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Homeland Security – National Interoperability Field Operations Guide

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What is the “National Interoperability Field Operations Guide”?

The National Interoperability Field Operations Guide is a technical reference for radio technicians responsible for radios that will be used in disaster response applications and for emergency communications planners.

[ It ] is a pocket-sized listing of land mobile radio (LMR) frequencies that are often used in disasters or other incidents where radio interoperability is required, and other information useful to emergency communicators. It is based on the “National Interoperability Frequency Guide”.

We encourage you to program as many of these interoperability channels in your radio as possible.  Even if geographic restrictions on some channels preclude their use in your home area, you may have the opportunity to help in a distant location where restrictions do not apply.  Maximize your flexibility

Take a read and be prepared –
https://frrl.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/homelandsecurity_officeemergencycommunications_fieldopguide.pdf

Here is some interesting guidance found on page 3 and following

Don’t I need a license for these channels before programming them into radios?

A license (for non-Federal radio users) or an authorization (for Federal users) is required only to TRANSMIT on an LMR radio frequency. No license or authorization is required to program the frequencies into radios.

How can I use these frequencies if I don’t have a license for them?

 There are six ways you can legally transmit on these radio frequencies:

  1. You or your employer may already have a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license or a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) authorization for some of these frequencies, or may be covered by a higher authority’s license.
  2. The non-Federal National Interoperability Channels VCALL10-VTAC14, UCALL40-UCALL43D, and 8CALL90-8TAC94D are covered by a “blanket authorization” from the FCC for mobile operation, but base stations and control stations still require individual licenses (see FCC 00-348, released 10/10/2000, paragraph 90).
  3. In extraordinary circumstances, the FCC may issue a “Special Temporary Authority” (STA) for such use in a particular area.
  4. In extraordinary circumstances, the NTIA may issue a “Temporary Assignment” for such use in a particular area.
  5. If you are an FCC licensee, you may operate a mobile station on the Federal Interoperability Channels only when invited or approved to do so by a Federal Government radio station authorized by the NTIA to use those channels, and only for the purpose of interoperability with Federal Government radio stations. You may not use these channels for interoperability with other State, tribal, regional, or local radio stations – these are not a substitute for your regular mutual aid channels. Your use of these Federal channels is done under the auspices of your FCC license; any misuse subjects you or your employer to FCC ines and/or possible license revocation.
  6. When necessary for the IMMEDIATE protection of life or property, radio users may use prudent measures beyond the speciics of their license:
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