900 MHz ISM and non-ISM Radio

History: There are frequencies that have been allocated for Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) devices to communicate. Some of these frequencies are licensed and some are unlicensed. The FCC first made unlicensed spread spectrum available in the ISM bands in rules adopted on May 9, 1985

Availability: ISM and non-ISM devices are now more common than FRS radios. Examples: Wi-Fi (both 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz), Bluetooth, Cordless Phones, SCADA data devices, ZigBee Home Automation, etc.

Here, we are specifically talking about voice communications which only has a few options.

License Needed: None for license free radios.

Other radios require an Amateur license or an Industrial/Business license.

All devices need to conform to both FCC Part 15 and FCC Part 18 regulations.

Use: Personal only for Amateur license use; Personal or Business for Motorola DTR/DLR/MOTOTRBO

Range: Will vary by obstructions like buildings, trees, or hills. Average is 2-4 miles for a 900 MHz spread spectrum radio.

Equipment needed: Any Make or Model of radio that is certified by the FCC Part 15 or Part 18 Regulations. You can check a radio’s certification by looking in the FCC online database.

Antenna: Attached

Output: Up to 1 Watt.

Modulation: Various voice and data modulations, including spread spectrum.

Frequencies: Various

Frequency RangeBandwidthNotes
433.05-434.79 MHz1.74 MHzRegion 1 Only (EU, Africa, Persian Gulf, Russia, etc)
902-928 MHz26 MHzRegion 2 Only (North and South America, Greenland, some Pacific Islands)
2.4-2.5 GHz100 MHzWorldwide
5.725-5.875 GHz150 MHzWorldwide