Description: Advises retailers and operators that VHF/UHF two-way radios must comply with FCC technical requirements before they may be marketed, imported or operated
DA/FCC #: DA-18-980
There is a LOT of confusion regarding what this means about all of the handheld radios many of you have as part of your Commo preps.
In September 2018 the FCC took action against the importer of the popular radio for non-compliance of the type certification it applied for in order to import these radios.
The importer requested type 90 certification, the rules for type 90 regulated frequencies and power outputs and how the radios are programmed. Ever notice that police or business band radios do not have keypads for programming, or the bubble pack walkie talkies can only change channels, add privacy codes and adjust volume? That's because of type 90 certification.
Amateur Radio operators do not operate type 90 radios however they too are limited to only transmit within the amateur radio bands and certain legal modifications for the MARS (Military Affiliated Radio Service) *known as the CAP/MARS Mod, but there are currently no civilian radio available for use with the CAP (Civil Air Patrol).
The confusion is that the FCC has stated to retailers and operators must not offer to sell, advertise or use these radios until they are brought into compliance with the the FCC regulations.
Good news is that licenced radio amateurs can still use these INSIDE the amateur radio bands 2m/440 but cannot legally use them as MURS, GMRS/FRS radios. Those who are using them outside of the amateur radio bands are in effect using a non-type accepted transmitter. That's the legalities.
The bad news, as of September 30, 2019, advertising, importing and use of the non-type accepted radios will be illegal until the radios are brought into compliance. New radios will be specific to be ham radio transmitters, with transmitting frequencies blocked outside of the ham bands. Or they will be strictly an FRS radio limited to .5W and a fixed (not interchangeable) antenna and only on the FRS shared and Primary channels. The third type may be GMRS with the higher power output and the use of the interchangeable antennas however I do believe that the keypad programming would be removed from the radio and only programmed at the manufacturer.
The BOTTOM LINE
If you've been waiting to expand your comms beyond the bubble pack radios, time is short. After September 30 the popular BeoFeng handheld VHF UHF portable radios will no longer legally be allowed to be sold, offered, imported or otherwise purchased in the United States.