FCC Mandate – All 25 kHz Radio’s and Repeaters Must be Narrowbanded by January 1, 2013
In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a mandate stating that ALL licensees currently using 25 kHz radio systems and repeaters must convert to narrowband (12.5 kHz) by January 1, 2013. The order affects systems on VHF and UHF channels between 150 and 512 MHz Low band VHF systems operating below 150 MHz will not be affected. Licensees that fail to convert to narrowband by the deadline will face the loss of their license.


In 1992, the FCC initiated the narrowband campaign. Their primary objective was to increase capacity and efficiency for radio pools in the VHF and UHF private land mobile radio services category. Currently, those bands are so congested that often there is not enough spectrum available for licensees to expand their existing systems or implement new systems. Requiring licensees to convert their radio systems and repeaters to operate on narrower channel bandwidths (FCC Part 90 Narrowband Compliance) allows additional channels to exist within the same spectrum.

The January 1, 2013 deadline has already been extended once. As a result, the FCC is not expected to extend it further. Confirm today that your radios and repeaters are capable of being narrowbanded. Radios and repeaters that are not capable of being reprogrammed and set to narrowband must be replaced.

Licensees do not have to convert to digital. However, many licensees are using this opportunity to upgrade to digital technology. Most digital systems are dual mode capable and can operate in narrowband analog and narrowband digital. Digital is also more resistant to adjacent channel interference and has new features that are not available in analog.

After converting to narrowband, Licensees will be required to certify to the FCC that they are narrowband compliant. This will require Licensees to modify their existing FCC licenses.

Action Communications is committed to helping our customers meet the FCC mandate. You may not have to replace all your radios and repeaters.  It may be a simple matter of reprogramming your radios and repeaters into narrowband mode. If it is not possible to switch your repeaters or radios, we have several new repeater and radio models that can be instantly integrated into your system. For more information, please email us at or call us at (918) 336-5600.

Additional Resources
FCC Rules:

• Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), sections 90.209(b)(6)(i), 90.209(b)(6)(ii) and 90.209(b)(5) for licensee deadlines, and 90.203(j)(3) and 90.203(j)(10) for manufacturer deadlines:

FCC Narrowbanding Guidelines:

FCC Licensing and Coordination:

• FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau sites for licensing and frequency coordination procedures: