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Author Topic: (Article link) FCC states can't use non-certified radios on amateur bands?  (Read 5614 times)
K6CPO
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Posts: 545




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« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2018, 08:09:27 PM »

The FCC says you can't sell or import non certified rigs that operate in areas where certification is needed.

There is no statutory authority that prohibits importing. You could, for example, when in China buy 6 radios and bring them back for your personal use. As long as you use them within the requirements of Part 97, there are no broken regulations.

Where you do run afoul of the regulations is if you import them and sell them for non-amateur use.

- Glenn W9IQ

Hi Glen,

Here is a quote from FCC advisory notice at:
https://www.fcc.gov/document/enforcement-bureau-issues-advisory-two-way-vhfuhf-radios

I read this as not allowing rigs that extend transmit beyond the ham bands and not being certified, as not salable or usable in the US.

===============================CUT====================================
What Should You Know?
The Bureau has noted an increase in the manufacturing, importation, advertising, and sale of two-way
VHF/UHF radios that are not authorized in accordance with the Commission’s rules. (4) Generally,
electronic devices that intentionally emit radio waves are required to be certified by the FCC or an
authorized third-party certification entity (Telecommunications Certification Body) prior to importation,
advertising, sale, or use. 5 Two-way VHF/UHF radios require FCC certification to show compliance with
our rules, unless they qualify for a limited exception (see Amateur Radio Exception, below, and Federal
government exception at footnote (4).
This certification requirement ensures that equipment complies with technical requirements to avoid
causing interference to federal government operations, private licensed operations, and other authorized
operations or equipment. (6) Equipment that does not comply with the technical requirements cannot
be certified and thus cannot be imported, advertised, sold, or used. (7)


Amateur Radio Exception. There is one exception to this certification requirement: if a device is capable
of operating only on frequencies that the FCC has allocated for use by Amateur Radio Service licensees, it
does not require FCC equipment authorization, [8] and an amateur licensee may use his or her license to
operate such radios. However, many two-way radios that purport to operate on amateur frequencies also
operate on frequencies that extend beyond the designated amateur frequency bands. [9] If a two-way
VHF/UHF radio is capable of operating outside of the amateur frequency bands, it cannot be imported,
advertised, sold, or operated within the United States without an FCC equipment certification. [10]
Even if a two-way VHF/UHF radio operates solely within the amateur frequencies, the operator is
required to have an amateur license to operate the device and must otherwise comply with all applicable
rules. 11 The Bureau will take very seriously any reports of failures of two-way radio operators to comply
with all relevant rules and requirements when using devices in the amateur bands.
===============================CUT====================================

Seems pretty clear to me that you can not import, use, or sell radios that are not certified, and if a radio can transmit outside of the ham bands and is not certified, it can not be used in Amateur service...

The bold is as per the FCC handout...  Seems if it is not certified, it can't be sold or used.


Line [9] is the key. 

I have a Baofeng UV-5RE that will transmit on Part 90 frequencies, amateur frequencies and GMRS frequencies. It does not hold certification for Part 90 or GMRS, so, according to the Enforcement advisory, it is illegal to use at all.  On the other hand, I have two Wouxun radios that are capable of transmitting on Part 90 and the amateur bands that I can use because they hold Part 90 certification.  The same with my AnyTone DMR radio...
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NK7Z
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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2018, 07:35:07 AM »

That is how I take it as well...  Some radios are just not legal to use, sell, or import... 
Someone upthread did mention the FCC may be overstepping boundaries, which may be the case.  I am not a lawyer, and don't have a clue what holds the FCC in check from overstepping, or even what constitutes overstepping, and if overstepping has occurred.  Nor do I care.  I do know I will be not using my UV5-R anymore, as to me it seems a violation of FCC wishes.  Given I get my license from them, and that I trust their intentions, I want to keep them happy, and assist in any way I can in helping them keep things under control.

I think the FCC goal is to get non certified radios off commercial frequencies, and that is how I will interpret the current advisory notice.  I suspect the FCC has instituted this policy to allow them the ability to further hammer someone they catch on the commercial bands using a non certified radio.  This may add  yet another rules violation to the list for the offender. 

It seem to me, that the FCC is being proactive in stopping a problem, which is very good, hopefully before that problem gets further out of hand.  Seeing the FCC try and get ahead of a problem is great news as far as I am concerned.
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Dave
Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...
https://www.nk7z.net
K6CPO
Member

Posts: 545




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« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2018, 02:31:29 PM »

That is how I take it as well...  Some radios are just not legal to use, sell, or import... 
Someone upthread did mention the FCC may be overstepping boundaries, which may be the case.  I am not a lawyer, and don't have a clue what holds the FCC in check from overstepping, or even what constitutes overstepping, and if overstepping has occurred.  Nor do I care.  I do know I will be not using my UV5-R anymore, as to me it seems a violation of FCC wishes.  Given I get my license from them, and that I trust their intentions, I want to keep them happy, and assist in any way I can in helping them keep things under control.

