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We are farmers with (edit) 25-40w radios mostly old Kenwoods and Motorolas in all of our tractors and vehicles. I'm not exactly sure what frequency we have but the man who programmed them set them up with 2 preset channels. We are not licensed hams. I am now working on getting my ham licence and naturally I was wondering what kind of frequency this is called, we don't identify at all on the air and we never are bothered by any other interference such as hams or other licencees. As you can tell I'm clueless and would appreciate any input. Also feel free to request some more information and I will try to elaborate.

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    $\begingroup$ What are the model numbers of the transceivers? Googling those will give us more info. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Oct 25, 2022 at 18:11
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    $\begingroup$ Is "the man" still around to ask? $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 26, 2022 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeWaters we have a couple kenwood tk863g and a couple of motorola radius m1225. $\endgroup$
    – Logan
    Oct 26, 2022 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ @JonCuster ya i called him for more info but he hasnt got back to me $\endgroup$
    – Logan
    Oct 26, 2022 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ also a Motorola pm400 or two $\endgroup$
    – Logan
    Oct 27, 2022 at 16:07

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The likelihood that your radios are being operated legally is small in my opinion, at least if you're in the US. The only entirely unlicensed frequency in that section of the spectrum that I'm aware of are the channels in the Family Radio Service (FRS). But that service limits max power to 2 watts for transmitting.

You really need to confirm which country you're operating in and the frequencies being used on the radios (and power settings) to know where you stand.

I would also say that as long as you're not interfering with anyone the likelihood that the FCC is going to bother you in the US is pretty small.

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Without knowing the frequency and country or more information about how they were programmed, there's no way to guess if you are operating legally.

In the US, it is possible to lease frequencies at a location from the FCC, and if the radios were professionally programmed, this may have been done. The lease may need to be renewed periodically (but the lease time can be years).

It may be possible to look up the lease on the FCC's website by zip code or company name.

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    $\begingroup$ sorry we live in tx, usa $\endgroup$
    – Logan
    Oct 26, 2022 at 16:56
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Don't have a whole lot to add to the other answers, but if these are UHF radios then hopefully they were at least set up using either GMRS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mobile_Radio_Service#Frequency_assignments) or Business Band (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_band#UHF_frequencies) channels. But to be clear you do need a license to use even those channels, legally.

If GMRS you can simply buy a callsign for each family that uses the radios, and then identify using that callsign at least every 15 minutes of radio usage. I'm not sure what a business band license entails; I suspect many small businesses get set up by a consultant/service company for that.

Perhaps the best step to get things sorted out would be to figure out what two frequencies were actually programmed. Do you know anyone with a "police scanner"-type receiver who could help you search out the frequencies of your two channels? Otherwise perhaps you can find a local ham radio club, and one of their members might have a frequency counter or an SDR receiver or other way of measuring those.

Again, at 45W output power you are almost certainly missing some sort of license to transmit legally — it's just a matter of figuring out which service you've been "borrowing" (and hopefully not using some random rogue frequency!) and sorting things out from there.

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    $\begingroup$ i think it might be business band but im not sure. like i said though we do not identify at all on the air, and as far as 3rd party use our whole family uses it freely. maybe its some kind of "grey area". a long time ago, we had some interference from some local cropdusters, the radio guy came out and moved the frequency down a little. just some more info to put this into perspective $\endgroup$
    – Logan
    Oct 26, 2022 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ Nothing "gray" about it. You need to either get licensed or get equipment that's legal in an unlicensed band. If you were getting "interference" from a crop duster, your equipment may be in aircraft bands, which would get the FAA involved on top of FCC. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Oct 27, 2022 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon Could be, but at this point we can't be sure. If you could see what type of radios he has, that would help. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Oct 27, 2022 at 18:02
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Simply, it is technically illegal in the US to use an amateur radio tranceiver on the GMRS band, if it is not type-approved. FRS can't be transmitted on with those high watts either. Odds are slim that you'd get penalized, but its still illegal to transmit without a license on an amateur band; or on non-amateur bands with a radio not type approved.

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