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* Radio Communications Agency Response
Posted Mar 25, 2003 - 09:58 AM
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News The RA (Radiocommunications Agency) have responded to what we're doing with PMR446 and our network of repeater gateways...

And they have stated that we are within the licence-free exemptions. We always thought that we probably were, and that was always my interpretation of the legislation, but I could see the argument either way so it's nice to hear it from the authoritative source.

A licensed ham radio operator wrote to the RA for clarification o­n this as he was not happy about what we're doing. I believe we are actually promoting people into radio, and a few will become licensed amateurs as a result. I know this for a fact - I have already received two emails from people o­n our system asking me how to get an M3 call. I have always believed that what we're doing is good for radio in general. I will in due course be posting the relevant links for anyone interesting in obtaining an amateur licence.

I would like to say that this is not a licence to be irresponsible. The RA will act in the event of anyone being caused interference. And that's if we don't beat them to it! Our system is monitored carefully and anyone behaving irresponsibly will be booted from the network. As will any repeaters which we hear are causing interference (especially to businesses). I am very pleased to be able to say that so far everyone has been terrific and is being very careful to ensure their radios are behaving within spec.and their repeaters are not causing any problems. Please keep that up.

At 500mw ERP interference is very unlikely. If your radio is not giving you very good coverage then height is your friend. Please do not start putting collinear antenna's o­n the roof or running linear amps! You do not need to. Check out some of the ranges that have been obtained with standard 446 radios without modification.

Here's the original text. I have edited out some of the original e-mail to the RA but the RA's reply is in full:-

Dear Sir / Madam.

I should like to bring to your attention the following web site, which
appears to be inviting members of the public to misuse PMR446 specification radio
equipment by connecting it to a computer, thus providing internet linked
repeater facilities.

As the terms and conditions of the PMR446 license expressly forbid
connecting the radio to the PSTN, they must be in breach of the PMR446 allowable use
regulations, or at the very least bending them.

As a licensed radio amateur, I am not permitted to establish a repeater
without dealing with much "red tape", and do not see why these people should "get
away with it".

The web site is located at:

Best Regards,

[name removed by]

Reply from RA:-

Thank you for your e-mail.

I am advised that the original licence exemption regulations (the means by
which licence exempt status is confirmed) did not permit PMR 446 to be
connected to the PSTN.

However, these regulations have been superceded by Interface Requirement 2009 which carries no such restriction. Consequently, PMR 446 connection to the PSTN does not constitute a breach of regulations.


Jason Simons
Private Business Systems Unit
Radiocommunications Agency

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