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School Communications

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marksroberson

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Hello all,
I have a question and this is the only forum sub that i could find suitable, so I wouldn't be surprised if it is moved.
I work at a Private High School in Birmingham, AL during the summer (IT Manager, Maintenance, and Security are all on my ID card as my position :LOL:)

I installed a phone system last summer that is just a home phone system with additional handsets paired up, it has a "intercom" system but it is not easily accessible to use and its not easy to use. It is easier to walk from the front desk to the back office if you need to tell them something.
When Toys-R-Us went under, our local store gave me about 8 BC-95 radios, these are UHF portables and I purchased a programming cable and have them all talking to each other now. Currently programmed on GMRS low power, as I used some of them last year and it was an extremely easy and effective way for staff to get a hold of me if they needed something, and it wasn't a big deal if I dropped it or something (unlike my phone)

I was wondering if, I can use these radios on the business band or "Dot" channels like Yellow dot: 464.55 or something else on the UHF business frequency chart.
Do I need a license for this? I am aware of many stores use this frequency area for communications, and I would like to get some to the school and purchase a couple of more for them to use. (Also, if its important, The school has a business license since it is a private school, its also a non-profit)
Also to make it not so easy for kids not to bring FRS radios from home and disrupt comms (yep, that happened before I worked there, the school got about 20 FRS bubble pack radios and thought it was "Secure") I could also put on DCS or CTCSS EN/DEcode on it as well.

**ALSO, if anyone has any of these radios, or knows where I can get replacement parts PLEASE LET ME KNOW. some of these units have PTT buttons missing, some need new batteries, etc. But I have found a good ebay seller who sells them complete with chargers, antennas, etc all in working order. I just have some from toys r us that are not in great shape. I am primarily looking for PTT buttons though. I am aware that they sell accessory headsets with a built in mic and speaker but the staff would never use that.
 

needairtime

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The BC-95 appears to be a UHF programmable radio.

If you don't want to use FRS frequencies, you will have to get a license. FRS frequencies are the only ones you could use without directly getting an FCC license (though apparently the BC-95 has a detachable antenna, it wouldn't be a legal FRS radio). Unfortunately as said, if you want to make it harder for kids bringing in their own radios and joining in on the conversation, you need to get off FRS. That means you will need to lease an FCC license.

Unfortunately apparently many schools end up in this scenario and have to either lease a FCC license or deal with interference from the kids... I also hear a lot about licensed GMRS users vigilante against schools using repeaters without a license, so watch out for that too.
 

mmckenna

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Those are a rebadged low tier Vertex/Standard radio. If you need parts, contact your local dealer.
However, since it's been discontinued and basically a "throw away" radio, you may have trouble finding parts. Might be easier/cheaper to buy a used one.

As for the radio...
Its type acceptance is only for FCC Part 90 use, which would make it a violation of the FRS/GMRS rules to use it on those frequencies.
To legally use it, your school will need to get a valid FCC license. There is no exceptions for non-profit, "got the radio for free", etc. Schools have been busted for this stuff.

Getting a valid FCC license on the itinerant UHF channels is really easy. I won't explain all the details here, it's too much to type out, but it might be a good idea to contact a local radio shop and inquire about what they would charge to assist you in the license application. The benefit to the itinerant channels (464.500, 464.550, etc) is that they do not require coordination, so that will save you some money.

As for preventing interference from students, PL/DPL codes will not address that. All it takes is a student with a $19 BaoFeng from Amazon or E-bay and they'll have you.
 

ecps92

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What is the CallSign the School is already licensed for, maybe just use that, if UHF

Why re-invent the Boat, any freq you pick will require an FCC License. (As the radio is not type accepted for FRS)
 

marksroberson

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What is the CallSign the School is already licensed for, maybe just use that, if UHF

Why re-invent the Boat, any freq you pick will require an FCC License. (As the radio is not type accepted for FRS)
The school does not have an existing license, I can just get them to reimburse me $165 for an itinerant frequency license and just put it in my ham radio FRN


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alcahuete

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I can just get them to reimburse me $165 for an itinerant frequency license and just put it in my ham radio FRN
That, I wouldn't do.

1) The school needs to be the license holder. What if you leave, are fired, are___________? Not smart on the school's behalf. I also wouldn't want to be personally liable if users do stupid things with the radios, etc. Guess who the FCC is going to come after and fine? Hint, it's not the school.

2) The FCC can be unkind when it comes to hams requesting itinerant/business frequencies.
 

marksroberson

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That, I wouldn't do.

1) The school needs to be the license holder. What if you leave, are fired, are___________? Not smart on the school's behalf. I also wouldn't want to be personally liable if users do stupid things with the radios, etc. Guess who the FCC is going to come after and fine? Hint, it's not the school.

