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FCC Turns Away Petition to Allow Hams to Operate Non-Certificated Transmitters on GMRS.


The FCC has denied a Petition for Rule Making (PRM) filed by a Florida radio amateur that sought to permit hams who also hold General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) licenses to operate on GMRS channels with transmitters that have not been certificated for GMRS use, provided the transmitter meets GMRS technical standards. Mark Friedlander, KV4I, of New Smyrna Beach had asserted in his May 29 filing that the proposed rule change would facilitate interoperability in emergency situations, since many emergency response groups utilize both radio services.

“I think it would facilitate emergency communications with CERT groups and other EmComm workers if we could eliminate the need to check with the FCC for each radio,” Friedlander said in a statement seeking support for his petition and which was posted on the East Coast District ARES (Florida) forum. “Doing so would also minimize confusion about the permissibility of ham operators using their radios for transmitting on both services.”

Transmitters used in the Part 95 GMRS must have FCC certification prior to sale and marketing; in general, Part 97 Amateur Radio transmitters do not.

In a June 20 letter to Friedlander, the FCC pointed out that GMRS transmitters that also can be used on Amateur Radio frequencies will not be certificated. The FCC said it adopted that rule “to prevent the possible proliferation of GMRS equipment that is also capable of operating on frequencies for which the GMRS licensee is not authorized.”

Friedlander has noted that the Amateur Service and the GMRS operate on similar frequencies. He argued that Amateur Radio operators who are authorized to design, build, and operate transmitters without equipment certification in the 420-450 MHz amateur band should be allowed to do so on the 462/467 MHz GMRS channels, the FCC said.

“We conclude that the proposed rule change would undermine the prohibition on GMRS equipment with Amateur Radio frequency capability,” the FCC said. “An exception to [the rule] would allow for the proliferation of home-built, non-standardized transmitters in the GMRS, with no practicable way for the Commission to monitor and enforce regulatory compliance for these devices.”




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