Do I Need an FCC License for Two-Way Radios in Kentucky and Indiana?

For decades, two-way radios have proven themselves repeatedly as the leader in instant communications. For many of those years, analog systems have fulfilled the needs of many for reliable communications equipment and will continue to do so for some. But, in this day and age, businesses have started shifting to digital platforms as regulatory pressures and real-word needs are demanding these capabilities.

All radios must operate in narrowband 12.5 kHz channel spacing in order to be compliant with current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. The good news is, this shift is increasing profits and boosting operational efficiencies, worker safety, and productivity for Kentucky businesses using digital two-way radios.

What does this shift towards digital technology mean for you and your existing two-way radio systems in Kentucky? Here we will answer some of your frequently asked questions about FCC two-way radio licenses in Kentucky. 

Do I Need an FCC License for Two-Way Radios in Kentucky? 

Family Radio Service (FRS) radios do not require an FCC license. These radios are sold as consumer radios and are not suitable for job sites.

While you don’t need an FCC license to purchase General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radios, it is required by the FCC that anyone operating a device on the GMRS obtain a license prior to use.

An FCC license in Kentucky is also required for commercial and professional radio systems. These systems are designed for business and small government applications and are regulated to keep radio system owners accountable to ensure professional, secure, and safe communication.

If you have concerns about your FCC license requirements, contact our two-way radio dealers in Kentucky. We can determine if your radios meet the requirements and  help you with your FCC license application.

Why do I Need an FCC License for Two-Way Radios? 

Two-way radios operate on frequencies that are regulated by the FCC. The FCC requires a GMRS license as a way to regulate these frequencies that are used by two-way radios in Kentucky. This allows the FCC to keep track of how many users are using the frequency, where they are intending to use the radios, and what industry or application they are using radios for. Any radio above 2W of power is now classified as GMRS radio and still requires a license from the FCC to operate after recent changes from the FCC.

How do I Apply for an FCC License? 

You can apply for your FCC two-way radio license in Kentucky by completing FCC form 159 and form 605 which can be found on the FCC forms page, or by applying online at the FCC Universal License System (ULS) website. You are able to apply by yourself or you can contact our FCC Licensing Coordinators, and we’ll take care of the long application process and all of the paperwork for you.  

What Information is Required for a Kentucky FCC Two-Way Radio License? 

To obtain your Kentucky FCC two-way radio license, the FCC will require your business name, address, and federal tax ID (if you have one). They will need to know the number of radios you are buying (or using), what radio models you’re using, if they’re approved in the USA, and the latitude and longitude in which they will be operating.

The FCC will also need to know about your base stations, repeaters, and tower heights, if installing large networks.

Approved licenses are sent electronically so, in order to receive your license, you will have to provide a valid email address.

What is Narrowbanding and What Does it Mean for My Kentucky Business? 

As of January 1, 2013, The FCC mandated that all VHF and UHF industrial and business licensees using 25kHz portable radios migrate to 12.5kHz narrowbanding requirements.

Much needed bandwidth for other radio users and communication networks was freed up by this decision.
It is possible that, since digital radios operate at 6.25kHZ spacing, there may be further regulations in the future. In order to ensure that your FCC license is up to date, contact our Kentucky two-way radio dealers for help and confirmation.

What is Spectrum Efficiency? 

Due to UHF and VHF frequency band congestion, there is often not enough available spectrum for licensees to either expand their systems or implement new ones. Spectrums have been reorganized based on purpose and interoperability with each new technology demanding its own frequency to operate.

The spectrum efficiency mandate allows for the creation of additional channels within the same spectrum by requiring licensees to operate more efficiently by using narrower channel bandwidths or increased voice paths on existing channels.

Will Migration to 12.5 kHz Change Your Systems Coverage Area? 

Unfortunately, that is a possibility. You can and should conduct tests during the conversion to ensure your radios continue to provide similar coverage to what you had before. Our dealers in Kentucky can help with the transition, and minimize any impact that migration has on your system.

How Can I Tell if my Motorola Equipment is 12.5 kHz Capable? 

All Motorola radio equipment certified by the FCC since February of 1997 is 12.5kHz efficiency capable, so, your equipment most likely is. To make sure that your equipment is capable, contact our Kentucky two-way radio dealers for confirmation.

How Can I Determine if I Have a Valid FCC license? 

RCS Communications is happy to assist you in determining if you have a Kentucky FCC two-way radio license. The FCC website does offer a complete listing of frequency coordinators. This information is also available at the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

Need Help Finding the Right Radios? 

Explore our Motorola two-way radio catalog to find the best radios to suit the needs of your unique Kentucky business or contact our Motorola experts for more information.

Have More Questions About the FCC? 

Ready to let RCS do the heavy lifting for your FCC licensing requirements? Contact us today and our team of FCC Licensing Coordinators will assist with all of our licensing rules, requirements, and paperwork.  

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