ARRL Deep Dive Into FCC RF Exposure Rule Changes

IMHO the video above covers more than us Amateur Radio ops will ever need to know about RF exposure. However, like the good soldiers we are, we must comply with the rules set down by the FCC. I do like the section later in the video which describes the misinformation about RF exposure rule changes swirling around the Amateur community.

My summary is that us ops were once excluded from RF exposure testing. Now our stations may be exempt based on how our station antennas are set up and the power we are emitting. By May of 2023 all Amateurs are now required to document their station’s RF exposure in case the FCC comes a knockin. According to the new rules, no transmitter is exempt, base, mobile, portable or HT.

HTs manufactured prior to 4/3/2021 are exempt from the new rule change. Going forward, it will be the manufacturer’s responsibility to comply by conducting expensive SAR testing on HTs and other equipment. Undoubtedly the costs associated with SAR testing will be passed onto us consumers. Will the Chinese manufacturers comply?

The scenario when compliance comes into play is as old as the hobby itself. A neighbor decides that he finds your antenna systems offensive or becomes concerned about their exposure to the RF your station is emitting. So they lodge a complaint with the FCC. At that point the station op must provide documentation showing that their station has been previously tested and is in compliance with the new FCC RF exposure guidelines.

Fortunately, the ARRL has provided a Web page on the subject of RF exposure which includes general information, links to articles, downloads and a link to an RF exposure calculator. The question that comes to mind is: Is running our station gear through this calculator all we need as documentation? What are the factors required prior to using this calculator? For example power loss in coax runs, time actually transmitting per hour, the mode(s) used while transmitting. etc. Perhaps these requirements are spelled out in the documents supplied by the ARRL.

Stay tuned for more thrill packed information on the FCC and their new RF exposure rules.