Rule Change to Increase Efficiency of Two-way Radios
November 2, 2012

Farmers and others who use two-way radios will be impacted by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule change effective Jan. 1, 2013, according to John Nowatzki, North Dakota State University Extension Service agriculture machine systems specialist. 
 
The rule change is intended to increase the capacity and efficiency for business band and public safety radios. The rule is referred to as "narrowbanding" and requires program changes to two-way radios. 
 
The rule change requires people operating wideband (25 kilohertz bandwidth) voice or data systems to migrate to narrowband (12.5 kHz bandwidth or equivalent) systems. Users who do not make the switch by Jan. 1, 2013, face the loss of radio communication capabilities. 
 
"Farmers who use two-way radios will be affected by this rule change," Nowatzki says. "The rule change requires users to change the frequency on their old radios and apply for a license change to operate on the narrowband frequency. Manufacturers no longer can certify, produce or import equipment capable of operating at the broader 25 kHz after Jan. 1." 
 
Most radios used by farmers can be programmed to function at 25 kHz or the new narrowband 12.5 kHz. Most two-way radios purchased after 1998 already have the ability to operate in wide and narrowband modes. The only cost to those users will be reprogramming and relicensing. 
 
Users can go directly to the FCC website to apply for the license change at http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home. 
 
Reprinted in part from AgWeek