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The never-ending Part 90/95 debate, and my discussion with the FCC


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On 6/15/2021 at 11:55 PM, wayoverthere said:

so...one other tidbit i noticed when reading poking around 95e (https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/47/95.1761) is (c), which seems to imply 95e/90 dual certification is still POSSIBLE, but can't overlap with ham (being a non-certified service).

 

also found some interesting (good) suggestions on radioreference, for text to go into 95.1735, since that section is currently "reserved".

This document is often referred to support what you're saying.

https://transition.fcc.gov/oet/ea/presentations/files/nov17/54-Part-95-Misc-Eqpt-Filing-r1-TH.pdf

Attached the 3 mainly relevant slides regarding GMRS.

In the notes the OET says

Quote

Per n149 of FCC 17-57, the preceding serves to “clarify” the preceding/replaced 95.655(a):

– n149 Several commenters are concerned that the proposal to prohibit combination radios would prevent GMRS licensees from using surplus Part 90 equipment in GMRS. ... This is not our intent. We will continue to certify equipment that meets the respective technical standards for Part 90 (land mobile) and Part 95 (GMRS) in both services, if requested. However, we are amending the language in new section 95.1761(c) to clarify the requirement in old section 95.655(a) that Part 95 GMRS radios will not be certified if they are equipped with the capabilities to operate in services that do not require equipment certification, such as the Amateur Radio Service.

 

54-Part-95-Misc-Eqpt-Filing-r1-TH1.jpg

54-Part-95-Misc-Eqpt-Filing-r1-TH2.jpg

54-Part-95-Misc-Eqpt-Filing-r1-TH3.jpg

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4 hours ago, WRNA236 said:

This document is often referred to support what you're saying.

https://transition.fcc.gov/oet/ea/presentations/files/nov17/54-Part-95-Misc-Eqpt-Filing-r1-TH.pdf

Attached the 3 mainly relevant slides regarding GMRS.

While I've seen the document before, seeing it combined with the code really adds some context, as the wording in the document fits with the bit of the code I was pointing out.   I know it doesn't say QUITE what we want it to, in being able to equate part 90 approval with part 95 approval, but it's kind of interesting to see the statement they made in the document about dual approval being reflected in the code.

The fact remains that, though there IS still some avenue for dual approval (would the 450-512 split radios qualify, since they'd officially fall entirely outside amateur bands?), it doesn't seem that any of the major manufacturers are making the effort.

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17 hours ago, wayoverthere said:

The fact remains that, though there IS still some avenue for dual approval (would the 450-512 split radios qualify, since they'd officially fall entirely outside amateur bands?), it doesn't seem that any of the major manufacturers are making the effort.

I suspect this the case. I’ve looked at the FCC grants for several of my Kenwood HT’s. They come in several different band splits. The models where the lower “official” frequency limit is 450MHz had Part 90 and 95 certification while the 400MHz-470MHz models did not, typically just Part 90.

 

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18 minutes ago, Lscott said:

I suspect this the case. I’ve looked at the FCC grants for several of my Kenwood HT’s. They come in several different band splits. The models where the lower “official” frequency limit is 450MHz had Part 90 and 95 certification while the 400MHz-470MHz models did not, typically just Part 90.

 

Interesting, I also may have jumped the gun then...i'd be curious how their certification dates compare to the implementation dates of that presentation and/or revised wording in the code, and whether theyre certified under 95a or 95e.

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2 hours ago, wayoverthere said:

Interesting, I also may have jumped the gun then...i'd be curious how their certification dates compare to the implementation dates of that presentation and/or revised wording in the code, and whether theyre certified under 95a or 95e.

Just spot checked a few IDs and their FCC listed ranges.  The only non-95 I knew was the TK-3170 but I can't say whether it is ever used for GMRS or not.  Does seem to support the intent to not grant 95 for radios covering amateur bands.  These grants date back prior to 2017 I think in all cases.  Anything newer than this will be likely not submitted by Kenwood/Vertex/Motorola and might not be strictly the book (e.g. suspect for use as reference).  Midland probably submits valid data but they wouldn't have any models with the necessary features for consideration.

