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Has there been any chatter about making APRS available for GMRS license? its almost legal already from the language I recall reading in CFR rules with the ability to transmit location data in short bursts. It would be amazing should the FCC allow APRS for GMRS.

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I've looked into this in the past; I still believe it's technically legal on GMRS if you want to argue it. I took this up with the FCC and below is what I received back from them. I think there's grounds to argue against their response, but it settled the issue for me (for now) anyways. Justified or not, and while APRS as a protocol is allowed, their stance is that they don't want it unless limited to a certified low-power handheld radio with fixed antenna, which severely limits its application as it eliminates the ability to develop a solid digipeating/gateway infrastructure (which I had planned to start developing at the time on one of the 462 interstitial 'FRS' channels)

My original request to them:

Quote
Case Id: HD0000819887
 
Summary: Rule Clarification
 
Description: Good afternoon,

A local group I'm a part of has been discussing the legality of APRS (AX.25 digital information) using modulated FM audio over the GMRS service; this is classified as an F2D emission type. APRS generally consists of very short bursts of data conveying messaging, status and location information utilizing the AX.25 data protocol popular with the Amateur Radio Service

We've come to believe these transmissions to be allowed on GMRS for the following reasons. We are using the online copy of the Title 47, Part 95 rules found at ecfr.gov.

In reviewing the rules:

95.331 states that only use within the purpose of the personal radio service in question is allowed.
95.1703 states the scope and purpose of GMRS, this definition includes limited data.
95.1731 allows handheld devices to share data consistent with APRS, but it also does not explicitly prohibit non-handheld (ie. mobile) devices from sending such data, or other types of data.
95.1771 lists F2D as an allowed emission type (modulated data using FM)
95.1773 allows data transmissions on all channels except the 467 main channels.

This all seems fairly straight forward thus far; however 95.1787 lists numerous additional restrictions on data transmission, *but* this section as written seems to apply only to radios seeking Part 95E certification or "...submitted for certification under this subpart..." (ie. a manufacturer submitting a radio for certification).

We'd appreciate some clarification on the following scenarios:

1. Does 95.1787 apply to operation or does it only apply to handhelds under going the certification process as the wording states?
2. Is externally modulated F2D-emission data such as APRS (using an external modem) allowable using a Part 95 approved handheld radio (assuming 5W with removable antenna)?
3. Is externally modulated F2D-emission data such as APRS (using an external modem) acceptable using a Part 95 approved non-handheld radio (assuming a 50W mobile unit on the main channels with external antenna)?

Thanks in advance for your time and input, it's appreciated.

Kind Regards,

David Adriaanse, WQVS960

 

Their response:

Quote

Dear David Adriaanse,

Here is the response we received to your inquiry:

The Commission did not adopt a specific data transmission standard when authorizing digital data transmissions in the GMRS, but the ability to transmit data was intended to allow short duration transmissions of location information, acknowledgement and short text in order to protect the primary use of the band for voice communications on a commons shared channel basis where users listen before talking to avoid interference. Such transmissions must comply with the requirements of 95.1731(d), 95.1773(c), 95.1787, and 95.339.

With that said, any digital data transmissions in the GMRS must only be initiated by a manual action by the operator, except that GMRS units may automatically respond with location data when being interrogated by another GMRS or FRS unit. The rules also limit digital data transmissions to hand-held units with a non-removable integral antenna.

1. Does 95.1787 apply to operation or does it only apply to handhelds under going the certification process as the wording states?- Yes. All transmitters used in the GMRS service must be certified for such use. See 95.335 and 95.1761.

2. Is externally modulated F2D-emission data such as APRS (using an external modem) allowable using a Part 95 approved handheld radio (assuming 5W with removable antenna)? Digital data transmissions are only permitted on GMRS hand-held units with a non-removable integral antenna(see 95.1731(d) & 95.1787). Additionally, Rule 95.339 prohibits attaching any external device to any Personal Radio Service transmitter if the combination results in a violation of the rules. The inquirer may also refer to FCC 17-57 para. 38 and 39 for additional discussion on this matter.

