• Tired of overpriced web-based spectrum planning tools, that sometimes produce inconsistent results, with little explanation ( documentation ) of how things are calculated?
  • Would you like to be able to submit a batch job to caclulate HAAT, ShortSpacing, Service/Interference Contours, LRP Coverage Maps and do it using a simple Excel workbook?
  • Would you like to be produce visual service/interference contours and/or coverage maps and send the results to others as a simple one-line URL so that it may be reviewed by all?
  • Are you able to ask all the "what-if" spectrum planning questions desired, or do you fear that you will consume too many of those precious "chips or chits" in your account?
  • Would you like to be able to download an LMR Application Activity RollUp database for both Public Safety and Commercial entities and write your own custom queries to search recent FCC application activity and sort by dates, state, county, city, entity, type-of-system, radio service?
  • Would you like to be able to download an LMR WhitePages database for both Public Safety and Commercial entities and write your own custom queries to search and sort by state, county, city, entity, type-of-system, license grant/expire dates, etc.?
  • Would you like to be able to do all of the above ( and more ) without having to register or pay fees?
  • If you answered yes to any of the above, read on...

    As an example consider this: APCO ( "leaders" in Public Safety communications ) has a price schedule that suggests that they charge a fee of USD$25 for a simple HAAT; and they charge USD$100 for a "Single Frequency Search." Wow! -- HAAT is free at the FCC ( and is also free at ViusualLMR -- just click on this VisualHaat link, zoom/pan to any location on the map, and double-click ). Finding a vacant frequency at a specified location is also free with the VisualSpectrumFinder

    So what's up with that? One does realize that APCO is a one-stop-shop for many agencies, but really, USD$25 for something that is free at the FCC website ( well at least paid for with our federal tax dollars )? Is it possible that some public agencies don't really have to care that much about budget?

    And what's up with the FCC? Why are tools, like those found here on VisualLMR.com, not available on their website?

    Someone at the FCC spent a lot of time to develop stuff like Data Transparancy APIs and Spectrum Utilization Study Software -- but is stuff like this what LMR radio engineers really need, or want, today? How many federal tax dollars have/are been/being spent to keep this sort of stuff alive? And, exaclty how is the FCC's Spectrum Dashboard going to help the LMR folks? Clunky. And, when using the FCC's ULS "Advanced Geographic Search" tool, how do you export your results? Clunky.

    Where Should I Begin ?

    The best place to start your work with VisualLmr tools is probably the VisualMaximumErpWatts tool. Once you have deduced the maximum ERP allowed for your location ( and proposed service radius ) per the applicable FCC rules, you can immediately view a coverage map and the respective service/interference contours. Once you find a suitable profile for your proposed transmitter - go looking for available (unencumbered) spectrum using the VisualSpectrumFinder tool. Voilà.

    You may also want to read LMR 100 and LMR 200, a series of primer articles for those planning to build LMR systems (hosted at Urgent Communications) [Real world topics and issues, pragmatic for the LMR intermediate].

    UrgentComm LMR Series: UrgentComm LMR series

    Intended Audience

    Land Mobile radio spectrum planners deploying systems in the following frequency bands: 25-75 MHz, 150-174 MHz, 217-222 MHz, 450-512 MHz, 763..775/788..805 MHz, 806..821/851..866 MHz and 935-940 MHz.

    Let's face it, the current FCC rules for Land-Mobile licensing are somewhat arcane. The R-6602/R-6604 Carey Curves, upon which many rules ( parts 22, 90 ) are based, are more than 40+ years old.

    Newer tools that take advantage of high performance computing, geographic/geospatial databases, and advanced propagation algorithms can provide better estimates on service coverage and interference sources. It has been shown that when modern tools are used, spectrum utilization is increased. This syndrome has been identified in several industry publications and FCC filings ( e.g., revise 90.621 ), yet the FCC continues with the old.

    In some cases, the FCC defers to commercial tools that are available with the assumption that affecting and affected licenses mutually agree to the metrics and the modern tools to deduce acceptable service and interference contours.

    But, for those of us that desire to utilize many of the current rules for Land-Mobile spectrum planning, here is a suite of public and free tools that may serve.