Category Archives: FCC

Comments Due by April 6 on 76-81 GHz Radar Sharing Proposals
March 6, 2015

Comments are due by April 6 on an FCC proceeding that could lead to expanded spectrum for various radar applications in the 76-81 GHz band, which Amateur Radio shares with other services. The band 77.5-78 GHz is allocated to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services on a primary basis, and to the Radio Astronomy and Space Research services on a secondary basis. The FCC released a detailed Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Reconsideration Order(NPRM&RO) in ET Docket 15-26 on February 5. The Commission said the proposals include allocation changes as well as provisions “to ensure that new and incumbent operations can share the available frequencies in the band.”

The ARRL will file comments in the FCC proceeding. Reply comments (ie, comments on comments filed by the April 5 deadline) are due by April 20.
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FCC Seeks Comment on Radar Sharing Schemes that Could Displace Amateur Radio at 76-81 GHz
February 9, 2015

The FCC is seeking comment on issues involving expanded use of various radar applications in the 76-81 GHz band, which Amateur Radio shares with other services. The band 77.5-78 GHz is allocated to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services on a primary basis, and to the Radio Astronomy and Space Research services on a secondary basis.

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FCC “Paperless” Amateur Radio License Policy Goes into Effect on February 17
January 29, 2015

Starting February 17, the FCC no longer will routinely issue paper license documents to Amateur Radio applicants and licensees. The Commission has maintained for some time now that the official Amateur Radio license authorization is the electronic record that exists in its Universal Licensing System (ULS), although the FCC has continued to print and mail hard copy licenses. In mid-December the FCC adopted final procedures to provide access to official electronic authorizations, as proposed in WT Docket 14-161 as part of its “process reform” initiatives.

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ARRL Asks FCC for 2300 MHz Primary Allocation
October 1, 2014

ARRL Again Asks FCC to Elevate Amateur Service 2300-2305 MHz Allocation to Primary

In comments filed in response to an AT&T Mobility Petition for Rule Making seeking a new air-to-ground communications system on 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications Service (WCS) spectrum, the ARRL has once again asked the FCC to elevate the Amateur Service allocation at 2300 to 2305 MHz from secondary to primary. The Petition (RM-11731) asked the Commission to authorize an LTE-based in-flight connectivity service in the WCS “C” and “D” blocks (2305-2315 MHz and 2350-2360 MHz, respectively) for airlines and airline passengers. AT&T has asserted that restrictions on out-of-band emission and power limits to protect adjacent-band users make the use of the C and D blocks problematic. The wireless provider asked the FCC for rule changes to permit deployment of its service “using currently fallow spectrum” while also “preserving adequate interference protection to users of adjacent bands.”

“Notwithstanding this broad and nebulous claim, there is no showing anywhere in the four corners of the Petition that the proposed rule changes would permit anycontinued Amateur Radio operations on a secondary basis in the shared A block (2305-2310 MHz),” the ARRL commented on September 22. More to the point, the League said, there is no showing in the Petition that Amateur Radio operations in the adjacent 2300-2350 MHz band would be protected from increased out-of-band emissions, if the FCC were to implement the changes requested.

The League asserted in its comments that the FCC has, to date, “failed to protect Amateur Radio operations at 2300-2305 MHz from WCS out-of-band emissions.” The ARRL said the band is “regularly and substantially utilized by radio amateurs” for weak-signal, long-distance communication and, only by circumstances — a lack of a primary occupant — has it been able to enjoy that segment as a de factoprimary user.

“The Commission’s rules are quite clear that WCS licensees enjoy no entitlement to disrupt adjacent-band radio service operations,” the ARRL commented. But, the League pointed out, previous FCC actions to expand mobile broadband devices left 2300-2305 MHz vulnerable to increased out-of-band interference that would be difficult or impossible to mitigate. The ARRL said amateur stations operating in the 2300-2305 MHz band would be unable to avoid interference from AT&T Mobility’s proposed system, and that the FCC has refused to clarify the obligation of WCS mobile providers to avoid interference to Amateur Radio operations there.

The ARRL objected to what it called the FCC’s “practice of making allocation decisions which place incompatible uses in close proximity to amateur stations and then place on the amateur licensees the burden of avoiding the interference.”

“It is obvious that the result of the AT&T Petition will be a virtual preclusion of amateur access to the 2305-2310 MHz segment,” the ARRL’s comments continued. “A ubiquitous air-to-ground system which operates at and above 2305 MHz will clearly render the secondary allocation status of that segment a virtual nullity.”