3. Is externally modulated F2D-emission data such as APRS (using an external modem) acceptable using a Part 95 approved non-handheld radio (assuming a 50W mobile unit on the main channels with external antenna)?See above.

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please submit a help request at https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/available-support-services or call the FCC Licensing Support Center at (877) 480-3201.

Sincerely,

FCC Licensing Support Center
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM EST, M – F

 

Edited by JeepCrawler98
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Thank you JeepCrawler, that info is amazing.

 

kb2ztx, obviously GMRS is not HAM, as the other comment and my original post stated, the language in the rules suggests that APRS may actually be allowed. I seek better understanding not the peddling of another service. Perhaps you and I could petition the FCC to offer specialty licenses for those of us that find a couple of awesome things offered in HAM but have zero interest in the bulk of what the service has to offer.

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As a regular user of APRS on Ham band I have to chime in.

The point of limited channels is very valid. Where I live, apparently some people already using GMRS/FRS channel for data telemetry. It's only mildly annoying now, but should everyone start using APRS (or other data) it's going to be detrimental to voice operations.

APRS depends on a network of digipeaters, to be reliable and useful. I do not see it's to happen to GMRS ever in my lifetime.

The new reserved data channel for FRS/GMRS? Yes!!! Where do I sign up. It could be one of the low power 467.xxx MHz channels or it could be a whole new 12KHz channel dedicated by FCC. Fat chance...

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17 minutes ago, axorlov said:

As a regular user of APRS on Ham band I have to chime in.

The point of limited channels is very valid. Where I live, apparently some people already using GMRS/FRS channel for data telemetry. It's only mildly annoying now, but should everyone start using APRS (or other data) it's going to be detrimental to voice operations.

APRS depends on a network of digipeaters, to be reliable and useful. I do not see it's to happen to GMRS ever in my lifetime.

The new reserved data channel for FRS/GMRS? Yes!!! Where do I sign up. It could be one of the low power 467.xxx MHz channels or it could be a whole new 12KHz channel dedicated by FCC. Fat chance...

I agree that GMRS is a different breed and Ham channels offer a better solutions for those into APRS.  Let's face it "how many folks cares about doing APRS in GMRS" just get a ham radio license, it is not that hard... Me and my 12 yo grand daughter just got our Ham ticket this month.  Loving our local club and social connection to learn from older guys playing with APRS and all the other stuff like connecting with ISS.  

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Hey, MacJack

Congrats to you and your granddaughter for your Ham tickets. It's a lot of fun!

With APRS specifically, when I just started to dip into digital and APRS, years ago, messing around with the SMSGTE, I got a sudden call (yes, on my phone!) from ham in the nearby area congratulating me with figuring out digital stuff. Weirded me out back than, but now I think it was cool! And I think, I annoyed him with my test packets too.

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I agree that GMRS is a different breed and Ham channels offer a better solutions for those into APRS.  Let's face it "how many folks cares about doing APRS in GMRS" just get a ham radio license, it is not that hard... Me and my 12 yo grand daughter just got our Ham ticket this month.  Loving our local club and social connection to learn from older guys playing with APRS and all the other stuff like connecting with ISS.  

Hey Mac, Congratulations. Glad to hear you and you GD got you ticket. Welcome to the amateur radio community.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM
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1 hour ago, MacJack said:

I.. Me and my 12 yo grand daughter just got our Ham ticket this month.  Loving our local club and social connection to learn from older guys playing with APRS and all the other stuff like connecting with ISS.  

Congrats, Mac!

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32 minutes ago, WRMH343 said:

So, how does the Garmin Rino work?  They claim to be able to send position data to everyone on the same channel as them.  Sounds a whole lot like APRS... Unless they invented their own propriety standard??

It's basically their own standard, and probably is a mix of post transmission information sent on the tail and an automatic response sent after getting position from another unit.

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