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 Updated 3/13/05

Reporting GMRS Rules Violations to the FCC Enforcement Bureau

As of January 28, 2005

Recent email responses to GMRS licensees from the The Federal Communications Commission, request that complaints related to rules violations in the General Mobile Radio Service be sent by regular mail to the following address:

Federal Communications Commission
Enforcement Bureau
ATTN: GMRS Complaints
1270 Fairfield Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Since 9/11/2001 the FCC has had other urgent priorities. We understand that. The cooperative relationship we had enjoyed with the Enforcement Bureau regarding GMRS enforcement pretty much ended as the FCC took on other tasks related to our nation's War on Terror. This was noted by groups like the Northern California GMRS User's Group and by other licensees across the country. We waited.

In 2004, licensees showed an increased interest in seeking FCC help to deal with interference from unlicensed use and commercial piracy. Complaints to the FCC through normal channels however seemed to fall on deaf ears. Even formal comments filed by this magazine regarding GMRS interference matters appeared to mean very little to the decision makers at the FCC.

We discovered that no one at the FCC's 800 number really knew how to handle a GMRS complaint. Worse yet we found in 2004 that the FCC could not tell us how many GMRS complaints they had actually received over the last year (2004). Surprisingly, in the recent Garmin waiver approval action, the FCC said they would monitor interference complaints to substantiate whether the new GMRS GPS devices on GMRS repeater output channels were causing interference to GMRS licensees. Wow! How are they monitoring complaints? Are they just refusing to take complaints so as to avoid tracking issues? We do not know, and it does not look good for GMRS.

When we did reach someone through the FCC's formal complaint processes using email or telephone we got BOGUS information. The Commission repeatedly provided incorrect information, challenged our rules interpretation, and even refused to take complaints because they believed their bogus information was true. There seemed to be an active effort to resist taking GMRS complaints. Our inability to actually find GMRS complaint statistics at the FCC, and the FCC's unwitting acceptance and support of interference-based technologies, only reinforced our belief that FCC had other things on the agenda for GMRS.

The most embarrassing issue regarding the FCC's handling of our concerns came from licensees who were repeatedly told to contact the frequency coordination authority for the business radio services, the PCIA, to resolve complaints with UNLICENSED users and commercial piracy. GMRS licensees have no formal coordination organization and never have! The PCIA has NEVER represented GMRS licensees and certainly does not represent pirates!

Despite the poor service received at the Commission's 800 number, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau has always had my highest praise. When they got a complaint sent to them directly, or through other channels, they dealt with the complaint. Over the years I have had the honor of meeting and working with staff in this Bureau. It is because of the Enforcement Bureau's prior willingness to act, when we demonstrated a willingness to work within their priority system, that I continue to believe that the Enforcement Bureau is not the problem at the FCC. Enforcement Bureau employees have always shown licensees respect and have been willing to learn the GMRS rules so they are on the same page we are.

It appears that now, the Enforcement Bureau is willing to take our complaints directly. It is the magazine's opinion that we take the FCC's new direction seriously.

Please also contact me at the magazine regarding your complaint so we can track the numbers. Follow up with us if you obtain a disposition from the Enforcement Bureau. We will ask the FCC to be accountable for each complaint. This is PARTICULARLY important for interference complaints generated by the use of Garmin GPS units on GMRS channels. Permanent acceptance of these units is supposedly going to be based on interference complaints.

The magazine will also be happy to forward complaints on your behalf.

Update 031305: With the formation of the Personal Radio Association the PRA will take on Intruder reporting very seriously. A PDF based PRA Intruder Reporting Form is now available that you can use to report GMRS intruders in your area.

PRA GMRS Intruder
Reporting Form


Last updated March 13, 2005

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