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Updated FCC Rules (2021) Pending - GMRS Location Data and FM on CB


mbrun
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On 7/25/2021 at 4:29 PM, rdunajewski said:

The only issue I had with this is that they declined to enforce a Busy Channel Lockout for automatic data/location bursts. You could set up your radio to transmit every 30 seconds, for example, and it'll beacon regardless of whether the channel is busy with voice traffic. Add in multiple radios in the same range, and I fear the GMRS channels will start to sound like APRS with data bursts all over the place.\

I think that's a mistake too. Consider the following.

There are only 8 repeater channels for GMRS. For some, like me, there is only one active repeater in the area. Now if you have several radios with the GPS beacon going off on the repeater output frequency from radios in close proximity to you that would really screw with the reception. I've already had to put up with neighborhood kids on FRS radios on the repeater output frequency close by playing for several hours. You don't have the option to switch to another channel. It won't take too many to really ruin things. Worse somebody could be doing the beaconing on a repeater.

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25 minutes ago, SkylinesSuck said:

I could see them coming out with something fairly affordable aimed directly at what I was suggesting. The market has a knack for finding ways to make things affordable enough to market to the masses.  Not so much for us radio nerds, but when they can make a ton off of "normal" people?  I could see it.

Garmin already has something like this, its Tread ($800) plus Group Ride Radio ($350)

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/702373#specs

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/705043

It's based on MURS, where this is already allowed. You wouldn't be able to get the antenna to work in its current location with UHF and additional power if without exceeding RF exposure limits or making problems with the electronics.

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What I predict is we will see units that will automatically mode switch between AM and FM based on the signal being received. We will also see dual receiver units, one AM, the other FM and the transmitter will shift mode depending on which receiver is selected.

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3 hours ago, BoxCar said:

What I predict is we will see units that will automatically mode switch between AM and FM based on the signal being received. We will also see dual receiver units, one AM, the other FM and the transmitter will shift mode depending on which receiver is selected.

There are “export” radios that do AM, FM and SSB now. Not legal on 11M but the engineering is already done. Just restrict the frequencies to the legal 40 channels and power limits the manufacturers are all set.

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25 minutes ago, Lscott said:

There are “export” radios that do AM, FM and SSB now. Not legal on 11M but the engineering is already done. Just restrict the frequencies to the legal 40 channels and power limits the manufacturers are all set.

I thought i skimmed over an article that the new President Randy has FM baked in it, and it was somehow approved. 

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On 7/26/2021 at 1:08 PM, axorlov said:

I totally agree on the point that location info is almost useless without the map, however this problem is solved already. Garmin watches render quite workable maps on a watch-sized screen, radios certainly could do so too.

 

A "convoy friendly" feature that could easily be incorporated, even without maps, is a simple "distance away" display. Conversations of the "how far are you from me?" nature would be a lot easier with such a number on the display. 

No, it doesn't seem a high-end showcase of GPS and location tracking capabilities, but it would be useful, and requires no map. However, internal map features would be nice to get anything but crows flight distances.

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49 minutes ago, Hasaf said:

A "convoy friendly" feature that could easily be incorporated, even without maps, is a simple "distance away" display. Conversations of the "how far are you from me?" nature would be a lot easier with such a number on the display. 

No, it doesn't seem a high-end showcase of GPS and location tracking capabilities, but it would be useful, and requires no map. However, internal map features would be nice to get anything but crows flight distances.

The problem is GMRS is on the LMR side, not the amateur radio side of things. On the side of professional LMR, almost every radio has gps, but it is for dispatch use only, not field user to locate.

Yaseu System Fusion (C4FM) does have this type of capability baked in in the Group Monitor feature, but C4FM is too wide to meet emissions requirements and channel spacing of GMRS. APRS works as well with many radios, but it's pointless without the backbone (digipeaters, servers, iGates). There isn't a method to do location via simplex (except for the Garmin units), and lets be real, we don't need another digital mode/method created.

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1 hour ago, tweiss3 said:

The problem is GMRS is on the LMR side, not the amateur radio side of things. On the side of professional LMR, almost every radio has gps, but it is for dispatch use only, not field user to locate.

I was looking at the radio programming software for the Kenwood TK-3170 commercial radios, seems they are a favorite for GMRS use, has a number of options to setup GPS.

If you have one of the radios and the software, Edit -> Optional Features -> Common Page 1, then enable "Com port 0" by selecting GPS for the function. The "Com port 0" is the side port where the speaker microphone plugs into while "Com port 1" is an internal port used for option boards when the cover is removed on the back side of the radio under the battery pack. Some of those option boards are for voice encryption using different methods other than simple voice inversion.

