Narrowbanding FAQs: Week of July 5
Wednesday, July 07, 2010 | Comments
FCC officials agreed to answer technical questions submitted by MissionCritical Communications readers. Following are questions from readers and answers from FCC technical and policy experts.
Question: I have a mining company client that uses 72 MHz for crane and locomotive control. All of the narrowbanding articles I have seen say frequencies in the 70 – 512 MHz apply, yet I have never seen anything defining narrowband operations in the 72/75 MHz band. Please explain what happens in this band.
Answer: The narrowbanding resulting from the refarming proceeding only pertains to the private land mobile bands between 150 MHz and 512 MHz. There is no requirement to narrowband systems operating in the 72 – 76 MHz band.

Question: The same mining company has mining operations in Canada. Do we know if Canada is going through this? Timeline? Can they move their U.S. radios to their Canadian operation if they have been type accepted by Canada?
Answer: I received the following information from Industry Canada: 
The Canadian Redeployment Plan does not have a hard transition date like the United States. If operations are located in a congested zone and a wideband system is blocking a more efficient operation, then Industry Canada may narrowband the system. Notwithstanding the lack of a hard transition date, congestion in urban areas generally requires new systems, especially near the border regions, to be narrowband. Significant justification is needed for new systems in this band to obtain authorization for wideband systems.
Specifically, with respect to the mining company in question, assuming that the mining company isn’t in a congested area, it can move its radios to Canada if they are type accepted and the company may never have to narrowband.

Question: Are General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) licensees in the Part 95 service required to narrowband their equipment? When?
Answer: The GMRS, regulated under 47 CFR Part 95, isn’t required to transition to narrowband. The narrowbanding effort only affects private land mobile radios regulated under 47 CFR Part 90. However, the commission recently released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) (WT Docket No. 10-119) in which it proposes “to implement 12.5-kilohertz narrowbanding in the GMRS.” (See paragraphs 36 – 37 of the referenced NPRM.) The NPRM asks questions regarding application of narrowbanding requirements and what would be an appropriate transition period.

The range of frequencies that must be narrowbanded was incorrect in the July issue’s “Inbox.” The range for refarming is 150 – 512 MHz. MissionCritical Communications regrets the error.

In addition, following is a revised answer to the last question from the July issue’s “Inbox.”
Question: Is it permissible for users to program radios sold after Jan. 1, 2011, with previous versions of programming software and enable 25-kilohertz operations?
Answer: Radios manufactured and/or imported prior to Jan. 1, 2011, may be sold and programmed or reprogrammed to enable the 25-kilohertz mode of operation after that date. However, it is not permissible to manufacture and/or import radios after Jan. 1, 2011 that are capable of being programmed or reprogrammed by the user to enable 25-kilohertz operation, because they would be considered to be 25-kilohertz-capable radios even if they are not actually programmed for 25-kilohertz operation when they are delivered to the end user.

Editor’s Note: If you have a technical question regarding VHF or UHF narrowbanding, e-mail, and we will request an answer from the FCC and run the information as soon as possible. For more narrowbanding information, visit
You can also contact the FCC directly via Robert Kenny, FCC spokesman, 202-418-2668, In addition, visit the FCC's Narrowbanding FAQs at Also see Tech Topic 16: Narrow Banding Public Safety Communication Channels and Tech Topic 12: National Interoperability Channels. The FCC's spectrum home page is at

For more on narrowbanding...
Click here for "Narrowbanding FAQs" from May 26.
Click here for "Narrowbanding FAQs" from April 5.
Click here for "Narrowbanding FAQs: Week of Feb. 15."
Click here for "More Narrowbanding FAQs" from Feb. 2.
Click here for "Narrowbanding FAQs: The FCC Responds to Readers' Questions."
Click here for "Narrowbanding: Helpful Tips from Spokane."
Your comments are welcome, click here.


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