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(I sent this to the FCC to get a clear answer but thought I would copy it here to see if anyone knows the answer or where I can find it)

Hi,

I am a volunteer firefighter/emt for a local fire dept in the state of Alabama. They let us use and transmit on their motorola radios. Their radios are somewhat unreliable so I purchased my own HT1250. We use several surrounding fire departments for mutual aid for things like a large fire or accidents. I contacted one of those departments requesting frequency information and their Asst. Fire Marshal told me that he will not give out any frequencies of any kind. He also stated that if I was found to have in possession a trasmit capable radio that I can be arrested under State/Federal Law. I need to know if I, as a volunteer firefighter/emt, can legally possess a radio that is programed to transmit on public safety frequencies reguardless if I actually transmit or not?

Thanks,
Kenny
 

n5ims

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If they respond, you'll probably get a reference to the FCC rule section 90.427 with states "Except for frequencies used in accordance with Sec. 90.417, no person shall program into a transmitter frequencies for which the licensee using the transmitter is not authorized."

The FCC has sited several folks for programming radios with frequencies that aren't licensed. They include in their notice this warning "If, after receipt of this Citation, Universal violates the Communications Act or the Rules by engaging in conduct of the type described herein, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation and up to $112,500 for any single act or failure to act.3 In addition, violations of the Communications Act or the Rules can result in seizure of equipment through in rem forfeiture actions, as well as criminal sanctions, including imprisonment."

One such example of the FCC going after a radio company for programming unlicensed frequencies into radios for a client is here --> http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-528A1.txt

On February 17, 2011, an agent from the Enforcement Bureau’s Philadelphia Office conducted an investigation and found that Universal had programmed radio transmitting equipment for the Montgomery Mall in North Wales, Pennsylvania with the frequencies 468.375 MHz, 463.375 MHz, 466.325 MHz, and 461.325 MHz for which the Montgomery Mall was not authorized. A representative for Universal later admitted to the FCC agent that a Universal technician programmed the Montgomery Mall's two-way portable radios and repeater stations. Furthermore, a Montgomery Mall representative confirmed to the FCC agent that Universal had been its only radio service company for several years and has been programming and maintaining the Montgomery Mall’s two-way portable radios and repeater stations during that time.
If you read the NAL you'll notice that the violation was simply that Universal Technologies LTD programmed the radios with frequencies that weren't licensed, not that they actually transmitted on the frequencies (the mall received their own NAL for that violation http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-305158A1.html). These two violation notices help to document that the FCC will not only fine those that transmit on unlicensed frequencies, but also those that program the radios that would allow that violation to take place.
 

c5corvette

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I don't think I would have written such letter. I'm afraid you're not going to like the outcome.
 
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@n5ims

That seems to pertain to Unauthorized/Unlicensed Frequencies if I read it correctly. The frequencies I would use if im able are that of the surrounding fire departments that we use for mutual aid. Technically I have a valid reason for possessing such frequencies.
 

ffemt601

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@n5ims

That seems to pertain to Unauthorized/Unlicensed Frequencies if I read it correctly. The frequencies I would use if im able are that of the surrounding fire departments that we use for mutual aid. Technically I have a valid reason for possessing such frequencies.
Actually you need to have permission of that systems owner to use the frequencies and it seems as though he told you no. Thus, you are unauthorized to use them.

It would have been easier to ask the question prior to obtaining your own radio.
 
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Actually you need to have permission of that systems owner to use the frequencies and it seems as though he told you no. Thus, you are unauthorized to use them.

It would have been easier to ask the question prior to obtaining your own radio.
I actually only requested the A-B Tone frequencies but apparently he thought I was requesting the RX/TX frequencies. I didnt explain to him that I work with another fire dept.


It would have been easier to ask the question prior to obtaining your own radio.
I am allowed to TX with my Fire Dept which is the main reason of getting the radio. I may just put the RX in only for all others and just RX/TX for my department. Seems things would be easier that way. M/A isnt used too much anyway.
 
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ffemt601

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I actually only requested the A-B Tone frequencies but apparently he thought I was requesting the RX/TX frequencies. I didnt explain to him that I work with another fire dept.
I am confused ..... Explaining to him why you have a legitimate purpose to have them would have been the step prior to writing the FCC. You must be new to the fire service. Ask your chief or one of the officers of your department for information.
 
