Articles

Frequency Coordination FAQ

Please note that most of the information, questions, and responses below were obtained directly from the FCC. For more information on any subject addressed here, please visit the FCC website.

APPLICATION FORMS AND THE ULS SYSTEM

Where can I get a copy of the FCC Forms?
On Form 601, what does "real party interest" mean?
Can you provide any information on emission codes?
How do I file a waiver on Form 601?
How do I file a Construction Notification?
Where can I find my construction deadline?
If a licensee didn't construct a station or its license and consequently didn't file a notification of construction, when does the license terminate? 
How do I file for a renewal?
I am no longer using my equipment. How can I cancel my license?
I have a pending Modification application, Status 2, and I need to do another modification. Can I file multiple modifications (mods)?
What is Pending Level 2?
What is an "inactive" application?
Why do some applications take longer to process than others?
How do I request a refund of my FCC fees?

CORES – FRN REGISTRATION

What is an FRN?
Why must I register with the FCC?
Should I register as a sole proprietor business or as an individual?
I am with a not-for-profit organization and the organization pays no taxes. Do I have to register for an FRN?
I am with a state/local government agency that pays no taxes. Do we have to register for an FRN?
I am with a foreign business or foreign government agency. Do I have to register for an FRN?
How is the FCC going to use the information I provide?
What do you mean by "doing business" with the FCC?
What will happen if I fail to obtain a FRN?
What if I forget my FRN?
I understand that my registration information is public. What information will the public see?
Can I have more than one FRN?
Can I use the CORES web site to make modifications to my FRN information?

RULES AND REGULATIONS

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
Who is eligible to operate in the consolidated frequency pools?
Who is eligible to operate in the Public Safety Pool?
Who is eligible to operate in the Industrial/Business Pool?
Where can I get a copy of the FCC's Rules and Regulations?
Do I have to buy and use new narrowband equipment?
Is narrowband equipment currently available?
What is trunking and can I implement a trunked radio system?
How can I get an exclusive service area?
What about Conditional Authority?
If a tower owner is unwilling or unable to register a structure, then how should I as a licensee go about filing an application that involves the site? Would the FCC grant a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) if there were to be a delay that is caused by the owner's failure to register in a timely manner?

SPECIAL TEMPORARY AUTHORITYS (STA)
How do I request Special Temporary Authority in the Land Mobile Private Radio Services?
What are STA Terms and Conditions?
STA Forms & Fees

APPLICATION FORMS AND THE ULS SYSTEM

Where can I get a copy of the FCC forms?
Forms may be obtained by calling 1-800-418-3676. Some forms may also be obtained through a fax-on-demand system by dialing (202) 418-0177 from the handset of your fax machine phone. Limited forms are available onlineas well.

On Form 601, what does "real party interest" mean?

A "real party interest" is a person who "has an ownership interest, or will be in a position to actually or potentially control the operation of the station."

Can you provide any information on emission codes?
Several application forms request the emissions of the transmitter. Emissions are designated according to their classification and the necessary bandwidth. Three symbols are used to describe the basic characteristics of radio waves. Emissions are classified and symbolized according to the following characteristics:

  • First Symbol - type of modulation of the main carrier;
  • Second Symbol - nature of signal(s) modulating the main carrier;
  • Third Symbol - type of information to be transmitted.
Note: Whenever the full designation of an emission is necessary, the symbol for that emission shall be preceded by the necessary bandwidth of the emission.

Emission Designator Examples:
 The new ITU (International Telecommunication Union) emission designators must be used in place of the old designators. The following provides samples of the corresponding new ITU designators for the most commonly used emission designators:
  • Frequency modulated (FM) voice 20K0F3E, 11K2F3E 
  • Frequency modulated digitized voice 20K0F1E, 11K2F1E
  • Frequency modulated digitized non-voice 20K0F1D, 11K2F1D
If you have further questions about your emission designator, contact your radio vendor or manufacturer. Emissions are discussed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Rule 2.201 and Rule 90.207.

How do I file a waiver on Form 601?
You must complete the main Form 601 and answer "Yes" to question 8A. Then upload your waiver request as an attachment to your ULS filing. If Frequency Coordination in required, please submit a copy of the waiver request with your application.

