Many people ask us:
“Do I have to have an FCC license to operate these radios?”
The short answer, in most cases, is generally “Yes”, although radios that work on most wide area commercial systems, like the ones we operate, fall under our licenses as "subscriber units", and do not need an FCC license for each individual customer.
However, most of the “On Site” radios that we sell, and that are sold by most two-way dealers, operate on frequencies that are listed by the FCC under “Land Mobile Radio Services”. We encourage our customers or prospective customers to do an Internet search for “FCC ULS“, look on the right for “Radio Services”, and look specifically at “Land Mobile Private“, “Land Mobile Commercial“, and “GMRS“.
In most cases, an FCC license must be obtained to operate these types of radios. There are service, coordinating and licensing fees involved. Once obtained, the license is good for 10 years, and can be renewed for a relatively small fee. There is also as a “Required Notification” procedure you must follow after you receive your licenses and begin using your radios.
We are very familiar with these processes and can assist you in obtaining the necessary licenses. Usually, if you are buying the radios from us, we do not charge anything for assisting you in getting a license, although you will still have fees to pay for an FCC Licensing Service, a frequency coordinator, and the FCC.
"We’ve talked to other companies about two-way radios that did not tell us we need a license!"
That is unfortunate and occurs all to often in our industry. An honest a reputable two-way radio dealer should advise you of these licensing requirements, but many do not. The problem with this is the entity using the radios could be subject to thousands of dollars in fines, confiscation of equipment, and even imprisonment!
Note: The FCC allows manufacturers to market "over-the-counter" radios that have a combination of FRS frequencies (Family Radio Service) and GMRS frequencies (General Moble Radio Service). These are usually referred to as "Dot" or ""Star" frequencies. FRS radios do not require a license, but GMRS radios do.
In truth, neither band is supposed to be used for business purposes, and the power output of the radios is supposed to be 1/2 watt, or less. In actuality, many of these radios, licensed or not, end up being sold to businesses. Unfortunately, the FCC generally doesn't have the resources to "police" these situations, unless some harmful interference occurs.
The problem is, if you get a radio such as this, and you are trying to use it in your business, you have no control over who else is on the frequency, how close to you they are, how much they are talking, if they are causing you interference, if they are listening to your conversations, etc.. And, since you are not licensed there is little you can do about it. On the other hand, if you are causing them interference, and they are licensed and you are not, you just might find yourself in a lot of trouble.
This is why we recommend licensed, business channels for your business radios. Regardless of what brand you have and what you paid for them, they will not do you much good if you can't use them!