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Friendly reminder to those who use GMRS, Ham, FRS, MURS, Unlicensed CCRs... etc...


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  • MichaelLAX changed the title to Friendly reminder to those who use GMRS, Ham, FRS, MURS, Unlicensed CCRs... etc...

I recall seeing this a few times, and it seems to come out en masse before a scheduled political speech, demonstration, or public protest. Some agencies spam this via email as well to their departments, trickling down to as many end users as possible. The Beofeng crowd as it is called in my part of the country, as they tend to use them as pointing devices when talking to the media. Local police do often confiscate FRS and FRS/GMRS radios as well as scanners from perps committing crimes though, so it is a valid warning. Sometimes batches are sold off cheap at auction.

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3 hours ago, jgillaspy said:

Like any of the bad guys care.

JG

We don’t care if the bad guys care…

Knowledge, or imputed knowledge, of the crime (illegal use of the radio) is used to add charges to the indictment and even more time to the sentencing 

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On 1/17/2022 at 3:32 PM, MichaelLAX said:

We don’t care if the bad guys care…

Knowledge, or imputed knowledge, of the crime (illegal use of the radio) is used to add charges to the indictment and even more time to the sentencing 

With actual killers walking the streets today, I'm sure lawyers have a field day with the radio laws and talking deals.  The law seems written to licensee and "knowingly" using the radios to commit a crime...

 

Edited by H8SPVMT
to add a thought
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11 hours ago, H8SPVMT said:

The law seems written to licensee and "knowingly" using the radios to commit a crime

I know of a couple of cases where this was definitely used as an argument. Had the person tested for an amateur or commercial license, or paid for a GMRS license, they would have had the radio issue enforced as an enhancement to the crime they were being prosecuted for. This is also why many police squad cars still have a version of (mostly Uniden models in my area) scanner mounted in their console or dash alongside their public safety radio. I also once had a detective ask me if he should carry his own FRS/GMRS (pre-2017) radio as many perps he dealt with were found with them. This led to the purchase of near field receivers, Optoelectronics and others that have been used for decades to detect strong RF signals during law enforcement investigations.

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36 minutes ago, AdmiralCochrane said:

Was between 10m and 11m

I still hear some of these in some parts of the country. Usually Texas to Mississippi on the highways east to west. Often at truck stops, a few even brag about having linear amplifiers. Lots of people have had gear confiscated in that crowd, but often after being stopped for something else. In oil spill response related emergency communications, our truck drivers only got away with having scanners in the cab because of the nature of that division of the company, and towing mobile communications suites or related support trailers. State Patrol often wondered why these tractors had several Motorola mobiles (VHF, UHF, and 800MHz) and a VHF marine radio installed. Luckily, we had documentation that mentioned what was being transported and why, with FEMA documents to add credibility for the driver. Although, many drivers did not even know how to operate anything besides the AM 40 channel CB radio. In the ten years I was in that industry, there was only one truck driver that was fined for supposed unlicensed radio use, but then the ticket was thrown out in court. The ticket was based on the thought that one of those radios had to be an illegal 10m CB.

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13 hours ago, PACNWComms said:

I still hear some of these in some parts of the country. Usually Texas to Mississippi on the highways east to west. Often at truck stops, a few even brag about having linear amplifiers. Lots of people have had gear confiscated in that crowd, but often after being stopped for something else. In oil spill response related emergency communications, our truck drivers only got away with having scanners in the cab because of the nature of that division of the company, and towing mobile communications suites or related support trailers. State Patrol often wondered why these tractors had several Motorola mobiles (VHF, UHF, and 800MHz) and a VHF marine radio installed. Luckily, we had documentation that mentioned what was being transported and why, with FEMA documents to add credibility for the driver. Although, many drivers did not even know how to operate anything besides the AM 40 channel CB radio. In the ten years I was in that industry, there was only one truck driver that was fined for supposed unlicensed radio use, but then the ticket was thrown out in court. The ticket was based on the thought that one of those radios had to be an illegal 10m CB.

