FCC Law & VHF Radios

I would like to thank Crom from Tacomaworld for taking the time to write this post, reproduced here with his permission.

This is just and FYI for those that may not know. And the bottom line first...

You may not use a VHF radio in the United States without a valid FCC-issued license or Amateur radio license. Use of VHF radios in Mexico is allowed during the SCORE Baja race, and subject to local regulations.

Here is an example of VHF itinerant/business band frequencies commonly used in the Baja Races. Operators of the frequencies are licensed. If you transmit on frequencies you're not licensed for, then you are operating a pirate radio station, and are subject to fines and equipment confiscation. :(

I have observed a trend of individuals buying ham radios and modifying them to transmit outside the ham bands. That in of itself is not a problem. But if you key up outside the ham bands--that's illegal, and you put yourself at risk for fines and confiscation (more on that below). Also problematic is buying business band radios and operating them on frequencies without the requisite license.

Some people think the FCC enforcement is a toothless tiger, and nothing bad will happen to them, and maybe that's all true. But people should know that there are risks involved. And that's why I took the time to write this, as to inform people. I don't care what you do in the desert as long as it doesn't hurt or interfere with other people.

Also, I think it's incredibly foolish for people to post in a public forum the date, time, and place of a future meet and the illegal frequency they'll be communicating on. :laugh:

If you have questions about Race radios, I have found this shop to be very helpful. PCI Race Radios. As it turns out they are the itinerant and properly licensed operator of the Weatherman frequency.

Additionally, if your not a properly licensed amateur operator please stay off the 2M & 70cm ham bands, i.e. 144-148 & 430-450 Mhz. :)

Finally, WB4CS a licensed amateur radio operator wrote the FCC asking a question and the answer is relevant to the topic here.

Here is what the FCC wrote:

FCC response per WB4CS said: As you note, “The rules are clear that in order to use Part 90 or 95 spectrum, the operator must have the correct licensing and certified radios to use those services.” The debate you are referring to, therefore, comes down to “How can we get around the rules?” The answer is, “You can’t.” We will be happy to relieve you of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars and your amateur radio license if you transmit on channels you are not licensed to transmit on.


FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

For example:

  1. CB
  2. FRS
  3. Licensed GMRS
  4. MURS
  5. Licensed Amateur radio (HAM).