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Author Topic: Legalities of a Vx-7r freeband mod  (Read 7371 times)

Posts: 2201

« Reply #45 on: January 18, 2006, 10:24:15 PM »

Charles, after all is said and done, the Riley Hollingsworth letters were related to intended USE (or promoting and advertising) intended USE outside the Amateur bands; NONE referred to posession or mere ownership.  Sorry you don't seem to see the distinction.  And they were warnings (Advisories) that the intended use or advocating the use of such modified radios in other services WOULD indeed be a violation of FCC rules.  They were not notifications of actual violations or concerned with mere posession.

Posts: 286

« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2006, 07:33:45 AM »

 by KC8VWM on January 18, 2006     

"How about showing me a document that specifically indicates it is perfectly legal and "lawful" to modify any handheld transciever similar to the Vx-7r for out of band operation, "As long as you don't transmit"

If not, I rest my case. "

What kind of nutty logic is that?  

Let's see - using your logic -  how about showing us a document that says it is perfectly legal for you to own a computer.
Can't do it, eh?
Ooooooh - - -   you must be breaking the law!

If you really feel that every person must have permission from the government to do anything, then I hope you NEVER vote or have any influence in legislature.  

How about if the government decided it would be illegal, and would punish you for merely owning a radio that would receive the BBC?   Would you continue to be a sheep and just accept that?   If that is what you like,  then go ahead.   But beware.   Last government that tried that, we wiped them out about 60 years ago.

Check out North Korea.  They might be the only one left  that has a regime that thinks like you do.

Posts: 3124

« Reply #47 on: January 19, 2006, 11:23:19 AM »

And they were warnings (Advisories) that the intended use or advocating the use of such modified radios in other services WOULD indeed be a violation of FCC rules.


So you agree then that if a modified radio somehow was declared by the FCC as "intended use" because of the fact a modification made it that way, then it would be a violation of the FCC rules?

Willy says:

How about if the government decided it would be illegal, and would punish you for merely owning a radio that would receive the BBC? Would you continue to be a sheep and just accept that?


That's really not that far fetched to the reality we have in this country today.

We seem to have a government that decides that people should be punished for merely driving around in a car with a radio called a police scanner.

So are we going to continue to be sheep and just accept that?



Posts: 13007

« Reply #48 on: January 19, 2006, 01:52:15 PM »

Trying to keep this thread on the legal issues (and
recognizing that the regulations may be different in Canada)
and avoiding personal attacks...

First, a couple of points.  The devil is always in the details...

In the Gerritsen(sp?) case, he had been previously
convicted of jamming violations, and one condition of
his probation was that he not possess radio transmitting
equipment.  Thus, for him, having any radio - modified
or not - was illegal.  In one instance (there have been
several) the fact that he had a modified ham radio was
mentioned because he was accused of interfering with
non-ham communications, and the fact that the radio
had been modified was important to substantiate that it
could have been used to cause the specified interference.

Regarding the eBay case - the FCC rules for most services
will say that it is illegal to sell, or advertise for
sale, non-certificated radios for those services that
require certification.  So even if selling a radio with the
"MARS mod" isn't illegal, selling such a radio
while stating that it can be used in a certificated
service such as FRS, MURS or public safety, would
violate the "advertise for sale" clause.

I don't know about the case you cited where someone
having modified a radio was cited to support "intent"
in a case, but it makes perfect sense to me. Here is an
example:  someone transmits a dead carrier over the top
of ongoing communications.  When they get caught, they
claim that it was accidental - their mic got caught
under the seat somehow while they were monitoring the
channel.  How do you prove intent?  You end up with a
collection of evidence that, taken as a whole, supports
the assertion that it was intentional. This would
include a number of factors - how often it happened,
whether it always happened when a particular person was
on the radio, etc.  In the case of interference to a
non-ham service, the fact that they had modified their
radio to transmit out of band (and especially if
they had programmed the repeater offset and tone for
that channel) could be used to support the assertion that
the person had intended to transmit on that frequency,
because there would be no reason to do this just for
monitoring.  (And the person could refute this contention
if they could show that they had a legitimate use for the mod.)