To setup the GPS configuration, Edit -> FleetSync -> GPS. You can select which type of GPS data is sent. There also appears to be a simple beacon mode where you can set the interval the data is transmitted. One of the memory channels can be designated as data only. When the GPS data needs to be send the radio apparently will temporarily switch to that channel just for the GPS data.  In the beacon mode this could be used for field location functions along the lines of APRS for Ham radio.

Some of the other settings allow the dispatch office to request the GPS data on demand, or it can be sent at the beginning of or end of PTT, radio is polled etc. So at least on this radio the GPS setup is rather flexible. Other radios may be suited for just dispatch used as you mentioned.

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3 hours ago, Lscott said:

I was looking at the radio programming software for the Kenwood TK-3170 commercial radios, seems they are a favorite for GMRS use, has a number of options to setup GPS.

If you have one of the radios and the software, Edit -> Optional Features -> Common Page 1, then enable "Com port 0" by selecting GPS for the function. The "Com port 0" is the side port where the speaker microphone plugs into while "Com port 1" is an internal port used for option boards when the cover is removed on the back side of the radio under the battery pack. Some of those option boards are for voice encryption using different methods other than simple voice inversion.

To setup the GPS configuration, Edit -> FleetSync -> GPS. You can select which type of GPS data is sent. There also appears to be a simple beacon mode where you can set the interval the data is transmitted. One of the memory channels can be designated as data only. When the GPS data needs to be send the radio apparently will temporarily switch to that channel just for the GPS data.  In the beacon mode this could be used for field location functions along the lines of APRS for Ham radio.

Some of the other settings allow the dispatch office to request the GPS data on demand, or it can be sent at the beginning of or end of PTT, radio is polled etc. So at least on this radio the GPS setup is rather flexible. Other radios may be suited for just dispatch used as you mentioned.

Thats what I mean, fleetsync and other versions are there, they just are not something that another field radio can utilize.

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3 hours ago, tweiss3 said:

Thats what I mean, fleetsync and other versions are there, they just are not something that another field radio can utilize.

As far as showing location on a radio’s screen I agree there with you.

Now if the radio could communicate with a cheap GPS unit using a wired or BT connection that would be useful. The GPS unit would use the radio to broadcast its position, and on receive it would display the location of a remote unit. All the radio effectively does is provide the wireless link between two or more GPS units. 

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On 7/26/2021 at 9:19 AM, tweiss3 said:

I think people don't understand what APRS is and what it's supposed to be used for, which is going to cause more problems.

 

It's intent was to transmit beacons to alert others of repeaters, breaking news, or even just what frequency the user is on that you can reach them. The data doesn't mean crap to 99% of those without a tablet/computer/map to locate the information for them. Hell, only a few radios have good presentation of the information from the APRS packet (distance, bearing, hops, last hop). If it was part of the audio packet in a digital mode (D-Star, DMR, etc) then it wouldn't interfere, but that's not what's being discussed. 

I still don't see how this will help the average user, hiking families or vehicle convoys. Text messaging maybe, but that's not really beneficial if sending it analog packet. And the battery life that suffers from it. Look at the Kenwood D74, I still think is the best HT available (until it was discontinued), but you have to carry 3 batteries with you.

Speaking of Kenwood APRS, I also haven't seen anyone mention Mic-E APRS packets, which seems compatible.  Both Kenwood and Yaesu ham radios use Mic-E encoding, although it's application has drifted from the original intent.  Mic-E stands for microphone-encode and it pares down packets to be very short so that they could be burst when you release your PTT.  Sort of like a roger beep that's actually useful.  The very minimum location plus indentifier Mic-E packet is 25 bytes but even if you add your call sign and some telemetry or status (such as voice frequency) to end up with the largest defined packet it'll still be about 300 ms on the air.  It's pretty similar to MDC data, for comparisons.  It dodges the busy channel issue but it's also not automatic nor independent of the PTT.

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ADOPTED: 2021-08-03 by MO&OR.  Found this item in today's FCC Daily Digest.

REVIEW OF THE COMMISSION'S PART 95 PERSONAL RADIO SERVICES RULES, MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON RECONSIDERATION. Grants three petitions for reconsideration of the 2017 Report and Order that reorganized and updated the Part 95 Personal Radio Services rules. (Dkt No 10-119 RM-10762 RM-10844). Action by: the Commission. Adopted: 2021-08-03 by MO&OR. (FCC No. 21-90). WTB. FCC-21-90A1.docx FCC-21-90A1.pdf FCC-21-90A1.txt

 

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I'll cross post this here from Reddit since it's reference information and will be a hot topic I'm sure.