Since the radio spectrum is controlled by the FCC, through an act of Congress, that would be under Federal Control. So how would a local PD think they can get away with enforcing a law, FCC regulation, they don't have any statuary power to be involved enforcing? It would be like the local PD demanding to see your Ham and or GMRS license. As far as I know they only person you must show it to is a official of the FCC with proper identification being shown.

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The point of the FCC's Enforcement Authority is not policing whether or not the operator of a transmitter is validly licensed.

The point is to warn against using radio transmissions during the commission of a crime:

Quote

Individuals using radios in this manner... may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and in some cases, criminal prosecution.

 This Notice is clearly a product of the January 6 Insurrection at The Capitol, and now their subsequent prosecution for crimes up to, and including, seditious conspiracy

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There is "amateur radio world" and then real world, with the two often being far apart.

As MichaelLAX mentioned, things have changed.

As for radio gear in commercial vehicles, there are other restrictions, like not being able to use radio scanners, radar detectors, and laser jamming equipment as well. Drive truck for a while and you will find that the State Patrol adds enhancements for all kinds of things that may fall under the FCC for regulation, but law enforcement for when they connect with commercial transportation.

It is similar to maritime law, and the use of RF emitting equipment. Do you thin the FCC enforces licensing for marine operators of radio/radar? No, it is usually the U.S. Coast Guard that boards the vessel and checks ship and operator licenses. In my ten years offshore, I never had an FCC official check a license, it was always the Coast Guard. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my state, the criminal enhancement is written "use of a communications device", so it really does not matter if a CB, Ham, GMRS, cellphone, or paper cups are used in the commission of a crime. Also the state laws prohibit interference with police as well as commercial broadcast. So in effect, if you are running a pirate radio station they can bust you.

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk

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3 hours ago, JLeikhim said:

"use of a communications device"

This is true in my area as well. When FRS/GMRS (pre-2017) radios were becoming more common and available in blister packs at big box stores, local law enforcement often found criminals using them. This led to some even carrying FRS/GMRS radios in scan mode themselves, and the programming of squad car scanners (often Uniden Bearcat models) with a bank just to monitor this frequency band. Just like pagers and cell phones, any communications method that may assist in legitimate use, will also benefit criminal enterprise.

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15 hours ago, PACNWComms said:

This is true in my area as well. When FRS/GMRS (pre-2017) radios were becoming more common and available in blister packs at big box stores, local law enforcement often found criminals using them. This led to some even carrying FRS/GMRS radios in scan mode themselves, and the programming of squad car scanners (often Uniden Bearcat models) with a bank just to monitor this frequency band. Just like pagers and cell phones, any communications method that may assist in legitimate use, will also benefit criminal enterprise.

Then you have the local PD's officers and detectives using modified Ham radios while doing surveillance operations. They operate on non licensed police frequencies for the above reasons, the criminals don't know which frequencies are being used, thus likely aren't monitoring, and the detectives can switch in seconds.

Many years ago I was siting with a ground of friends for dinner at a local restaurant. I saw two uniformed police officers enter and sit down. Both had their Motorola brick radios and switched on. One of the officers had an easily identified Yeasu FT-50 sitting on the table as well. I seriously doubt he was playing Ham Radio while on break. Was the radio modified? Don't know. But it got me researching and discovered it wasn't that uncommon for the police to use "free-banded" Ham radios for "private" communications that aren't monitored by dispatch.    

