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FCC Licensing of Business Radios

For UHF and VHF business radios, the FCC asks that all users obtain a license. 95% of people do not acquire a license, but they are supposed to. No license is required to purchase the radios.

License fees vary widely, but the most common license for the radios Tech Wholesale sells are typically about $70 total for a 5-year license, no matter how many radios you have at your site. We will provide licensing information with your radio purchase.

Motorola RDM radios (MURS Band) and Digital Motorola RTR radios do not require a license at all.

Radios that do not require an FCC license

Why you are asked to get an FCC license for Business Radios

Professional two-way radios operate on radio frequencies that are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In order to transmit on these frequencies, you are asked to have a license issued by the FCC. This license is not required to purchase the radios.

Note that you do NOT need an FCC license for the FRS series, MURS series or DTR series or other Family two-way radios.)

How to apply for an FCC license

You will receive all necessary forms in the package that your radios arrive in.

To apply for a GMRS license, you will need FCC Forms 605 and 159 (which come with your radios).

Professional two-way radios operate on Private Land Mobile frequencies. Application is made on FCC Form 601 and Schedules D, E and G (which come with your radios).

Or, you can download the application forms directly from the FCC website at: You can also request them through the FCC forms hotline at 1-800-418-FORM. For questions concerning the license application, contact the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).

For questions on determining your radio frequency, please call Motorola Product Services at: 1-800-448-6686.

FCC Narrowbanding Mandate 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. If you need to expand your service area for your existing 25 kHz efficiency system, you will need to submit an application before January 1, 2011.

Manufacturers can no longer certify, product or import equipment capable of operating at 25 kHz efficiency after January 1, 2011. While providers can still sell 25 kHz equipment after that date, if it was manufactured/imported prior to January 1, 2011, it may be increasingly difficult to match your existing radios. 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 www.

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 - Frequency: 5,6,10,22,27. Action: All set - no action required.
  • RDV2080d - Frequency: 1-4, 11-21,23-26. Action: Need to change to Frequency 5,6,10,22 or 27.
  • RDV5100 - Frequency: 7,8,9. Action: Need to change bandwidth to 12.5.
  • XV100, XV2100, XV2600, MV11C, MV21CV, MV22CV, MV24CVS 5,6,7,8 Need to change bandwidth to 12.5. 1-4, 10-27 Freq 5 or 6 and bandwidth to 12.5
  • RDU2020, RDU2080d, RDU4100, RDU4160d, XU1100, XU2100, XU2600, MU21CV, MU22CV, MU24CVS, Spirit GT, Spirit GT+ 3,4,9-89 all set - no action required, 1,2,5,6,7,8 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. Non-compliance 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.