2) The FCC can be unkind when it comes to hams requesting itinerant/business frequencies.
Yeah, I was thinking about that. I don’t feel the need to apply for an entirely new FRN, so I guess we can go with MURS, or maybe something up in 900mhz. Like I said these radios are programmable, and perfect for the ham band (even program regularly in there too)


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mmckenna

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Yeah, I was thinking about that. I don’t feel the need to apply for an entirely new FRN, so I guess we can go with MURS, or maybe something up in 900mhz. Like I said these radios are programmable, and perfect for the ham band (even program regularly in there too)
$165 is going to be cheaper than all new MURS or 900MHz DTR radios. You could probably sit down with someone from the school that has purchase authority and walk them through getting an FRN and applying for the license pretty easily.
 

alcahuete

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I would absolutely just create a new FRN and go the business band route, personally. It's super easy to do, isn't going to cost much. 900 MHz is an option, but it's going to require new (and expensive) radios. The itinerants make the most sense, plus if you ever wanted to upgrade radios at some point to keep the a-hole kids from interfering, you could easily go digital with encryption, etc. There will be no touching those radios with anything the kids could find.
 

marksroberson

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I would absolutely just create a new FRN and go the business band route, personally. It's super easy to do, isn't going to cost much. 900 MHz is an option, but it's going to require new (and expensive) radios. The itinerants make the most sense, plus if you ever wanted to upgrade radios at some point to keep the a-hole kids from interfering, you could easily go digital with encryption, etc. There will be no touching those radios with anything the kids could find.
Okay, I found a nice website that walks you through the correct ways to set up a IG license, so I am good with that regard.
I know exactly who to talk to, the same person that approved my purchasing and instillation of 16 security cameras, and would now like 32-64 by the beginning of next year, oh well.. it’s all for security (especially in this day and age and it being a school) and this would probability be no problem, especially since I already have some equipment that can be ready in a moments notice, and like I said, used radios just like this are easy to operate and cheap. I will send her a message asking if they want it and I will apply for a FRN. So I can apply for the license by the time summer starts.
She was talking to me about communications for field trips too, so with the IG, they can have portables anywhere (within the US) and I can put a couple mobiles in their busses since frequencies like 464.55 can be up to 30 watts. Thanks to all! If you have any other recommendations let me know.


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mmckenna

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License several of the UHF itinerants. They are heavily used in some areas, especially the 464.500 and 464.550. Program them into the radios and make sure users understand it is a SHARED resource and they do not have the right to chase other users off the channel. Make sure they know to change the channel to another one if they hear traffic.

If you expect to ever use VHF, license a few of those also.
Don't go overboard, though. If you try to license all available itinerant channels nationwide, the FCC may not smile upon you.

While you are at it, license for the DMR emission designator as well as 11K0F3E analog. That way if they ever decide to, they can migrate over to digital radios.
 

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I think the school should consider increasing tuition so the school can afford and implement an effective and secure communication system.
 

ecps92

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You stated
(Also, if its important, The school has a business license since it is a private school, its also a non-profit)
which I read as an FCC Business License [IB]

The school does not have an existing license, I can just get them to reimburse me $165 for an itinerant frequency license and just put it in my ham radio FRN


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marksroberson

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You stated
(Also, if its important, The school has a business license since it is a private school, its also a non-profit)
which I read as an FCC Business License [IB]
no problem, yeah, also, if anyone knows, since this is a non-profit business/school, does anyone know if we are exempt from FCC fees? (I am aware there is still a $60 regulatory fee)
 

alcahuete

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no problem, yeah, also, if anyone knows, since this is a non-profit business/school, does anyone know if we are exempt from FCC fees? (I am aware there is still a $60 regulatory fee)
Yes.

Non-Profit (filings must be accompanied with a current Determination Letter from the Internal Revenue Service documenting non-profit status under IRS Code Section 501 or a current certification as a non-profit corporation or other non-profit entity by state or other governmental authority)
 

marksroberson

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alright, I am going to contact them soon and have the IRS Designation letter ready and will set up the FRN license so it will be ready by the time I get there and start work. I looked through the license application using my FRN last night, (didn't apply of course) and it seems pretty straight forward. I am planning on asking for 464.5, 464.55, 469.5, 469.55 since all of these are 35 watts max (would be best if I put some mobiles in their buses) and i might ask for a couple VHF as well, cant hurt, I was wondering though, I am going to put about 30 or 45 units (just in case we choose to expand radios) I assume they wont get on you if you just list numbers greater than you actually have, but I was wondering: my source of info to help walk me through the licensing says to use designator 11K2F3E(A) but, when I search the BC-95 FCC-ID it shows 11K0F3E and 16K0F3E I dont know if this is a major thing or not. also, when I am looking for mobiles for the vehicles, do I just check to make sure they are part 90 certified. (thanks a bunch for everyone's help!!)
 

mmckenna

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I was wondering: my source of info to help walk me through the licensing says to use designator 11K2F3E(A) but, when I search the BC-95 FCC-ID it shows 11K0F3E and 16K0F3E
16K0F3E is wideband FM (5KHz deviation) and is no longer allowed on these frequencies. FCC won't let you license for that.

As for number of units, add some extra, no one is going to come out and count your radios. Keep it reasonable, though. If you ask for too much, they'll start to think maybe you need a coordinated licen$e.
 
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