How do I file a Construction Notification?
Instructions for filing a construction notification application may be found at the FCC website here. Before filing the construction notification, make sure you have the following information on hand:
  • The Federal Registration Number (FRN) associated with the license
  • The password associated with that FRN
  • The license call sign
  • The construction date for the license or the new component of the license.
To begin the on-line filing process:
Go to http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/
Click on "On-Line Filing"
Enter the licensee's FRN Number along with the appropriate password.

Once you have successfully logged-in:
Select the "Required Notification" option from the menu
Enter "S" for type of Submission Code
Enter the call sign

Answer the waiver and fees questions,
Sign your application by typing your name in the appropriate box
Continue through the process and submit your application
Print a copy of the application after the file number has been assigned.

Note: If you have exceeded the construction notification deadline by more than 15 days, you will need to submit a waiver request along with the Required Notification. In the waiver request, you will be waiving one rule, FCC Rule Section 1.946. The FCC charges a fee for a waiver request. If you need assistance in filing your construction notification please contact PCIA at 703-739-0300 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Where can I find my construction deadline?
This information is printed on your FCC authorization, and it can be located using License Search in the Universal Licensing System (ULS).

If a licensee didn't construct a station or its license and consequently didn't file a notification of construction, when does the license terminate?
If a licensee fails to construct a station or fails to meet a construction requirement for an entire license, the station or license terminates automatically as of the applicable construction deadline. The Bureau will, at a later date, update its licensing records as necessary.

How do I file for a renewal?
A renewal can only be completed 90 days prior to the expiration date of that license. Depending on your radio service you will need to complete the FCC Form 601or 605 (Main Form and/or associated schedules) is required. The purpose of the filing will either be Renewal Only "RO" or Renewal/Modification "RM".

If you need to make a mailing address change it is advised to file an Administrative Update application prior to filing the renew application. Then submit a Renewal Only application to generate a new license period for your license.

Renewal Only will be selected to renew an existing license that has not expired and where no changes in the license are being requested. Completing a Renewal Only you would only need to complete the appropriate main form.

Renewal/Modification would be used to renew an existing authorization, Special Temporary Authorization (STA), or developmental authorization and request a change in the conditions of that authorization. Completing a Renewal/Modification you would use main form and associated schedules for modifying technical data.

I am no longer using my equipment. How can I cancel my license?
You must formally notify the FCC that you want to cancel your license. You can do this cancellation in two ways:

Electronically
Click the Online Filing button.
Enter your TIN and password.
Select "Cancellation" as the application purpose and follow the screens to indicate which license(s) you want to cancel.

Manually
Complete the appropriate FCC Form 601 or 605.
Purpose of the filing would be cancellation.

Submit applications to:
FCC
1270 Fairfield Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325-7245

I have a pending Modification application, Status 2, and I need to do another modification. Can I file multiple modifications (mods)?
In certain situations, you can file multiple modification applications, as long as these applications are not conflicting with one another. The best way to correct a pending modification application is to file an Amendment application (AM).

What is Pending Level 2?
Pending Level 2 means that your application has been accepted into ULS and has gone through the nightly batch process without any fatal errors. It is waiting for review by processors and/or payment confirmation.

What is an "inactive" application?
An inactive application is a previous version of an application that has been superseded by another amended application. ULS databases maintain this inactive version of an application. You can view this application, though, with an Application Search.

Why do some applications take longer to process than others?
Applications can be processed at different speeds for several reasons. Applications including requests for waivers, engineering studies, and legal submissions require an additional level of review. Applications requesting frequencies that require international coordination and incomplete or erroneous filing may also lead to reviewing delays.

How do I request a refund of my FCC fees?
Requests for refund of a fee paid to the FCC must be made in writing to:

Federal Communications Commission
1270 Fairfield Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325-7245

Refunds will not be made in cases where the fee for a service is lower for the current fiscal year than the fee paid under the fee schedule for the previous fiscal year. To comply with the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, the Commission is required to provide your Taxpayer Identification Number to the U.S. Treasury upon generating a request for refund. To avoid delay, please include your Taxpayer Identification Number, or if the applicant is an individual, the Social Security Number with your written request for refund to the FCC.

The refund process usually takes four (4) weeks depending upon the complexity of the request. Once a refund request has been approved, it is forwarded to the U.S. Treasury in San Francisco, the return or refund of monies, refer to CFR 47, Part 1, Section 1.1113 of the Commission's rules.

*Please Note: When requesting a refund or checking the status of a refund in process, please provide the following information:

Applicant Name & Address
Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
Check Number
Radio Service (if applicable)
Call Sign (if applicable)
Date Application was Filed
Date Refund Request was Filed (when checking status)

CORES – FRN REGISTRATION

 
What is an FRN?
An FRN, or FCC registration number, is a 10-digit number that is assigned to a business or individual registering with the FCC. This unique FRN is used to identify the registrant’s business dealings with the FCC. The FCC will use the FRN to determine if all of a registrant's fees have been paid.

You are encouraged to register through the FCC’s CORES web site as soon as you expect to do business with the FCC. This way, you will be ready to access any of the electronic licensing systems without having to go through the registration process at the time you submit an application.

Why must I register with the FCC?
Effective Dec. 3, 2001, all applications and remittance must use an FRN.

Registering in the Commission Registration System (CORES) is how you provide the FCC with basic information. Each individual or organization doing business with the FCC is required to provide and maintain a current official contact address. The contact address you provide will be used to mail important FCC-related information to you (see the entity registration FAQs for details).

Should I register as a sole proprietor business or as an individual?
If you applied for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) within the U.S. state or territory where you do business, register as a "Business," selecting "Private Sector" and then "Sole Proprietor" as your business type. If you are doing business as an individual and you use your Social Security Number (SSN) as your business identification, register as an individual.

I am with a not-for-profit organization and the organization pays no taxes. Do I have to register for an FRN?
Yes.

I am with a state/local government agency that pays no taxes. Do we have to register for an FRN?
Yes. A state/local government agency is considered a business entity and, if you are doing business with the FCC, you must register for an FRN.

I am with a foreign business or foreign government agency. Do I have to register for an FRN?
Yes. If you are doing business with the FCC, you must register for an FRN. The online application process is the same for domestic and foreign registrants, with only minor differences in the data collected (for instance, foreign and domestic address fields will vary slightly).

How is the FCC going to use the information I provide?
The FCC will use the information to verify that you have made the proper payments and to mail annual fee schedules and other materials. If you give them an email address and you are entitled to a refund of fees, the Commission can let you know if you can expect a refund from Treasury. The various licensing systems in use at the FCC will continue to be the source for a licensee's official mailing address on a specific license.

What do you mean by "doing business" with the FCC?
A filer, licensee, certificate holder, or any entity sending payments to the FCC is considered to be doing business with the FCC and must therefore have an FRN. Petitioners or non-feeable complainants are not required to have an FRN.

What will happen if I fail to obtain a FRN?
You will be unable to do business with the FCC. It is mandatory that you obtain and use your registration number with any filing requiring a taxpayer identification number.

What if I forget my FRN?
You may use the SEARCH function on the CORES home page. Follow the search instructions. If you already have an FRN, your business name and FRN should appear in the search results. Please make note of your FRN. You will still need the password associated with your FRN to update your FRN registration information. You can contact the CORES Help Desk for password assistance.

If you cannot find your FRN by using the search function, you may have to register and get an FRN. You can also contact the CORES Help Desk to assist you in your search: Hours 8:00-6:00 EST, Phone: (877)-480-3201 or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I understand that my registration information is public. What information will the public see?
Because the public has access to the CORES search feature, anyone could locate information about any registrant. The public will be able to see your FRN, business name, contact name, and registration date. Also, if you registered as a "business" (as opposed to an "individual"), your IRS-issued taxpayer identification number, contact address, and contact phone number will be visible to the public. If you registered as an "individual," the public will not be permitted to view your taxpayer identification number, contact address, or phone number.

Can I have more than one FRN?
Yes, you can have more than one FRN. A unique FRN is assigned to each registrant. If you register again, another unique FRN will be assigned to you. You may have a good reason to obtain another FRN. For instance, you may want an FRN for each line of business. However, if you have more than one FRN, you will be responsible for using the proper FRN for each transaction.

Can I use the CORES web site to make modifications to my FRN information?
Yes. It is the preferred method and allows you to make your changes immediately. Go to the CORES home page and click "Update Registration." You will need your FRN and password to update your registration information.

RULES AND REGULATIONS


Who is eligible to operate in the consolidated frequency pools?
Under the consolidated pool structure, any applicant may apply for any frequency in the pool in which he/she establishes eligibility.

Who is eligible to operate in the Public Safety Pool?
Briefly, applicants who were eligible in any of the former Public Safety Radio Services or the former Special Emergency Radio Service are eligible for licensing on channels in the Public Safety Pool.

Non-governmental entities, however, must obtain a letter of consent from the governmental entity having legal jurisdiction over the area to be served in order to operate on any channel that was not previously available to the former Special Emergency Radio Service. There are specific frequency coordinator requirements for particular frequencies.

FCC Rule 90.20(c) lists each frequency in the Public Safety Pool and any required frequency coordinator(s) using the following letter codes:

PF — Fire Coordinator.
PH — Highway Maintenance Coordinator.
PM — Emergency Medical Coordinator.
PO — Forestry-Conservation Coordinator.
PP — Police Coordinator.
PS — Special Emergency Coordinator.
PX — Any Public Safety Coordinator, except the Special Emergency Coordinator
Frequencies without any coordinator, specified in the Coordinator column, may be coordinated by any coordinator certified in the Public Safety Pool.

Who is eligible to operate in the Industrial/Business Pool?
Briefly, eligibility is open to persons primarily engaged in any of the following activities:
  • The operation of a commercial activity;
  • The operation of educational, philanthropic, or ecclesiastical institutions;
  • Clergy activities; or
  • The operation of hospitals, clinics, or medical associations.
There are specific frequency coordinator requirements for particular frequencies. FCC Rule 90.35(b) lists each frequency in the Industrial/Business Pool and any required Frequency coordinator(s) using the following letter codes:

IP - Petroleum Coordinator
IW - Power Coordinator
LA - Automobile Emergency Coordinator
LR - Railroad Coordinator

Where can I get a copy of the FCC's Rules and Regulations?
Contact the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. (telephone 202-512-0132) and indicate that you need a copy of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (47 CFR). Rules pertaining to Land Mobile licensees and applicants are found in Part 90. There may also be a Government Printing Office or US Government Bookstore near you, which will also have these rules.

Do I have to buy and use new narrowband equipment?
No. There is no requirement for licensees to replace existing systems nor is there a requirement for new applicants to use any particular type of technology or operate in any particular frequency band. The rules adopted in the R&O ensure that narrowband equipment will be available by requiring that radio equipment type accepted over the next ten years meet increasingly efficient standards. Under this plan, radio users have the freedom to choose equipment that best fulfills their needs while balancing technical capabilities and financial considerations.

Is narrowband equipment currently available?
Yes. Most manufacturers of land mobile radios have narrowband equipment available. To determine if a particular manufacturer has narrowband equipment available, you can search our equipment authorization database on-line or download the database files.

What is trunking and can I implement a trunked radio system?
In a conventional radio system, a radio can access only one channel at a time. If that channel is in use, the user must either wait for the channel to become idle or manually search for a free channel. A trunked radio system differs from a conventional system by having the ability to automatically search all available channels for one that is clear.

The FCC has recognized two types of trunking: centralized and decentralized. A centralized trunked system uses one or more control channels to transmit channel assignment information to the mobile radios. In a decentralized trunked system, the mobile radios scan the available channels and find one that is clear.

The rules require that licensees take reasonable precautions to avoid causing harmful interference, including monitoring the transmitting frequency for communications in progress. This requirement is met in decentralized trunked systems because each mobile unit monitors each channel and finds a clear one to transmit on. In a centralized trunked radio system, radios typically monitor the control channel(s), not the specific transmit frequencies. Therefore, this form of trunking has not, generally, been allowed in the shared bands below 800 MHz.

