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FCC ESTABLISHES 2-WAY FAMILY RADIO

WASHINGTON-After a two-year process, the Federal Communications Commission established the Family Radio Service, a short-range two-way consumer system first proposed by the Radio Shack division of Ft. Worth, Texas-based Tandy Corp.

According to the commission, the service will provide an “affordable and convenient means” for family groups, hikers, campers and others participating in outdoor activities to communicate over an area ranging from 200 yards to a half-mile. The service operates on any of 14 462 MHz to 468 MHz channels currently located in the General Mobile Radio Service band.

Users of the new service need not be licensed, but all equipment will require FCC certification. There currently are no handheld units waiting for type acceptance, although William Cross of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau told RCR that Tandy/Radio Shack, Motorola Inc. and Uniden America Corp. probably would be providers.

Wayne Wilson, a two-way radio product buyer for Tandy/Radio Shack, said at least two versions-low-power and multiple-channel-of the company’s proposed handhelds are being readied for type acceptance, and that product could be in the stores by Christmas or first-quarter 1997. Consumers can expect to pay between $99 and $179 per unit.

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