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  1. #1
    Super Member 3RRL's Avatar
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    Default 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    I came across an interesting thread in the Safety discussion about buying and using 2 way radios. If you haven't seen it, here's a link to it. TWO WAY RADIOS LINK It prompted me to ask these questions.

    In the discussion there were several posters that noted an FCC radio license was required to use these and there were substantial penalties and jail time associated with the illegal use of these radios. Her's a quote from one of the posters: </font><font color="blue" class="small">( Just a reminder, FCC does indeed hand out fines up to $10K and jail sentences for individuals operating unlicensed radios...)</font>

    This really got my attention....!!!
    I checked the instructions including a separate enclosure on orange paper and indeed it states </font><font color="blue" class="small">( "This radio operates on General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) frequencies and is subject to the Rules of the Fedral Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC requires the issuance of a radio license before operating on GMRS frequencies.")</font> The licensing information goes on to say where you can get information about licenses http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/prs/genmbl.html and the orange enclosed leaflet also says this </font><font color="blue" class="small">( "When operating on Channels 1-7 or 15-22, this radio is using GMRS frequencies.")</font>

    With that in mind, here are my questions.

    Has anyone (or know anyone) been put in jail or been fined for using these radios without the FCC license? Please share your experiences.

    Does anyone have the FCC license and what did it take to get it? Apps, time, cost?

    Does operating the radios on Channels 8-14 mean you DON'T need an FCC license? or what?

    Does anyone operate these radios WITHOUT the FCC license and what is your experience?...Scary question now, huh? [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Last, share how you feel about this subject and your personal experiences.
    Thanks,

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    Most of the radios being sold in consumer outlets are FRS units or dual service FRS/GMRS units. The FRS units require no license. The dual service units require a license to be used on the GMRS channels. Here is a link to the FCC page outlining this info. FCC

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    I have a set of the FRS/GMRS radios and DO have the GMRS license.

    You can apply on line and pay for the license with your credit card. IIRC the fee is $80 for 5 years.

    I also hold a Ham license and abide by all the rules. There have been several hams in recent times who have had fines levied and lost their license and equipment. Admitedly it might be hard to find a fellow out in the county using a radio on the GMRS freqs and no license. But that doesn't make it right.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    <font color="blue"> Has anyone (or know anyone) been put in jail or been fined for using these radios without the FCC license? Please share your experiences </font>
    I haven't read of any FCC fines for users of GMRS walkie-talkies. FCC orders are public record available at FCC website. If you take the time to go through them you notice first how few fines are issued in a country of 300 million people. Secondly only a handful are against individuals, the focus is clearly on businesses operating from fixed locations. Serving actual jail time would require criminal charges be filed. It would be a an extraordinary case if a prosecutor would take a case of this nature, getting a jury to convict would be very difficult. Even ignoring the potential technical arguments for the defense, itís very likely at least one juror would simply refuse to imprison a person for talking on a radio.

    <font color="blue">Does anyone operate these radios WITHOUT the FCC license and what is your experience? </font> If I were only worried about the possible consequences, I wouldn't hesitate to use the handhelds available from Walmart or similar stores. The chances of getting caught are far less then winning a super lottery jackpot.

    <font color="blue">Does operating the radios on Channels 8-14 mean you DON'T need an FCC license? or what? </font> FCC does require a license to transmit on the GMRS channels.

    <font color="blue">Last, share how you feel about this subject and your personal experiences. </font> My view it that itís only a matter of time before the licensing rule is changed to match citizen band. Their potential for interference with any non-GMRS equipment is minimal, and the number of hobbyist GMRS users is tiny compared to the tens (hundreds?) of thousands of unlicensed operators.

  5. #5
    Silver Member CRJCaptain's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    How exactly is the FCC going to enforce this?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    GMRS radio can interfere with public radio services. About 3 years ago when we were putting in a dog show in the Reliant Center in Houston we were using FRS/GMRS radios to communicate with show staff. The Reliant Center has nearly 1 million sq.ft. in it and the FRS channels did not work reliably in it so we switched to a GMRS channel and were being picked up by the Houston Police handhelds in that precinct. We always have a couple of police oficers working the show for security and so identified the problem quickly enough to avoid embarrasing consequences.

    Since that incident we have used our cell phones at the show.

    Vernon

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    As stated above a license is required.

    Will you get caught.....probably not.

    Here is a question. It is 3am in the morning and you are on a deserted country road and come upon a stoplight. You stop at the light and there is nobody around for miles. Do you wait for the green light?

    I wait, even thought I know nobody would ever catch me.

    Good Luck,
    Kevin


  8. #8
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    Default Re: 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    Kevin

    I wait because I know nobody would catch you but I'm darn sure with my luck there's a police officer waiting over there in the shadows who WILL catch me!! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    3RRL,
    It's interesting that by the FCC rules, these radios cannot be licenced to be sold in the US. However they're licenced by the FCC, and sold everywhere. They can't even follow their own rules. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    I believe that if you stick to the FRS frequencies that you are still in violation. BUT, I would guess that if you use only the FRS frequencies (8-14 on your radio) you are VERY VERY UNLIKELY to be caught. Note that the channel numbers associated with FRS frequencies can and do vary on different radios. You will be operating at less power though.

    If you hear any emergency traffic on any radio, you had better stop using those frequencies, although any police or fire department using FRS or GMRS frequencies is in desperate need of an upgrade.

    Mike
    KC2MDO

  10. #10
    gws
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    Default Re: 2 WAY RADIOS REQUIRE FCC LICENSE OR FINES

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( Most of the radios being sold in consumer outlets are FRS units or dual service FRS/GMRS units. The FRS units require no license. The dual service units require a license to be used on the GMRS channels. )</font>
    You need to be VERY carefull with this broad statement. The FRS/GMRS units may be used license free on the FRS only channels. Problem is what channels are FRS only vary by radio.
    I have 1 set of radio's that are FRS only on channels 1-14, the other set is FRS only on 8-14. It all depends on how the radio's receive their certification from the FCC and its often difficult to tell fromt he manufactures documentation.

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