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The FCC issues letter of violation to Rugged Radios


tweiss3
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It'll be interesting to see the breakdown of the penalty. The Part 90 being on Part 95 will be telling.

 

From the pdf, its pretty hefty:

 

V. FUTURE VIOLATIONS 31. If, after receipt of this Citation, Rugged Radios again violates section 302 of the Act and/or sections 2.803(B), 2.925(a)(1), 80.203(a), 90.203(a), 90.203(e), 95.361(a), and/or 95.391 of the Commission’s rules by engaging in conduct of the type described herein, the Commission may impose sanctions for each such violation. For example, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures not to exceed $20,489 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation, and up to $153,669 for any single act or failure to act.60 The Commission may further adjust the forfeiture reflecting enumerated statutory factors, which include the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation, and with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters as justice may require.61 Further, as discussed above, the Commission may assess forfeitures on both the conduct that led to this Citation and the conduct following it.6

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I have to admit I am surprised that the FCC does not seem to clearly mandate as part of its certifications that the radio firmware not allow Tx operation on frequencies and power outside the radio’s certification. When I read the rules I personally conclude that if the radio is not limited to specific frequencies and power by the nature of its hardware design then it becomes the responsibility of the radio’s firmware to keep the radio in compliance. I was recently surprised to discover that an otherwise legal FCC 95e “certified” radio was still fully capable of Tx operation on all amateur UHF frequencies (plus more) without hacking it, but also that it could transmit higher power on those GMRS frequencies where such power is not permitted. While the average person may not stumble on this it does shed light on the shortcuts the manufacturers are taking perhaps due to unclear language in FCC regs. While I am also a license amateur and permitted to use non-certified radios on amateur frequencies this may not be an issue, but the fact that this is possible on a GMRS radio that is not supposed to have said capability clearly shows a gap in the certification process. It would seem that based on the assertions in the FCC document that Rugged Radios has been exploiting this exact type of shortcoming.

 

Michael

WRHS965

KE8PLM

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I know I stated I'll give it up on the CCR crusade, but this, what mbrun stated, is also part of the reason why I am so "outspoken" about those radios in general...

 

G.

 

 

I have to admit I am surprised that the FCC does not seem to clearly mandate as part of its certifications that the radio firmware not allow Tx operation on frequencies and power outside the radio’s certification. When I read the rules I personally conclude that if the radio is not limited to specific frequencies and power by the nature of its hardware design then it becomes the responsibility of the radio’s firmware to keep the radio in compliance. I was recently surprised to discover that an otherwise legal FCC 95e “certified” radio was still fully capable of Tx operation on all amateur UHF frequencies (plus more) without hacking it, but also that it could transmit higher power on those GMRS frequencies where such power is not permitted. While the average person may not stumble on this it does shed light on the shortcuts the manufacturers are taking perhaps due to unclear language in FCC regs. While I am also a license amateur and permitted to use non-certified radios on amateur frequencies this may not be an issue, but the fact that this is possible on a GMRS radio that is not supposed to have said capability clearly shows a gap in the certification process. It would seem that based on the assertions in the FCC document that Rugged Radios has been exploiting this exact type of shortcoming.

Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm new to this, so I'll ask: What seems to be the issue with Baofeng as it relates to this topic?

 

First - just to point out, there are some Baofeng (actually BTECH is the brand, but I believe it's the same manufacturer) are true GMRS and approved by the FCC.  What most mean by "Baofengs" are the ham radios like the UV-5R and BF-8HP that are not approved by the FCC for GMRS.

 

 

An FCC-approved GRMS radio is built to be locked into the GRMS frequencies/channels at no more than the wattage limits set by the FCC.  This is what is meant by "type-approved."

 

The Baofeng radios are ham/amateur radios that can also use the GRMS frequencies.  They are not approved by the FCC for GMRS exactly because of that.  Also, the Baofengs have "high" output (4 watts) and a low setting (1 watt).  The ones labeled "HP" also can also output 8 watts.  So, while they are in the limits for most of the GRMS channels, the lowest it can output is 1 watt which directly violates the 1/2 watt limit for channels 8-14.  