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I am confused ..... Explaining to him why you have a legitimate purpose to have them would have been the step prior to writing the FCC. You must be new to the fire service. Ask your chief or one of the officers of your department for information.
I know but our dept doesnt have the A-B Tone information for any other dept except our own, which is why I emailed them asking for it. I can get the RX/TX from my dept.
 

BamaScan

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If you are a legit firefighter and woked for department A. I would have told the Fire Chief of department B who you were and and you worked for Department B. I would never talk to the Assistant always talk to the Head Chief even if you have to wait a week or two to meet with him. Also explain to the chief of Department B that you needed the information for Mutual Aid. So departments A and B can work together during an emergency. I'm sure he would have gave it to you. I'm am wondering if your department A has ever worked with Department B ?? If you close enough to help them out then I wonder why it was not given to you. The radio is a type accepted radio for transmit in the UHF or VHF. Now if you were trying to take a Ham Radio and convert it to a Fire Radio you may have a problem with the FCC because it would not be Type Accepted. the FCC likes everything to be Type Accepted. The FCC is not going to help you at all. They have no reason to get the information from Department B that you are requesting. I see that you are located in Alabama. Have you programed the Alabama Mutual Aid Statewide Fire Frequencies in your radio ?? If so this may solve your question. Because every department in Alabama should have the mutual aid frequencies programed in their radio. One more thing the A and B tone can be found with a newer scanner or any radio program found on the web.
 
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If you are a legit firefighter and woked for department A. I would have told the Fire Chief of department B who you were and and you worked for Department B. I would never talk to the Assistant always talk to the Head Chief even if you have to wait a week or two to meet with him. Also explain to the chief of Department B that you needed the information for Mutual Aid. So departments A and B can work together during an emergency. I'm sure he would have gave it to you. I'm am wondering if your department A has ever worked with Department B ?? If you close enough to help them out then I wonder why it was not given to you. The radio is a type accepted radio for transmit in the UHF or VHF. Now if you were trying to take a Ham Radio and convert it to a Fire Radio you may have a problem with the FCC because it would not be Type Accepted. the FCC likes everything to be Type Accepted. The FCC is not going to help you at all. They have no reason to get the information from Department B that you are requesting. I see that you are located in Alabama. Have you programed the Alabama Mutual Aid Statewide Fire Frequencies in your radio ?? If so this may solve your question. Because every department in Alabama should have the mutual aid frequencies programed in their radio. One more thing the A and B tone can be found with a newer scanner or any radio program found on the web.
We have worked with dept B in the past on fires and interstate wrecks, though not often. I am not counting on the FCC for information. Unless its a complaint I doubt they will respond as they likely get lots and lots of emails daily.

I have a 996XT digital scanner that has the tone out search feature on it. Dept B only has one set of tones and every time it goes off the scanner displays different frequencies each time so im not sure how accurate it is even though I get clear reception.
 

ToneBurst

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If they respond, you'll probably get a reference to the FCC rule section 90.427 with states "Except for frequencies used in accordance with Sec. 90.417, no person shall program into a transmitter frequencies for which the licensee using the transmitter is not authorized."

The FCC has sited several folks for programming radios with frequencies that aren't licensed. They include in their notice this warning "If, after receipt of this Citation, Universal violates the Communications Act or the Rules by engaging in conduct of the type described herein, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation and up to $112,500 for any single act or failure to act.3 In addition, violations of the Communications Act or the Rules can result in seizure of equipment through in rem forfeiture actions, as well as criminal sanctions, including imprisonment."

One such example of the FCC going after a radio company for programming unlicensed frequencies into radios for a client is here --> http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-528A1.txt



If you read the NAL you'll notice that the violation was simply that Universal Technologies LTD programmed the radios with frequencies that weren't licensed, not that they actually transmitted on the frequencies (the mall received their own NAL for that violation http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/2003/DOC-305158A1.html). These two violation notices help to document that the FCC will not only fine those that transmit on unlicensed frequencies, but also those that program the radios that would allow that violation to take place.
This issue of simply "programming" frequencies into a radio that the user is not licensed for is confusing. Does that mean someone in possession of amateur radio gear in their home or on their person that has things other than amateur radio / citizens band / AM and FM broadcast freqs in it can be cited?

