On August 14, 2018, ARRL reported:
Reorganized and updated FCC Personal Radio Services (PRS) Part 95 rules have been published in The Federal Register. … Effective September 30, 2019, it will be illegal to manufacture or import handheld portable radio equipment capable of operating under FRS rules and under other licensed or licensed-by-rule services. 1
The updated regulation is effective September 28, 2018.
Perhaps the most significant regulatory change is the retroactive re-classification of currently available hybrid FRS/GMRS Blister Pack, or Bubble Pack, transceivers with an Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of 2 watts, or less, as FRS devices. This re-classification, in conjunction with other changes to Part 95B, authorizes the license free use of these low power transceivers on all built in channels (1–22) and increased the power on certain FRS channels from 0.5 to 2 watts ERP.
Although these changes are unrelated to Part 97 they will have an impact on Hams who use Part 95 services such as FRS, GMRS, and CBRS (formerly known as CB); and who render advice to Part 95 service users.
Summary from the Federal Register
The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) adopted a comprehensive reorganization of and update to the rules governing the Personal Radio Services (PRS). PRS provides for a wide variety of wireless devices that are used by the general public for personal communication uses, which include applications like walkie-talkies, radio controlled model toys, Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), medical implant devices and other uses. In addition to the comprehensive review and update of the rules to reflect modern practices, the Commission enhanced the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) to allow new digital applications, allot additional interstitial channels and extend the license term from five to ten years. It also allotted additional channels to the Family Radio Service (FRS) and increased the power on certain FRS channels from 0.5 Watts to two Watts. It also updated the CB Radio Service to allow hands-free headsets, removed a restriction on communicating over long distances and removed other outdated requirements. These changes and others outlined below will update PRS rules to be more in line with current public demands for the services and will make the rules easier to read and find information, while also removing outdated requirements and removing unnecessary rules. 2
- “New FCC Part 95 Personal Radio Services Rules Published in The Federal Register”, ARRL The national association for Amateur Radio, retrieved August 17 2018, http://www.arrl.org/news/new-fcc-part-95-personal-radio-services-rules-published-in-the-federal-register. [return]
- “Personal Radio Service Reform”, The Federal Register, Retrieved August 16 2018, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/08/29/2017-17395/personal-radio-service-reform. [return]