So, while I don't maintain that these cases demonstrate
that modding a radio is illegal, they do show that the
law can be complex, and having a modified radio can be
used as evidence if you are accused of transmitting out
of band.

And the law certainly is not the same in all countries -
in some it IS illegal to possess a radio that can transmit
(and, in some cases, receive) on any frequency for
which you are not authorized. This is one reason that
the radio manufacturers have different models for sale
in different countries: the 2m band is only 144 - 146
MHz in Europe and Africa, for example, so an American
model of a HT that covered above 146 MHz may be illegal.

But I also want to discuss for a moment the common
reasoning that hams use for making such a mod, and why
the strong wording against the practice would be
appropriate in an ARES booklet (as long as it was accurate.)
The most common excuse I hear for having the ability to
transmit out of band is based on the "any means of
communication may be used in an emergency" clause.  Often
this gets extended to groups such as Search and Rescue
or the volunteer Fire Department - they only get called
out in emergencies, so doesn't that apply to them?
No, it doesn't.  Responding to emergencies is what they
expect to do, and they plan for it.  If you are planning
to use a radio in a particular service, then the radio
must be acceptable for that service.  If you are an ARES
volunteer who is planning to work with Search and Rescue,
then you need a certificated radio to use on their

And this is another situation where "intent" is important.  
If I carry a modified HT when on an ARES team supporting
the Search and Rescue team, and I end up using that
radio to talk on their frequency, then I have committed
an offense unless I can justify that it was required
for the safety of life.  Part of the emergency
exemption is that it must be unplanned.  And here is the
catch - if I have modified my radio because I was
planning to work with Search and Rescue, then it doesn't
qualify as "unplanned".

And that is why I believe that the out-of-band mod has
far fewer legal uses than most hams think.  It may not
be illegal, but that doesn't mean it is a good idea.

Posts: 2201

« Reply #49 on: January 19, 2006, 04:43:26 PM »

    You make some good points, and I agree the wisdom or value of actually performing a mod (except for a very specific reason, such as MARS) is questionable.  But is a case such as "accidental" transmissions such as "sitting on the mike" on a non-Amateur frequency, intent doesn't enter into the picture.  Even accidentally, such a transmission is illegal, regardless of intent.  It IS the responsibility of each Amateur to ensure that such doesn't happen, even on an Amateur frequency.  But to occur on a non-Amateur frequency is a more serious offense, and it wouldn't matter if a person were using a modified Amateur radio, or a radio type-certified for that service.  The "accidental" transmission would still be a violation of FCC rules.  (Then again, using a modified radio might be an even greater offense, or at least an additional offense.)
    In the Gerritson case, one of the the offenses was interfering with Public Service communications.  The type of radio wasn't the issue.

    As to the reasoning for a mod:  I agree, the wisdom is VERY questionable in most (99 44/100 % of the time) cases.  The "emergency" excuse is almost NEVER justified, but unfortunately, I don't believe that is the real reason, just an excuse.

    Too many hams (new and old alike) think they are the "exception," and exempt from the requirement to use type certified equipment in other services, and the mere fact that they are a volunteer fire fighter, EMT, Aircraft maintenance tech, cop-wannabe, gives them the right to modify Amateur equipment, and USE it on their chosen Service's frequencies.  THAT is just plain wrong, and it IS illegal.

    Certainly, it WOULD be convenient if Amateur equipment coulod be modified and legally used in other services.  But until the manufacturers build their equipment to meet the various certification requirements to FCC standards, that won't happen.  And by current standards and requirements, it is NOT possible to make certified equipment that meets the limitations of the other services, AND include the features Amateurs expect and demand in their radios.  In many cases, the features are mutually exclusive.  And I doubt the FCC is going to "relax" the certification requirements for radios in the services other than Amateur any time soon, if ever.

    BTW, in your S&R scenario, even IF you used the reasoning that you used a modified H-T to work on non-Amateur S&R frequencies in an "emergency," you had better be able to provide proof that "other communications methods" were NOT available.  Remember, the FCC rules state that we can operate out of band ONLY when no other means of communications is possible.  (Not sure if that includes smoke signals...)