IMO don't start hooking up your TNC's just yet, this doesn't do much for the users, just a bit for the manufacturers.

------------------------

For reference; here is the full rules on data on GMRS with the change implemented as outlined in the Appendix "Final Rules"; the change is in bold:
 
Quote

 

§95.1787 GMRS additional requirements.
Each hand-held portable unit transmitter type submitted for certification under this subpart is subject to the rules in this section.
(a) Digital data transmissions. GMRS hand-held portable units that have the capability to transmit digital data must be designed to meet the following requirements.
(1) Digital data transmissions may contain location information, or requesting location information from one or more other GMRS or FRS units, or containing a brief text message to another specific GMRS or FRS unit. Digital data transmissions may be initiated by a manual action of the operator or on an automatic or periodic basis, and a GMRS unit receiving an interrogation request may automatically respond with its location.
(2) Digital data transmissions must not exceed one second in duration.
(3) Digital data transmissions must not be sent more frequently than one digital data transmission within a thirty-second period, except that a GMRS unit may automatically respond to more than one interrogation request received within a thirty-second period.
(4) The antenna must be a non-removable integral part of the GMRS unit.
(5) GMRS units must not be capable of transmitting digital data on the 467 MHz main channels.
(b) [Reserved]

 

 
This fortunately/unfortunately depending on your side of the fence means that we cannot hook up APRS modems to our handhelds with removable antennas or mobile radios due to the "removable" antenna limitation. Also - does anyone know if MDC1200 or FleetSync are not permitted on removable-antenna radios or on the repeater inputs since they're data transmissions? This is common practice, but I'm not so sure it's legal practice.
 
I had approached the FCC on the APRS topic as I feel the above as written applies to handhelds and only new radios seeking certification (what about attaching a modem to a historically certified radio?) below is the response I received at the time:
 
Quote

 

Case Id: HD0000819887
...
Dear [JeepCrawler98],
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
Ref:MSG6254623

 

 
The above is a written response, not a ruling and it could be argued I feel, but that's their stance anyways.
 
Onto the CB topic! The determination on CB radio FM is interesting; but a maximum 8khz bandwidth is going to make it super narrow band (most narrow-band FM is 11.25Khz)
Edited by JeepCrawler98
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  • 1 month later...
On 7/25/2021 at 7:52 AM, mbrun said:

 

I am just learning that the FCC has given serious consideration to allowing location positioning information to be included in GMRS communications on all channels, and allowing FM modulation on existing CB channels.

Here is a fresh-off-the-press YouTube video that provides an overview:

741 Channel -

And here is the FCC rules amendment that that covers the proposed changes:

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-374114A1.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3GQrL1LL_zjxMRzjiNi4Kxf8VqgojRP4bKAKCsrOxSskyFMxfceV-umjE

Looks like Motorola is is behind the petition for location positioning capability and Cobra is behind the petition for FM on CB frequencies.

The FCC document should be a good read. I have not read the whole thing yet. I hope to find something in there too that officially legalizes part 90 radios for GMRS.

Michael

WRHS965

KE8PLM

 

Well it's now official and the rules take effect Oct. 28, 2021

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/09/28/2021-19399/review-of-the-commissions-personal-radio-services-rules

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2 hours ago, sifert said:

I hope these new rules "take effect" better than the new rules on lower GMRS license fees did.......

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51 minutes ago, OffRoaderX said:

I hope these new rules "take effect" better than the new rules on lower GMRS license fees did.......

It all depends upon whose ox is being gored:

The FCC delayed the implementation of the $35 reduced GMRS fee to coincide with the implementation of charging Hams fees for services that were previously FREE! 😉

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  • 1 month later...

Pertaining to the digital data transmission on GMRS for location info.... whatever.

For the FM on 11 meters, gee, why wasn't that the way it worked to begin with.  If you look at CB and what it's turned into, if it was FM from the start we wouldn't have near the interference issues with it.  FM is constant carrier level.  So a 'peaked and tuned' FM radio would just sound bad and not talk any further.  And even running huge amplifiers on an FM radio will still not generate near the interference and splatter that AM does when it's over modulated.  Driving an amplifier into square way output (clipping) causes distortion which is the big issue for causing interference.  If the modulation is FM, this isn't really a thing.  Radio transmits 4 watts, regardless of the modulation level.  But then again, the FCC has turned a blind eye to CB anyway.  "Export" radios are prevalent everywhere and you can hear guys talking on them from somewhere down around 25Mhz all the way up to the bottom of the 10 meter ham band.  So trying to regain control of that frequency band is about pointless.

 

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18 hours ago, WRKC935 said:

For the FM on 11 meters, gee, why wasn't that the way it worked to begin with.  If you look at CB and what it's turned into, if it was FM from the start we wouldn't have near the interference issues with it.  

