Wednesday, August 11, 2021

FCC to Allow FM on CB, Automatic Location Transmissions on GMRS/FRS

In a rare reversal, the FCC has agreed to two petitions for reconsideration of earlier decisions relating to permitted transmission modes on Citizens Band (CB), the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS).

In its first major change to CB rules in over 40 years, the FCC has agreed to allow FM transmissions on the band along with traditional AM and single sideband (SSB). It was persuaded that interference concerns were unfounded and that "users who hear unintelligible audio on a particular channel can simply select another channel or switch modes." CB radios manufactured with FM capability would still be required to offer an AM option.

For some time now, the FCC has permitted the manual transmission of short data messages in the GMRS and FRS services, but has balked at allowing automatic transmissions of location data out of interference concerns. Motorola has successfully petitioned the Commission to OK automatic data transmissions as well, noting that it would help in the location of lost or injured users who could not manually send out emergency messages.