ad: CrossCountry-1

New FCC restrictions on selling radios that operate in the FRS band

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KB1PA, Aug 10, 2018.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: L-MFJ
ad: Left-3
ad: MessiPaoloni-1
ad: Left-2
ad: Subscribe
  1. ND5Y

    ND5Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    Former FRS/GMRS combination radios that put out 2 W or less, are narrowband (2.5 kHz deviation) and have a non-detachable antenna were reclassified as FRS.
    If the radio is more than 2 W, is wideband (5 kHz deviation), or has a detachable antenna it is GMRS.
  2. AG6QR

    AG6QR Subscriber QRZ Page

    The rules are clear: to transmit under part 95, you must use a certified radio. A ham license doesn't exempt you from this.

    In order to be certified for part 95, the radio must be restricted to the frequencies for which it is certified. So it can't be used in the ham bands.

    That's why you can't have a dual ham/FRS radio. Even though a ham might be able to make a radio work on both services and perhaps even meet all of the technical emissions requirements, it's not legal for use under part 95 unless it carries that fcc certification sticker.
    KC8VWM likes this.
  3. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    VWM / QR:

    It depends on which of the 47 CFR Part 95 Services as to just what restrictions are placed on the equipment. For example:

    Section 95.1761(c):

    (c) No GMRS transmitter will be certified for use in the GMRS if it is equipped with a frequency capability not listed in ยง95.1763, unless such transmitter is also certified for use in another radio service for which the frequency is authorized and for which certification is also required. No GMRS transmitter will be certified for use in the GMRS if it is equipped with the capabilities to operate in services that do not require equipment certification, such as the Amateur Radio Service. All frequency determining circuitry (including crystals) and programming controls in each GMRS transmitter must be internal to the transmitter and must not be accessible from the exterior of the transmitter operating panel or from the exterior of the transmitter enclosure.

    That section allows for units to be certificated for other 47 CFR Parts including 47 CFR Part 90. However, the fact that the frequency programming cannot be done from the front panel does eliminate the various Chinese units from being certificated. The "equipped with capabilities" means that frequencies for operation within the amateur radio bands cannot already be programmed into the unit, etc. Whether or not it would be legal to program amateur radio frequencies into a radio and then use for both GMRS and amateur radio is really in a gray area. The perceived intent is that such operation is not allowed. However, legally, I do not think that such is clearly defined and that there would be, based on the actual wording in the regulations, a convincing argument that would allow such.

    Glen, K9STH
  4. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Moderator Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    My understanding is GMRS equipment cannot be equipped with frequencies capable of operating in another radio service.

    The gray area is about using a Part 90 radio equipped with amateur radio frequencies and whether that radio continues to remain compliant for Part 90 use or not.
  5. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    So long as the transmitting function of a certificated unit is not physically modified, which would then violate the certification of the unit, it is perfectly legal to have both 47 CFR Part 90 frequencies and amateur radio frequencies programmed into the unit. However, it is definitely illegal for a non-licensed person to transmit on the amateur radio frequencies unless supervised by an amateur radio operator, with operating privileges within the frequency segment being utilized, acting as control operator.

    However, if the unit is modified with any components not specified for certification, then it definitely does become illegal to use the unit on frequencies for which certificated equipment is required. It has been such for decades!

    Glen, K9STH
  6. KB1PA

    KB1PA Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    How would you propose we defend our bands from unlicensed users? Right now they are buying these radios in 4 packs, coming out to 15 dollars per radio, people are programming in gmrs, frs and amateur frequencies and giving them out to non hams, because no one will stop them, and they feel they have a 1st amendment right to use whatever frequency is effective.

    Maybe requiring to show an amateur license before purchase? Otherwise, its going to be a mess. I know 2 gars repeater owners who have shut down because of this abuse.
  7. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Moderator Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    I think part of the issue is a Part 90 radio equipped with a user programmable keypad making it field capable of direct entry frequency control practically anywhere in the VHF /UHF bands.

    How the heck did that ability get past Part 90 certification requirements. I thought such "field programmable" capability was a big no-no for Part 90 radios.

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  8. WQ2H

    WQ2H QRZ Lifetime Member #214 Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Jeese, forget the ban - I'm thinking a $200 tariff on a $25 radio.

    That'll slam the breaks on. :)
    KA4DPO likes this.
  9. ND5Y

    ND5Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you look at applications for FCC equipment authorization for some of these Chinese radios you will often see obvious false statements.

    Here is an example:
    Go to the FCC OET search page and look up FCC ID ZP5BF-5R
    Look at the documents submitted in the Exhibits List
    Look at the Justification Letter. It says:

    "We declare this equipment meets the requirements of FCC Rules, Parts 90.203 (e) and (g) as
    applicable. Programming of this product's transmit frequencies can be performed ONLY by the
    manufacturer or by service or maintenance personnel. The operator cannot program transmit
    frequencies using the equipment's external operation.

    We also declare that the device will not be marketed to USA users with the frequency band
    Which is not allowed by rule part 90. It will be a violation of FCC rules if this device is operated
    on unauthorized frequencies inside the USA."

    Direct links to documents on the FCC web site don't work but they do on, which copies everything from the FCC web site.

    It doesn't look to me like the FCC polices this process or the certified testing labs.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  10. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Moderator Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Wow.. that's an eye opener.

Share This Page