We had a salesperson some years ago who received an interesting call from an elementary school in North Carolina. The customer had a curious complaint about the low wattage two-way radios they had purchased for their teachers, staff, and administrators. According to our salesperson, the conversation went as follows:
Customer: “Someone is swearing over our radios.”
Amerizon Salesperson: “Someone is swearing over your radios? Another teacher?
Customer: “No, not another teacher. We don’t know who it is! The point is that Ms. Halley’s kindergarten class is hearing the ‘f-word’ blasting from her radio.”
The salesperson explained that the school’s radios were operating on a low-powered business frequency and that what they were experiencing is referred to as “bleed over,” which occurs when nearby radios, operating on the same frequency, accidentally come over your radio.
Furthermore, the salesperson advised that the best way to stop this from happening was to purchase higher wattage radios with an FCC license. Having a designated radio frequency all their own from the FCC would enable the school to “control their conversations.”
As it turned out, the low-wattage radios purchased by the school were operating on the same frequency as a warehouse across the street. The kindergartens in Ms. Halley’s class were hearing the workers in the warehouse swearing. By purchasing radios from Amerizon and acquiring an FCC license, the school secured their communications and saved the poor little ears of Ms. Halley’s class.
Do I Need a FCC License for My Radios?
The above story demonstrates why, as a customer, you might want to obtain an FCC license in certain circumstances.
The most common question we receive at Amerizon is “do I need a license for my radios?”
The answer is: you have options.
Whether you want or need an FCC license typically depends on four critical factors:
- How Many Radios Are in Your Fleet - The greater the number of radios in your fleet, the more likely it is that you will need your own designated frequency.
- The Range of Your Communications - How large is your building or facility? How far do you need your signal to travel?
- How Important It Is For You to Control Your Conversations - Again, as the story above shows, having your own designated frequency is beneficial to radio users because it eliminates interference, “bleed over,” from other radios. Importantly, it also prohibits people from listening in on your conversations.
- The Wattage (Power) of Your Radios - Two-way radios with a higher wattage generally require their own frequency, which can only be obtained by purchasing an FCC license. (It's important to note that a lower wattage does not necessarily mean an FCC license isn't needed and it's important to contact an expert if you are unsure.)
The most productive conversation you can have about your radios and licensing is the one you’ll be having with us. Our sales staff will not just walk you through the process of FCC licensing, we’ll obtain the right FCC license for you. Our support team will:
- Determine the right license for your business.
- Handle the setup of your radios and license.
- Monitor the validity of your license.
If you stop reading this blog here, the most important takeaway is that it’s important that you contact us so we can walk you through every step of the process of licensing and programming your radios.
What If I Buy a Radio that Doesn’t Require a License?
Despite what you may read on the internet, there are not many two-way radios that absolutely do not require FCC licenses.
The Motorola DTR700, for instance, is a frequency-hopping, 1-watt radio that does not require a license. Why? As a 1-watt radio, it is unlikely the DTR700 from Motorola will interfere with other radio signals. That being said, this doesn't mean that all low-wattage radios do not require an FCC license.
Again, the important thing to remember, is that when you’re ready to purchase radios, you have options when it comes to FCC licensing.
The way we often put it to customers: there are plenty of two-way radios that you can buy at your local Walmart that don’t require licenses, but if you want a professional fleet of radios with adequate wattage and range for your business, let us be your consultants in working out whether you need an FCC license.
We are not the police in reporting you to the FCC; rather we are your consultants who provide expert guidance regarding FCC licensing
Many new customers mistake our role in helping you obtain an FCC license as that of the police. Let us be clear: we do not report to the FCC, and we will not be the ones turning you in if you decide not to obtain a license.
That said, FCC fines for using high-wattage two-way radios without a license can be expensive. At the same time, relying on low wattage business frequencies is not only unpredictable, producing interference, but it also allows others to listen in on your conversations.
If you’re using repeaters and/or high wattage radios, or if you care about your conversations being secure, Amerizon will act as your consultant in ensuring you are FCC compliant and your frequency is private.
The vendor that processes licenses for Amerizon customers has a board seat on the FCC. For this reason, going through us to obtain your FCC radio license provides you with the highest level of security in becoming compliant.
Our Licensing Services include:
- Ensuring your radio system is narrowband
- Applying for a new license
- Modifying an existing license
- Authorizing licenses
- Transferring licenses
- Filing construction notices