ARRL comments on radio interference issues

Oct 14, 2015 11:00 pm
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The digital age and the do-it-yourself movement often conflict, as hacking electronics are sometimes banned or made difficult. The ARRL, the National Association for Amateur Radio, is asking the FCC to clear up if Amateur Radio licensees may modify non-amateur equipment for use on amateur radio frequencies. In March, 2014 the FCC updated requirements for U-NII devices using 5 Ghz bandwidth that includes many Wi-Fi devices and routers with regulatory language that might not allow altering the devices. In an Oct. 8 comment on a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in ET Docket 15-170 and RM-11673 the ARRL wrote, “The Commission should clarify…that the ability of licensed radio amateurs to modify and adapt non-amateur equipment for use in the Amateur Service is beneficial, is permitted, and is not restricted by any rule of general applicability adopted in this proceeding.” The ARRL also asked the FCC not to apply any limitations proposed for Software Defined Radios, and addressed the problem of marijuana grow lights and AM and amateur radio interference. The FCC is overhauling the process where any device that might emit radio waves has to be approved to get that little FCC sticker. Electronic ballasts used in 1000W high pressure sodium or metal halide lamps have interfered with certain radio signals, with a few police officers using AM radios in their vehicle radios to locate illegal indoor marijuana growing operations by listening for interference. The ARRL said, “the only opportunity to preclude widespread sale and deployment of non-compliant RF devices, including unintentional emitters, is via the equipment authorization process.”