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Why is the harris unity so restrictive ?

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rrnewuser

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I am looking at the data sheet of the harris unity portable:

http://pspc.harris.com/media/ECR-7679H_tcm42-10523.pdf

and I see that rx freq range is:

136-174 (VHF), 380-520 (UHF), 762-870 MHz (700/800)

Why ?

Why isn't it just ... 0-999 mhz ?

It's an SDR, so the inability to receive on, say, 200 mhz, is just an admin decision - it's just extra lines of code that restrict the SDR inside. Why do they restrict it in this way ?
 

Radioman96p71

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Mainly because public safety / commercial users have absolutely no need to use the excluded part of the spectrum. Most of that is military, broadcast and cellular, so they wouldn't benefit much from adding it. Also justifying it to the FCC for type acceptance would be that much more difficult.
 

prcguy

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Even though an SDR can be given new instructions to tune new frequencies or demodulate new waveforms there is still hardware that limits some features like band pass filters, transmitter range, etc. The Harris Unity does not have a simple $15 SDR TV dongle for a receiver, its got lots of other components to improve performance in the bands its designed to operate. There is also no need for a public service radio to receive DC to light and it would cost more money and increase the physical size and cost of the radio.

Other Harris radios like the PRC-152 are continuous coverage from 30 to 512MHz with no gaps and also the Racal/Thales MBITR with the same coverage. These are designed for military users where they can be placed into service at any frequency, unlike a public service user. Not sure what the Unity costs but an MBITR used to run around $7,500 or so depending on options.
prcguy


I am looking at the data sheet of the harris unity portable:

http://pspc.harris.com/media/ECR-7679H_tcm42-10523.pdf

and I see that rx freq range is:

136-174 (VHF), 380-520 (UHF), 762-870 MHz (700/800)

Why ?

Why isn't it just ... 0-999 mhz ?

It's an SDR, so the inability to receive on, say, 200 mhz, is just an admin decision - it's just extra lines of code that restrict the SDR inside. Why do they restrict it in this way ?
 

PACNWDude

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Why no continuous band.

I second what Prcguy said. It is very expensive to put that much technology into one radio.

In my shack pictures, there is one with four handheld radios shown. The two Harris radios are very expensive, the Thales almost as much and the old Saber is pretty cheap now. (But not when new.)

You are paying for the: R&D, production costs, higher end components and convenience of having it all in one device.

Much like buying a luxury car: initial cost is higher, maintenance will cost more, and it may be hard to find a vendor even willing to sell it to you.

Then if you have the money to buy a "castrated", non AES encryption model of Harris or Thales radio, you have to weigh the fact that you can buy a lot more lesser models for the same price.

For the price of a Harris Unity radio, I could have bought 6 Motorola XTS5000 radios. However, I did get a very good deal off of a local vendor. My civilian job requires me to use mostly VHF/UHF/800MHz, and the radio must be intrinsically safe. That pushed me to buy the Unity.

For me, the others were for nostalgia's sake. And I was able to buy them at a lower price through great local vendors. (But none of them can do AES encryption, which brings the price down.)
 

ElroyJetson

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It comes down to licensing and type acceptance. The radio must be type accepted for all bands it operates on. Many of the frequencies covered between 136 and 870 MHz aren't available for you to use and you can't get licensed to use them so they can't be in the radio.
 

prcguy

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There is no rule or law that prohibits anyone from purchasing a brand new radio that covers a frequency or band they are not licensed on. Anybody can basically purchase any radio they choose. Asking a radio shop to program in public service transmit frequencies is another topic with restrictions.

Companies like Harris and Thales will not usually sell one of their all band radios to an individual due to their internal policy and not any rule or law. Many of their products contain encryption and/or the equipment is on the munitions list with US Govt restrictions on shipping out of the US or being purchased by a US Foreign National, so Harris and Thales cannot guarantee the final disposition of a radio that is sold to an individual.
prcguy


It comes down to licensing and type acceptance. The radio must be type accepted for all bands it operates on. Many of the frequencies covered between 136 and 870 MHz aren't available for you to use and you can't get licensed to use them so they can't be in the radio.
 

