Plain and simple,most businesses don't realize the severity of what's on the way. The amount of companies or agencies that have not attempted to narrowband or even understand what it is are a huge concern of ours. Our daily searches on the FCC’s website lead to thousands of users who have little knowledge of narrowbanding. With the deadline less than ten months away, our concerns will be not only that people don't narrowband, but that those typical radio users may become an interferer (with regards to their frequency). On top of which leads to hefty monetary fines.
Think of it this way, a good radio user today operating their same radio system next year may actually interfere with an adjacent carrier unbeknownst to them. One call from the adjacent user and the FCC discovers your channel is the interferer, a fine may be levied in an amount that was greater than what it took to narrowband. The approach of “Well, I didn’t know” will not cut it. This is the Federal Government sending out an employee to investigate something you may have not completed.
The reality is, one phone call to your radio vendor can start the ball rolling in the right direction. This call will engage people that are knowledgeable and will help you along this process. Will it cost you money to narrowband? Yes! To what amount is to be determined.
Here is the simplified plan:
CALL YOUR LOCAL RADIO SHOP!!!If that does not work, here is the typical plan of attack:
1) Review your license to determine the emission designator. [Visit http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/General_Menu_Reports/ to get started!] If you see something that looks like 20K0F3E anywhere, you have to narrowband. Even if you don’t, there are other designators which require narrowbanding.
2) Inventory your radios. This includes portables, mobiles, base stations, repeaters and pagers to name a few. This inventory should include radio type and model number.
3) Determine if the model number is narrowband capable. This means you can go on the website and Google the model number to see if it comes up on a list. I would check a couple of lists as we have seen poor lists.
4) Obtain a quote to replace those units not narrowband compliant and a quote to reprogram those radios that are narrowband compliant.
5) Get your budget in order and approved. You don’t have much time as your fiscal year may have started without an allotment of money.
6) Contact your vendor and schedule the work ASAP. What you don’t know is that Public Safety for your state may be targeting certain dates. These dates will mean a lot of radio shops will be tied up. YOU NEED TO GET ON THE SCHEDULE, before it's too late.
In summary, CALL YOUR RADIO SHOP!!! They will be involved in some form so why try to figure it all out yourself.This article is now featured on Motorola Solutions': Fresh Ideas in Two Way Communications blog, here & Fresh Ideas in Enterprise Mobility blog, here.
Contact us today for immediate assistance.
You can also visit our website for detailed information about the FCC mandate regarding Narrowbanding, here.
This article was written by Chicago Communications' Sales Director, Tom Treichler. Tom has over 30 years of experience in the industry with his background in engineering. If you have any questions for Tom, or another representative at ChiComm, please feel free to contact us.