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Re: Flash upgradeable user programmable radios - why not?

laura halliday wrote:

> The type approvals on the radios I do professionally
> cover the hardware only. Changing the software does not
> alter the type approval.

It seems to me that the US FCC won't grant type approval to a radio
that can receive or transmit in the cellular telephone frequency
range.  If a radio was physically capable of doing so, and the only
thing preventing it was the firmware locking out those frequencies,
I could imagine the FCC being concerned about that.  I believe that
the current regulations in the US not only say that the radio must
not tune to those frequencies, but that it must not be easily
modified by the end user to allow it to tune those frequencies.

Perhaps the FCC and the equivalent agency in Canada (sorry for my
ignorance of the name) doesn't consider re-programming a flash
memory chip "easy" enough that they worry about it, based on the
other replies to this thread that mention other flash-programmable
radios that have made it through the type acceptance hoops.

I guess we should consider ourselves fortunate for this bit of
slackness in the application of the rules.  The average moron who
wants to buy a radio and modify it for a prohibited use probably
does NOT know anything about re-programming a flash ROM, and the
type of folks who have a legitimate reason to want to change a
radio's programming, licensed Amateur operators, are effectively
NOT prevented from doing so.

Naturally, that's not to imply that no licensed Amateur operators
who have the skills to re-program a flash ROM are not the sort of
morons who would want to modify a radio for illegitimate purposes,
but hopefully the reasonable people like you and me outnumber
those bozos.  (I'm a bit attuned to this issue because of a "bad
egg" arrested locally last month, who was/is a licensed ham, and
who was not only performing malicious interference on local ham
repeaters, but was regularly and extensively interfering with local
police, ambulance, and firefighting radio frequencies, using
modified amateur radios.)

John (KB0ZEV)
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