ElroyJetson

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Sorry, that is not true. By law, any radio sold outside of the military marketplace (with the exception of amateur radios) must be TYPE ACCEPTED or it is not legal to sell in the US. While type acceptance is not required for amateur radios, that applies only to amateur radios that are restricted to being able to transmit ONLY within the FCC-designated amateur radio frequency bands.

With the sole exception of radios sold to operate exclusively within the amateur bands, if the radio does not have an FCC ID number, which is assigned ONLY upon receiving type acceptance, the radio may not be legally sold in the US except to government agencies, which in real terms means the military most of the time.

A broadband radio would thus have to receive type acceptance in Parts 80 (maritime), 87, (aviation), 90, (LMR), 95, (personal radio services), 97, (amateur) and possibly others depending on the actual frequency ranges covered.

It MUST be type accepted for ALL accessible transmit frequencies or it's not legal.

Incidentally, I have inquired and I can in fact purchase a Harris Falcon III portable radio if I wish, either the RF-310M-HH or RF-7800M-HH, containing up to AES-256 encryption. But for about 15K per radio (or more depending on options) that isn't exactly my next planned purchase.
But I can't buy an AN/PRC-152A due to its inclusion of the restricted Type 1 encryption technology. (Which I find kind of silly as unkeyed Type 1 equipment is technically not restricted. All they really have to do is restrict the keyloader equipment.)



Now do you see the problem?
 

prcguy

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So Harris will sell you an RF-7800-HH, but last time I checked that radio is not FCC type accepted for any service in the US since its intended to be an export military radio. Maybe they have obtained some type acceptance on these but they typically to not.
prcguy

Sorry, that is not true. By law, any radio sold outside of the military marketplace (with the exception of amateur radios) must be TYPE ACCEPTED or it is not legal to sell in the US. While type acceptance is not required for amateur radios, that applies only to amateur radios that are restricted to being able to transmit ONLY within the FCC-designated amateur radio frequency bands.

With the sole exception of radios sold to operate exclusively within the amateur bands, if the radio does not have an FCC ID number, which is assigned ONLY upon receiving type acceptance, the radio may not be legally sold in the US except to government agencies, which in real terms means the military most of the time.

A broadband radio would thus have to receive type acceptance in Parts 80 (maritime), 87, (aviation), 90, (LMR), 95, (personal radio services), 97, (amateur) and possibly others depending on the actual frequency ranges covered.

It MUST be type accepted for ALL accessible transmit frequencies or it's not legal.

Incidentally, I have inquired and I can in fact purchase a Harris Falcon III portable radio if I wish, either the RF-310M-HH or RF-7800M-HH, containing up to AES-256 encryption. But for about 15K per radio (or more depending on options) that isn't exactly my next planned purchase.
But I can't buy an AN/PRC-152A due to its inclusion of the restricted Type 1 encryption technology. (Which I find kind of silly as unkeyed Type 1 equipment is technically not restricted. All they really have to do is restrict the keyloader equipment.)



Now do you see the problem?
 

gesucks

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Plain and simple, if Harris sells you a RF-7800-HH, and the PO is not from the US Gov/DOD and you are in the USA (or you have a waiver in hand from the FCC), Harris is breaking the law.
Thales will NOT sell a PRC6809 to non FED/DOD in the USA. Period.

In the last 5 years I know of only 3 State and Local agencies that were given waivers to buy these radio. AND they had very large restrictions on how and what they could use them for.
 

prcguy

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Is the PRC6809 FCC type accepted for anything or is it intended to be an export radio?
prcguy

Plain and simple, if Harris sells you a RF-7800-HH, and the PO is not from the US Gov/DOD and you are in the USA (or you have a waiver in hand from the FCC), Harris is breaking the law.
Thales will NOT sell a PRC6809 to non FED/DOD in the USA. Period.

