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DMR on GMRS


parighttobeararms
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when are we going to be able to go to DMR on the GMRS Service i would love it to see us able to use DMR on the gmrs System 

 

Since the FCC just incorporated new rules for FRS and GMRS (and the other services under Part 95) after several years of comment and review, I would not expect them to revisit that part of the rules for at least 5 to 10 years or more.

 

There are a number of previous threads here discussing the process and the final R&O published by the FCC that explained everything that they considered after receiving comments for a long period of time. I would encourage you to find those threads and familiarize yourself with the R&O and all the attendant issues that were considered.

 

The basic summary is that digital of any kind is not allowed on GMRS. It's a dead issue.

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https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=72b61b708f0ce25ea78b21b0aed4e95b&node=47:5.0.1.1.5&rgn=div5

 

Scroll down to section  95.1771

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Also, please read the Forum Disclaimer located here:

 

https://forums.mygmrs.com/topic/51-equipment-technical-information-and-personal-responsibility/

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The basic summary is that digital of any kind is not allowed on GMRS. It's a dead issue.

 

§95.1787(a)(1) -  "Digital data transmissions. GMRS hand-held portable units that have the capability to transmit digital data must be designed to meet the following requirements."
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§95.1787(a)(1) - "Digital data transmissions. GMRS hand-held portable units that have the capability to transmit digital data must be designed to meet the following requirements."

I could have phrased my statement a bit better. The OP was asking about DMR which is much different than allowing short data bursts in an otherwise analog environment. So I should have more accurately said that digital transmission modes like DMR and P-25 are a dead issue for the foreseeable future. The FCC is not going to revisit GMRS and FRS anytime soon.
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I could have phrased my statement a bit better. The OP was asking about DMR which is much different than allowing short data bursts in an otherwise analog environment. So I should have more accurately said that digital transmission modes like DMR and P-25 are a dead issue for the foreseeable future. The FCC is not going to revisit GMRS and FRS anytime soon.

 

Yep. I knew that you were focused on the topic; DMR. I just dropped my reply in so that others, down the road, might have clarification that you didn't actually mean, "digital of any kind is not allowed."

 

I agree with you completely... It's all good.

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The FCC's concern with digital modes on GMRS is the loss of interoperability with existing GMRS and FRS radios. Users operating analog will receive interference from digital users and will be unable to contact the digital users; this is why the FCC limits how frequently data transmissions can be sent, anything that isn't analog voice is interference to analog voice users. The problem gets worse with multiple incompatible digital modes on the same channel. Unlike Part 90 and 97 operation, FRS/GMRS technical standards effectively dictate that all certified units must be able to interoperate because there is a limited set of channels that are shared by a large number of users.

 

In the Part 90 reform fact sheet, the FCC states "We also note that seven parties filed petitions for rulemaking requesting that we allow a time division multiple access (TDMA) modulation technique (i.e., 7K60FXE 2‐slot DMR TDMA) on GMRS frequencies to facilitate digital emissions and narrowbanding to increase capacity on GMRS channels. We deny these petitions. As explained above, the ability of GMRS licensees to communicate with each other is essential for the “listen before talk” etiquette, self-policing, and emergency calls that occur on these shared channels, and introducing a new modulation technique that is inconsistent with existing equipment would complicate the shared environment of GMRS channels. Further, with the use of the interstitial channels by GMRS and FRS units, we do not feel that the gains achieved by implementing narrowband digital techniques outweigh the losses in equipment investments and complications of introducing a new modulation scheme for GMRS radios."

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I know this topic comes up every couple of months. I have a group of friends who are radio guys. In the past we used MURs, then GMRS, and even some public safety stuff. Most of them are hams also but not all. Solution. Get a UHF Land Mobile frequency and do what we want on it. Yes coordination can be a pain, but most of the frequency coordinators can give you a good idea of frequency use in your area. I think all in all we spent around $500 but they got a license, do DMR and used the same repeater site they had for the GMRS stuff. Bonus was as guys want ot come online they no longer have to get a GMRS license.

 

I know this isn't the goal here, but if your set on a DMR radio go this way. We still use multiple GMRS repeaters.

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Get a UHF Land Mobile frequency and do what we want on it. Yes coordination can be a pain, but most of the frequency coordinators can give you a good idea of frequency use in your area. I think all in all we spent around $500 but they got a license, do DMR and used the same repeater site they had for the GMRS stuff. Bonus was as guys want ot come online they no longer have to get a GMRS license.

