Radio Frequency Urgent Update
Hi Colorado folks,
I received a phone call this morning from the Parks Department in Boulder. They coordinate park operations using radios which operate in the business band, in the same general range of frequencies where we have assignments. They were subject to some extended interference on their licensed frequency from local pilots.
They have a license to operate on 154.800 Mhz. USHPA is authorized to operate business band radios on 158.400 MHz. It is probable that some local pilots have mis-programmed radios which are interfering with the park’s licensed operations.
This sort of thing is exactly why it’s a requirement that only type-accepted, business band radios may be used on the five authorized frequencies. A modified ham radio is NOT legal to operate on these frequencies, because of the risk that it can be mis-programmed, among other reasons. A business band radio cannot be reprogrammed in the field, and the assumption is that a radio technician will set it up properly before use, so it won’t cause interference through misuse.
Police, fire, ambulance, SAR, parks and many other users all have allocations in this band. Some users are life-safety critical, and interference with them is dealt with very seriously by FCC. Penalties for illegal operation can run to $10,000 per incident plus confiscation of equipment. You DO NOT want to attract the attention of FCC, and stepping on other people’s dedicated frequencies is a good way to do it.
The five frequencies that USHPA has authorization for are:
Pilots can also get their ham license and operate on any of the simplex frequencies in the 144.5-148.0 band. The test is easy, the exam questions are on-line, and once you’ve passed you’re good for life. Just follow the basic rules, ID regularly and don’t interfere with other users.
Please verify that you are using legal equipment which is correctly programmed. I assured the Parks Department that we would immediately take action to eliminate the interference, and that they should contact me if any further problems occur.
I’m asking the office to send this to all pilots in Colorado, and I’d like to have you post it to your local club forums as well in case the offenders are not current members but are still actively flying and engaged with the community. Thanks for your attention, and fly safely.
Mark G. Forbes
USHPA Radio Committee Chairman
radio [at] ushpa [dot] aero
Robin Jones, Communications Manager