Eagle Communications Narrowbanding - Orange County, CANarrowbanding is Coming in 2013. Are You Ready?

Federal Communication Commission - Two-Way Radio - Orange County, CAUnderstanding FCC Narrowbanding Requirements

In December 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated that all private LMR users operating below 512 MHz move to 12.5 kHz narrowband voice channels and highly efficient data channel operations by January 1, 2013. Using narrowband channels will ensure that organizations take advantage of more efficient technology and, by reducing channel width, will allow additional channels to exist within the same spectrum space, as illustrated in the graphic to the right.


To phase in the migration deadline of January 1, 2013, the FCC has established interim deadlines. The first important deadline is January 1, 2011, after which the FCC will not grant applications for new voice operations or applications to expand the authorized contour of existing stations that use 25 kHz channels. Only narrowband authorizations will be granted.


FCC Narrowband Spectrum Graph - Two-Way Radio, Orange County, CAIn a nutshell, this mandate requires that all currently deployed 25 KHz "wide-band" only conventional and trunked VHF and UHF two-way hand-held portables, vehicle-mounted mobiles, dispatcher stations, wireless data, telemetry, or SCADA links, (called subscriber radios), and any associated 25 KHz conventional base or trunked repeaters or relay stations (called infrastructure radios ) be replaced with 12.5 KHz "narrow-band" (or equivalent) equipment prior to the 2013 date in order to continue legal use of your licensed radio frequencies beyond that date. In addition, your FCC license(s) must be modified to certify that changes in the emissions of your system have been made. Non-compliance may result in the cancellation of your license(s) by the FCC.

Planning for the Move to Narrowband  

  1. Verify you company has a current FCC license.  If you're not sure or don't have a paper copy, you can use the FCC Advanced License Search.  FCC Advanced License Search allows you to search by company name or address.

  2. Conduct a full inventory of all radios in your system, including all portable (hand-carried) radios, all mobile (in-vehicle) radios, all dispatcher-used radios, all wireless data or SCADA radios, and all on or off-site base or repeater radios. It is very important to list the specific makes and model numbers of all radios inventoried.

  3. Contact EAGLE COMMUNICATIONS in determining which models are capable of simply being re-programmed for narrowband operation and which models are not. Any radio that cannot be re-programmed to narrowband operation be will need to be replaced.

  4. Initiate the internal business process of budgeting for and procuring any new narrowband capable replacement radios as may be necessary. Any new radios procured should not be programmed for narrowband operation at this time. Operating in "mixed mode" - i.e. using both "wideband" and "narrowband" radios on the same system frequency - is not recommended, particularly in data or SCADA systems. If at all possible, any new narrowband radios procured should continue to operate in the "wideband" mode until the actual switch from "wideband" to "narrowband" operation is made.

  5. Develop a "wideband"-to-"narrowband" system conversion plan that reflects well-coordinated logistical and implementation strategies needed to accommodate a) the replacement and installation of any new narrowband capable off-site base or repeater station radio(s) needed in advance and b), the actual reprogramming of all radios in a system as close to simultaneously as possible to assure minimal disruption to normal radio communication operations.

  6. Schedule and coordinate with EAGLE COMMUNICATIONS as soon as possible dates and times for the actual system conversion (or cut over), making certain that all radio users have been advised in advance and are aware of the process. Also make sure that all hand-held and mobile radios are readily available for reprogramming at pre-scheduled times.

  7. Finally, modify your FCC radio station license to remove any "wideband" emission designators, replacing them with the correct "narrowband" emission designators. This would also be an opportunity to make any other changes or updates to a license that may be required. It is strongly recommended that you employ the  services of a reputable and qualified FCC licensing assistance firm, FCC certified frequency coordinator, or professional two way radio communications service company such as EAGLE COMMUNICATIONS to help you with this process.

Additional Resources

If you have any questions about this FCC mandate, please don't hesitate to call us at 1-800-600-EAGLE.  We'll be happy to help with your FCC licensing needs and if any of your equipment needs to be replaced, we would appreciate the opportunity to provide a quote for new equipment.

More Information on the FCC Narrowbanding Mandate:

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    Irvine, CA 92618
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