 

FM was invented by Major Robert Armstrong, who committed suicide in 1954 during protracted patent litigation with RCA.

FM was not a "thing" in Amateur Radio when the Citizens Band was carved out from the 10 Meter Ham Band back in the late 1950's growing in popularity in the 60s.

The technological advance that migrated to CB in those times was Single Sideband (SSB), a variant of AM.

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Having a radio that can just push out location information would be nice for me. When backcountry hiking with a group sometimes we end up splitting up. If someone finds something interesting its easier to just read off the location vs calling it out. Even if the radio only gives me lat/long or UTM coordinates that would work for me. It's not a make or break thing. 

If we were really getting crazy I would love if someone could make a plug in for OsmAnd where I can use the radio as a means to send data back and forth similar to ATAK. I use OsmAnd all the time when hiking and that would be super nice. I know we can't legally do that on GMRS now but I would be more than happy to give up one of the 1-7 frs/gmrs channels for data use....heck I guess we could just use MURS...

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I have been watching both of these potential changes for a while now on another website. Administering a large radio network with semi tractors equipped with both Motorola commercial radios, FM and 40-50 Watts, and 5 Watt Cobra CB radios that are built as cheaply as possible, the FM CB idea may help with voice clarity and overall usability. AM has forced technicians to make a clean and efficient install, and users to bring them in for a watt-meter test when they suspect a problem. 

As for location on GMRS, I have wanted this ever since taking a Garmin Rino 120 to Afghanistan in 2004. Many of us bought them for augmenting the Rockwell PSN-11, being careful about the location sending feature. Garmin's first series of Rino radio/GPS receivers were in many people's pockets, as they had a map, and were even olive drab green in the 120 model. That location feature helped a lot as well in certain situations......adding this to a higher power GMRS and mobile radio would be great. Hope it happens.

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/23/2021 at 5:21 PM, PACNWComms said:

I have been watching both of these potential changes for a while now on another website. Administering a large radio network with semi tractors equipped with both Motorola commercial radios, FM and 40-50 Watts, and 5 Watt Cobra CB radios that are built as cheaply as possible, the FM CB idea may help with voice clarity and overall usability. AM has forced technicians to make a clean and efficient install, and users to bring them in for a watt-meter test when they suspect a problem. 

As for location on GMRS, I have wanted this ever since taking a Garmin Rino 120 to Afghanistan in 2004. Many of us bought them for augmenting the Rockwell PSN-11, being careful about the location sending feature. Garmin's first series of Rino radio/GPS receivers were in many people's pockets, as they had a map, and were even olive drab green in the 120 model. That location feature helped a lot as well in certain situations......adding this to a higher power GMRS and mobile radio would be great. Hope it happens.

Garmin still has position reporting and text messaging in their GMRS Rino lineup.  The top of the line is the 755T https://www.garmin.com/en-US/p/534007/pn/010-01958-15

i have a model that’s a couple years older and I like it fine. Repeater support is built in, although disabled by default and there’s no way to memorize CTCSS codes or split tones for multiple repeaters on a single frequency, as far as I can tell on mine.  I haven’t looked at the manual for this newest iteration. 

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I continue to use older Garmin Rino 120 and 530 radio/GPS's, as they work great for my needs. As for repeater support, my older versions (pre-2017 FCC change for FRS and GMRS) allow for tones to be set manually. The software was updated at least once on mine, as I also experienced Garmin locking down the number of hardware devices that could be updated on one $100 software license, while a few of us managed to update hundreds of Rino's and Nuvi's until that software change was made. While I only use the location function on occasion, it is nice to have. Many people say the radios are lacking in the Rino series, but I work in radio, and understand the limits of FRS/GMRS and terrain issues.

As you mentioned the series is still being produced and sold, albeit at a much higher cost now. My Rino 120 cost about $265 when it came out in 2003, and many were issued to me and others in the military at the time, for use in Afghanistan, as a second check on Rockwell AN/PSN-11 GPS devices. That was a lot to spend on a small radio and GPS combo.

But, considering the 120 and 530 still works today in 2021, I will continue to use them until they fail, to include the data transmission feature. Then, I may spend some money on the newer versions with camera, SD cards, and more memory. The topo maps might make me buy a newer version at some point as well. I am glad to see that the 755t has an antenna that appears to be molded around the case, the 530's had a huge problem with cracked antennas, or they would pull out from the casing. Mine has been repaired with black sealant and heat shrink tubing a few times now. Thank you for the response on the 755t, may have a look at one.

GPSSB_Rino_530.JPG

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