FRS, GMRS and MURS (Radio Services under FCC Part 95 Rules)

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Amateur transceivers are not Type Certified under Part 95

Many people are tempted to use amateur radio transceivers, both handheld and mobile models, with wide transmit-receive frequency coverage, for double-duty in amateur radio and the General Mobile Radio Service, or the license-free Family Radio Service, whose frequencies are in the 450 - 470 MHz UHF band, or perhaps the license-free Multi-Use Radio Service, whose frequencies are in the 150 - 160 MHz region of VHF.

Unfortunately, no amateur radio transceiver is Type Certified by the FCC for use in GMRS, FRS or MURS, which are governed by Part 95 of the FCC Rules, as is the license-free 27 MHz Class D Citizen Band's 40 channels.  All Part 95 radio cervices require use of Type Certified equipment.

Take the BaoFeng handheld as an example.  The UV5R is type certified for Part 90 Land Mobile Service.  It cannot be type-certified (previously known as "type accepted") for Part 95 because the FCC has set a different standard for radios made for these services.

Generally, radios made for GMRS, FRS and MURS as well as CB cannot be designed to operate outside of the prescribed frequencies of the radio service, or operate at higher power than is allowed, and in the case of FRS, cannot have a removable antenna.

FRS also is limited to 2.5 kHz FM deviation and 0.5 watts of power.

Violation of FCC Rules can be costly

It is a violation of FCC Rules to use non-type-certified equipment in radio services governed by Part 95.

A Rules violation in one service can have an adverse impact on the license for another service.  The Commission takes the view that if it finds a candidate unfit to be a licensee in one service, the candidate can be deemed unfit to be a licensee in any service.

Using a piece of equipment that is not type-certified for its intended use, or using type-certified equipment that has been illegally modified is a violation of FCC Rules, and as noted above, can cost you your amateur radio license, even if the violation did not involve operation in the amateur service.

BaoFeng UV5R is Part 90 Type Certified

Type certification of amateur radio gear is limited to those pieces of equipment that operate near the 27 MHz Citizens Band range of frequencies, and mainly involves high-power amplifiers.  The object is to make unavailable ham equipment sold in the United States that is easily capable of operation in the CB band.  It also makes one more rule that can be cited in a violation complaint should someone succeed in modifying such gear.

The article stands corrected in stating that the BaoFeng is Part 97 type certified.  Such regulation of amateur equipment would place a burden on the licensed amateur who wants to make a piece of equipment work in the amateur service, or who wants to build his own.

This is a Chinese handheld transceiver rivaling the $400 models for just $50 or less, so it and the other recent Chinese brands are coming on strong just because of their inexpensive cost and dual band performance.

The BaoFeng will transmit between 400 and 500 MHz, covering many Part 90 Land Mobile frequencies as well as the Part 97 Amateur band from 420 to 450 MHz on UHF.  And yes, it covers the GMRS and FRS bands as well, but these services are governed by Part 95 of the Rules.

It also covers the 150 MHz band, so it also covers the unlicensed MURS channels, also governed by Part 95 of the Rules.

Conclusion

The risk of losing your amateur radio license, together with any other FCC license you may hold, or the cost of an FCC fine far outweighs the cost savings of using one radio for everything instead of carrying appropriately authorized radio equipment for each separate radio service.

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