Must Have Permit for Walkie Talkies
Since it became known that Army surplus walkie-talkie radio equipment can be purchased from retailers, FIRE ENGINEERING has been asked about the possibilities of using this equipment for fire fighting operations.
To those interested in the subject— and they are many—it should be pointed out that although you can buy a walkie-talkie in some stores, you cannot legally use one. This applies equally well to the fire service as it does to the general public.
Under the communications act, no person may operate a radio tra_____mitter without obtaining a license from the Federal Communication Commission, The F. C. C. has warned that use by the general oublic of such Army surplus walkie-talkies might bring $10,000 fine or two years imprisonment, or both.
It is said that no licenses will be issued for these facilities for the general public until the Citizens Radio Communication Service goes into effect. This service will govern the use of walkie-talkies by the public, although its part in the operation of such equipment by emergency services—including fire—is not presently known. The Commission has said that the service would not be started until “equipment operating in the (walkie-talkiel band” had reached a “satisfactory stage development” and until the Commission had “completed certain technical and legal studies.” Meanwhile, the commission has urged retailers selling Army surplus transmitters to attach tags telling the penalties for unauthorized operation.
Those who have experimented with the type of walkie-talkie and handytalkie used by the Armed Forces and attempted to adopt them to fire fighting operations have generally reported the equipment unsuited for such use.
It is understood that radio manufacturers are at work on improved walkie-talkie models which will meet the special requirements of the fire service. As has been announced, the F. C. C. has already allocated to the fire service certain channels for operation of walkie-talkie and other short-wave radio.