Communications Connection

Free Webinar for School Transporters to make sense of Narrowbanding

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 @ 12:01 PM

Motorola, in conjunction with School Transportation News is offering a free* webinar to help student transporters make sense of the FCC narrowbanding requirement that is set to go into effect January 1, 2013.

Cost: Free

Date: January 26, 2012

Time: Noon (Eastern)

Where: Online Webcast

*Toll charges may apply.  Webinar can be viewed online with audio enabled at no additional charge. 

Here is the link to learn more about it or to register

 Click me

You may also be interested in some previous blog posts we have written about Narrowbanding highlighting some important dates and information


Topics: education, free event, student transporters, two way radio, narrowband

July 13, 2011 F.C.C. Public Notice on Narrowbanding

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 @ 15:07 PM

On July 13, 2011 the F.C.C issued a public notice providing a reminder of the Narrowbanding mandate for VHF/UHF and covering guidelines for submitting waiver requests.  This notice reinforces their committment to the January 1, 2013 deadline.  To read the notice, click here

 If you would like more information on how to handle the narrowbanding requirements for your organization contact Telecom by clicking on the image below.

Narrowband Information

Topics: two way radios, FCC, narrowband

Interoperability and Narrowbanding for First Responders

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Fri, Jun 24, 2011 @ 12:06 PM

Fire Interoperability SceneThis is a guest post by Sean Sweeney.  Sean is the Public Safety Communications Specialist for Telecom Communications and will be writing periodically about issues pertaining to the Public Safety market, in particular the Fire Market.

Hello, my name is Sean Sweeney and I just started with Telecom Communications, Inc.  Previously, I have worked for the City of New York working on Citywide Interoperability projects and coordinated with many agencies.  I have also worked on local projects in my home fire department in Central Islip, Long Island. 

A lot of first responders I talk to think that communications in the city are very different than out here on Long Island.  They think that systems and processes are too complex to be used in Nassau and Suffolk.  To an extent they are right.  But what is communications and how does it impact the field of public safety?

Communication is the process of transferring information from the source to the recipient.  That never changes.  But it's how we communicate with each other that define our roles in emergency response.  It is likely you have heard the terms interoperability and narrowbanding thrown around.  Some first responders fear these concepts simply because they don't understand them.

Interoperability is just a fancy way of saying "I can talk to you, and you can talk to me."  You don't realize it, but think about it.  You already have interoperability in your agency.  You have a radio; your dispatcher has a radio.  You can communicate.  We all know this is crucial in our daily lives as we respond to fires and EMS calls.  But we need to take this concept to the next level.

That next level is stepping back and evaluating your response area.  Do you have coverage in every inch of your district?  If so, you are in a great position.  Now take another step back.  Look at the separation between EMS and Fire.  Many areas on Long Island run separate agencies.  Those departments that surround you and give you mutual aid: can you communicate with them?  Can they communicate with you?  This is where first responders should start thinking about interoperability.

The explosion of UHF or "high-band" repeater systems in the area has given rise to a sense of isolationism.  Departments moved off of crowded, shared low band frequencies and put up their own systems.  This was not a bad move but, how do you talk between these bands?  I will use the EMS/Fire example.  EMS around me uses VHF, but many of the fire departments are on UHF.  This is turn causes a communications gap.  Technology has given us the tools as first responders to bridge that gap.  New multi-band radios (such as the APX7500) allow the first responder to operate on either band with the turn of a knob.  A Fire Chief can help direct incoming EMS units at a heavy rescue call.  EMT's can notify the fire dispatcher of their status.

Interoperability plays a big role in larger incidents as well.  The Federal government has established national interoperability channels for all public safety entities.  No additional license is needed, and is available on VHF, UHF, 7/8/900 MHz and more on the way.  It is the true path enhancing our abilities as emergency personnel.

Now for narrowbanding.  This is actually a result of the UHF explosion.  There are only so many frequencies in the public safety pool.  The F.C.C. saw this and acted.  Previously, frequencies were spaced at 25 kHz.  Many departments are still operating with this spacing.  As of January 1, 2011, no new licenses or requests for renewals will be accepted by the F.C.C. if you are still operating in wideband mode.  Pretty soon (January 1, 2013) it will be illegal to operate equipment not capable of narrowband, or 12.5 kHz operation.  Motorola has actually stopped making the older wideband only radios.  Here are some important issues from the F.C.C. on Narrowbanding:

  • F.C.C. establishes January 1, 2013 deadline for migration to 12.5 kHz technology

  • The order affects systems on VHF and UHF (high-band) channels between 150 and 512 MHz

  • Applications for wideband operations (25 KHz) will NOT be accepted after January 1, 2011

  • Application modification of operations that expand the authorized contour of an existing station using 25 KHz channels will NOT be accepted after January 1, 2011 (Also applies to "new" systems submitted for licensing)

If you are not sure if your equipment is compliant, give us a call at Telecom.  We can evaluate your communications needs and assist you in this transition.  Do not wait until the last minute, or you will find yourself without the ability to communicate.Narrowband assistance






Topics: fire depatments, 2 way radio, narrowband, interoperability

5 FAQ's about FCC Narrowbanding Mandate

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 @ 11:02 AM

With the FCC's mandate of 12.5 kHz by January 1, 2013, there have been many questions.  I wanted to take a minute to address 5 of the most common.

narrowband cta button resized 600

1 - What is Narrowbanding?