The Second Report and Order amended the rules, effective October 17, 1997, to allow some licensees, under certain conditions to implement centralized trunked radio systems in the shared bands below 800 MHz. Under these rules, centralized trunking may be authorized if 1) the licensee has an exclusive service area (470-512 MHz band only); or 2) the licensee does not have an exclusive service area, but obtains consent from all licensees who have co-channel and/or adjacent channel stations as follows:

When the proposed trunked station will operate with a 25 kHz channel bandwidth, consent must be obtained from all stations that have an assigned frequency (base and mobile) that is 15 kHz or less removed from proposed station's assigned frequency; When the proposed trunked station will operate with a 12.5 kHz channel bandwidth, consent must be obtained from all stations that have an assigned frequency (base and mobile) that is 7.5 kHz or less removed from proposed station's assigned frequency; When the proposed trunked station will operate with a 6.25 kHz channel bandwidth, consent must be obtained from all stations that have an assigned frequency (base and mobile) that is 3.75 kHz or less removed from proposed station's assigned frequency; and Stations with service areas (37 dBu contour for stations in the 150-174 MHz band and 39 dBu contour for stations in the 421-512 MHz bands; See 47 C.F.R. § 90.205) that overlap a circle with radius 113 km (70 mi.) from the proposed base station. Alternatively, applicants may submit an engineering analysis based upon generally accepted engineering practices and standards which demonstrates that the service area of the trunked system does not overlap any existing stations whose service areas overlap a circle with radius 113 km (70 mi.) from the proposed base station.

In the Third Memorandum Opinion and Order, the FCC:

  • adopted new standards for when consent must be obtained from certain existing licensees when applications are filed for trunked operation on shared spectrum below 800 MHz;
  • relied on certified PLMR frequency coordinators to evaluate trunking proposals on shared spectrum, reserving to the FCC the right to resolve contested proposals;
  • established procedures for the processing of trunking proposals on shared spectrum intended to guard against submission of speculative applications;
  • affirmed that a trunking proponent must obtain consent from all - not just a limited percentage - of affected co-channel and adjacent channel licensees before filing an application specifying a trunked operation; and
  • imposed a ten channel limit on the number of channels that may be requested in an initial trunking application; but giving public safety entities flexibility to exceed that limit based on an appropriate showing of need.
How can I get an exclusive service area?
There are currently no provisions for PLMR licensees in the bands below 470 MHz to obtain an exclusive service area. Licensees operating in the 470-512 MHz band may obtain an exclusive service area if they meet the following loading requirements:
  • 50 units (mobiles per channel) in the Public Safety Pool;
  • 90 units in the Industrial/Business Pool.
What about Conditional Authority?
On June 30, 1995, the Commission, in accordance with its Report and Order, PR Docket No. 88-567, 4 FCC rcd 8280 (1989), implemented a conditional licensing procedure for new and itinerant private land mobile radio stations on shared frequencies in the bands below 470 MHz. See Section 90.159 of the Rules, 47 C.F.R. Section 90.159. Conditional licensing also applies to applicants requesting modification, assignment of authorization, or transfer of control of existing stations in these bands.

The Refarming (PR Docket No. 92-235, Second Report and Order released March 12, 1997) changed the rules to institute a ten business day waiting period in the refarming bands after coordination prior to when an applicant could operate pursuant to conditional temporary authority.

To be eligible for conditional authority, an applicant that has satisfied frequency coordination requirements and that has filed the requisite FCC license application for must meet specified conditions that demonstrate that the application can be routinely granted because it raises no special issues. These conditions are that (1) the proposed transmitter site does not require Canadian coordination; (2) authorization of the proposed station does not require a rule waiver; (3) the proposed station will not significantly affect the environment as defined by Section 1.1307 of the Rules, 47 C.F.R. Section 1.1307; (4) the proposed station or tower structure does not pose a hazard to aviation safety and does not create any FCC antenna clearance issues; (5) the proposed station does not threaten any of the protected sites listed in Section 1.924 of the rules, 47 C.F.R. Section 1.924; (6) that frequency coordination has been secured. Conditional authority is evidenced by the applicant's posting of its executed FCC Form 601 at every control point of the system or an address or location where the current executed copy may be found. See Section 90.437(c) of the rules, 47 C.F.R. Section 90.437(c).