The ARRL asked the FCC to recognize Amateur Radio’s “de facto primary status” at 2300-2305 MHz and to elevate that segment from secondary to primary for amateurs. It further called on the Commission to “clarify the obligation of WCS licensees in all contexts to protect the adjacent-band Amateur Service operations at 2300-2305 MHz from harmful interference.” Finally, the League requested that AT&T provide “a complete technical compatibility showing and interference analysis” that would demonstrate compatibility between its proposed service and amateur operations at 2300-2305 MHz.

FCC Proposes to Fine CBer $14,000

FCC Proposes to Fine CBer $14,000 for Not Permitting Station Inspection

The FCC continued this month to demonstrate that it’s serious about enforcing its rules and regulations, proposing to fine a Florida Citizens Band operator $14,000 for failing to allow FCC agents inspect his station. The Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Tommie Salter of Jacksonville on August 22. The Commission alleged that Salter earlier this year denied permission for agents from the FCC’s Tampa Office to check out his station in the wake of renewed complaints of interference to a neighbor’s “home electronic equipment.” On March 21, the agents monitored radio transmissions on 27.245 MHz and used radio direction-finding techniques to track the signal’s source to Salter’s residence.

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FCC Alleges Deliberate Interference, Fines for Two Radio Amateurs

FCC Alleges Deliberate Interference, Failure to Identify in Proposing Substantial Fines for Two Radio Amateurs

The FCC Enforcement Bureau came down hard on two radio amateurs this week, proposing substantial fines for alleged deliberate interference to other Amateur Radio communications — in one case by transmitting music and animal noises — and failure to properly identify. In similar Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NALs) released July 22, the Commission proposed fining Michael Guernsey, KZ8O (ex-ND8V), of Parchment, Michigan, $22,000, and Brian Crow, K3VR, of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, $11,500. In both cases, the FCC said the evidence indicated that the transmissions at issue were aimed at interfering with other radio amateurs with whom each “has had a long-standing and well-documented dispute” that had spilled out onto the air.

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Radio Amateur Facing Substantial Fine for CB Violation
March 24, 2014

Radio Amateur Facing Substantial Fine for CB Violation

An Oklahoma Amateur Extra class licensee is facing a $12,000 fine for operating his Citizens Band radio to “interfere with the communications of other CB stations,” the FCC said in a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) released March 21. In May 2013 an FCC agent used mobile direction-finding techniques to positively identify the source of a continuous carier of CB channel 19 (27.1850 MHz) to the residence of Orloff Haines, KF5IXX, in Enid, Oklahoma. Haines was not at home, but his wife showed the agent her husband’s CB station, which was transmitting on channel 19.

“Mrs Haines stated that Mr Haines was ‘keyed on,’ or continuously transmitting on channel 19, because other CB operators in the area were harassing her,” the FCC reported in the NAL. The agent telephoned Orloff Haines during the station inspection, and, the FCC said, he admitted that he was transmitting a continuous carrier on channel 19. Mrs Haines “voluntarily turned off” the CB transmitter at the end of the inspection. The FCC said the carrier was interfering with CB communication within an approximately 2 mile radius.

Prior to last May, Haines had received two written warnings from the Dallas FCC office, advising him of the consequences of intentionally interfering with other CB communications. “The fact that Mr Haines interfered with other CB communications despite being twice warned in writing that such actions violated [the Communications Act] and FCC rules demonstrates a deliberate disregard for the Commission’s requirements and authority,” the FCC said, in justifying an upward adjustment of $5000 in the proposed forfeiture.

The FCC gave Haines 30 days to pay the fine or file in writing for reduction or cancellation of the proposed fine.

Florida Man Cited for Causing Harmful Interference to Radio Amateurs
April 24, 2013

Florida Man Cited for Causing Harmful Interference to Radio Amateurs

The FCC has issued a Citation and Order to Ruben D. Lopez Jr of Pomona Park, Florida. The Citation, issued April 23, is in response to several complaints about a well pump at Lopez’s residence that was acting as an incidental radiator and causing harmful interference to local radio amateurs.

In July 2010 and February 2011, the FCC received complaints from radio amateurs regarding interference on the MF and HF Amateur Radio bands. Upon investigation, the FCC found that a well pump at Lopez’s residence was causing the interference, and advised Lopez of the complaints and of the rules regarding interference to licensed radio services. The FCC instructed Lopez to resolve any interference.