In the last 5 years I know of only 3 State and Local agencies that were given waivers to buy these radio. AND they had very large restrictions on how and what they could use them for.
 

grem467

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Many radios cover other services such as marine, frs, gmrs, murs etc but do not contain part 80,95, and 97 labels. An apx is a great example. It is technically not legal for use on parts 95 and 80 but still can be sold and technically programmed onto those services. It is only certified for part 90 and part 15.

It can also operate on part 22 frequencies as well.
 

gesucks

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The 6809 has no FCC type acceptance. It is designed for non-US sales and gov agencies that do not want a CCI radio. It is NTIA approved for the Feds
 

prcguy

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That's what I figured, thanks. Are you up on the version that was sold to Harris that they marked as an RF-5800-HH before they developed their own PRC-152 design? There are a few of those floating around surplus and it would be nice if I could legally use one for the occasional DHS comms I am involved in.
prcguy

The 6809 has no FCC type acceptance. It is designed for non-US sales and gov agencies that do not want a CCI radio. It is NTIA approved for the Feds
 

PACNWDude

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Buying Harris and Thales equipment.

All the posts about how to buy Thales and Harris products......Just contact your local radio vendors. In many cases, they may actually be the same people selling to the federal agencies and military units in the local area.

Granted, I might be in a very military centric area of the country, but it is not too hard to buy the hardware: after being vetted by the company, registering the software to a computer and signing a long list of agreements to not sell the items to Chinese companies.

There may also be certain assurances you have to provide as to where and how they will be programmed and used. In my case they do not have AES encryption, and I do not make a habit of keying up on public safety radio networks unless it is one I am authorized on.

Yes, there are NTIA compliance issues, there are FCC issues as well. If it is too hard to jump through the process, Motorola is always easier to buy and set up the MOL account.

In my experience though, Harris has been a lot easier to deal with customer service wise. Motorola has been getting worse the last couple of years and Thales only talked to me when I had some military affiliation with them.
 

ElroyJetson

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Plain and simple, if Harris sells you a RF-7800-HH, and the PO is not from the US Gov/DOD and you are in the USA (or you have a waiver in hand from the FCC), Harris is breaking the law.
Thales will NOT sell a PRC6809 to non FED/DOD in the USA. Period.

In the last 5 years I know of only 3 State and Local agencies that were given waivers to buy these radio. AND they had very large restrictions on how and what they could use them for.
US law does not prohibit a US citizen from owning ANY radio device which does NOT contain Type 1 encryption algorithms. Thus, from that perspective, Harris can in fact sell such a radio to a US citizen. The 7800 and 310 are two radios that can be ordered without Type 1 encryption, but the 152A always has Type 1 encryption. The Harris rep checked into this issue rather carefully when I made the request.

I am stating what happened and what I was told. That does not conclusively prove that I got the whole story. There might be other factors in play that I don't know about that could make it illegal for Harris to sell you or me that type of radio.

They DID mention the FCC type acceptance issue but I was told that in this case I would be entirely responsible to use the radio in a manner which is FCC compliant. If the 7800 or 310 has type acceptance, then it could be legally used in the relevant bands with an appropriate license. If it had no type acceptance (and actually I do not know if either model carries type acceptance) then it could still be legally used on, for example, the amateur bands which have no type acceptance requirement.

However, even though I enjoy collecting radios, 15K is quite a lot more than I would intend to pay for a radio that could only be legally used on the ham bands, if it had no type acceptance.

I'll drop some money on a nice radio I want in my collections, but nowhere near that much!

TRC sells a working replica that would scratch that itch for about 350 dollars. It'd look good in the collection and I've considered buying one. It is an operational dual band VHF/UHF radio.
 

gesucks

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Type 1 is a separate issue. The Thales and Harris radio have no FCC type acceptance and can not be sold. PERIOD. Both companies have had their pee pees spanked for doing it.
 

prcguy

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My experience is different with Type 1 encryption hardware in that it must be under the control of a custodian to the NSA and the radios whereabouts must be known at all times. The custodian must also possess a certain level DOD security clearance.