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I'm new to this, so I'll ask: What seems to be the issue with Baofeng as it relates to this topic?

The issue is with the importers and manufacturer’s taking liberties that are counter the FCC regulations either explicitly or implicitly.

 

The FCC establishes technical criteria for devices that are intended to be used in only certain radio services, to maintain the integrity of the service and to serve the best interest of the people. Without this the service falls apart, quality/reliability degrades, and the service dies. Without it, the people are not happy. I will avoid all debate on how well they do it.

 

Each service is established with frequencies, emission types, power level limits, and how they are to be used and by whom. The radios manufactured are intended to be used in and for that service only, and intended to be operated by persons or organizations licensed to use them. Depending on the service, the persons may or may not be required to have any technical knowledge. It used to be it take a certain physical hardware design to achieve this. Certain models for certain services. This is all with the intent of making the service most useful and effective for the parties for which the service is intended to serve.

 

Technology has evolved. Current hardware design now makes it possible to design a radio that is technically capable of operating on wide range of frequencies, all types of emissions and wide range of power settings and of various qualities. That is great, as it makes it possible for a manufacturer to perhaps use the same radio innards to serve different purposes, a cost benefit to the manufacturer and consumer.

 

The problem comes in when the radios are not locked down to and limited to the service for which they are intended and the radios are available to persons that have limited or zero knowledge of the various services. A person gets a radio learns how to operate it and suddenly they transmitting on frequencies that adversely affect public service. Suddenly a person changes a setting and now digital communications is happening on frequencies reserved for FM. Radio only works well for for the masses when standards, rules and guidelines are followed.

 

Yeh, isn’t it cool that now any person can afford to buy a radio that costs only $25 and that can play havoc on the amateur frequencies, public service frequencies, GMRS and FRS frequencies, etc... all in one.

 

As a responsible licensed GMRS and Amateur Radio operator I want order on and to the airwaves. I want standards and I want the rules followed. Why, because it is this order that makes the airwaves useful when lots of people are using them.

 

So the issue ultimately is that some manufacturers are skirting the intent of the FCC regs and selling radios that can configured by the user to operate in services that they are not certified for and at a cost that makes proliferation of the products into the hands of the neophyte easy and for nearly nothing.

 

I reiterate a comment I made earlier. I own a recently FCC certified part 95e radio using just product supplied by the manufacture for that radio I can cause it to be suddenly have the ability to transmit on Amateur, public services, and private land mobile frequencies and at higher power than is allowed on some. Will I do it, no. Would others do it? Without a doubt. The point being, that should not be possible for a current generations GMRS radio without internals modification. This is where the manufacturer’s should be held accountable.

 

Sadly, the offending manufacturers are all seem to be Chinese based and we do not have the ability fine them or shut them down. Then you have importers like Rugged Radio that appear to be complicit and take advantage of and propagate the weakness.

 

Sadly, it is cost prohibitive to enforce the rules at the end-user level. We, the tax payers cannot afford that. Instead you need to go to the source of the problem - Manufacturers and Importers.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Michael

WHRS965

KE8PLM

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Not respecting the rules in radio has a lot of parallels to respecting traffic rules, like signals, stop signs, etc... Sure, you might get away with some minor speeding here and there, even some minor stuff, like sometimes not coming to a complete stop, etc, but say, you're driving into oncoming traffic, plowing through intersections, cutting through sidewalks, driving twice the posted Interstate speed limits, running people off the road, etc... that's the kind of analogy with RF.

 

Running a 500W PA on GMRS will certainly piss a lot of people off, and you get extra points if you run the 500W PA on digital... on GMRS FM; or stomping all over the County Fire Dispatch with your 50W CCR mobile trying to reach the CCR 2 miles down the road with "can you hear me now? do you copy, over?", that will certainly piss a lot of the wrong people as well... again, you always get that extra bonus if you blast 50W on digital over official FM channels...   