 

Kenwood TK-3170 ALH34713130 400-430 22, 74, 90, 90.21
Kenwood TK-3180 ALH37333110 450-490 22, 74, 90, 95A
Kenwood TK-3130 ALH33293110 460-470 90, 95A
Kenwood TK-3180 ALH37333110 450-520 22, 74, 90, 90.210, 95A
Kenwood TK-3200 ALH36923130 450-470 90, 90.210, 95A
Kenwood TK-3230 ALH383200 460-470 90, 95A
Kenwood TK-8150 ALH32283110 450-500 90, 90.210, 95
Kenwood TK-8180 K4437313110 450-520 22, 74, 90, 90.210, 95A
Kenwood TK-8180-H K4437313210 450-520 22, 74, 90, 90.210, 95A
Kenwood TK-860H ALH29383210 450-490 22, 74, 90, 90.210, 95
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  • 4 weeks later...

Anytone AT-779UV (Amazon $99) a/k/a Radioddity DB-20G (Amazon $129) comes with software that opens up the Ham 2 meter and 70 cm bands in addition to its GMRS capabilities.

The same menu can be accessed without a computer by: 

1) Turn off the power.  

2) While holding down the V/M button, turn on the power.  Use the Up and Down arrow keys to change from the GMRS setting on the display to 136-174 MHz; 400-470 MHz and now power down.  

3) When you power back up licensed operators can now transmit on the GMRS channels and the 2 meter and 70 cm Ham bands. 
 

Screen Shot 2021-08-01 at 11.53.39 PM.png

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6 hours ago, WRBU527 said:

Anytone AT-779UV (Amazon $99) a/k/a Radioddity DB-20G (Amazon $129) comes with software that opens up the Ham 2 meter and 70 cm bands in addition to its GMRS capabilities.

The same menu can be accessed without a computer by: 

1) Turn off the power.  

2) While holding down the V/M button, turn on the power.  Use the Up and Down arrow keys to change from the GMRS setting on the display to 136-174 MHz; 400-470 MHz and now power down.  

3) When you power back up licensed operators can now transmit on the GMRS channels and the 2 meter and 70 cm Ham bands. 
 

Screen Shot 2021-08-01 at 11.53.39 PM.png

Any change to operation mode invalidates its type acceptance. Same goes for part 90 radios. Doesn't keep people from doing it.

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2 hours ago, tweiss3 said:

Any change to operation mode invalidates its type acceptance. Same goes for part 90 radios. Doesn't keep people from doing it.

It's not clear to me (as it might be to you) that this is a "modification" that invalidates its type acceptance, since the change can be accomplished with the programming software or by keyboard, as it was supplied to the FCC for Type Acceptance.

In any event, I get much more sleep at night than I use to, when I used my Baofeng UV-5Rx3 for GMRS!

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Your interpretation is in error. If a radio is type accepted to operate under one section of the regulations then modifying the radio to operate under a different section of the regulations invalidates the original type acceptance because the radio was not tested under the second set of requirements. It doesn't matter if the modification involved hardware and/or software. Any modification that causes the unit to operate outside its accepted parameters requires the radio to be resubmitted for type acceptance. The FCC Rules and Regulations require 7 volumes to contain them all. Reading one portion of one paragraph under one section does not negate the information or requirements found in the entire body of Title 47 of the US Code.

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On 8/2/2021 at 12:04 PM, BoxCar said:

Your interpretation is in error. 

Your beef, if you have a legitimate one, is not with me, but with AnyTone (or Radioddity, in the case of their clone: DB-20G).

I bought a radio and use their software (or computer-less keystrokes) to change all sorts of parameters than those that came as the default.

