Monitoring and emergency transmission on forbidden frequencies

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by KM6UTP, Jun 23, 2018.

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  1. KM6UTP

    KM6UTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm 74 with mild heart condition. We frequently travel on jeep trails to remote lakes in the Sierras. I'm trying to insure emergency communications. We have a locator beacon, and I'm studying for the Ham tests but I would like to be able to monitor and, in emergencies, transmit to the Forest Service.

    I know this is legal, but can I do this with Ham gear? The frequencies are around 168mhz. This seems to be within the range of the dual bands I'm looking at, e.g. Yaesu FT-7900R. I can't find anything about this except that it is legal. The Yaesu specs says it can receive government bands.
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Monitoring (receiving) such frequencies is perfectly legal. Transmitting on such frequencies without using certificated equipment is not legal. In certain life and death situations, then exceptions are made.

    You would be better off, legally, getting one of the Chinese handheld units that are certificated by the FCC for use on those frequencies (certificated for the 47 CFR Part 90 Radio Services. Not every Chinese handheld is certificated but there are some and those units are also relatively inexpensive. It is perfectly legal for a licensed amateur radio operator to program a certificated unit with frequencies within the amateur radio bands and to also transmit on those frequencies.

    Glen, K9STH
    K0UO likes this.
  3. N1RVN

    N1RVN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most ham radios will receive outside of the ham bands, but will NOT transmit outside of ham bands. The FT-7900 is no exception. While you might be able to listen to the Forest Service, you won't be able to talk to them.

    Also, knowing their frequencies doesn't mean you will be able to talk to them, even if you have an FM radio that does transmit on that frequency. They may be using a trunking system, or some digital voice mode.

    And lastly, while ham radio might be your best bet for emcomm in the mountains, there is no guarantee any radio will work in the boonies.
    N7UJU, K2NCC and K9ASE like this.
  4. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you have a locator beacon/messenger of the InReach or Spot type then you have immediate emergency communication via satellite on their 24/7 dedicated service, who then contact the appropriate authorities for your location and type of emergency. If you have just a personal locator beacon (usually these are marine/aircraft) without messaging it still calls in the emergency authorities via satellite 24/7.

    In my opinion either type will be more reliable than ham radio, unless you happen to be under a very thick tree canopy and cannot move to get a clear path to any satellites passing by. But then you might not have a ham comms path either.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
    K0UO, AF7IN, KX4O and 1 other person like this.
  5. KM6UTP

    KM6UTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks. I would only being doing this in a life threatening emergency, hopefully never. Seems like the Baofeng UV-82C is cerified but I'm not sure I need this as it would only be in an emergency.
  6. KM6UTP

    KM6UTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you. Yes, In a life threatening emergency I will use the locator beacon first but if this fails I would like to be able to try to radio the Forest Service.
  7. KM6UTP

    KM6UTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for pointing that out. I failed to read the specs closely enough. The Baofengs seem to have this capability. I can't find anything to indicate the Forest Service is using trunking or digital. Their radio people never called me back. Hopefully the locator beacon will work in most situations. I also have a 3 watt cell booster for whatever that is worth, haven't tried it yet.
  8. W1GHD

    W1GHD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Specifically, what regulation says you can transmit on any frequency in an emergency?
  9. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page


    47 CFR Part 97 Section 97.403 reads as follows:

    ยง97.403 Safety of life and protection of property.
    No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.

    Glen, K9STH
    K3XR and KB0MNM like this.
  10. K1FBI

    K1FBI Ham Member QRZ Page

    BaoFengs are being used by one of the local Fire Departments. A Fireman recently asked me about getting a license since he has been monitoring the ham frequencies.
    See..BaoFengs aren't all that bad!

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