In an effort to promotoe more efficient use of spectrum, the FCC mandated all VHF and UHF Public Safety and Industrial/Business licensees using 25 kHz land mobile radio (LMR) systems migrate to narrowband 12.5 kHz efficiency technology by January 1, 2013.

FCC Narrowband Mandate FAQ

2- What will happen if I fail to comply with the FCC Naroowbanding Mandate?  Can I continue to operate at 25 kHz efficiency on a secondary status after January 1, 2013?

No.  The FCC will prohibit licensees from operating 25 kHz efficiency equipment on a secondary basis.  Non-compliance will be considered a violation subject to FCC Enforcement Bureau action, which may include admonishment, monetary fines and loss of license.

3- Does Narrowbanding require me to change frequencies or obtain new channels?

No.  Narrowbanding does not require moving to another frequency band or different channels.  Licensees stay on the same channel center(s), but reduce the bandwidth of the channel(s) currently used, from 25 kHz to 12.5 kHz and change the emission designator on the license.  Alternatively, licensees stay on the same 25 kHz channel but implement a 12.5 kHz equivalent technology on that channel.

4- If I currently have a license for a 25 kHz channel, will I automatically be entitled to license two 12.5 kHz channels?

No. Your 12.5 kHz channel will remain on the same 26 kHz channel center.  Your current 25 kHz channel will not be split into two 12.5 kHz channels.  You will need to justify and apply for any additional 12.5 kHz channels to the FCC through a certified frequency coordinator.

5- Will migration to 12.5 kHz change my system coverage?

Maybe.  Condust tests during the conversion to ensure your system continyes to provide similiar coverage.

FCC Narrowband Assistance

For a more complete listing of FCC Narrowbanding FAQ's visit 

Topics: motorola, two way radios, 2 way radio, narrowband

FCC Narrowbanding Mandate for Two-way: Who, what, where, when and why

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, May 3, 2010 @ 11:05 AM

If you have been on the internet, read the newspaper lately or even just through word of mouth you have most likely heard about the FCC Narrowbanding Mandates.  To understand the changes first you need to understand how two-way radios operate.

When two-way radios are operated, they do so in licensed bands called UHF and VHF.  Inside those bands are radio channels that the FCC regulates.  This is where radio licensing comes in.  In the past, each channel for commercial two way users used 25 kHz of spectrum per channel.  Throughout the years the number of radio users has increased and since there is a limited amount of radio spectrum available, the availability for new users has decreased.  Enter the FCC and Narrowbanding.


The FCC has mandated all business and public safety users operating on channels between 150 and 174 mHz and 421 and 512 mHz in the United States to transition from 25 kHz to 12.5 kHz.  What this will do is increase the amount of channels available to two-way radio operators.

So the next question becomes why should I - the FCC would never know.  In short, Yes they would.  By not converting to Narrowband, not only will you experience increased interference but you also risk loss of radio communications, substantial FCC fines and/or the revocation of your FCC license.

Okay, okay you know you need to do it but when does this all happen?  You've been hearing about this for years.  Well the time for conversion has finally arrived.  Key dates for the transitions:

January 1, 2011: 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 authorization 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 older systems.

January 1, 2013: All existing licenses must operate on channels with a bandwidth of 12.5 kHz or less

So now you have the who, what, where, when and why but what about the how?  To prepare for the migration, users should begin by assessing their current radio system.  This will allow them to see what can be reprogrammed to meet the requirements and what needs to be replaced.  Because radio manufacturers have been aware of the mandates since 1997, most equipment purchased in the past 5 years should be able to just be reprogrammed.  Once the assesment is complete, radio operators need to obtain new or modified FCC licenses.  The final step is to set a date to begin your narrowband operations and make sure all your radios are tuned to the new bandwidth prior to that date. 

FCC Narrowband Mandate

If you would like more information of the FCC Narrowbanding Mandates you can check out the sites below:

National Institute of Justice Communications Technologies

Federal Communications Commission

Telecom Communications, Inc.



Topics: two way radios, two way radio, FCC, 2 way radio, wireless definition, narrowband