Narrowbanding Fallacies and Facts
Wednesday, August 04, 2010 | Comments
By Leonard Koehnen
 
There is a great deal of misinformation throughout the industry regarding narrowbanding. The following is a list of fallacies and facts regarding narrowbanding:
 
Fallacy
 
Fact

The FCC will relent in the end because of the economy and give public safety an extension.

The FCC published a report in January, stating it will not relent. Be prepared for no reprieve. Even if there is, the adjacent narrowband channels are being assigned, and unless you narrowband, you will experience interference from them.

Everybody must narrowband again in 2017 so you shouldn’t spend a lot of money now.

There is a 2017 rule for 700 MHz users to migrate to 6.25-channel equivalency but not anybody else.

You must go to Project 25 (P25) digital voice.

By Jan. 1, 2013, the maximum you must transmit is 12.5-kilohertz channel analog voice. You can employ P25 on that channel if you want.

You must scrap your system and migrate to a statewide trunked system.

There is no such requirement.

You must go to 700 or 800 MHz.

There is no such requirement.

If you join the state network, your fire-paging channel does not have to be narrowbanded.

There is no such privilege afforded to the states.

We are so far out in a rural area, the FCC will never know we haven’t narrowbanded.

You may be in the rural area but your signals can skip 100 – 200 miles in the spring and fall. If you interfere with a legally operating narrowband system, that user can file a complaint, and the FCC may take action against you.

I’m going to use my old wideband radios for temporary or close-in work. Maybe I will take them to my hunting or lake cabin.

Same as above.

The radio shop is just going to add a third-party aftermarket device to narrowband my wideband-only radios.

The FCC recently told MissionCritical Communications that this isn’t permitted. The radio or kit to narrowband a radio must be designed by the radio’s manufacturer and type accepted with the radio to operate in the narrowband mode.

The radio shop has played with our radios, and by tweaking them, they can make them operate narrowband.

This isn’t permitted. The FCC has ruled that the radio must be designed and type accepted by the original manufacturer to be narrowbanded or it can’t be used after Jan. 1, 2013.

 
For more on narrowbanding see “7 Narrowbanding Tips” and “Affordable Coverage Options” in the August issue of MissionCritical Communications.
 

 
Leonard Koehnen, PE is a consulting engineer from St. Paul, Minn. He is on the MissionCritical Communications editorial advisory board. In 2011, he will celebrate 50 years of work in the electronic communications industry.
 
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