I bought a radio and I am using it as AnyTone knows how I am using it, and that's that!

I'm not losing any sleep over how I use my Anytone AT-779UV; thank you, and I will be happy to instruct others how to get the maximum use for their investment, too!

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Relating to power restrictions (that 75W radio mentioned earlier)-

My 50W radio in the shack is connected to a Tram 1481, so my ERP is close to 500W (by the math).  Even on the intersticial channels with the radio putting 5W into the antenna, my ERP is around 50W.  If you have a 75W radio driving an antenna that has only 3db of gain, the ERP is about 150W.  From distance, listening to your transmission, how is anyone going to know if your're putting more power into the base of the antenna simply based on what they hear on their radio?

I get it - they don't want people using 1500W amps on the GMRS band, so they needed to pick a number.  50W is a nice round number and it's just as good as any other nice round number, so 50 it is.  This is one of those cases where the spirit of the rule can get lost in the real world application and actual usage.  Maybe they did intend to keep the ERP at around 500W, and since GMRS is intended for the more casual radio user who may not understand the more technical aspects of radio, they set the limit on the hardware because that's easier to understand.

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On 8/2/2021 at 3:04 PM, BoxCar said:

Any modification that causes the unit to operate outside its accepted parameters requires the radio to be resubmitted for type acceptance.

I have a Part 95 certified Kenwood TK-3170K, type 1 radio, with no hardware modifications, FCC ID ALH34713110.

https://fccid.io/ALH34713110

So if I have a bunch of Ham repeaters loaded into it along with all the GMRS stuff it's no longer certified? All the programming was done through the official software, KPG-101D V2.40, and it wasn't hacked either. The software allows out of the "official" band split frequencies to be entered with a warning message. That's one of the reasons I like the Kenwood line of old analog and some of the newer combo analog/digital radios. I'm licensed for both the GMRS and Ham services by the way for anybody who might be interested.

So I have a radio that now operates on both services where neither hardware or software modifications were done. I only did what the hardware and software allowed me to do. Under that interpretation the radio should retain it's certification. The fine line is what exactly does "modification" mean when referring to software? I would say that would be actual changes to the radio's firmware, not just the parameters programmed into it. Otherwise one could argue that simply changing a PL tone setting would be a software modification, which would be a silly.

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27 minutes ago, Lscott said:

I have a Part 95 certified Kenwood TK-3170K, type 1 radio, with no hardware modifications, FCC ID ALH34713110.

https://fccid.io/ALH34713110

So if I have a bunch of Ham repeaters loaded into it along with all the GMRS stuff it's no longer certified? All the programming was done through the official software, KPG-101D V2.40, and it wasn't hacked either. The software allows out of the "official" band split frequencies to be entered with a warning message. That's one of the reasons I like the Kenwood line of old analog and some of the newer combo analog/digital radios. I'm licensed for both the GMRS and Ham services by the way for anybody who might be interested.

So I have a radio that now operates on both services where neither hardware or software modifications were done. I only did what the hardware and software allowed me to do. Under that interpretation the radio should retain it's certification. The fine line is what exactly does "modification" mean when referring to software? I would say that would be actual changes to the radio's firmware, not just the parameters programmed into it. Otherwise one could argue that simply changing a PL tone setting would be a software modification, which would be a silly.

No, you are ok. The above power procedure where you press buttons is a form of unlocking the firmware, which is where it breaks the certification. There are a large number of Kenwood and Moto gear that were granted both Part 90 and Part 95 certifications, and using it on commercial, GMRS and ham licenses is not a violation of the FCC grant. As far as I know, the FCC stopped granting dual certifications (90/95), however, the existing dual grants stand.

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1 hour ago, tweiss3 said:

No, you are ok. The above power procedure where you press buttons is a form of unlocking the firmware, which is where it breaks the certification. There are a large number of Kenwood and Moto gear that were granted both Part 90 and Part 95 certifications, and using it on commercial, GMRS and ham licenses is not a violation of the FCC grant. As far as I know, the FCC stopped granting dual certifications (90/95), however, the existing dual grants stand.

That makes sense.

I think the trouble with the CCR's type radios with the Part 90 certification was due to the radios being front panel programmable. Those are now shipped with that feature locked out requiring the "secret" button presses, passwords or the software to enable it.

Now the interesting thing is on the TK-3170, since these seem to be a popular choice for a commercial radio on GMRS, to enable front panel programming the radio requires two things to be done. The first is a diode needs to be removed on an internal circuit board. Second the feature must be enabled in the programming software. If both are not done you can't do front panel programming. There is a warning the radio must NOT be delivered to a customer with the feature enabled in the software.

The warning message is curious from the standpoint why is it even there if the radio would loose it's certification? I know these radios are sold in several different markets outside of the US, I just got two of the TK-3170E types from a seller in Ireland, however I would imagine other countries have similar restrictions on front panel programming and certification requirements which makes this even more curious.  

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20 minutes ago, Lscott said:

Now the interesting thing is on the TK-3170, since these seem to be a popular choice for a commercial radio on GMRS, to enable front panel programming the radio requires two things to be done. The first is a diode needs to be removed on an internal circuit board. Second the feature must be enabled in the programming software. If both are not done you can't do front panel programming. There is a warning the radio must NOT be delivered to a customer with the feature enabled in the software.

The warning message is curious from the standpoint why is it even there if the radio would loose it's certification? I know these radios are sold in several different markets outside of the US, I just got two of the TK-3170E types from a seller in Ireland, however I would imagine other countries have similar restrictions on front panel programming and certification requirements which makes this even more curious.  

The U.S. military, for one, is a customer who might want such features.  The Fed government operates under a whole different separate set of rules (they are administered by the NTIA, not the FCC) and the DoD is a segment of that.  So they aren't bound necessarily to rules that prohibit front panel programming, for example.

Also hams can modify radios to our heart's desire without needing to adhere to Type rules (we essentially self certify our radios).  Kenwood has historically been ham-friendly (or at least not agnostic) so they're not averse to letting us do that.

 

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1 hour ago, WRNA236 said:

Also hams can modify radios to our heart's desire without needing to adhere to Type rules (we essentially self certify our radios).  Kenwood has historically been ham-friendly (or at least not agnostic) so they're not averse to letting us do that.

That's why I have a preference for Kenwood gear, not that it's demonstrability better than say Motorola, and I've had rather good luck finding the software for Kenwood commercial radios. So far I have 15 different radio programming suites for them. I just managed to track down the updated firmware for two TK-3170E models I just got a couple of days ago from a private seller in Ireland, that's where the radios came from, at no cost from the customer tech support department of the company that originally programmed them. I also got the latest firmware for the TK-3170K and TK-3180K models from Kenwood tech support in the USA also at no cost. All I had to do was send an email to Kenwood tech support and ask politely along with why I needed it.

I've read too many stories about people's dealings with Motorola and the cost for some of the software, entitlement keys etc. As a Ham I can't afford to spend $100 to $250 a pop for software to program one or two Motorola models. I'd rather use the money to buy more radios to play with. There is a reason why I see piles of used Motorola radios at swaps from time to time. I rarely find Kenwood commercial radios.

So far I have mostly analog only radios. I have a couple UHF hand-held radios that do analog/digital (NXDN or DMR) and one mobile analog/digital (NXDN).

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I just wanted to add to the conversation a little nugget.

We talk about the need for type certified radios and what that means for manufacturers. Some figure that if a manufacturer allows, through official software or other means, a radio to do something outside its certification then that’s ok. What is not talked about is one’s obligation, per the rules, as a GMRS licensee. This obligation is to operate fully within the rules.

