regarding insurance, access, tower climbers, etc.

And be aware that it's going to be expensive. Coordination will cost you several hundred dollars. Licensing will cost a few hundred. Then there's all the equipment, tower lease, etc.
 
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