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Out of band for fire/ems/whatever.

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KC7YRA, Feb 5, 2008.

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  1. KI4RVH

    KI4RVH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most towns around here still have that law. I don't wanna step in someones spit. Especially if they chew. Thats just gross. I think its a good law.


  2. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    That is definitely a possibility. However, those "laws" differ from state to state and even from city to city. Since I am not familar with the laws in every local situation I did not comment about them. But, the FCC regulations are the same all over the country and those should be sufficient to keep people from wanting to modify their equipment.

    Glen, K9STH
  3. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    That should suffice, but apparently it doesn't, judging from the posts in this thread and the attitude expressed by some over at "Mods, Tips and Secrets." Some folks get downright belligerent if they don't get immediate instructions on the "MARS/CAP mods." They don't even realize that CAP doesn't allow modified Amateur equipment any more, or that if they WERE in MARS, they could easily get ACCURATE info instead of asking at QRZ.
  4. W1JL

    W1JL Ham Member QRZ Page

    To be fair, I think a lot of the belligerence comes about when they realize they can't actually get mods, tips and secrets in the "Mods, Tips and Secrets" forum - only flames.

    I would never mod one of my own rigs, but I can understand the argument and consider it valid ("just in case", "emergency use only"). I also understand why many hams are so unhappy with the idea ("yeah right", "@#$% freebanders", "roger beep"). What I don't understand is why we can't at least be civil in our disagreement so long as no one is breaking any rules.

    Josh, K1XLG.
  5. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    The actual percentage of amateur radio operators that would ever run into a situation in which there was no other means of communications were available is so small that it is, for all practical purposes, basically zero. Unfortunately, if someone does have a modified radio it is just too "handy" to use it to attempt to communicate with the public safety organization in situations where the "true" emergency conditions do not apply. Even if someone notices a "drunk driver" and wants to report it the situation it definitely does NOT constitute a communications emergency.

    Many of the amateur radio operators who are wanting the information to modify their equipment are doing so to use the equipment as volunteer firemen, emergency service personnel, paid public safety personnel who don't want to carry more than one radio, and so forth. Now it is perfectly legal for such a person to use a modified amateur radio unit for receiving. But, the first time they transmit using the radio (except for the extremely rare "true" communications emergency) they have definitely broken the law.

    Those operators who get really "bent out of shape" about not receiving the information or being informed of the penalties for using the modified equipment are usually the EMCOM "whackers" who want to "make out" like they are public safety officials. Frankly, if the department wants the person to have a radio they will either furnish the radio or make sure that the person has a certified unit. Remember that the department can also be fined, lose their license, etc., if they condone the use of non-certified equipment on "their" frequencies.

    It is legal for a person to use certified equipment on public safety frequencies IF they are authorized by that agency even if they are not actually employed by the agency, an official "volunteer", etc. When I owned the company that "took care of" virtually all of the radio communications by public safety organizations in Collin County, Texas, I was definitely "authorized" by those agencies to transmit on "their" frequencies. In 10 years of handling this there was exactly 1 situation in which I came across a situation which resulted in having to contact one of the organizations. That was a house fire in one of the small towns that had a volunteer fire department. I was on my way to meet with the fire chief when I drove by a house that was on fire. I contacted the county dispatcher who then put out the official notification to the volunteer fire department. It turned out to be a case of arson. I just happened to have a camera in my vehicle and took some photos before the department arrived as well as during their fighting of the fire. I was later called as a witness in the trial of the arsonist.

    Now the radio equipment that I used was definitely "type accepted". The "new" term for "type accepted" is now "certified".

    Glen, K9STH
  6. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page


    Part of the problem comes from many instances when someone at "Mods, etc" CLAIM they are in MARS, and then after a page or two of replies that they should get the info (ACCURATE info) from their MARS organization. Then they let slip that they "want to save $1500 and not buy a certified marine Radio for their sailboat" and that's the REAL reason they want the mod.

    Clearly illegal.

    Or claim they are in CAP... except CAP no longer authorizes use of modified Amateur equipment. STILL clearly illegal.

    But the misrepresentation of the reason for wanting a transmit "mod" is what is the most offensive.
    Really. If a person lies about the reason for wanting the mod information, are they any less likely to lie about the real purpose of having out-of-band operation? The LAST thing we need are a bunch of "Jack Gerritson's" on the loose.

    Besides, they show little immagination.

    Given a bit of thought and ten minutes on the web, I can find the mod info somewhere for any radio they ask about. They could do the same if they really wanted to, but THAT would take effort on their part.

    Methinks some of the requests are merely true trolls looking to get a reaction and start a fight.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2008
  7. K0CMH

    K0CMH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am probably stating the obvious. I also need a confirmation that my understanding is correct

    The reason for "certified" (replaced the old "type accepted") is because the VHF and UHF public service frequencies are packed full of users. The equipment must meet the requirements to stay within their assigned frequency and within the bandwidth set up by the FCC to maximize the use of those frequencies. The other reason is that the vast majority of the users of the radios in those services have absolutely no idea of how to operate a radio within permitted bandwidths, thus that factor must be taken away from the user. The equipment is manufactured to those specifications and is not "adjustable" so that curious peeople cannot tinker with such "adjustments", or otherwise cause the unit to operate outside its assigned frequency and bandwidth -- or at least make it difficult enough that MOST people will not or cannot try.

    Here is the confirmation or correction I need. I thought that the ability to program the frequency in an easy manner by the user was one of the criteria that would cause a radio to not be certifiable. The logic was, again, that very specific frequencies within the VHF/UHF public bands are assigned to specific groups/agencies/persons. If just anyone could move the frequency on their radios, both purposeful and accidential interference could easily happen.

    I believe the above two reasons apply to the business portions of the VHF/UHF bands aLSO.

    Ditto other services, such as GMRS, FRS, etc. Users are not educated or trained on the bandwidth and interference issues, so the radios are hard or impossible to "fiddle" with.
  8. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think you're mostly correct, however, it is entirely possible to "fiddle" with a certified radio and make it work out of spec, anyone with a screwdriver could do that to most radios.

    This seems to be a big misunderstanding among hams. Some think certified radios cannot operate outside of designed parameters. Actually, it just means that they have been tested to certain specifications, when properly set up and aligned. A certified radio is not necessarily "cleaner" than a non-certified radio, it has just been tested and proven.

    Radios that are easily frequency agile by the end user are not certified, that's the biggest reason ham radios will not be certified. They could meet all of the other parameters (and many of them do), but the agility problem will kill any certification hopes.

    The certification process is lab testing and regulations verification done on a single test radio. The certificate is a piece of paper. That paper allows the manufacturer to market that radio for some specific purpose(s) in certain services and frequency ranges. It does not guarantee that every radio will always meet every technical parameter, just that it should be capable of doing so.

  9. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    You neglected only one detail. That if a certified radio is modified outside it's certification parameters, it is no longer LEGAL to use in the certified service or services for which it is certified. So "paper" cert or whatever, if the radio is modified, it is no longer legal to use.
    Now modified, it can be legal to use on Amateur frequencies, by properly licensed Amateurs.
  10. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's true, it just goes beyond his original statement. And, as you point out, the modification has to be something that would alter it's certification parameters, not adding a COR, or LEDs, or an external mike connector, or a line in jack for audio, or most other things that people tend to do.

    Changing the crystal oscillator components or changing part values in the PA LPF or the audio LPF could certainly de-certify the radio in most cases.

    Changing the RF PA transistor with a recognized cross reference probably would not de-certify it.

    And even a modified radio still has to meet FCC purity standards for spurious and harmonics.

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