Much like an amateur license where the burden is placed on the amateur to make user they operate with power and frequency limits, so too does the GMRS licensee assume a similar burden. If the FCC were to get pissy, and decided to make an example of someone, they could not only go after a manufacturer for some form of non-compliance, but also licensee for knowingly using hardware in a manner inconsistent with the rules. Even something as simple as operating at more then 1/2w ERP on the 467 interstitials, operating simplex on 467 main channels, or using a non-certified radio in GMRS.

While some might argue “the manufacturer’s product allowed me to do it” so it must be ok. But ultimately responsibility exists on both sides. The licensee agreed to the rules when then they applied for and where granted their license.

Just like the FCC appears to be unwilling and powerless to go after the manufacturers for skirting the rules, so too are they not likely to come down on the user. My point being, licensee responsibility is equally as important as manufacturer responsibility.

Worth mentioning.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM

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I'd like to interject, Bridgecom covers the discussion about type acceptance (in this case Part 90) of the 578, 878 & 876 DMR radios here: https://www.bridgecomsystems.com/blogs/bridgecom-tx-rx-blog/how-to-program-an-anytone-in-amateur-or-professional-mode

While the radio does have a type acceptance for part 90, and modes can be changed by the software, only 1 mode has the part 90 acceptance, any mode outside of that does not have type acceptance. This is the same for Part 97 GMRS/MURS and even Part 80 Marine. It's also why when in the true part 90 mode, you can't use front panel programming. Also, more recently, the Anytones have been shipping in more restrictive modes and they have made it harder to change the mode.

 

Again, If you can sleep at night, then that's fine, but it is not in compliance with the law.

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8 hours ago, mbrun said:

I just wanted to add to the conversation a little nugget. of "fool's gold!"  It's bright; it's shiny, but, nothing personal, you raise red herrings that you can easily rebut.
...

Even something as simple as operating at more then 1/2w ERP on the 467 interstitials, operating simplex on 467 main channels, or using a non-certified radio in GMRS.

Let me see if I understand your "analogy" here: You are equating someone operating at 50 watts on a .5 watt interstitial channel with a licensed Ham who operates within the Part 97 rules on a Part 95 GMRS radio that has been given the capability to transmit on the Ham bands by the manufacturer?!?  
...

My point being, licensee responsibility is equally as important as manufacturer responsibility.

I'll bet dollars to donuts that in some situations regarding Part 95 rules, your point is wrong: the licensee has little or no responsibility compared to the manufacturer's responsibility in the first place.  My example above, is one of them!

 

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15 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

Another badge-carrying member of the Part 95 Police! 🤣

Everyone should encourage compliance with the rules. They're not there for an arbitrary reason. The RF spectrum is a limited resource. The rules are set to try and minimize interference between ALL users of the shared resource.

I would encourage you to take a look at the frequency layout for the FRS/GMRS channels, the permitted band widths and power level. What you will immediately notice are the interstitial frequencies lie between the GMRS main channels. In particular the interstitial channels 8 through 14. Those are limited to 0.5 watts and narrow band to minimize interference to the adjacent wide band GMRS repeater input channels.  Even at a narrow band width those still overlap the wide band repeater channels. In fact several repeater owners on this forum have commented about interference from FRS radios buggering up things on their systems even with radios that are complaint with the rules.

 Then there is the issue with dirty radios, the CCR's are the group most  likely to be the offenders. If for example one was transmitting on lets say channel 1, 462.55 MHz, the second harmonic would be at 925.15 MHz, right in the middle of the 900 MHz ISM band.

https://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/compendium/0902.00-0928.00_01MAR14.pdf

I had a buddy do the known code plug hack on a cheap Baofeng BF-888S UHF radio to operate on VHF too. It worked. He had a dual band radio that would SIMULTANEOUSLY transmit on the 2M and 70cm band! That ended that experiment quickly.

 

FRS-GMRS Channels Layout.pdf

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