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FCC Narrow Band Frequency Information

The FCC mandated a migration of all two-way radio bandwidths to narrowband on January 1, 2013. We wish to emphasize that all our current Motorola Business Radios are capable of meeting the FCC requirement.

Below are the key points pertaining to our products, what customers may need to be made aware of, Frequently Asked Questions and then a detailed explanation of the mandate as it pertains to Motorola Business Radios.

FCC Narrowbanding - Key Points

  1. All current Motorola radios (RDX, CLS & CLP Series*) are capable of meeting the required 12.5 kHz bandwidth.
  2. Any current FCC license holders must check the bandwidth registered on their license. If licensed at 12.5 kHz, no changes are needed. If licensed at 25 kHz, license holder must modify their license by 1/1/2013 to 12.5 kHz.
  3. January 1, 2013 is the narrowbanding key date to remember. All business band radios must be operating at 12.5 kHz or users will be in violation and subject to fines.
  4. The Motorola DTR410 and DTR550 operate on 900 mHz and no FCC license is required. If you have any customers purchasing radios for the first time, these radios allow them to ignore the narrowbanding mandate and remain compliant with the FCC.
*CLS1110, CLS1410, CLP1010, CLP1040, RDV2020, RDV2080d, RDV5100, RDU2020, RDU2080d, RDU4100 & RDU4160d

Detailed Explanation


Frequency - all radios operate on a specific analog frequency. VHF radios operate between 146 - 174 MHz while UHF radios operate between 438 - 470 MHz.

Interference eliminator code - this code was added to provide additional privacy for end-users operating on a specific frequency. As more people started using radios, the chance for cross talk or outside interference increased, thus the solution of adding a code.

Bandwidth - currently the UHF and VHF frequency bands are congested and the bandwidth is another way to separate the airwave to allow for more uses. 25 kHz is the old wide band and the new is at 12.5 kHz narrowband.


All Motorola radio equipment certified by the FCC since February 14, 1997 is 12.5 kHz efficiency capable. All of our current Motorola radios (RDX Series, CLS Series and CLP) are 12.5 kHz capable and comply with this new regulation. Attached is a Frequently Asked Questions which includes a list of all of our past products and their bandwidth capabilities.

  • CLS1110, CLS1410, CLP1010 & CLP1040 - already operating on 12.5 kHz
  • RDV2020, RDV2080d, RDU2020, RDU2080d, XV1100, XV2100, XV2600, XU1100, XU2100, XU2600 - can operate on 12.5kHz and might need to be changed
  • RDV5100, RDU4100, RDU4160d, AXU4100, AXV5100 - can operate on 12.5kHz and might need to be changed

Current license holder - needs to check if they are licensed for a wide or narrow bandwidth. If they are licensed as a wideband they will need to modify their license to the narrowband.

Applying for a new license - license needs to be requested at the narrowband.

No license - we suggest they apply for a license. Costs may vary and average $500 for a 10 year license. If they do not want a license, we suggest they change their radios to 12.5 kHz to at least comply with the regulation.


Just like the digital switch with TV's and radios, the long-term goal of the FCC will be to have all two-way radios operate on a digital frequency. The narrowband transition has taken approximately 15 years since the initial thoughts of implementing. Motorola does offer the DTR Series (DTR410 and DTR550) which are both digital radios and they do not require an FCC license. For new users, this is a great opportunity to have them be compliant with the new mandates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Narrowbanding?

In an effort to promote more efficient use of spectrum, the FCC mandated all VHF and UHF Industrial/Business licensees using 25 kHz Land mobile radio (portables) migrate to narrowband 12.5 kHz efficiency technology by January 1, 2013.

What is spectrum efficiency?

Currently the UHF and VHF frequency bands are congested and often there is not enough spectrum available for licensees to expand their existing systems or implement new systems. This mandate requires licensees to operate more efficiently, either on narrower channel bandwidths or increased voice paths on existing channels. This will allow creation of additional channels within the same spectrum, thereby supporting more users.

What do I need to do before January 1, 2011 versus January 1, 2013?

