Category Archives: FCC

FCC puts gigabit Wi-Fi on the roadmap by opening up new wireless spectrum

by Devin Coldewey

Wi-Fi wireless internet router on dark background

More and more, the internet is delivered wirelessly, but as bandwidth demand grows in each home  — multiple TVs, smart devices, tablets and phones — current Wi-Fi standards are starting to fall short. Fortunately the FCC  and wireless industry are prepared for this, and the former has just officially proposed opening up a wide swathe of spectrum to bring our Wi-Fi systems up to gigabit level.

Many of the devices we use now operate on what’s called “unlicensed” bands of spectrum, so called because they’re not set aside specifically and tightly regulated, like military or official broadcast bands. Instead the industry was allowed to make what they could out of a set of frequencies as long as they did so within reason, and it’s been a roaring success, promoting both competition and cooperation.

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FCC Enforcement Advisory

“Two way VHF/UHF radios may not be imported, advertised, or sold in the United States unless they comply with the commissions rules”.

“Amateur Radio Exception. There is one exception to this certification requirement: if a device is capable of operating only on frequencies that the FCC has allocated for use by Amateur Radio Service licensees, it does not require FCC equipment authorization, and an amateur licensee may use his or her license to operate such radios. However, many two-way radios that purport to operate on amateur frequencies also operate on frequencies that extend beyond the designated amateur frequency bands.”

“If a two-way VHF/UHF radio is capable of operating outside of the amateur frequency bands, it cannot be imported, advertised, sold, or operated within the United States without an FCC equipment certification. Even if a two-way VHF/UHF radio operates solely within the amateur frequencies, the operator is required to have an amateur license to operate the device and must otherwise comply with all applicable rules. The Bureau will take very seriously any reports of failures of two-way radio operators to comply with all relevant rules and requirements when using devices in the amateur bands.”

FCC Enforcement Advisory DA 18-980 PDF

FCC Grants ARRL Temporary Waiver Request to Permit PACTOR 4 Use in Hurricane Relief

The FCC has granted an ARRL request for a temporary waiver of Section 97.307(f) of the FCC’s Amateur Service rules to permit the use of PACTOR 4 digital mode for Amateur Radio communication within the continental US related to Hurricane Florence relief. The grant extends through Tuesday, September 18, and a formal order addressing the request for a 30-day waiver will be issued next week, the FCC said.

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FCC Sticks by Prescribed Page Limit in Denying Request in Radio Amateur’s Appeal

In an August 24 Order, the FCC denied a request by William F. Crowell, W6WBJ (ex-N6AYH) of Diamond Springs, California, for permission to file an appeal that would exceed the page length prescribed by FCC rules.

“We find that Crowell has not shown good cause for exceeding the prescribed page limit,” said the Order, signed by Linda L. Oliver, Chief of the Administrative Law Division in the FCC Office of General Counsel. “Crowell’s request indicates that he intends to appeal the order by Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Richard L. Sippel dismissing his renewal application for Amateur Radio license W6WBJ and terminating the proceeding. Under the Commission’s rules, appeals of an ALJ’s dismissal order are limited to 25 pages.”

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FCC Cites Baofeng Importer for Illegally Marketing Unauthorized RF Devices

The FCC has issued a Citation and Order (Citation) to Amcrest Industries, LLC(formerly Foscam Digital Technologies, LLC), an importer and marketer of popular and inexpensive Baofeng hand-held transceivers, alleging that the company violated FCC rules and the Communications Act by illegally marketing unauthorized RF devices. The FCC asserts that Amcrest marketed Baofeng model UV-5R-series FM hand-held radios capable of transmitting on “restricted frequencies.” The Baofeng models UV-5R and UV-5R V2+ were granted an FCC equipment authorization in 2012 to operate under Part 90 Private Land Mobile Radio Service (Land Mobile) rules.

“Under § 2.803 of the Commission’s rules, an entity may not market a device that is capable of operating outside the scope of its equipment authorization,” the FCC Citation said. “RF devices that have been authorized under Part 90 rules, such as the model as issue, must operate within the technical parameters established in those rules.” The FCC also maintained that the UV-5R 2+ is capable of operating at 1 W or 4 W, while the Part 90 Equipment Authorization limits the power output to 1.78 W.

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FCC Proposes $18,000 Fine in Louisiana Amateur Radio Interference Case

The FCC has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) proposing to fine Jerry W. Materne, KC5CSG, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, $18,000 “for apparently causing intentional interference and for apparently failing to provide station identification on amateur radio frequencies,” the FCC said.

“Mr. Materne was previously warned regarding this behavior in writing by the Enforcement Bureau and, given his history as a repeat offender, these apparent violations warrant a significant penalty,” the FCC said in the NAL, released on July 25.

In 2017, the FCC received numerous complaints alleging that Materne was causing interference to the W5BII repeater, preventing other amateur licensees from using it. In March 2017, the repeater trustee banned Materne from using the repeater.

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ARRL Urges Regulatory Regime to Keep Non-Amateur Satellites off Amateur Spectrum

ARRL wants the FCC to facilitate bona fide Amateur Satellite experimentation by educational institutions under Part 97 Amateur Service rules, while precluding the exploitation of amateur spectrum by commercial, small-satellite users authorized under Part 5 Experimental rules. In comments filed on July 9 in an FCC proceeding to streamline licensing procedures for small satellites, ARRL suggested that the FCC adopt a “a bright line test” to define and distinguish satellites that should be permitted to operate under Amateur-Satellite rules, as opposed to non-amateur satellites that could be authorized under Part 5 Experimental rules.

“Specifically, it is possible to clarify which types of satellite operations are properly considered amateur experiments conducted pursuant to a Part 97 Amateur Radio license, and [those] which should be considered experimental, non-amateur facilities, properly authorized by a Part 5 authorization.”

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FCC Administrative Law Judge Terminates Long-Standing Amateur License Renewal Case

In a July 9 Order, FCC Administrative Law Judge Richard L. Sippel has ended the decade-old license renewal proceeding involving William Crowell, W6WBJ (ex-N6AYJ), of Diamond Springs, California, upon a motion by Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary C. Harold. Termination of the proceeding and the dismissal of Crowell’s license renewal application followed his refusal to appear for a hearing in Washington, DC, to consider his license renewal and other issues in an enforcement proceeding that dates back 15 years or more.

“Crowell’s decision not to appear at the hearing has the same practical effect as if he had initially failed, pursuant to Section 1.221(c) of the Rules, to file a written notice of appearance or otherwise signal his intent to participate in the hearing on his pending renewal application, i.e., he has waived his right to prosecute that application,” Harold said in the Enforcement Bureau’s June 12 motion to dismiss Crowell’s license renewal application.

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Amateur Operator Penalized for Interference on Shared Frequencies

by: Susan Ashworth

FCC said operator caused interference and failed to provide station identification

An amateur radio operator has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission over intentional interference with other transmissions — and as a result has agreed to pay the U.S. government $7,000.

The FCC and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania found that Brian Crow, an amateur operator, violated the Communications Act and the commission’s rules by causing interference and failing to provide station identification when transmitting.

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