Security Radios - Guidelines

(Jeremy Good) #1

We are evaluating our security radio selection and usage and I remember having a discussion on Slack a while back but didn’t capture that. We have mostly these Midland LXT500 - and some BaoFeng BF-888S Two Way Radio - at two campuses. I believe we are licensed for the two campuses with the BaoFeng but that is part of the review. Reception wise they work both work well at their respective campuses.

Question #1. Do I need any license for the Midland units?
Question #2. Are the BoaFeng units legal? I remember some discussion about how they may not be?


(Alex Conner) #2

Business radio licenses require Part 90 certification on the radios in use, which the BaoFeng units don’t have, or you can use MURS radios which require their own type certification. The Midland radios are GMRS/FRS radios, which are legal for business use provide you stick to just the FRS modes, but they will have very limited range and no privacy.

(Jeremy Good) #3

Thanks Alex. So what you’re saying is that I don’t need any license on the Midland if I stay on the FRS channels but will on the BaoFeng.
I was reading up on the part 90 and BaoFeng and according to what I see they got Part 90 certification in 2015
We have someone in the church that helped set them up originally for the facilities folks so I’ll check again with him.

(Alex Conner) #4

Looks like yeah, they are certified. You can check to see if you have a license on the FCC website too.

(Jeremy Good) #5

I couldn’t find it on the FCC site but I just got the certificate from our facilities guy. Turns out it’s registered in a town I wouldn’t expect. I’m working now to make sure we’re in compliance and using the right channels. When facilities runs this stuff it always seems to get out of whack or lost. Different facility managers and the turn over mostly.

(Alex Conner) #6

It’s something that easily becomes hard to keep track of when you weren’t involved from the beginning and don’t have the background in radios… If you have any HAMs in the congregation they can probably help you sort out what’s going on a little quicker.

(Jeremy Good) #7

Yeah, I’ll have to check on the HAMs. This is our FCC filing.
I’m trying to figure out what it means. We have an 80km radius from the central point it talks about but lists our 8 locations and frequencies. I’m not sure what to make of it but it with the <5w radios we have we should be within the radius no matter what location we’re at.

(Alex Conner) #8

Yeah, the map license button is handy when you want to visualize where it’s OK to use the radios. Since you don’t have any repeaters it’s a lot simpler, basically you can use any of your frequencies from inside the circle on the map as long as you don’t exceed 5W ERP radios.

(Jeremy Good) #9

I totally missed the “Map License” link! That helps a lot.

(Alex Conner) #10

Yep, sometimes the visualization makes the difference on being able to wrap your head around the license or not.

(Greg Brenneman) #11

Yet another reason to have all this information stored in documentation by IT staff where possible. This can be a big challenge in churches since there are so many ‘data silos’ and people do not think about maintaining critical information.

  • Greg

(Alex Conner) #12

Documentation is a huge problem in most organizations I’ve worked with. It’s a shame there aren’t great tools to handle it (between access control, integrity, revision history, etc.).

(Jeremy Good) #13

So I finally met with the the guy that our facility manager was meeting with to get our FCC license and radios squared away. He’s an interesting guy who has worked in police, security, police, and other areas and sells radio equipment now. He was telling me that we cannot use the FRS radios as a church. Is that correct? Based on the conversation above and what I’ve read elsewhere I thought we could. Is what this guy is telling me true? He’s saying that we have to use licensed band radios only.

(Alex Conner) #14

You can use FRS but not GMRS. You can verify that by going to and clicking the Licensing tab. You can also buy MURS radios, but if you’re going to do that you’re probably better off getting the licensing and doing the whole shebang.