Two Way Radio Licensing

Two Way Radio Licensing, The FCC and You…

Yes, you need a license to operate your Land Mobile Radio (LMR) professional two way radio equipment.

What is an FCC License and what does it mean to me?

When you have an FCC License to operate your LMR equipment (47CFR90), you may legally operate your equipment within the bounds of the license and be reasonably guaranteed that no other users will be interfering with your communications. You will have a reasonable guarantee of clear communications where authorized. Now, that’s in theory. In practice, several factors may contribute to interference issues. However, the law requires organizations to have an FCC license as the first line of defense in keeping the wireless spectrum in order and usable for all. The Title 47 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (47CFR90.427(b)) states, “Except for frequencies used in accordance with ยง90.417, no person shall program into a transmitter frequencies for which the licensee using the transmitter is not authorized.” Not only can you not transmit on unlicensed frequencies, they should not even be programmed into your transmitting equipment.

What is the FCC?

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a bipartisan independent federal administrative agency which is overseen by the US Congress. Formed by the Communications Act of 1934 (amended in 1996), its purpose is to regulate all US interstate and US international radio, television, wire, satellite and cable communications. At its helm are are five (5) presidentially appointed commissioners, who must also be confirmed by the US Senate. Title 47 of the United State Code of Federal Regulations contains all of the FCC rules and regulations. Land Mobile Radio is governed by Part 90 of said Title (47CFR90).

Why does the FCC exist?

With the discovery of wireless communications technologies, in the late 1800s, the wireless landscape soon became analogous to the wild west. Broadcasting monopolies and “power wars” soon came into being. The usable “amount” of wireless frequencies, set aside for communications, is finite. When you take into account all of the users spread across the US, even within major metro areas, there is no way for each licensee to have unique frequencies. Organizations would build more powerful transmitters and transmit right over the top of their competitors. Wireless communications could not be reasonably guaranteed.

Of the many areas within the purview of the FCC is wireless communications licensing and coordination. Frequencies must be reused to allow all users equal access, due to their limited nature. Coordination is the process by which specific frequencies are chosen with the intent to geographically disperse use of the same frequency. Basically, making sure the same frequency is not in use by two or more agencies that are too close to each other, causing interference.

Once the appropriate frequencies have been selected and coordinated, they may be issued to an end user on an FCC License.

How do I obtain an FCC License?

Viking Communications personnel can take you through the process of obtaining an FCC license for your business. Licenses are valid for ten (10) years from the date of issuance. We have everything required to set you up with a license and keep that license compliant. The specifics of your license will depend on the two way radio equipment you plan to use, where you plan to use it and how you plan to use it – lots of variables. Not to worry, we know what questions to ask.


Opportunistic companies will send out solicitations for money to “keep you in compliance.” Their stationary and logos look very official and can easily be mistaken for the actual US FCC. Whether this is intentional or not is up for debate, but don’t be taken in. They usually solicit a few hundred dollars and offer to keep your license in compliance and scare you with the dollar amounts of fines. Don’t patronize them. You will only have more difficulty when in comes time for us to renew or modify your license. The actual US FCC will never directly solicit any money from licensee.


We have demonstration equipment available for our products and services and are very excited to meet with you and your team to see how we can improve your organization. Contact Viking Communications, we have been in the business since 1964, always maintaining the consistent goal of helping our clients to communicate more effectively and efficiently. We are locally owned and operated, this allows us to provide professional service in two-way communications systems, with a personal approach for each client.

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