Applications for an itinerant station license, as defined under Rule 90.138, a new private land mobile radio station license in the frequency bands below 470 MHz and in the one-way paging 929-930 MHz band (other than a commercial mobile radio service applicant) or an application seeking to modify or acquire through assignment or transfer an existing station below 470 MHz or in the one-way paging 929-930 MHz band may operate the proposed station during the pendency of its application for a period of up to 180 days under a conditional permit. Conditional operations may commence upon the filing of a properly completed application that complies with Rule 90.127 if the application, when frequency coordination is required, is accompanied by evidence of frequency coordination in accordance with Rule 90.175. Operation under such a permit is evidenced by the properly executed Form 601 with certifications that satisfy the requirements of Rule 90.159(b). Rule 90.159(b) requires that a minimum of ten business days must pass between submission of an application to the Commission and the onset of operating under a conditional permit. Note Section 1.931(b)(11).

If a tower owner is unwilling or unable to register a structure, then how should I as a licensee go about filing an application that involves the site? Would the FCC grant a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) if there were to be a delay that is caused by the owner's failure to register in a timely manner?
If registration is required for a structure, then you as a licensee must provide a valid registration number or request waiver of the instant dismissal policy. Waiver requests and STA requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is unlikely; however, that the FCC would authorize operation from a structure that requires registration if you cannot provide a determination of "No Hazard" as issued by the FAA.

NOTE: To resolve this situation, you have a number of options. For example, you can get the owner to register the structure properly by helping her with the administrative details. You can also notify the FCC's Enforcement Division formally or informally in regard to the owner's failure to comply with the requirements of 47 CFR Part 17.

Special Temporary Authority (STA)


How do I request Special Temporary Authority in the Land Mobile Private Radio Services?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) grants Special Temporary Authority (STA) to permit immediate or temporary operation of certain private radio facilities during emergencies or other urgent conditions.

STA may be granted in the following circumstances:
  • In emergency situations, such as natural disasters;
  • To permit restoration or relocation of existing facilities to continue communication service;
  • To conduct tests to determine necessary data for the preparation of an application for regular authorization;
  • For a temporary, non-recurring service where a regular authorization is not appropriate;
  • In other situations involving circumstances which are of such extraordinary nature that delay in the institution of temporary operation would seriously prejudice the public interest.

For more information on STAs, please refer to Section 1.931 of the Commission's Rules.

STA Terms and Conditions
STAs are granted with a fixed expiration date, usually six months. STAs for testing purposes are generally limited to two weeks. STAs do not have grace periods and are valid only through their expiration date.

The Commission may grant extensions of STA for a period of 180 days, but the applicant must show that extraordinary circumstances warrant such an extension. Such requests should be filed electronically using FCC Form 601 Main Form with a purpose of Renewal/Modification.

All STAs are issued on a secondary non-interference basis. Because an STA is secondary, if the facilities operating under an STA cause interference, the applicant would be required to discontinue operation.

All STA requests must be complete within themselves and cannot rely on pending applications. Lack of information or adequate justification may result in delays in processing the application or even denial.

Normally, the FCC will not grant STAs for operations that require Canadian coordination. The FCC coordinates with Canada most frequencies allocated to Land Mobile Services for use above Line A and East of Line C, as defined in Section 1.955 of the FCC's Rules.

STA Forms & Fees
Applicants are strongly encouraged to file electronically via the Universal Licensing System (ULS). Applicants for Special Temporary Authority should apply on FCC Form 601 accompanied with the appropriate schedules. All applications for STA must also include an attachment that should justify the need for an STA. Forms are available from the FCC's forms contractor by calling 1-800-418-FORM (3676), by calling fax-on-demand at (202) 418-0177, or by downloading from the FCC's website.

For information on STA fees, please consult the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Fee Filing Guide.