 

This is an excellent idea in for many reasons.  It also has added benefit of allowing voice encryption.  But here is the problem - affordable repeater site access is absolutely critical.  Unless you own the site yourself, or are very close to the owner, once they see your are running commercial frequencies instead of GMRS or amateur, they then believe you are running a commercial operation and your site rent goes up 3X to 10X (this is not an exaggeration here in California).   You also get much less community involvement since people interested in radio will never find you on the 300 to 400 commercial UHF channels available, versus the eight GMRS.     

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This is an excellent idea in for many reasons. It also has added benefit of allowing voice encryption. But here is the problem - affordable repeater site access is absolutely critical. Unless you own the site yourself, or are very close to the owner, once they see your are running commercial frequencies instead of GMRS or amateur, they then believe you are running a commercial operation and your site rent goes up 3X to 10X (this is not an exaggeration here in California). You also get much less community involvement since people interested in radio will never find you on the 300 to 400 commercial UHF channels available, versus the eight GMRS.

I can say that I did exactly that... I went through the process and got an IG license.. It's expensive and a pain, but I thought it would be worth it. I started my radio endeavors with an "emergency family and friends communications" goal in mind. Then I bought some radios, and they were capable of doing all kinds of things that weren't even allowed on GMRS frequencies. So I needed to at least be able to test them out, so to prevent from doing anything against the FCC rules or causing interference to others, I thought the IG license was a good idea.

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I can say that I did exactly that... I went through the process and got an IG license.. It's expensive and a pain, but I thought it would be worth it. I started my radio endeavors with an "emergency family and friends communications" goal in mind. Then I bought some radios, and they were capable of doing all kinds of things that weren't even allowed on GMRS frequencies. So I needed to at least be able to test them out, so to prevent from doing anything against the FCC rules or causing interference to others, I thought the IG license was a good idea.

 

What kind of IG system? Itinerant or a repeater/base system? I hear the itinerant is relatively easy to get but the latter is the pain in the butt.

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What kind of IG system? Itinerant or a repeater/base system? I hear the itinerant is relatively easy to get but the latter is the pain in the butt.

 

What do you mean what kind of IG system? its a stationary system with a defined base and radius. The frequency coordinator I used said the exact opposite actually... The itinerant system is the tougher of the two. you have a much smaller selection of frequencies and you have to "prove" your need for one, and still have to be in a regional area. 

 

 

here's a link to my application...

 

http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/ApplicationSearch/applMain.jsp?applID=10707451

Edited by Jackel0228
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The itinerant system is the tougher of the two. you have a much smaller selection of frequencies and you have to "prove" your need for one, and still have to be in a regional area.

 

I can say the opposite. I applied for a nationwide itinerant license with 53 UHF frequencies and 16 VHF frequencies. With a few repeater pairs combined into both. The only thing that stopped me from getting it is paying. The online payment wouldn't work (presumably) because of their dinosaur age java they use to run the form, and I didn't feel like sending money since it wasn't an urgent thing and GMRS works fine as of right now. Just me and a couple of friends would utilize the frequencies. Didn't need to prove anything. Maybe it's changed over the years and back then they required you to prove something and only allow it in a regional area. Who knows. :P

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Hmm. Well that might be true. I was just told that the itinerant frequencies were good for a region like a county, several counties, state or states, or even national. However I was also told that you would need to justify the need for that kind of coverage. That's all. If you had a courier service or something, it would be easy to do. I just got mine for our ranch and moving cattle around from pasture to pasture. I do know that it has to be frequency coordinated by a frequency coordinator, designated by the FCC. You can attempt to "self coordinate" but without the level of access that they have to the database it would be incredibly difficult. Or so I came to realize through my limited fumbling with the process.

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What kind of IG system? Itinerant or a repeater/base system? I hear the itinerant is relatively easy to get but the latter is the pain in the butt.

 

How do you know when a frequency coordinator is lying?  Well........

 

Actually, they are not usually lying, but are often just incompetent.   This is why you get five different answers from five different ones.   Avoid applying for a FB/base station - makes no sense from many perspectives.  As you would be applying for an FB2-class station (conventional repeater, shared channel), just do the following:

 

 - Go here to find channels you are eligible for by reading applicable footnotes (https://tinyurl.com/y7sqjhly)

 

 - Monitor all the channels (inputs and outputs) from or close to your proposed site for as long as possible, 24/7 (weeks if possible)

 

 - Identify 6-10 clear ones, apply for the clearest one, and work down the list. 

 

 - FB2 stations can be licensed right on top of one another, so if the channel is not in use, you risk is lowered (and the coordinator's)

 

 - Remember - there are no interference problems in 450 MHz; these are simply "sharing problems". 

