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FCC Revises TracMe Grant – TracMe Talks To ETS

FCC TracMe Grant RevisionThe FCC has taken the next step in an effort to get Tracme to see the light regarding their misuse of the term “Personal Locator Beacon” to describe their FRS homing transmitter.

For background on this issue, please review the following Equipped.org Blog entries:

Original TracMe Blog Entry: “That’s No Personal Locator Beacon!

FCC Initiates TracMe Action: “TracMe: Curiouser and Curiouser

Tracme’s Response to FCC Initiating Action: TracMe to FCC: You Can’t Make Us…

After reported meetings with TracMe in an effort to resolve the issue, and with no apparent resolution as TracMe had expected, the FCC has formally reissued the TracMe grant, essentially revoking, in the eyes of the FCC, their use of “Personal Locator Beacon” to describe their device.

The Grant of Equipment Authorization for TracMe reads:

The FCC reissued this grant on November 2, 2007 with a modified grant note. In its application for equipment authorization the Grantee represented that the subject equipment is marketed as a “Personal Locator Beacon”. The Grantee, however, applied for approval of the equipment as a Family Radio Service device covered by Part 95B of the Commission’s Rules (not as a Personal Locator Beacon covered by Part 95K of the Rules), and this Equipment Authorization is granted for the subject equipment for operation solely as a Family Radio Service device under Part 95B of the Commission’s Rules. (click here to view the Grant document)

I contacted TracMe’s CEO, Joe Rainczuk, for his reaction, asking: “the FCC has reissued the TracMe grant and revoked the approval for use of the term Personal locator Beacon. Can you please advise if it is TracMe’s intention to comply with this or to continue to fight against changing the name?”

Rainczuk’s response was:

(1) the FCC’s action last week did not revoke any FCC approval whatsoever,
(2) Tracme has always marketed its device in a manner that complies with its FCC equipment authorization and the FCC’s rules,
(3) the FCC knows that Tracme has always marketed its device in a manner that complies with its equipment authorization and the FCC’s rules,
(4) Tracme will continue to market its device in a manner that complies with its equipment authorization and the FCC’s rules and
(5) there is nothing in the FCC’s action that Tracme needs to fight since the FCC did not revoke any authority or approval that had previously been granted to Tracme.

We attempted to clarify if this meant that TracMe was intending to continue marketing the TracMe as a Personal Locator Beacon, but rather than provide an answer, Rainczuk attempted to assert, retroactively, that this communication and all previous communications we have had were privileged and could not be published on the ETS site and that I must not only not publish this, but demanded that I remove any previously published. So, it may be that we’ll no longer receive any further responses from Rainczuk to our questions. As a result, unfortunately, I don’t really have a clear cut answer to the question; you’ll have to draw your own conclusions.

It was the Coast Guard’s and AFRCC’s hope that this would settle the issue. If it doesn’t, and it would seem at first glance that TracMe isn’t buying into it, then the FCC will need to decide whether to pursue further options. We were unable to get a response from the FCC as to exactly what those options are prior to publication, but we’ll try to keep you abreast of developments.

The ETS evaluation of the TracMe is now available: www.equipped.org/tracme_eval.htm