I think the FCC goal is to get non certified radios off commercial frequencies, and that is how I will interpret the current advisory notice.  I suspect the FCC has instituted this policy to allow them the ability to further hammer someone they catch on the commercial bands using a non certified radio.  This may add  yet another rules violation to the list for the offender. 

It seem to me, that the FCC is being proactive in stopping a problem, which is very good, hopefully before that problem gets further out of hand.  Seeing the FCC try and get ahead of a problem is great news as far as I am concerned.

I quit using (what little I actually did) my UV-5RE when i learned about the spectral purity issues with them.  I set it aside until I could have it tested, but now it's a moot point as it doesn't possess the necessary certifications.

Some of the VEs in the team I supervise keep new Baofengs on hand to give to kids that pass their Technician licenses.  I doubt I can actually stop them from doing this, but I'm going to strongly recommend they reconsider their actions, at least until we can get some clarification from the FCC.  The local ARES group teaches classes in how to use HTs and I believe they are looking at discontinuing teaching Baofengs because of the questions surrounding the radios.
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W9IQ
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Posts: 3563




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« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2018, 04:29:34 PM »


I quit using (what little I actually did) my UV-5RE when i learned about the spectral purity issues with them.  I set it aside until I could have it tested, but now it's a moot point as it doesn't possess the necessary certifications.

And what part 97 certifications does it lack?

- Glenn W9IQ
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- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
NK7Z
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« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2018, 07:34:07 PM »

And what part 97 certifications does it lack?
- Glenn W9IQ
You have so framed your question to exclude the actual meaning of the Advisory, here is an actual cut from the advisory for clarity:

If a two-way VHF/UHF radio is capable of operating outside of the amateur frequency bands, it cannot be imported,
advertised, sold, or operated within the United States without an FCC equipment certification.


So...  The UV5RV2 can be operated outside of the Amateur bands, check...  The UV5RV2 does not have certification from the FCC, check...  There is no certification for part 97 radios, so the UV5RV2 is not certified in any way, check...  

Draw your own conclusions...
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Dave
Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...
https://www.nk7z.net
NK7Z
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Posts: 2525


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« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2018, 11:40:36 PM »

This makes for interesting reading on the subject:
https://medium.com/@lucky225/fcc-back-peddles-all-transceivers-capable-of-transmitting-on-frequencies-that-require-40377a3722c5
http://www.arrl.org/news/view/arrl-fcc-discussing-issue-of-uncertified-imported-vhf-uhf-transceivers
« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 11:43:59 PM by NK7Z » Logged

Thanks,
Dave
Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...
https://www.nk7z.net
G3RZP
Member

Posts: 1327




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« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2018, 01:26:03 AM »

Surely it is the responsibility of the operator to only transmit in the bands and modes for which he is licenced? At least in theory, an amateur is responsible and sufficiently technically qualified to understand and abide by that. Taken to the extreme, the use of a WW2 SCR522 transmitter on 2m AM  (with suitable filters for reducing unwanted emissions) or tuning an old GE or Motorola VHF mobile radio to 2m FM would be banned.
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W9IQ
Member

Posts: 3563




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« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2018, 03:16:10 AM »

And what part 97 certifications does it lack?
- Glenn W9IQ
You have so framed your question to exclude the actual meaning of the Advisory, here is an actual cut from the advisory for clarity:

If a two-way VHF/UHF radio is capable of operating outside of the amateur frequency bands, it cannot be imported,
advertised, sold, or operated within the United States without an FCC equipment certification.


So...  The UV5RV2 can be operated outside of the Amateur bands, check...  The UV5RV2 does not have certification from the FCC, check...  There is no certification for part 97 radios, so the UV5RV2 is not certified in any way, check...  

Draw your own conclusions...

Of course there is no amateur transmitter certification. My point is that the FCC is overreaching their statutory authority with the notion that hams cannot use these radios. Hams can purchase, modify, build, and operate any transmitter, including these, as long as it otherwise complies with Part 97 when used on the air.  As you can see from a few posts earlier, now the ARRL has come to our defense on this exact point.

- Glenn W9IQ
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 03:21:59 AM by W9IQ » Logged

- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
W9FIB
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Posts: 2531




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« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2018, 03:28:28 AM »

It seems to me I remember  some commentary that the FCC is trying to keep these cheap radios out of the non-ham community. The main point was that non-hams would be more likely to cause interference with commercial/government communications. Seems to me that as long as a ham uses them only in ham bands, there would be no problem. Unless the radio itself does not meet generally accepted specifications for the band (spectral cleanliness comes to mind, and I am sure other things may apply).
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73, Stan
Wisdom is knowledge you gain after you know it all.
WXSHAM
Member

Posts: 77




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« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2018, 05:40:48 AM »

As NK7Z posted it's good to see that ARRL responded to the advisory and is working on resolving the concerns:
http://www.arrl.org/news/view/arrl-fcc-discussing-issue-of-uncertified-imported-vhf-uhf-transceivers

(Have to remember to renew my subscription when it's up soon, it's good to hear they stay on top of these things.)