 

If you let them suggest a channel, many times they will say "nothing available" in the metro areas.  Its true, but not true, which is why you pick the channel.  If you request a specific channel, they will often go with it as long as your contours/signal don't overlap an FB8 (exclusive channel) station and you meet the footnote requirements.   Should be no more than $350.   Renewal every 10 years.  $35/year - so its real low cost. 

 

But make sure the repeater site owner does not up your rent...because you could now run a for-profit service.    Or, just place a label on the cabinet that reads "GMRS" even though it operates on 451.6875 MHz....

    

Greg

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The FCC's concern with digital modes on GMRS is the loss of interoperability with existing GMRS and FRS radios. Users operating analog will receive interference from digital users and will be unable to contact the digital users; this is why the FCC limits how frequently data transmissions can be sent, anything that isn't analog voice is interference to analog voice users. The problem gets worse with multiple incompatible digital modes on the same channel. Unlike Part 90 and 97 operation, FRS/GMRS technical standards effectively dictate that all certified units must be able to interoperate because there is a limited set of channels that are shared by a large number of users.

 

In the Part 90 reform fact sheet, the FCC states "We also note that seven parties filed petitions for rulemaking requesting that we allow a time division multiple access (TDMA) modulation technique (i.e., 7K60FXE 2‐slot DMR TDMA) on GMRS frequencies to facilitate digital emissions and narrowbanding to increase capacity on GMRS channels. We deny these petitions. As explained above, the ability of GMRS licensees to communicate with each other is essential for the “listen before talk” etiquette, self-policing, and emergency calls that occur on these shared channels, and introducing a new modulation technique that is inconsistent with existing equipment would complicate the shared environment of GMRS channels. Further, with the use of the interstitial channels by GMRS and FRS units, we do not feel that the gains achieved by implementing narrowband digital techniques outweigh the losses in equipment investments and complications of introducing a new modulation scheme for GMRS radios."

 

Good comment.  But the fallacy here is that they already permitted DMR, NXDN, P25, etc. on shared 450 MHz business channels for the past 8 years.  And 97% of business licenses are FB2 or FB6, which are effectively shared channel, or "best-effort"  authorizations.   As the FCC no longer gets involved in most interference cases on these channels, it is also "self-policed". 

 

The complaints of digital interference (IX) are usually related to the fact that DMR and NXDN system stay on the air longer than their analog counterparts.  This is because owners are getting much more use out of them due to built-in GPS reporting, automatic roaming/beaconing, texting, etc.   So on GMRS, you just need to be reasonable and responsible.    

 

Also, unlike most analog repeaters, DMR repeaters have built-in Transmitter Lockout (FCC's "Level II Monitoring")  so that they will protect co-channel repeaters if they hear input traffic.  All DMR user equipment also has transmitter lock-out features, and some are even coming with automatic analog/digital detection and switching, so that they will hear the co-channel analog traffic.   

 

Sigh.....

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No. Part 90 is not your party line.

 

90.403(a), (d), and (e) all limit your communications to only the permitted uses in 90.405, and (B) will hold the licensee responsible for any violations, regardless of who is transmitting under the Part 90 license.

90.405(a)(2) limits your communications to transmissions directly related and necessary to your Part 90 eligibility. Unnecessary communications clog up the limited frequency pool for other eligible Part 90 licensees; they too are paying for a license, and interfering with their essential communications with your non-essential communications can warrant FCC investigation.

90.427(a) makes it extremely unwise to publish your operating frequency and access codes to the public, as you become responsible for a stranger's operation. 90.433© also makes you responsible for their radios, and 90.443(B) expects you to have some sort of Part 90 compliance information for each radio used, in addition to records of all maintenance. If you're not in direct control of the radios used on your license, station inspection (which you're making yourself an easy target for) will get messy.

 

If you're claiming eligibility with some purpose you stretched the truth to make, most of your communications won't be necessary and incidental to the operations stated in your eligibility, violating 90.403. If you make up a purpose you have no intention of fulfilling, you're lying on an official form submitted to the federal government and committing a crime; furthermore, you will not be making essential communications as the eligibility does not exist and no essential communications can be made, further violating 90.403.

 

If you're going to get a commercial license because you are performing commercial activities, go right ahead. That does not authorize you to use a Part 90 authorization to do your Part 95 activities. That is what Part 97 is for. I won't condone the recommendation of Part 90 when the stated purpose of operation is in conflict with the FCC rules and better fulfilled by other services.

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I didn't mention frequency coordinators; ultimately, it is the applicant that claims eligibility. But claiming eligibility through operations of a taxi business, when in reality there is no taxi business or the communications aren't for the purposes of operating a taxi business, would be lying about eligibility.