 

With that said, digital operators might not be as bothered with the CCR blasting around, tho, as they won't hear your voice over theirs, (unless you are in the extra bonus category and blasting with identical digital modulation they use) but in FM they'll certainly get higher BER (bit error rate), you hear some R2D2 digital voice sounds when someone else is using concurrently the same channel, especially in FM... Another one is running wideband on narrowband in licensed channels... cranking that CCR to 50W on 25khz to reach the CCR portable 2 miles down the road is going to be heard 20-30 miles out by radios that actually have decent receivers which are tuned to your channel, and radios that also tuned to the two adjacent channels, potentially getting some angry responses in the process. More bonuses are awarded for the following: if you have the most annoying roger beep,  echo CB voice is always a winner... letting the PTT off after every word you speak...  that is guaranteed to get their attention.

 

Cheers.

 

G.

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We live in the internet era...trying to police radio sales on the internet is like herding cats....  

 

I'm of the opinion that it's mainly importers and label slappers that are breaking the rules vs oems. The Chinese sell all over the world. (Americans unfortunately tend to think they *are* the world.) The point I'm trying to make is that most of these radios weren't particularly designed (specifically) for the US market. They do take care to make them them part US 90 certified - but of course part 90 is locked down so that's not too big a hurdle.

 

It's the Rugged Radio's of the world that, IMO are the major offenders.

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So? because it might be difficult to enforce doesn't make it right to fake FCC certificates, or telling people you can use their radio license...  if you don't have one... 

 

The comment about "Americans thinking they "are" the world... " was absolutely uncalled for. You can save your opinions, and you disdain towards Americans wherever the Sun doesn't shine.

 

You totally sound like a CCR (or CCP?) shill, and these radios do suck, and in many instances are actually illegal to use on any service or band.

 

G.

 

We live in the internet era...trying to police radio sales on the internet is like herding cats....  

 

I'm of the opinion that it's mainly importers and label slappers that are breaking the rules vs oems. The Chinese sell all over the world. (Americans unfortunately tend to think they *are* the world.) The point I'm trying to make is that most of these radios weren't particularly designed (specifically) for the US market. They do take care to make them them part US 90 certified - but of course part 90 is locked down so that's not too big a hurdle.

 

It's the Rugged Radio's of the world that, IMO are the major offenders.

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Settle down there, pardner.

 

There was nothing personal in that post towards you. It wasn't directed to you - either.

 

That the rest of the world thinks that American's suffer a bit from too much hubris is rather well known. Nothing personal there.

 

That the internet is next to impossible to police isn't really opinion - it's just an observation.

 

The point I'm making is that the Chinese manufacturers have a very large international market - and it's the international marketers who are at fault, as very few OEMs sell directly. It is the importer that is ultimately responsible for making sure the product imported meets the regulatory requirements of whatever political jurisdiction they are importing to.

 

Don't extrapolate any more than what was just said above or make conclusions based on what you think I intend.. 

 

Nuff said.

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Settle down? Well, I so happen to be an American...  so while the comment wasn't targeted towards me directly, it was targeted towards Americans.... and seriously, the world can think whatever the heck they want about Americans, and that comment wasn't relevant to this thread in regard to Rugged Radios FCC violations, there was no need to share what you think the world thinks of Americans...   You promote CCR garbage, and now you say this... I think perhaps you should consider moving to another country... hopefully where they'll care more about the "world"...

 

Next to impossible? I wouldn't be so sure about that... 

 

And that point you made was perfectly valid, until you stated "Americans think they are the world", then you lost me. 

 

The same way you are asking me to not extrapolate, I'll ask you to keep your personal opinions about what others think of Americans to yourself, and I'll say this again: If you don't like this country then you are more than welcome to leave.

 

G.

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Yeh, isn’t it cool that now any person can afford to buy a radio that costs only $25 and that can play havoc on the amateur frequencies, public service frequencies, GMRS and FRS frequencies, etc... all in one.

 

The biggest problem with most CCRs is that they transmit on at least three frequencies at the same time:

  1. fundamental (desired)
  2. first order harmonic
  3. second order harmonic

In other words, they splatter crud that often will cause interference to others.

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