How To Get A Private Radio Channel For My Off Road Club

How Do I Get A Private Radio Channel For My Off Road Club?

You may have come to this page because you are curious as to what the answer is for the above question. Or you may have come here from another of our articles, and you weren’t aware that this was even a possibility!

Either way, we are going to show you how to get a private radio channel for your off road club. This means that the club itself, as a business entity, carries the radio license. Everyone who is a member of the club will be covered by the license, so no one has to go get licensed for anything.

 

 

It is a simple process in theory… but in practicality, it sucks. Whether you find it easy or difficult, there isn’t a lot of information out there on how to do this yourself. Most sources will lead you to a Frequency Coordinator. As an off road club, this is unnecessary, as you will most likely be applying for an Itinerant Business Radio License.

An Itinerant License makes it legal for anyone in the club to operate on the chosen frequencies, no matter where you are. You won’t necessarily get EXCLUSIVE rights to that frequency, but you will have legal protection to be on that frequency. So, just make sure you apply for a few frequencies as backups.

To get started, you need to go through a very convoluted process in order to get Java to run on your internet browser. Go through the steps below to get that done.

Java Installation

 

You may access the Universal Licensing System (ULS) at http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls .

Form 601 applications filed with the purposes of New, Modification, or Renewal/Modification in the Cellular, Microwave, Paging, Land Mobile, or Coast and Ground services require use of the following operating systems and Web browsers:

The standard version of Mozilla Firefox no longer supports Java applets starting in version 52. However, users may still run Java applets using Mozilla Firefox Extended Service Release version 52. Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge do not support Java applets. Internet Explorer may be used, but if you encounter issues with the drop down menus you may need to exit and re-enter the saved application several times prior to submitting.

FIRST, determine the version of Java installed on your computer:

  1. Go to www.java.com
  2. Select the link Do I have Java? link.
  3. Select the Verify Java Installation button.
  4. If versions other than Java 7 are detected, follow the instructions on the following link for removing the other java versions. http://www.java.com/en/download/uninstall.jsp

SECOND, install Java (NOTE: please be sure to review the sections below concerning Java not loading)

  1. Go to: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/java-archive-downloads-javase7-521261.html#jre-7u80-oth-JPR .
  2. Under Java SE Runtime Environment 7u80, select Accept License Agreement.
  3. You must match your java installation to your browser, not your operating system. Please reference
     http://www.java.com/en/download/faq/java_win64bit.xml for help determining this.
      32 Bit Browsers – Select the download link next to Windows x86 Offline for 32 bit browsers:   jre-7u80-windows-i586.exe .
      64 Bit Browsers – Select the download link next to Windows x64 Online for 64 bit browsers:  jre-7u80-windows-x64.exe .
  4. On the following page, you will need to create an Oracle account, and sign in with that account.
  5. Click Run or Save (locate the saved file), and then click on Install to begin the installation process
  6. The help file for installing the java plug in is located on: http://www.java.com/en/download/help/download_options.xml

If the website indicates that Java is blocked, please follow these steps to add an exception to java to enable the site to load.

  1. Go under your Start Menu
  2. Select Programs
  3. Select Java folder
  4. Select Configure Java
  5. Select the Security Tab
  6. Click Edit Site List button
  7. Enter http://jagext.fcc.gov/servlet/Serv_AA_TC_Applet and http://jagext.fcc.gov/servlet/ServPackRegApplet
    Note: Clicking on these web sites will NOT load the Java applet; you must be logged into the ULS in order to load the applet
  8. Click the Add button
  9. Click Continue to the security warning
  10. Click Ok button on at the bottom of the exception list and click ok at the bottom of the java control panel.

If Java does not load in Internet Explorer:

  1. Make sure Java Add-Ons are enabled in Internet Explorer:
  2. Select the Tools Menu.
  3. Select Internet Options.
  4. Select the Programs tab.
  5. Select the Manage Add-ons button.
  6. Change the drop down under show to All Add-ons.
  7. Under Publisher Oracle enable the Java add-ons.

If Java does not load in Firefox:

  1. Select the Tools Menu.
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. Select Plugins.

To make sure Java plugins are enabled make sure the action button indicates either Ask to Activate or Always Activate.

Other Troubleshooting tips can be found on https://www.java.com/en/download/help/troubleshoot_java.xml

 

 

Now that you can access the Java Applet, start up the process. The white boxes indicate things you can fill in. This Java Applet runs EXTREMELY slow. So, after you click on new tabs, or Next Page, literally give it close to 5 minutes to respond. If it doesn’t respond after that much time, reload the page.

The Applicant Information tab is pretty straight forward. Just answer what you are going to do with the license. For our club, we chose “Private, Internal Communications” and “Mobile”. Our club has a Non Profit Entity Status, so we also marked being exempt from FCC Fees.

The Applicant Tab is also straight forward. This is who will be the main contact for the club’s License.

Ownership Questions/Qualification Questions are just making sure you are not a spy, and do not plan to take over radio communications from everyone.

General Certification Statements is just a written consent to confirm that a real person is filling out this application.

The Control Point is asking where the business is located that will be controlling the radio signals. Since you are filing for an itinerant, just put the club’s main address that you have been putting on the other tabs.

Administrative tab just wants to know what you plan on using the radios for. For us, we do a lot of trail maintenance on our adopt-a-trails. So communications during trail maintenance, as well as vehicle and personal safety on off road trails is what we listed.

Location wants to know where you plan on operating the radios. Select “I-Itinerant” and then “U-Continental US”. Then mark that you will not be operating near Canada at the bottom. If you are going to be operating near an international border (Canada or Mexico), then you will need to apply for your license through a Frequency Coordinator.