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35 minutes ago, Lscott said:

it wasn't that uncommon for the police to use "free-banded" Ham radios

In my area, this is still done with Yeasu VX-7R/8R versions, and it was not just law enforcement. The Coast Guard has been noticed doing this as well. I live on the coast, so there are lots of people trying to transit local waterways. Some may be carrying people and cargo. My own VX-7R is one of my more useful radios, I used to use it to radio check almost everything in the radio room/rack of many of the local vessels that respond to oil spills. We also have many Auxilliary Communications Services (ACS) in the area, that have replaced Emergency Communications groups, with the ACS staffed by retired/former law enforcement and federal agents that also enjoy amateur radio. Much more effective than the emcomm crowd in this area. Having someone that has time to monitor, and still has the authority to arrest as needed. Great point on the use of amateur radio by law enforcement.

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38 minutes ago, RobertHode said:

Does anyone have an approved and official list of the equipment that can be used to commit or facilitaed criminal acts? I want to do things correctly.

Asking for a friend

Well you can ask those who have been convicted and I'm sure they can tell you what equipment doesn't work.

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44 minutes ago, RobertHode said:

Does anyone have an approved and official list of the equipment that can be used to commit or facilitaed criminal acts? I want to do things correctly.

Asking for a friend

That is why those photos of The Proud Boys and The Oath Keepers using Baofengs during the J6 insurrection are just classic! 😉

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16 hours ago, RobertHode said:

Does anyone have an approved and official list of the equipment that can be used to commit or facilitaed criminal acts? I want to do things correctly.

Asking for a friend

Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum ISM band radios like the Motorola DTR and similar series, with a custom hopset loaded......oh wait, legal, yes, legal....lol.

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3 hours ago, PACNWComms said:

Motorola DTR and similar series, with a custom hopset loaded

I'm not sure about DTR, but DLR has only four digits for the hopset, making 10000 combinations. Is DTR the same? May help with facilitating crimes somewhere with understaffed underfunded sheriffs departments, but for 3-letter agencies seems to be easy to brute-force. No?

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14 minutes ago, axorlov said:

I'm not sure about DTR, but DLR has only four digits for the hopset, making 10000 combinations. Is DTR the same? May help with facilitating crimes somewhere with understaffed underfunded sheriffs departments, but for 3-letter agencies seems to be easy to brute-force. No?

One might be tempted to assume it's secure. I don't know if the exact protocol is documented but some kind of synchronization code has to be communicated between the radios. Who knows what else is being sent. In fact it might even be a requirement that "secret" hop info is being transmitted and that only "authorized" government agencies have access to it for monitoring use.

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2 hours ago, Lscott said:

One might be tempted to assume it's secure. I don't know if the exact protocol is documented but some kind of synchronization code has to be communicated between the radios. Who knows what else is being sent. In fact it might even be a requirement that "secret" hop info is being transmitted and that only "authorized" government agencies have access to it for monitoring use.

That comes to mind too. Being familiar with encryption export/use debacles from 1990s I would not be surprised that there is a government-mandated backdoor too. Only for "authorized" use, sure.

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3 hours ago, axorlov said:

I'm not sure about DTR, but DLR has only four digits for the hopset, making 10000 combinations. Is DTR the same?

The DTR series is the same, only four digits. What I did have happen once though, was a group that set many channels to different hopsets, and they were smart enough to change channels often. However, we are still talking about a 1 watt radio. As for the government backdoors, I do not know about that, if they have them or not. VSELP and FHSS would take some test equipment, but should not be outside the capability of a three letter agency or even SPAWAR or whatever they go by now.

What I experience in my area, is a lot of users of DTR and DPL radios leaving them defaulted, so my DTR on a default hopset hears all of them talking....usually tugboats. This area is saturated by UHF (FRS/GMRS) radios, so they must have wanted something else, in the unlicensed ISM band. Motorola must have sold every barge, crane and construction crew in the region DTR and DPL radios, they are all over the place. So, they also end up in crimes, probably with default settings. 

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I think you are both over thinking the monitoring of radio transmissions at the site of an incident. The only comms that are actively monitored would be the non-encrypted ones as tracking frequency hopping or code encrypted comms requires special equipment not found in most incident command vehicles. They are going after the low hanging fruit as it were.

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