The Road Home

The Road Home
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Radio Communications - Safety & Rules

Hi, my name is Frank. In the future I would like to give you my views about radio communication. But first, let's talk about safety and regulations.

Most over-the-counter (OTC) radios cannot do any damage unless they have been altered, pepped up or modified. So, for the most part, any radio you buy across the counter, for example....

GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service), FRS (Family Radio Service), MURS (Mult-Use Radio Service), and 
CB (Citizens Band Radio Service) radios are safe and you don't have to worry about RF (radio frequency) radiation. 

But if you tinker with a radio or have your cousin's brother's wife's boyfriend jack with any radio and increase the power, then you can cause damage to your body, your family's bodies, or your neighbor's body. If you don't know what you are doing, DON'T DO IT! And don't let your cousin do it either. 

Radios can be lots of fun. They can also be life saving, but in the wrong hands at the wrong time, you can cause permanent damage.
When we talk about ham or amateur radio, then you get into some of the power issues. We'll cover that in a lot more detail on a later post. But at this time, I am going to talk about over-the-counter (OTC) radios and the regulations that govern them.

Here is the link to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) regulations for the radios mentioned above. The proper title is CFR Title 47 Part 95. What this boils down to is: (CFR) Code of Federal Regulations  (Title 47) Telecommunications (Part 95) Personal Radio Services.

Above are the answers to all of your questions about antenna length, power of radio, frequencies covered and just general information about family use radios. I would recommend that you save these pages for future reference, because it doesn't matter what the guy at the CB shop or your buddy says, these are the rules.

Now, do people occasionally break the rules? Yes. Is it illegal to drive 56 MPH in a 55 MPH zone? The answer is yes. If you decide to break the rules, that is your choice. 

In the next post we're going to discuss CB radios, probably the most popular of family radios, and GMRS, another very common radio that most people call walkie talkies. There is a chance that your kids already have some, or you use them when you go hunting or fishing. Both the CB and the GMRS are excellent means of communication when the power is down. 

I hope you enjoy this post and future posts, but always remember that safety is not a joke. As I said earlier, if you don't know what you are doing, DON'T DO IT! Always be safe.

We'll talk more later. 73, Frank

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