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Motorola Trbo on GMRS and FRS

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WQOQ867

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First off I have a license, and I know digital is currently not allowed on GMRS.

I have been looking at getting two Motorola trbo radios to use on GMRS. I know digital is currently not allowed but I think it may soon be under the proposed changes.

Since the trbo uses digital to send text messages is it legal for me to use one of the FRS channels in digital on the radios?

I think I have seen digital FRS radios befor. I know Garmans FRS/GMRS radio dose text messages some how. Maybe over FRS??? Thanks for the help ahead of time!!!
 

mmckenna

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What would lead you to believe that digital will be allowed on GMRS when they rewrite the rules? Not a flame, just curious.

The radio would not be legal to use under FRS rules because it has a removable antenna, and the power output can be increased by the user. Both of these items would make it fail under FRS rules.

Under GMRS rules, it would be legal IF it has Part 95 certification. I'm not going to guess if it does or does not. The only way to know for sure is to run the FCC id number through the OET page and see what the grant says.

IF it was legal under GMRS rules via type certification, then you could run the radio on one of the 7 interstitial frequencies that is shared with FRS. You would need to stay under 5 watts (not a problem), but you would still need to follow the letter of the law if you wanted to stay legal.

Part 95 rules, specifically the part of it that covers GMRS, spells out what emission designators are legal. If the emission designator used by the Trbo radio to send the messages is included, then you might be OK.

Using Garmin as a reference doesn't really apply because they have a waiver to do this. The waiver only applies to those radios made by Garmin. They do use GMRS to send them, but still, you don't have a waiver, and Motorola doesn't have a waiver, so this would be a dead end, if you wanted to follow the rules.

What would be easier, legal and a lot more appropriate would be to do this on the 70cm amateur radio band. There this would be legal.

I think the answer to your question is no. I know others will argue the point, we've all been through this before on other sites. Everyone has their own opinion and many have chosen to develop their own personal views on how to interpret the GMRS rules.

The choice is up to you.

Honestly, if I was going to do this, I wouldn't choose MotoTrbo. The radios are more expensive and the software is expensive. If you went with either Icom or Kenwood NXDN, you can do the same stuff on a less expensive radio and program it with less expensive software. I own several Motorola radios. One of the reasons I do is because I have all the programming software, cables and RIB in my shop at work. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't invest in them. After programming well over 300 Kenwood radios recently, I'd suggest you look at their product for a much more friendly software experience, and a radio that is easily as rugged and well built and the Motorola's.
 
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WQOQ867

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Thanks for your reply.

I did not know about the Garman waver.

I read somewhere that the FCC may open gmrs up to digital. I will look for that site again and post it.

Thanks.
 

mmckenna

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The FCC may very well do that, and it would make a lot of sense. It would open up a lot of possibilities.
The FCC also needs to do that for CB. For too long it's been stuck. Allowing FM and/or digital modes would increase it's usefulness. Being able to run CTCSS tones reliably would be a handy thing on CB.

So far I don't think anyone knows what the FCC is going to do. I think anything out there is a guess. The FCC hasn't tipped its hand on this yet, which is disappointing. Either way, the rewrite of the FCC rules for GMRS has been a long time coming. It always bothered me that Garmin had the waiver, but no one else was allowed to do it. Garmin has taken advantage of this and kept the prices on the Rino radios really high.

Now if we can just get them to rework the CB rules and maybe do a UHF version of MURS...
 

WQOQ867

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Is digital data (text messages) allowed on FRS?

If so since I have a license I guess i could use one of the FRS channels that's also open to GMRS.
 

WQOQ867

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Is this true?

From: FRS Rules

On February 10, 2003, the FCC released the Report and Order in WTB Docket 01-339. Those changes became effective April 2, 2003. This R&O modifies the FRS rules to permit location-reporting or location-requesting data transmissions, plus other brief text messages. The FCC intent is to retain FRS primarily for voice communications, but to permit brief data transmissions.

Click here to download a copy of the complete Report and Order, including its attachments and authorizing language of the changes adopted in the R&O.

You should note that data communications in FRS are permissible only from stations (specific radio models) authorized that data emission mode. The use of add-on devices is prohibited by an FRS station, unless that radio has been certified to attach to that particular device. (See FRS Rule 4(c), 95.104(c).)

In the R&O, the FCC specifically refers to this continuing prohibition. In other words, you may not add a keyboard or other device to an FRS radio unless that radio is certified for use with that specific device. What this means in practicality is that brief text messaging between FRS units will be permissible only for those FRS radios subsequently designed and certified for such operation.
 

mmckenna

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That is true on FRS, as the R&O states, but it doesn't apply to GMRS. Your MotoTrbo radio isn't FRS compliant, it can only work under the GMRS rules.
 

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When rewriting the rules for GMRS and FRS, the FCC will write them in such a way as to provide the FCC more revenue. Of that, you can be sure.
 

com501

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I don't find the MotoTrbo platform radios in the Type Certification for Part 95 anywhere.
 

mmckenna

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But from my understanding I can use the FRS channels that are shared by GMRS and FRS digital then on Motorola trbo? Correct?
Not quite. You are confusing the part about FRS and GMRS.

FRS has 14 channels. 7 are in the 462MHz range, and 7 are in the 468MHz range. FRS radios are limited to 500mw and must have a non removable antenna. There are no exceptions to this rule. Your 4 watt MotoTrbo radio with removable antenna can NOT be used under the FRS rules. No exceptions.

This is where I think the confusion is happening:
GMRS has 23 channels.
8 are in the 462 range and are for simplex use and repeater outputs only. 50 watts is allowed.
8 are in the 467 range and are for repeater inputs only. 50 watts is allowed.
7 are in the 462 range, are only for simplex use. They are limited to 5 watts of power.

It just so happens that those 7 GMRS channels in the 462MHz range are SHARED with FRS. When you are using a radio on these 7 frequencies that has a removable antenna, or exceeds the 500mw power limitation, you are NOT using them under the FRS rules. You are using them under the GMRS rules. Don't confuse the GMRS rules and the FRS rules even though those 7 frequencies happen to be shared.

When you take your 4 watt MotoTrbo radio with removable antenna and operate on those 7 shared frequencies you are not operating under the FRS rules. You are operating under the GMRS rules, and all the GMRS rules apply, and none of the FRS rules apply.

The FRS rules say you can run text messaging. It would be perfectly legal to take an FRS radio that was designed and type accepted to operate in a text messaging mode and use it on the FRS channels. It is not legal to take your GMRS radio, operating under GMRS rules (because of the removable antenna and 4 watts of output) and use something that is only allowed under FRS rules.
 
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