Antenna Leave everything blank on this tab. Unless your club plans on setting up a repeater somewhere that you wheel regularly.

Frequency tab is going to require the most amount of research (and patience with the Java Applet). You can select as many as you’d like. Because you are filling out the application for an itinerant license, the selections need to be itinerant frequencies. Here is a good list of itinerant and commercial frequencies to choose from. Look for the frequencies with the (5) in the notes. Also, pay attention to the power limits on each frequency that you choose. You will need your application to coincide with those power limits. Once you save the frequency, select it in the list and click on “Add Emission”. Assuming you will be using FM NarrowBand Voice communications, put in the code “11K2F3E” as the emission designator.

Now, all you have to do is attach any attachments that need to be attached, such as a non profit declaration if you selected to be exempt from fees.

Once you attach all the extra documents, hit submit! And that’s it!

It takes on average 1 month for the license to be processed. You can log back in to the FCC ULS system and check on your application status at any time!

Once you have the frequencies for your club, just program them into everyone’s radios, or check out our radio programming services and we can do it for you! If you stock up on radios, you can get a bunch of 35$ BaoFeng UV5R Handheld Radios for everyone in the club and program them for the club frequencies. Then just pass them out at club trail runs. Just make sure you are complying with the frequency and power limits of your new license, and be respectful of other radio services that are operating near your frequency. The UV5R radios are not part 90 compliant but as long as you are using them responsibly on your frequency, you should be okay.

The other thing that you will need to do when programming your radios for the club’s frequency, is make sure you set the channel width to “Narrow Band” (12.5khz). In 2013, the FCC required all commercial frequencies to switch over to narrow band operations. So, ensure your radios are programmed accordingly. If you have any questions about programming your radios to operate within your club’s new itinerant frequencies, please reach out on the forums or through contacting us. We will help make sure you are doing it all legally and responsibly.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Ron Wright

    I dont think you have to get into Java to fill out a FCC application on line.

    About 10 years ago I got an set of Itinerant frequency license. It cost at the time $105 and good for 5 years, not sure now the term and cost.

    Also keep in mind if you state you are getting the license for all of US, you can do this, you might be required to file a study to insure you will not interfere with UHF station along the Canadian border. I did just for my start for this reason.

    Get couple UHF and couple VHF freqs. You will find VHF will work better in ruff terrain. The UV5R will work on both bands.

    I would stay away from 467.825 and 467.850. They are very busy. If you listen to these you will see traffic around businesses. But since you can get like 4 UHF and couple VHF you can then choose which you use during an event.

    Also note these freqs do have power limits, I think 2W. I have seen FCC site a licensee for running higher power like 5W.

    You dont have to ID the callsign on these freq, but good to have copy of license in the event someone of authority, FCC, ask. but I doubt you will experience this, but never know.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Ron! Some good ideas/info in there.

      Definitely have at bare minimum, an electronic copy of your license handy to show any officials.

      When we talked to the FCC help desk a week ago, they told us that the only way to apply for a license was to go through the Java Applet, or a Frequency Coordinator. How did you submit yours?

      The power limits for each frequency can be found in the link in the article. It looks like there are a few frequencies that allow upwards of 35 watts. Some 4 watts, most are 2 watts like you mentioned.

      Cheers!

  2. Tim Cunningham

    “If you stock up on radios, you can get a bunch of 35$ BaoFeng UV5R Handheld Radios for everyone in the club and program them for the club frequencies. Then just pass them out at club trail runs.”

    Is a bit of bad advise. For the LMR or Commercial service the FCC requires Part 90 Type Accepted equipment to be used. The UV5r and many other Baofeng radios are not Type Accepted for Part 90 LMR commercial use , they are Ham radios for use in the Part 97 Amatuer spectrum and Part 97 does not require Type Acceptance therefore illegal for LMR.

    Fortunately Baofeng/ Btech does have a Part 90 compliant Type Accepted rig in the form of the UV-82c. About double the price of a UV5r but still affordable to stock extras as compared to other “Big 4” part 90 rigs (Kenwood, Icom, Vertex, Motorola).

    Why is this bad advise? Im not the radio police, and no one listening could tell the difference, but there is still opporotunity for problems especially for folks that travel near/across boarders or cross scales. The officials that man these are quite versed in the FCC rules and hardware vs licencing requirements. There have been instances where hardware was confiscated because it did not meet the type acceptance or license requirements were not met.

    1. Hey Tim,

      That is good, sound advice. The only thing that is different about the UV-82c is that it comes locked out of VFO mode from the factory. Which is incredibly easy to fix through programming software. You will end up needing to re-program them anyways to fit the frequencies that your club is licensed for anyways.

      The part compliance rule is in place by the FCC in order to help lessen the proliferation of open use radios to the public. That way, the end user is less likely to misuse a radio. But, thanks to BaoFeng, that concept is out the door and people are picking up radios that are opened, from the factory, to all of the LMR, GMRS, FRS, MURS etc frequencies.

      Since it is a big problem, and BaoFeng is proliferating it with “part 97 equipment”, we like to encourage responsible usage through educating everyone on why it is important to stay to the frequencies you have permission to be on, and sticking to the power limits of those frequencies. Check out some of our other articles on off road frequency usage 🙂

      But yes, I agree, if you are giving officials a reason to confiscate your equipment, then you should have your equipment confiscated. As long as you are adhering to your license limitations, you “should” be fine.

      I did add to the article about needing to be coordinated if you plan on using your license near an international border… thanks to yours and Ron’s feedback.

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