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Several of us in California (bay area and Sacramento) have become inundated with many unlicensed business users on our repeater outputs. Interestingly, most of these users operate the following: TX/RX 462.600 D455 TX/RX 462.725 D252 While our repeaters can cover them in some cases, there are so many bubblepacks that they are reducing our ability to hear simplex/direct mode traffic or more distant repeaters. None of these users have a callsign, and they are operating wideband (we can tell they are wideband due to their 4-5 kHz deviation and resulting volume; narrowband should be lower volume and 2.5 kHz peak deviation). We reached out to several users who all advised they had "RT15" radios. https://tinyurl.com/tmu48vq A customer posted the frequency listing for this "FRS" radio showing the two DCS codes above (actually the inverted codes; D322 Inverted = D455 Non-Inverted, and D462 Inverted = D252 Non-Inverted). So this confirms the user info. But it has a few problems: Defaulted wideband (essentially creating a GMRS radio) Capable of voice encryption Contains a non-FRS channel (462.825) According to the new rules, radios marketed and Type Certified as FRS cannot operate wideband or have encryption, let alone have a Part 90 channel in them. Of course, when asked, the seller replies that the programming cable is available, and I found the software is downloadable for free. Various violations here: §95.591 Sales of FRS combination radios prohibited. (does wideband make this a GMRS radio??) §95.575 FRS modulation limits (exceeded) §95.587 FRS additional requirements. - (a) Transmit frequency capability. FRS transmitter types must not be capable of transmitting on any frequency or channel other than those listed in §95.563 (462.825??) - (e) Effective September 30, 2019, no person shall manufacture or import hand-held portable radio equipment capable of operating under this subpart (FRS) and other licensed or licensed-by-rule services in this chapter (part 15 unlicensed equipment authorizations are permitted if consistent with part 15 rules). The user manual that was submitted for FCC certification shows 2.5 kHz deviation, no scrambling. The current manual now shows 5 kHz deviation and scrambling. Anyone else getting slammed with these things?
The FCC’s Consumer Complaints page for reporting interference recently added a category for reporting interference to GMRS stations. Previously, there was no way to report issues specific to GMRS, but there was for Broadcast, Amateur, etc. This is a small but important development and may help combat the FCC’s recurring claim that “…we have received no reports of interference...”. This statement has been common in most all Part 95 and GMRS rule-making proceedings over the last few decades to help justify further encroachment of FRS and support other policies that licensed GMRS licensees generally opposed. We are not suggesting the Commission lied about the lack of complaints – they had not provided a way to report, categorize and centrally store them! The Northern California GMRS Users Group (NCGUG) encourages repeater owners and users to report recurring interference problems, such as unlicensed operation on repeater uplink channels, intentional jamming and abuse, and of course interference from FRS (co- or adjacent-channel). We have been reporting recurring interference from maritime operations on our repeater uplinks for some time. While the FCC rarely responds to such complaints, this may go a long way to eventually reducing the rising tide of interference sources that we all have to deal with. Brief instructions on how to use this site follow. ____________________________ https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us Create an account (different from your ULS account) File a complaint Radio Fill in Subject and Description Radio Issues: INTERFERENCE Radio Interference Sub Issue: TO LICENSED TWO_WAY RADIO SERVICES (LAND MOBILE, AVIATION, MARINE) Your Radio Method: PERSONAL RADIO SERVICES (CB, FRS, GMRS) Fill-in the remaining fields marked with “*”. The site provides a selection of “To Unlicensed Service (CB, FRS GMRS)” under Radio Interference Sub Issue. This incorrectly refers the GMRS as an unlicensed service, which it is not. While we have requested a correction, we recommend using the “Licensed….” selection noted above instead. Greg