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update FCC license
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Mike SE IL
Posted 11/27/2012 06:14 (#2718925 - in reply to #2717675)
Subject: RE: update FCC license



It isn't difficult but like any other dealings with technology and regulatory agencies it can be frustrating. Every box has to be checked the right way.  Every term must be listed correctly.  Everything has to be done in the right order.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is one of the better agencies to work with. Unless you get someone who has had a bad day already and then it gets more difficult.

An FCC overview of the narrowbanding mandate is here.

Oh yeah, and learn to love acronyms.  All they are is a shortcut so you don't have to use the full name each time.  FCC, FRN, ULS, on and on.  It really is not a conspiracy to confuse you.

OH! Let me make a suggestion.  Before you start get paper and ink for your printer, a pad of paper and an ink pen. Print stuff out, take notes, keep track of who what and when.  And keep it filed in chronological order so you can go back and see what you did.

I'd been advocating a few changes to our farm radio system and license for a couple years. But Dad was only 70, no rush (you know how farmers are) When Dad got sick and a need for a change became obvious he agreed to changing the license to my name. I did that through the Universal Licensing System. It was quick, simple, and painless.

When our local Fire Dept had to narrowband I ... let APCO do it for $25.  They had a promo going on and I would have paid $25 myself not to have to mess with it. If everything clicks there is nothing to it.  If you let yourself get frustrated it is worse than marrying the wrong woman. When the time came to modify my license for narrowband I applied to modify the license and the FCC kicked it back.  The emisson designators are the most confusing part and I had been given the wrong one when I talked to my radio guy.

Let's assume you are licensed properly and just wanting to modify your license for narrowband. The FCC has a help article here

Step one is get an FRN in the ULS.  I see your eyes blurring already. An explanation from the FCC:

An FRN is a 10-digit number that is assigned to a business or individual registering with the FCC. This unique FRN is used to identify the registrant’s business dealings with the FCC. The FCC will use the FRN to determine if all of a registrant's fees have been paid. You are encouraged to register with the Commission as soon as you expect to do business with the FCC. This way, you will be ready to access any of the electronic licensing systems without having to go through the registration process at the time you submit an application.

The FCC has a help article on getting an FRN here. You don't know if you have one, or maybe forgot what it is?  There is a place to look that up as well. My FRN associates me with both my amateur radio license and my business radio license.

Once you get it you log in here.  Oh, and your password is required.  There is a link to contact Tech Support if you have forgotten it

The biggest sticking point is going to be getting the emission designators correct.  You can't just say FM, the technical side requires clarifying exactly what you're talking about.  It's like ordering ice cream.  You can say I'm going to DQ for ice cream. But when you tell the girl behind the counter "Ice cream" she's going to need more information to satisfy you.   When you say "banana split" she knows you mean

Unless you wanted a banana split Blizzard and she missed one little word.

If you get one little thing wrong you have ice cream, but the wrong kind. The emission designators just help things get communicated properly.

More from the FCC:

The emission designator is made up of 7 characters. For purposes of determining whether narrowbanding is required, you need to focus on the first four characters. These characters determine the bandwidth.

The bandwidth will always include three numerals and one letter. The letter is the position of the decimal point and represents the unit of bandwidth. The bandwidth unit designator can be H = Hz; K = kHz; M = MHz; or G = GHz.

The emission designators where narrowbanding applies should always include a K for kHz.

Here is an example of an emission designator that complies with the narrowbanding requirement: 11K2F3E. This emission designator complies because it is 11.2 kHz (listed as 11K2).

Here is an example of an emission designator where narrowbanding needs to happen: 20K0F3E. This emission designator does not comply because it is 20.0 kHz (listed as 20K0).

Messing up one or two letters or numbers can cause problems.  This is why you spend the money for someone else to do it. It is like a lot of other things on the farm.  You can do it, but there may be a learning curve until you figure it out.

I mentioned taking notes and printing stuff and saving it. Let me emphasize that one more time, because if you make a mistake it's a lot easier to go back and figure it out in 3 months if you have notes. 



Edited by Mike SE IL 11/27/2012 06:17
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