Are FB8s Mandatory for Trunked Systems?

Virtually every equipment manufacturer offers trunked radio systems and the various technologies may vary significantly. If a licensee is operating a trunked radio system in the UHF and VHF band, FCC licensing protocols require that the FCC authorization (or license) must list a license class code of YG for Business/Industrial or PW for a public safety system which signifies that the licensee is operating a trunked radio system. There are, however, no FCC rules requiring licensees to secure an exclusive-use (FB8) frequency pair(s) for use within a trunked radio system.

The pertinent rule section is 90.403(e) which states: 

“[L]icensees of radio stations in the private land mobile radio services shall be directly responsible for the proper operation and use of each transmitter for which they are licensed. In this connection, licensees shall exercise such direction and control as is necessary to assure that all authorized facilities are employed (1) only for permissible purposes; (2) only in a permissible manner; and (3) only by persons with authority to use and operate such equipment. Licensees shall take reasonable precautions to avoid causing harmful interference. This includes monitoring the transmitting frequency for communications in progress and such other measures as may be necessary to minimize the potential for causing interference.”

Exclusive-use channels are coveted by licensees for use within trunked radio systems because, if the exclusive channel is assigned as the control channel within a trunked radio system, the licensee need not monitor the channel for co-channel communications. However, trunked system technologies have been consistently improving to comply with FCC Rule Section 90.403(e). It is EWA’s understanding that many of the newer trunked system technologies accommodates the monitoring requirement through the use of multiple shared channels. Shared channels will have channel designations of either FB2 for use within private systems, or FB6 for use within private carrier systems.

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