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No. Part 90 is not your party line.

 

90.403(a), (d), and (e) all limit your communications to only the permitted uses in 90.405, and ( B) will hold the licensee responsible for any violations, regardless of who is transmitting under the Part 90 license.

90.405(a)(2) limits your communications to transmissions directly related and necessary to your Part 90 eligibility. Unnecessary communications clog up the limited frequency pool for other eligible Part 90 licensees; they too are paying for a license, and interfering with their essential communications with your non-essential communications can warrant FCC investigation.

90.427(a) makes it extremely unwise to publish your operating frequency and access codes to the public, as you become responsible for a stranger's operation. 90.433© also makes you responsible for their radios, and 90.443( B) expects you to have some sort of Part 90 compliance information for each radio used, in addition to records of all maintenance. If you're not in direct control of the radios used on your license, station inspection (which you're making yourself an easy target for) will get messy.

 

If you're claiming eligibility with some purpose you stretched the truth to make, most of your communications won't be necessary and incidental to the operations stated in your eligibility, violating 90.403. If you make up a purpose you have no intention of fulfilling, you're lying on an official form submitted to the federal government and committing a crime; furthermore, you will not be making essential communications as the eligibility does not exist and no essential communications can be made, further violating 90.403.

 

If you're going to get a commercial license because you are performing commercial activities, go right ahead. That does not authorize you to use a Part 90 authorization to do your Part 95 activities. That is what Part 97 is for. I won't condone the recommendation of Part 90 when the stated purpose of operation is in conflict with the FCC rules and better fulfilled by other services.

 

All true - there are risks with everything.  If one does use Part 90, they just need to be prepared to justify their rule interpretation with the Commission.

 

Each year there is less FCC enforcement staff, less enforcement, and the trend is to only spend time on incidents that affect public safety systems (considering just Part 90).  They are not seeking these things out, and normally do not currently respond for Part 90 business issues even if there is a formal complaint.  A good part of NXDN and DMR communications are encrypted anyway (its included free with the digital radio now and enabled with a checkbox...), so there is no way for the FCC to know the message content - its virtually unenforceable.   But could they drop in and listen to your radio's speaker - of course.  Likelihood?  Low.  

  

The activity needs to be a gross violation with limited grey area for a violation these days.  Of course there is no grey area with §90.35's eligibility requirement of "....operation of a commercial activity..."   ;)

 

Personally, I have yet to see an NOV for a Part 90 business eligibility issue, but I could have missed it.   

 

Not condoning this, just describing my observations over the years.    

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Well I actually do have a legitimate commercial application that we really DO use for our business. The whole reason I personally got the part 90 license is because even though it's a family owned business that is operated by the FCC's definition of immediate family members, I felt that we were also using the channels for commercial activities, as well as casual family communications. So rather than take something away from the true GMRS user group, I felt getting an IG license covers every aspect more suitably, Even though not every communication is business related. So what's the solution? Change channels every time you want to ask your wife what's for dinner?

 

Also, I've carried radios all my working life and I can say that there is always casual conversation among users, from a chemical plant, petroleum refinery, propane pipeline or construction site. Am I suggesting that you get a IG license to operate the business of raising a child or cook dinner? No, that seems like a blatant disregard for the rules, but I think paying your money, doing some frequency coordination and acting responsibly is a good way to think.

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Well I actually do have a legitimate commercial application that we really DO use for our business. The whole reason I personally got the part 90 license is because even though it's a family owned business that is operated by the FCC's definition of immediate family members, I felt that we were also using the channels for commercial activities, as well as casual family communications. So rather than take something away from the true GMRS user group, I felt getting an IG license covers every aspect more suitably, Even though not every communication is business related. So what's the solution? Change channels every time you want to ask your wife what's for dinner?

 

Also, I've carried radios all my working life and I can say that there is always casual conversation among users, from a chemical plant, petroleum refinery, propane pipeline or construction site. Am I suggesting that you get a IG license to operate the business of raising a child or cook dinner? No, that seems like a blatant disregard for the rules, but I think paying your money, doing some frequency coordination and acting responsibly is a good way to think.

 

Agree...I also have a business so this would work for me...

 

G

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Asking what's for dinner on a Part 90 system is fine if kept to a minimum; regulators almost certainly won't be pedantic about that. Creating a Part 90 system and inviting a closed group of friends to do casual conversation on it is not. Openly inviting people to join the system for casual conversation will get your license revoked. The FCC can do a station inspection if they suspect this, regardless of whether you're using encrpytion. Whether they end up doing so or not is irrelevant, that doesn't make it any more legal or responsible.

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