Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W7DGE, Apr 13, 2018.
No...the Baofung questions are all on the extra exam.
I know what the rules say, and what they intend to do, but I still wonder what that means in practice. Perhaps my earlier example of a button behind a flip open panel was not a good one. Let's consider another, perhaps more realistic, example.
A modern handheld radio is really in many ways a software defined radio. The RF portion of the radio will place a lot of limits on what the radio is capable of doing but with mass produced parts there is often no real difference in the internals on a business band, GMRS, or Amateur radio. The Amateur radio will likely have a 16 button panel for direct entry of frequencies, the business band radio might have fewer buttons, and the GMRS radio might just have a channel select and volume knobs for controls. Restrictions on the programming of frequencies could just be in the software that comes with the radio. Someone might find a Part 95 certified radio with the same internals of a Part 97 or Part 90 radio, only the display won't give indication of the frequency but just the channel selected.
These handheld radios are often programmed with a cord having a TRRS connector for the headphone jack on one end and USB connector for a computer on the other. Someone that wants to play by the rules could program that GMRS radio for Part 95 during the week and Part 97 on the weekend. It would only take a small "mistake" in programming to have inserted both Part 95 and Part 97 frequencies on the radio at the same time.
Do programmable radios with Part 95 certifications exist? I don't know, but I suspect that they do and someone that wanted one bad enough could probably find one. It's not likely to transmit on 2 meters but it should be able to handle transmission on the 70 cm Amateur band.
With "maker culture" being a thing now I suspect people have experimented with reprogramming all kinds of radios. Perhaps going so far as to produce plans for a microphone/controller that plugs into a common GMRS radio and allows all kinds of adjustments to the radio on the fly. I've seen GMRS add on microphones with all kinds of functions, they have to "talk" to the RF portion somehow to do some of this stuff so there's some capability there.
Again, the FCC might say that there is to be no means for frequency adjustments outside of Part 95 frequencies for certification, but in practice that's going to be impossible to enforce. Does such a radio exist that would allow reprogramming as I propose? I don't know, but I'd be surprised if they don't already exist.