I have several friends who have purchased hardware from Ebay and other sources and then had the US Gov contact them to retrieve the equipment with the Type 1 crypto. You can't argue with them and if you sold it they want to know who you sold it to. This continues until they get it back.

When I worked in the aerospace industry and dealt with mil radio stuff there, I was in contact with Motorola Govt division (before they sold out to General Dynamics), discussing using one of their usual satcom freqs to test some of our new radio equipment with Motorola. Our equipment did not have crypto capability or DAMA at the time and I could not even borrow any crypto equipment between companies because we did not have a sanctioned custodian to receive and track it.

gesucks should know the up to date answer on this.
prcguy

US law does not prohibit a US citizen from owning ANY radio device which does NOT contain Type 1 encryption algorithms. Thus, from that perspective, Harris can in fact sell such a radio to a US citizen. The 7800 and 310 are two radios that can be ordered without Type 1 encryption, but the 152A always has Type 1 encryption. The Harris rep checked into this issue rather carefully when I made the request.

I am stating what happened and what I was told. That does not conclusively prove that I got the whole story. There might be other factors in play that I don't know about that could make it illegal for Harris to sell you or me that type of radio.

They DID mention the FCC type acceptance issue but I was told that in this case I would be entirely responsible to use the radio in a manner which is FCC compliant. If the 7800 or 310 has type acceptance, then it could be legally used in the relevant bands with an appropriate license. If it had no type acceptance (and actually I do not know if either model carries type acceptance) then it could still be legally used on, for example, the amateur bands which have no type acceptance requirement.

However, even though I enjoy collecting radios, 15K is quite a lot more than I would intend to pay for a radio that could only be legally used on the ham bands, if it had no type acceptance.

I'll drop some money on a nice radio I want in my collections, but nowhere near that much!

TRC sells a working replica that would scratch that itch for about 350 dollars. It'd look good in the collection and I've considered buying one. It is an operational dual band VHF/UHF radio.
 

prcguy

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The Harris branded Racal MBITRs apparently made their way into the surplus market and Harris did not sell them to the civilian user. Once they get surplussed and they do not contain Type 1 encryption they can be purchased in the US by a US citizen but cannot be resold or shipped outside the US or to a foreign national, even without encryption.
prcguy

Type 1 is a separate issue. The Thales and Harris radio have no FCC type acceptance and can not be sold. PERIOD. Both companies have had their pee pees spanked for doing it.
 

rrnewuser

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I appreciate all of the good information and responses to my post ...

Just to be clear - all of the type acceptance and FCC licensing, etc., only applies to TX, right ?

My original post was concerning the frequency range for RX ... wouldn't the RX part be pretty trivial to add ?

If you're wondering why I'm asking, it's because I actually *do* have a use for this in a public safety scenario - we have some legacy low-band channels in use in our county in addition to VHF and P25, and if the harris unity went down to 40 mhz I could "have it all" with one radio.

It's disappointing that they've taken technology (SDR) that could really shake up their industry and gone half-way with it ...
 

gesucks

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FCC and Tx has nothing to do with it.

3 different things:
Manufacture: Can not manufacture, sell, import, market or offer to sell a NON- type accepted unit in the US to a FCC customer (Non FCC customer would be Federal government or DOD, or wavier holder (waiver is for the equipment not the frequency))

User: 1. Is prohibited from using a non type-accepted unit in the US (does not matter if you buy it or if you make your own radio, you can not use it on a frequency that require type acceptance (Part 90,95 etc))
2. You are prohibited from transmitting on non licensed or authorized channels
3. You can also be given violation for programming channel for Tx that you are not authorized or licensed for (there are some exemptions to this)(radio shop or programmer can get violation as well)

License: Is required to ensure that all radio operating under their license are type accepted. (if you are a Part 95 repeater license, you can not let non Part 95 radios on the channel)
 
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