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How to Obtain an FCC License for Narrow-band Data Radio

Obtaining an FCC license to use a narrow-band radio channel is not difficult at all.  In fact, the FCC has listed over 300 ,000 license holders in the Land Mobile Radio service alone.

Licenses for Data Radio Use

Licenses for Data Radio Use

Raveon’s M7 radio modem operate on radio frequencies that are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  In order to transmit on these frequencies, you are required to have a license issued by the FCC. This article provides the information you need to obtain an FCC license for your organization

The FCC will has information to help you through the licensing process. You can find the basic information you need to begin the process at the FCC website. If you are engaged in Public Safety Radio Activities, you can go directly to:

Licensees in the Industrial/Business Radio Pool are issued to radio users to support business operations. Their communications systems are used for support of day-to-day business activities, such as dispatching, AVL, and diverting personnel or work vehicles, coordinating the activities of workers and machines on location, or remotely monitoring and controlling equipment with data radio modems.  If you are a business, commercial, or institutional organization, you can go directly to:

FCC Industrial-Business Licensing

To be eligible for an FCC license in the Industrial License Pool, a person or business must use the license and be primarily engaged in any of the following activities:

  • The operation of a commercial activity or business
  • The operation of educational, philanthropic, or ecclesiastical institutions
  • Clergy activities
  • The operation of hospitals, clinics, or medical associations

In either case, you will be shown the regulations and the information you will need to gather before you get started – your desired operating frequencies, wideband/narrowband, antenna type and size, power/wattage, etc. You’ll also get information on how to obtain the necessary application forms – either in hard-copy or electronic format – and how to proceed.

The FCC website also offers a list of Frequency Coordinators. These are private organizations officially certified by the FCC to help you through the process, and who in most cases will handle the actual filing of your application. With few exceptions, you must apply for an FCC license through a Frequency Coordinator. They are located throughout the country, making it easy for you to find one that is familiar with radio operations in your area.

There are companies who specialize in assisting with licensing radio modems. You may consider contacting one of the following:

Atlas License Company and Data Services

Airwaves Licensing

1901 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006
P: 202-872-0030
F: 202-872-1331
Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA)
Attn: Robert Bitton, President
1565 Union Avenue, P.O. Box 775
Union, New Jersey 07083-0775
P: 908-810-8822
F: 908-810-8844
1565 Oak Street
Eugene, Oregon 97401
P: Main Office: 541-485-8441
P: Chicago: 888-583-2-WAY
P: Dallas: 888-342-2-WAY
P: Los Angeles 888-355-2-WAY
P: WASH. D.C. 888-395-2-WAY
F: 541-485-7556
899-A Harrison St., S.E.
Leesburg, VA 20175
P: 703-669-0320
F: 703-669-0322

The FCC Licensing Process

  1. Gathering Information
    (Frequency band you wish to use, number of radios you will use, determine the desired RF power output level, location of the base-station, the base-station antenna height and supporting structure, base station site elevation above sea level (meters), and the emission designator (11K0F1D for the M7 radio).
  2. Choose a Frequency Coordination
    Frequency coordinators
    are FCC certified to recommend the most appropriate frequencies for applicants in the designated Part 90 radio services. Choose one from the list above, or Google “FCC Industrial Frequency Coordinators” to find one you would like to work with.
  3. File The Application
    Applications are normally filed with the FCC through the frequency coordinator.  The frequency coordinator you choose will file the application with the FCC.
  4. Immediate Operation
    There are two ways to begin immediate operation of your system. The FCC implemented a licensing procedure for conditional authority in 1995. You may begin operating your system 10 days after your application is filed with the FCC. In addition, you may apply for a Special Temporary Authority to operate during emergency or other urgent conditions without filing a license application.
  5. Notification of Construction
    A licensee must notify the Commission that its system is constructed and placed into operation within 12 months of the date of grant or their license will automatically cancel. Notification is made by filing FCC Form 601 through ULS (Purpose Code: NT). You may also request an extension.
  6. Renewal of License
    Your FCC license will typically be issued for 10 years.  You must file for renewal of your license no later than the expiration date of your license period, and no sooner than 90 days prior to expiration by filing FCC Form 601 (Purpose Code: RO) through ULS. (See 47 CFR 1.949).

Filed under: Data Radio Technology, Industry information, Installation Information | Posted on December 1st, 2010 by John Sonnenberg

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