According to the Citation, in October 2012 — in response to another interference complaint — FCC agents “used direction finding equipment to identify Mr Lopez’s well pump as the source of transmissions on the frequency 1800 kHz. The agents…confirmed that Mr Lopez’s well pump was the source of the interference by conducting on/off tests — the interference ceased when the well pump was turned off. The agents informed Mr Lopez that he must cease operating his well pump until the interference could be resolved. After the October 23, 2012 inspection, the [FCC’s] Tampa Office received information that Mr Lopez tried to eliminate the interference by replacing the A/C line filter for the well pump, but the new filter did not resolve the interference.”

Lopez was found by the FCC to be in violation Section 15.5(b) and (c) of the FCC’s rules by operating an incidental radiator and causing harmful interference. He was instructed by the FCC to “take immediate steps to ensure that he does not continue to cause harmful interference, including repairing or replacing his well pump and associated control circuitry.” The FCC advised Lopez that if he continues to violate the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules, it “may impose monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each such violation, or in the case of a continuing violation, up to a maximum forfeiture of $112,500 for any single act or failure to act. In addition, violation of the Communications Act or the [FCC’s] rules also can result in seizure of the equipment through in rem forfeiture actions, as well as criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.”

If he desires, Lopez has until May 23 to respond to the Citation, either through an in-person meeting with the FCC office in Tampa, or via a written statement that should detail any actions Lopez has taken “to ensure that he does not violate the Communications Act or the [FCC’s] rules governing the operation of incidental radiators in the future.”

FCC Rules Against Hams in BPL Decision

April 19, 2013

FCC Rules Against Hams in BPL Decision

The FCC has upheld its Broadband over Power Line rules and rejected an appeal from ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio, formerly known as the American Radio Relay League.

The commission said its previous decisions regarding BPL strike the right balance between the need to provide Access BPL technology, which has potential implications for broadband and “smart grid” users, while protecting incumbent radio services against harmful interference.

The agency this week denied the ARRL appeal, saying the amateur radio group raised no new arguments, nor proved previous FCC BPL decisions contained mistakes.

Access BPL devices are mounted on overhead or underground power lines. Amateur radio supporters have said since the BPL rules came out in 2004 that the RF emissions from the devices interfere with some ham frequencies. They wanted the BPL rules changed to adopt mandatory, full-time notch filtering, which means turning down the power, of all BPL systems operating on all ham bands below 30 MHz from 20 dB to 25 dB.

The FCC said throughout the proceeding and judicial appeal, that the ARRL has argued that more restrictive technical standards are needed to protect the amateur radio service from interference from BPL devices. “We have specifically rejected as unnecessary these repeated requests by ARRL for tighter emissions controls on Access BPL operations, more stringent interference mitigation measures and requirements for avoidance of BPL operations in the amateur bands,” notes the FCC in its decision.

ARRL CEO David Summer says in a story on the ARRL website he wasn’t surprised at the decision, “although some of the rhetoric” used by the agency “in continuing to defend its wrong-headed promotion of the flawed BPL technology is disappointing.”

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay agrees, saying for 10 years, the association has provided irrefutable technical evidence to the agency “proving harmful interference as it occurred at BPL deployments. Responsible BPL companies long ago demonstrated that it is possible to notch, at all times, all Amateur Radio bands to a reasonable notch depth between 25 and 35 dB, without any functional degradation of their systems.”

“The ARRL will continue to vigilantly guard against the abuse and pollution of the radio spectrum in the use of BPL technology on a case-by-case basis as necessary, wherever necessary,” states Imlay.

FCC Upholds $7000 Forfeiture Order to California CB Operator

July 31, 2012 

FCC Upholds $7000 Forfeiture Order to Merced California CB Operator

After a Merced, California man refused to let FCC investigators inspect his Citizens Band (CB) radio station, the FCC issued — and upheld — a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) for $7000 for not allowing the inspection. In issuing the NAL in March 2011, the FCC found that Ira Jones “apparently willfully and repeatedly” violated Section 303(n) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 95.426(a) of the Commission’s rules (CB Rule 26) by failing to permit the inspection. Jones responded to the NAL, but the FCC upheld the forfeiture amount, saying that Jones’ arguments were “irrelevant” and “unpersuasive.”

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