I agree the radio's shouldn't be marketed to the general public.  I see them on amazon with barely even a mention if at all that a license is required and it's illegal to use without one.

Usually it just says something like.. Great radio for hiking, camping, etc.....

But amateurs should be allowed to buy and use them.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 05:43:38 AM by WXSHAM » Logged
NK7Z
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« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2018, 06:15:44 AM »

I am quite happy with how this is turning out, and boy the ARRL is right on top of these things!  Glad that are talking with the FCC to correct the error.
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Dave
Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...
https://www.nk7z.net
W9IQ
Member

Posts: 3563




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« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2018, 06:25:11 AM »

Here is my perspective of what the FCC is trying to do with its overreaching notice.

They are genuinely trying to clamp down on non-certified radios and certified radios that can be used outside of their certified service (FCC part). Most of these radios are very broad banded and can also be used on the ham bands (as we know all too well). The FCC is also keenly aware that there is no certification requirement on ham transmitters nor is there any notion of a frequency capability limit for ham transmitters - we can have a transmitter that works from DC to daylight and as long as we use it in compliance with Part 97, we are meeting all applicable regulations.

I think that the problem the FCC foresees (and actually has already experienced) is that the retailers of these targeted radios will simply call them ham radio transceivers without changing any characteristics of the radio. This allows them to legally sidestep the attempt by the FCC to block their sale. So by falsely claiming that hams cannot use these transceivers, the FCC is attempting to block this maneuver by the retailers. It doesn't matter that the FCC lacks the authority to actually enforce this point as they will simply point to their notice and unless a retailer is willing to litigate the issue, the FCC has won. They may even collect fines from the retailer under the guise of their false premise.

As hams we should be very concerned about this FCC maneuver. It could have a chilling effect on the future availability of transmitters suitable for ham radio use. I applaud the ARRL for stepping into this issue before it becomes too solidified or worse yet, codified.

I can tell you from personal experience that the FCC does make mistakes in their rulings. It takes a significant legal battle to get them corrected as I have successfully litigated such a reversal. We should all get behind the ARRL push to get this corrected ASAP.

- Glenn W9IQ
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 06:36:20 AM by W9IQ » Logged

- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
SOFAR
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Posts: 1492




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« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2018, 07:24:46 AM »

FCC is doing the right thing.
No reason for those transceivers to be on the market.

ARRL needs to learn to choose its battles.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2018, 08:00:14 AM »

Earlier Glenn and I were on different sides of this discussion, but as teh FCC has expanded on the available data, I agree with Glenn's assessment of the ARRLs actions in this matter.  It is good that they are on top of this. 
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Dave
Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...
https://www.nk7z.net
WXSHAM
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Posts: 77




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« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2018, 09:03:04 AM »

FCC is doing the right thing.
No reason for those transceivers to be on the market.

ARRL needs to learn to choose its battles.

A couple points:
- I agree these radio's should not be for sale to unlicensed folks and are being marketed improperly, not even indicating sometimes a license is required.
  So just like ham radio's sold to the public, they should indicate clearly a amateur license is required for operation.

 - Certain 1500 watt amplifiers are considered illegal to sell except to amateurs, should they stop selling those as well?
   I see this as a similar scenario something that should not be legal for non-licensed folks but should be permitted for folks that are licensed?

- Some ham's build their own equipment that "could" transmit outside of ham bands but they don't, and they should be allowed to sell those to other ham's by this advisory that would be illegal. So this advisory conflicts with current activity possibly making criminals out of many existing licensed amateurs.  There is a lot of investment in radio equipment people made that can help the public when needed... doesn't seem like it would be in the interest of the amateur licensee's or the public to limit amateur licensee's in this case.

- Some ham's repurpose public service or other transceivers that can broadcast out of ham bands (and adjust them to run in ham bands), then they might resell them, which is currently allowed but may be illegal as per this advisory. (I didn't realize this heard this from some arrl staff)


I think this probably can be solved by just making sure these units are advertised correctly and start fining places that don't advertise correctly OR perhaps if the companies by default change the firmware to limit to ham bands, but amateur licensees should be permitted to use radio's that "could" operate outside of normal licensed ranges, as long as they don't actual transmit on them. 

Also in the training for the license it is permitted to transmit on any frequency in cases of life or death emergencies by an amateur licensed operator (as per the FCC regs). - though certainly wouldn't recommend that under most cases as people often get charged regardless of the federal regulations.




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