What you need to know to assure your radio
communications by January 1, 2013.
Sharp Communication works closely with a
licensed frequency coordinator on current
FCC licensing requirements. We can assist
you with new applications, renewals,
relocations, and modifications as well as
help you prepare for the future. We also
want you to be aware of an FCC licensing
change that could affect your business
communications: the requirement to move to
narrowband 12.5 kHz.
What is Narrowbanding?
Private land mobile radio (LMR) systems -
including municipal government, state and
local public safety systems - use blocks of
radio spectrum called channels.
Historically, LMR systems have used 25
kHz-wide channels. In December 2004, the
Federal Communications Commission mandated
that all private LMR users operating below
512 MHz move to 12.5 kHz narrowband voice
channels and highly efficient data channel
operations by January 1, 2013. This
migration complements a National
Telecommunications and Information
Administration mandate for more rapid
Federal agency migration to 12.5 kHz
narrowband operation by January 1, 2008. The
earlier Federal deadline affects state and
local FCC licensees that interface or share
frequencies with Federal radio systems.
Using narrowband channels will ensure that
agencies take advantage of more efficient
technology and, by reducing channel width,
will allow additional channels to exist
within the same spectrum space, as
Who is Affected?
The FCC Narrowbanding rules affect all
operators of land mobile radios (LMR), that
use channels between:
150 and 174 MHz
421 and 512 MHz
To phase in the migration deadline of January
1, 2013, the FCC has established interim
The first important deadline is
January 1, 2011, after which:
The FCC will not grant applications for
new voice operations or applications to
expand the authorized contour of
existing stations that use 25 kHz
channels. Only narrowband authorizations
will be granted.
The FCC will prohibit manufacture or
importation of new equipment that
operates on 25 kHz channels. This will
reduce the availability of new equipment
for legacy radio systems and will affect
how agencies maintain and upgrade their
New equipment submitted for FCC
type-acceptance must be 6.25/6.25 (e)
New system applications must be 12.5 kHz
No 25 kHz system expansion will be
meets this requirement.
January 1, 2013
All existing licenses must operate on
channels with a bandwidth of 12.5 kHz or
less (narrowband). Failure to comply
with the January 1, 2013 deadline
results in cancellation of license.
I/B and PS 150-512 MHz incumbents must
migrate to 12.5/12.5 kHz (e) or less.
It is unclear what happens to licensed
25 kHz systems after this date.
Land Mobile Radios Systems still using
wideband channels as of January 1, 2013 risk
Loss of Radio Communication
Substantial FCC Fines
Revocation of FCC Licenses
Planning the Move to Narrowband
LMR system operators (both public safety
and nonpublic safety) need to agressively
develop a strategy to meet narrowband
deadlines to avoice cancellation of existing
wideband FCC authorizations. Although the
migration deadline may seem far off, the
long lead time and interim deadlines make it
necessary for you to plan well in advance.
Assess Current Equipment and Start
To prepare for the migration, organizations
should start assessing their radio systems
and planning for replacements or upgrades.
They should inventory their current
equipment to ascertain what can be converted
to 12.5 kHz and what will need to be
replaced before January 1, 2013. Most new
equipment has the capability for both 25 kHz
and 12 kHz operation because any VHF/UHF
radio equipment accepted by the FCC after
February 14, 1997, had to have 12.5 kHz
capability. The 2.5 kHz narrowband equipment
is available in both conventional analog FM
and digital formats (such as Project 25), so
narrowband conventional FM systems will be
compliant. Local governments should develop
contingency plans to accomodate system
changes for both public safety and nonpublic
Obtain New or Modified LIcenses
To move to narrowband operations,
organizations must apply for new frequencies
or modify existing licenses. An organization
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. As
organizations migrate to narrowband
operation, however, the pool of available
frequencies will increase.
Motorola Radios that are Not Narrowband
Radio equipment manufacturers have been
aware of the pending narrowband mandate
since 1997 and most of the equipment
purchased in the last five years will be
capabile of changing to narrowband operation
simly by reprogramming.
Portable: CP100, GP300, GP350,
HT50, HT600, HT90, MT1000, P100, P110,
P200, P50, P50+, SP50, Saber
Mobile: GM300, M100, M120, M206,
M214, M216, Maratrac, Maxtrac, Mostar,
SM120, SM50, Spectra Conventional
Bases and Repeaters: Flexar,
Micor, Mocom 70, Motrac, MSF5000
Note that some older versions of the HT1000
and VISAR portable radios are programmable
for narrowband only on existing channels.
However, they may not be compatible if new
narrowband frequencies are added.
Plan for the Long-Term with MOTOTRBO
To meet later mandates planned by the FCC,
consider new equipment that is capable of
6.25 kHz channels. These very narrowband
systems are digital - your license should
specify digital operations prior to use of
Communication for more information and