Requirements to Install and Test Public Safety Radio Systems

During an emergency, reliable communication is critical and clear radio transmissions between first responders inside a building and emergency personnel outside the building is crucial. New codes dictate the minimum qualifications of installation personnel and personnel conducting radio system tests and ETA can help system designers and lead installation personnel meet those requirements.

Greencastle, January 10, 2020: The minimum qualifications for installation personnel and personnel conducting radio system tests are under the jurisdiction of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and International Fire Code (IFC) in conjunction with each state and local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Together, these agencies govern the design, installation, testing and maintenance of in-building two-way emergency responder radio enhancement systems.

Several states and cities, or AHJs, now require system designers and lead installation personnel to possess both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-issued General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL) and certification of in-building two-way communication system issued by a nationally recognized organization. The 2016 California Fire Codes Section 510 Emergency Responder Radio Coverage is only one such example.

From the site survey and radio strength study through installation, testing and ongoing maintenance, technicians who are FCC GROL licensed and certified meet the required in-building ERSC code for new construction and existing buildings.

FCC Logo

What is an FCC GROL?
The GROL is a license granted by the FCC. It is required to adjust, maintain, or internally repair FCC licensed radiotelephone transmitters in the aviation, maritime, and international fixed public radio services. The GROL is a combination of two exams, Element 1 and Element 3.

  • Element 1 - Basic radio law and operating practice with which every maritime radio operator should be familiar. To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 18 out of 24 questions.
  • Element 3 - General Radiotelephone. Electronic fundamentals and techniques required to adjust, repair, and maintain radio transmitters and receivers. The exam consists of questions from the following categories: operating procedures, radio wave propagation, radio practice, electrical principles, circuit components, practical circuits, signals and emissions, and antennas and feed lines. To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 75 out of 100 questions.

Where to take the FCC GROL examination?
As one of only 14 Commercial Operator License Examination Managers (COLEMs) in the nation, ETA International offers all of the FCC commercial radio license exams. They can be taken at any ETA-approved test site and an ETA-approved Certification Administrator will be required to proctor the exam. The Montgomery GI Bill also covers FCC exams for reimbursement for qualified military personnel. Commercial FCC license exams are lifetime exams.

How to earn a nationally recognized certification of in-building two-way communications?
ETA’s Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) certification outlines the requirements of superior performing public safety DAS systems for technicians and installers that cover basic knowledge concepts of service and skills applicable to all of the functions required to safely and completely install, maintain, troubleshoot and provide support of in-building carrier and public safety DAS applications.

Obtain hands-on DAS training with an emphasis on bi-directional amplifiers at an affordable price that leads to an accredited industry certification at ETA’s Education Forum 2020, co-locating again with the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE), in Las Vegas March 30-April 3, 2020. Here, attendees can participate in several hands-on labs under the supervision of the industry’s most respected training providers to become qualified to sit for ETA’s accredited DAS certification exam.

About ETA - Since 1978, ETA® International has delivered over 250,000 certification examinations. Widely recognized and frequently used in worker job selection, hiring processes, pay increases, and advancements, ETA certifications are often required as companies bid on contracts. ETA’s certifications are personal and travel with the individual, regardless of employment or status change and measure competencies of persons, not products or vendors. All ETA certifications are accredited through the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC) and align with the ISO-17024 standard. .

About the Education Forum - ETA International is proud to host hands-on training through outside vendors in popular technology areas related to ETA certification during Education Forum, co-located with the International Wireless Communications Expo, March 30 – April 3, 2020, in Las Vegas. ETA's partners, the industry’s most respected trainers, will provide in-depth hands-on training in 11 key areas of expertise. Following each training class, ETA will provide opportunities to test for ETA accredited certification. /education_forum.html

About International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) - Since 1977, the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) has been the authoritative annual event for communications technology professionals. IWCE features over 370 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and trends in the industry. Over 7,000 individuals attend from a diverse group of industry professionals including government/military, public safety, utility, transportation and business enterprise. IWCE 2020 will be held March 30-April 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information, visit

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