Category Archives: FCC

FCC Proposes $25,000 Fine for Breaking Now-Voluntary Labeling Rules

The FCC has proposed fining Acuity Brands Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, $25,000 for apparently marketing radio frequency devices that were not labeled in accordance with Commission Part 18 rules at the time. The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) on November 21. Compliance with the particular rule at issue now is voluntary.

“Specifically, Acuity marketed three models of consumer-grade electronic fluorescent lighting ballasts — two since 2006 and one since 2009 — that did not have the FCC logo affixed to them,” the FCC said in the NAL. Application of the FCC logo, which the FCC no longer requires, was to inform purchasers that a device had undergone compliance testing. The FCC also said Acuity continued to market two models of the ballasts at issue for approximately 6 months after being notified, causing the Commission to up the penalty.

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FCC Opens 630- and 2200-Meter Bands; Stations Must Notify UTC Before Operating

The FCC has announced that the Office of Management and Budget has approved, for 3 years, the information-collection requirement of the Commission’s March 29 Report and Order (R&O) that spelled out Amateur Radio service rules for the two new bands — 630 meters and 2200 meters. Notice of the action appears in today’s edition of the Federal Register. Before using either band, stations must notify the Utilities Technology Council (UTC), formerly the Utilities Telecom Council, that they plan to do so, and if UTC does not respond within 30 days, they may commence operation.

Last March 27, the FCC adopted the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) implementation Report and Order (ET Docket 15-99), amending its Amateur Radio rules to — in the FCC’s words — “provide for frequency-sharing requirements in the 135.7-137.8 kHz (2200-meter) and 472-479 kHz (630-meter) bands.”

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FCC Technological Advisory Council Investigating Technical Regulations

The FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC) is looking into FCC technical regulations to determine if reforms or changes might be in order. Greg Lapin, N9GL, represents ARRL on the TAC and chairs the ARRL RF Safety Committee. The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) announced the TAC public inquiry (ET Docket 17-215), which seeks comments by October 30 regarding technical regulations and the process for adopting and updating them.

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Revised FCC Form 605 Will Ask Applicants “the Felony Question”

A revised FCC Form 605 — Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services — going into effect in September will ask all applicants to indicate if they have been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony. The Communications Act obliges the Commission to ask “the felony question,” as it did on the old Form 610 and still does on other applications. This action will correct its omission on Form 605, which has existed for years. Applicants’ responses and explanations will be used to determine eligibility to be a Commission licensee. The FCC told ARRL that it’s still deciding whether to issue a public notice on the change.

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FCC Part 97 Ham Radio Changes

On June 14 the FCC WRC–12 Implementation Report and Order was published in the US Federal Register

The Federal Communications Commission has implemented allocation changes from the World Radiocommunication Conference (Geneva, 2012) (WRC–12) and updated its service rules. The Commission took this action to conform its rules, to the extent practical, to the decisions that the international community made at WRC–12.

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FCC Issues Amateur Radio Licensee a Notice of Violation for Pirate Broadcasting

The FCC Enforcement Bureau has sent a California Amateur Radio licensee a Notice of Violation (NoV) alleging that he engaged in unlicensed — or “pirate” — radio broadcasting — on the FM band. The NoV to Lyle E. Hilden, KD6LUL, of Vista, was released on May 26. Depending on Hilden’s responses, the NoV could be a precursor to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (fine).

According to the FCC’s Los Angeles Office, the Enforcement Bureau in March received a complaint of an apparently unlicensed FM broadcasting station on 93.7 MHz in Vista. The NoV does not indicate the origin of the complaint, but these sometimes come from legitimate broadcasters in the listening area. The NoV also does not recount the nature of the alleged pirate broadcasts nor indicate how long they had continued.

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FCC Personal Radio Service Revisions Will Affect GMRS, FRS, CB, Other Part 95 Devices

In a lengthy Report and Order (R&O) in a proceeding (WT Docket No. 10-119) dating back 7 years, the FCC has announced rule changes affecting the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), the Family Radio Service (FRS), the Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS or “CB”), as well as other applications that fall under the FCC’s Part 95 Personal Radio Services (PRS) rules and regulations. Part 95 devices typically are low-power units that communicate over shared spectrum and, with some exceptions, do not require an individual user license from the FCC. As the R&O explains, common examples of PRS devices include “walkie-talkies;” radio-control cars, boats, and planes; hearing assistance devices; CB radios; medical implant devices; and Personal Locator Beacons.

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New Bands! FCC Issues Amateur Radio Service Rules for 630 Meters and 2,200 Meters 03/31/2017

It’s been a long time coming, but the Amateur Service will get two new bands in the near future. The FCC on March 28 adopted rules that will allow secondary Amateur Radio access to 472-479 kHz (630 meters) and to 135.7-137.8 kHz (2,200 meters), with minor conditions. The FCC Report and Order (R&O) spells out the details. It allocates 472-479 kHz to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis and amends Part 97 to provide for Amateur Service use of that band as well as of the previously allocated 135.7-137.8 kHz band. The R&O also amends Part 80 rules to authorize radio buoy operations in the 1900-2000 kHz band under a ship station license. Just when the new Part 97 rules will go into effect is difficult to determine just yet; more on that below.

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What’s the buzz? Pot-growing lights vex ham radio operators

By MARINA VILLENEUVE, ASSOCIATED PRESS AUGUSTA, Maine — Feb 28, 2017, 9:38 AM ET

Retired Coast Guard officer Roger Johnson sometimes notices a harsh buzz when he turns on his amateur radio, and he blames high-powered lighting used to grow pot.

Amateur radio operators say the legalization of marijuana is creating a chronic nuisance thanks to interference caused by electrical ballasts that regulate indoor lamps used to grow pot. The American Radio Relay League wants the Federal Communications Commission to take a stand against devices that give off much more interference than federal law allows in homes.

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Amateur Radio Parity Act Speeds to U.S. House Passage, Heads to U.S. Senate

Just 10 days after being introduced, the 2017 Amateur Radio Parity Act legislation, H.R. 555, passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week on unanimous consent under a suspension of House rules. The bill’s language is identical to that of the 2015 measure, H.R. 1301, which won House approval late last summer after attracting 126 co-sponsors, but failed to clear the U.S. Senate last fall as the 114th Congress wound down. The new bill, again sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), was introduced on January 13 with initial co-sponsorship by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Rep. Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), who chairs the influential House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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