Changes to technical rules affect licensing, frequency coordination

Those interested in the finer points of Private Land Mobile Radio (PLMR) and Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS) – you know who you are – should check out a recent FCC order addressing a grab-bag of Part 90 and Part 95 issues. [WARNING: Don’t try reading the order if you’re driving, operating heavy equipment, or performing any task requiring alertness.]  Following up on a three-year-old proposal, the FCC has now:

  • exempted from required frequency coordination certain categories of Part 90 applications that do not threaten new interference, such those requesting CMRS-to-PLMR conversion, bandwidth reduction, lowered antenna height, or decreased power (Section 90.175);
  • removed channel restrictions and power limits for mobile repeaters below 450 MHz and power limits for handheld transmitters (Section 90.247);
  • clarified that state and local governments (as well as businesses) are eligible to use Industrial/Business Pool licenses for commercial activities and surveying (Section 90.35);
  • because the FCC no longer issues authorizations for systems with a station class of FB8T (temporary centralized trunked relay), clarified that stations currently classed as FB8T will be renewed as either FB2T (for private, internal systems) or FB6T (for for-profit private carriers) stations; and
  • prohibited registration of WMTS devices on portions of the 1427-1432 MHz band where they do not hold primary status, in order to protect WMTS devices from harmful interference not anticipated by healthcare facility personnel (Section 95.1111).

[OK, rinse down a couple of NoDoz with that Red Bull-laced triple shot espresso, splash some cold water on your face, take a deep breath, open a couple of windows, and read on.]

Additionally, the Commission is now seeking comment on these matters:

  • whether secondary WMTS operations should be permitted, and under what circumstances;
  • whether power limits for end-of-train (EOT) radios should be increased to allow better communication from the end of a train to the front;
  • whether distance analysis should be dropped as a method by which trunked system applicants can identify incumbent “affected licensees”, given that most applications for new centralized trunked systems now rely on a contour analysis;
  • whether certain trunked system applicants should have to show that their service contour will not be overlapped by an affected licensee’s interference contour;
  • whether to expand the definition of “affected licensee” based on spectral separation for certain trunked system applications;
  • how best to determine a mobile-only trunked system’s contours;
  • whether to continue to prohibit frequency coordinators from accepting a conflicting trunked system application for 60 days after notice of an application, given the prohibition on “greenmail” applications;
  • whether to codify in its rules the “TSB-88” interference criteria (published by the Telecommunications Industry Association and the Electronics Industry Association) for evaluating adjacent channel interference for the 12.5 kHz offset channels in the 470-512 MHz band; and
  • whether to allow digital signals for the transmission of station identification information for VHF and UFH PLMR licensees.

Yawn-inducing stuff to many, perhaps, but vital to those whose job it is to provide American businesses with reliable radio communications. We will let you know the comment due dates when they become available.