Do you have a valid license?

A license is required to operate any part 90 VHF or UHF (150 Mhz-512 Mhz) radio system. If you do not have a valid license, check to make sure you are paying “air-time” or that you provider has a license.

If the answer is no, you will need to determine what frequencies are programmed in your radios and ascertain whether a license is required. It is recommended that you seek the assistance of a “certified Frequency Coordinator”.

Verify that your radios are “Narrow band Capable”

Radios that are not capable of being reprogrammed and set to narrowband will need be replaced. Check with your radio dealer to see if your radio can be reprogrammed. Most newer radios should be capable of migrating from wide to narrow band mode.

Check Your License

Look at your license from the Federal Communications Commission. On the far right is a column labled “Emmission Designator” (see figure 2). If the first two digits are greater than 11 it will need to be modified.

In the example, figure 2, below the first two frequencies have an emission designator of 20K0F3E. This is wide band voice. The license in figure 2 will require a modification prior to the Madatory deadline of January 1st, 2013.


If your radios cannot be reprogrammed and you have determined that you will need to modify your license, have a budget and a plan. This may mean replaceing or radios. Parituclarly if your radios are older/crystalled controlled. Most radios purchased within the last 6-8 years are already narrowband capable. They only need to be re-tuned or re-programmed by a technician to comply with the Rules.

Contact your local radio dealer and get a price quote. You may need to modify your license to become compliant before the mandatory migration date in 2013. Avoid costly FCC fines and avoid potentially losing your license. To move to narrowband operations, licensees must apply for new frequencies or modify existing licenses. A licensee that is licensed for a 25 kHz-wide channel is not guaranteed two 12.5 kHz channels.

Licensees will have to justify to the FCC why they need additional channels. Consideration of applications for new narrowband licenses will follow the same process as a new license application. Secure the help of a “FCC Certified Frequency Coordination”.