Reporting GMRS Rules Violations to the FCC Enforcement
As of January 28,
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:
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
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
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