After January 1, 2011, users who apply for a new license or modify their existing license must specify 12.5 kHz efficiency. Manufacturers can no longer certify, product or import equipment capable of operating at 25 kHz efficiency after January 1, 2011. However, per the FCC Order, released June 30, 2010, manufacturers can now manufacture, import, and market equipment capable of operating at 25 kHz until January 1, 2013. You should consider either purchasing additional 25 kHz radios before 2011, or accelerate your system migration to 12.5 kHz efficiency.

By January 1, 2013 all licensees must convert to and operate in at least 12.5 kHz efficiency. You must ensure that the 25 kHz is disabled on your dual mode 25/12.5 kHz radios. And you must replace all radios only capable of operating at 25 kHz efficiency.

How can I tell if my Motorola equipment is 12.5 kHz capable?

All Motorola radio equipment certified by the FCC since February 14, 1997 is 12.5 kHz efficiency capable. To review the list of Motorola 12.5 kHz capable products please visit

Quick List of Dual Mode (25/12.5 kHz):

  • RDX Series (RDV2020, RDV2080d, RDV5100, RDU2020, RDU2080d, RDU4100, RDU4160d)
  • XTN Series (XV1100, XV2100, XV2600, XU1100, XU2100, XU2600)
  • M-Series (MV11C, MV21CV, MV22CV, MV24CVS, MU21CV, MU22CV, MU24CVS)
  • AX Series (AXV5100, AXU4100)
  • Spirit GT (Spirit GT, Spirit GT+)

Quick List of 12.5 kHZ Only:

  • CLS Series (CLS1110, CLS1410)
  • CLP (CLP1010, CLP1040)

Quick List of 25 kHz Only:

  • S-Series (SU or SV models)
  • Spirit Series (Spirit I, Spirit II, Spirit III)
How do I upgrade my existing 12.5 kHz capable equipment?

Depending on the model, reprogramming the radios to operate on 12.5 kHz can be accomplished via front radio programming or Customer Programming Software (CPS). Here is a quick list of how to reprogram radios:

  • CPS – RDX Series, CLP, AX Series
  • Front Programming – RDX Series, XTN Series, M-Series, CLS Series, GT Series
Does Narrowbanding require me to change frequencies?

This depends on which frequencies you are currently operating on. Below is a quick chart to assist you in determining if you need to reprogram your radios.

  • RDV2020, RDV2080d, RDV5100 - Frequency: 5,6,10,22,25,27. Action: All set - no action required. Frequency: 1-4, 7-9,11-21,23, 24,26. Action: Need to change to frequency 5,6,10,22,25 or 27.
  • XV1100, XV2100, XV2600, MV11C, MV21CV, MV22CV, MV24CVS - Frequency: 5,6,7,8. Action: Need to change bandwidth to 12.5. Frequency: 1-4, 10-27. Action: frequency 5 or 6 and bandwidth to 12.5
  • RDU2020, RDU2080d, RDU4100, RDU4160d, XU1100, XU2100, XU2600, MU21CV, MU22CV, MU24CVS Spirit GT, Spirit GT+ - Frequency: 3,4,9-89. Action: all set - no action required. Frequency: 1,2,5,6,7,8. Action: Need to change bandwidth to 12.5.

What will happen if I fail to comply with the FCC Narrowbanding mandate?

Can I continue to operate at 25 kHz efficiency after January 1, 2013?

No. The FCC will prohibit licensees from operating 25 kHz efficiency equipment. Noncompliance will be considered a violation subject to FCC Enforcement Bureau action, which may include admonishment, monetary fines and loss of license.

Will migration to 12.5 kHz change my system coverage area?

Maybe. Conduct tests during conversion to ensure your radios continue to provide similar coverage.

How can I determine if I have a valid FCC license?

Contact your preferred certified frequency coordinator. Refer to the FCC website for listing of frequency coordinators at: FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

Has the FCC established a schedule for mandatory migration to 6.25 kHz efficiency?

No. The FCC has not set any date by which licensees must operate in 6.25 kHz efficiency. The current mandate only requires users to migrate to 12.5 kHz efficiency by January 1, 2013. Based on the 12.5 kHz migration time line, we believe that any potential future FCC decision to require users to migrate to 6.25 kHz efficiency will take a considerable number of years.