Posts: 9

« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2006, 04:02:03 PM »

Not sure if VE6NHZ is still reading this post.  Not being a lawyer, I do not what to get into an argument over whether it is legal or not.  However, should be noted that one Canadian Amateur retailer has this claim posted: "Notice:  Amateur radio transceivers are Industry Canada approved for amateur radio use only.
Any use of these radios otherwise is strictly forbidden under the Radio Communications Act."
If he wants an air band radio [and I haven't reviewed every post closely], I'm not sure if the VXA-700 has been mentioned.  This would give AM air band comms. as well as 2 metre comms..  Some reviews of this radio are on eham, so they can be read to see if it is worthwhile.  This eliminates the need to "mod." a radio to work in the 108-136 mHz frequencies.
73, Bob

Posts: 2201

« Reply #51 on: January 31, 2006, 09:49:18 AM »

Thanks for the info, Bob.  Certainly if the radio you mention is Industry Canada approved for Air Band use (similar to FCC certification) and also covers Amateur frequencies without modification, there should be no issue.  Thje problem is that the reverse situation (using Amateur equipment anywhere else) isn't legal, regardless of any other license or authorization to use non-Amateur frequencies.

Posts: 446

« Reply #52 on: September 12, 2012, 12:29:41 PM »


I have modded the VX-7R to operate between 26 and 556MHz, True AM and FM.
This is 2 very extensive mods that call for pulling all 3 boards from the radio and a bit of SMD work.
By the time one is done the entire weekend will be over and the radio will do 2 watts across the board.
Against the law? as I operate government or amateur radio this is a non issue, and why I like a radio with such a broad coverage.
But for GMRS or the like there are thousands of radios being taken out of service due to the narrow banding that I would not even consider bothering.
Simply program in your favorite ham frequencies into a commercial radio as well as everything else that is legal for you.
GMRS is not going narrow band at this time so nearly everything will work.
A 4 watt commercial talkie with the vehicle adapter and external antenna will beat the amateur talkie every time.
The only issue is that you will need a computer and special software or the front panel program option.
99.9% of the commercial radios you will see will require Radio Service Software.
As a rule only the military models have FPP although there are some radios, JT1000 is an example, that are very easy to mod for this.
Motorola went with Toolproof and this is a clear indicator of a Motorola policy against hobbyists playing with their line of radios so as a rule I avoid Motorola radios.
But there are plenty of radios out there that will not get you in any trouble, provided you follow the law.

Posts: 1899

« Reply #53 on: September 12, 2012, 05:39:56 PM »

"Section 308(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Section 308(b), gives the Commission the authority to obtain information from applicants and licensees regarding the operation of their station."

All well and good, but the operator is a VE6 -- Canada vs. United States.
US FCC has no jurisdiction there and 47 U.S.C. does not apply there. I
ndustry Canada would be the authority having jurisdiction... (though I will concede the regulations may be similar). Any Industry Canada experts?

Posts: 97

« Reply #54 on: September 12, 2012, 07:35:32 PM »

The VX7R will transmit 1 watt low level AM on 50Mhz from the factory. I can see no reason to "mod" mine. After a MARS mod, I would expect much less than 1 watt on other bands. My suggestion is to buy an aircraft band specific radio. They're not expensive and have other features specific to aircraft use such as fixed 25Khz spacing, emergency button and a noise limiter. 

Posts: 258

« Reply #55 on: September 12, 2012, 07:41:46 PM »

The VX7R will transmit 1 watt low level AM on 50Mhz from the factory. I can see no reason to "mod" mine. After a MARS mod, I would expect much less than 1 watt on other bands. My suggestion is to buy an aircraft band specific radio. They're not expensive and have other features specific to aircraft use such as fixed 25Khz spacing, emergency button and a noise limiter.'s been 6 guess is the OP has moved on by now, what do you think ?

Posts: 97

« Reply #56 on: September 13, 2012, 12:27:54 AM »

Wow! I'm going to blame it on someone else.

Posts: 228

« Reply #57 on: September 15, 2012, 10:46:51 PM »

If you dont intend to use the radio out of band, why do people have this burning desire to modify it? Heck, I bought an Alinco HT that was wide-banded right out of the box from R&L a couple of years ago. I thought they sold me a radio that had been modified and returned/repacked. Now I have been told that for about 2 years back then, that Alinco WAS selling them like that new...
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