If they CAN be cited or arrested / fined, does that mean scanners are illegal under this act and does that mean amateur radio gear capable of receiving frequencies out of band may not be used to actually program those frequencies in them?

How can this law be used and enforced? Any legal beagles here?
 

SCPD

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This issue of simply "programming" frequencies into a radio that the user is not licensed for is confusing. Does that mean someone in possession of amateur radio gear in their home or on their person that has things other than amateur radio / citizens band / AM and FM broadcast freqs in it can be cited?

Transmit frequencies are what the FCC is talking about not receive.The gentleman below is correct about everything but cellular is ok for receiving.
 
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n5ims

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This issue of simply "programming" frequencies into a radio that the user is not licensed for is confusing. Does that mean someone in possession of amateur radio gear in their home or on their person that has things other than amateur radio / citizens band / AM and FM broadcast freqs in it can be cited?

If they CAN be cited or arrested / fined, does that mean scanners are illegal under this act and does that mean amateur radio gear capable of receiving frequencies out of band may not be used to actually program those frequencies in them?

How can this law be used and enforced? Any legal beagles here?
Except for Cellular (and a few other specific situations) there's nothing to prevent somebody from legally programming a radio to receive any frequency. The issue if if that programming will allow a radio to transmit on an unlicensed frequency (more specifically a frequency that the user isn't licensed for).

Scanners (since they simply cannot transmit) are OK. Your question "amateur radio gear capable of receiving frequencies out of band may not be used to actually program those frequencies in them" falls under the same umbrella since you specifically indicated "receiving frequencies out of band". Modify the same radio to also transmit out of band and the answer may very well be different.
 

zz0468

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...That seems to pertain to Unauthorized/Unlicensed Frequencies if I read it correctly.
That pertains to YOU, unless you are specifically authorized by the licensee of the frequencies you wish to use. If they say no, you are not authorized. If they say nothing, you are not authorized. If they say yes, then you'd better get in in writing.

The frequencies I would use if im able are that of the surrounding fire departments that we use for mutual aid. Technically I have a valid reason for possessing such frequencies.
That determination is made ONLY by the licensee, not the person making the claim to have a valid reason. You may well have a valid reason, but it's not up to you act upon it without specific authorization.
 

K9WG

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... snip ...

Your question "amateur radio gear capable of receiving frequencies out of band may not be used to actually program those frequencies in them" falls under the same umbrella since you specifically indicated "receiving frequencies out of band". Modify the same radio to also transmit out of band and the answer may very well be different.
If this is the case then I (as a former) and many other MARS operators are in possession of illegal transmitters. Then again, progreamming vs capability may be the difference.
 

MTS2000des

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Have your Chief contact the other Chief.

Simple as that.
Exactly, this is why the Feds are pushing NIMS.
Let your chief and admin battle it out. It may seem absurd as to why things take the course they do, but so is acting outside the scope of one's employment and doing things without our higher ups knowing about it.

If dept B doesn't want you or your agency on their radio system, then refrain from being on it.

When incidents occur where mutual aid is affected, document it and forward it to your department higher ups.

Things need to be handled through proper channels, officially and documented. That's what being professional is all about.
 

jim202

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The center topic of this discussion has wondered around from frequency use to paging tones and back. There has been mention of asking to use the other departments radio frequency in your radio.

To clear things up some, when mutual aid is done with the surrounding departments, there has to be a MOU (memorandum of understanding) put in place between the different departments. The reason being here goes back to the FCC rules and regulations that stipulates the licensee of the radio frequency is responsible for all transmissions made on "their" frequencies on that license. If the holder of that license deems it important enough under strict circumstances, then that licensee will allow other agencies to come onto those frequencies in an incident requiring the additional help and equipment.

Without the MOU in place, your just not able to legally come up on another owners frequency and transmit there. You would be in violation of the FCC rules and would be considered an illegal operation on a frequency your not authorized for. This is where the surrounding departments get together and work out mutual aid agreements. It also requires the implementation of the use of an MOU. The MOU is very specific on what will be done and by who. It spells out the frequency use and who controls the action. It may even spell out if there will be any funds involved for paying the costs of the incident to the responding agencies.

To just put a radio transmit frequency into a personal radio and be expected to use it with out any repercussions is totally wrong. If it is a department radio, then that is a whole different story. Your best bet is to sit with your department chief and work it out before you get yourself into a position you don't want to be in.

Enough said on the subject.
 
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