Oh, Are There Rules for RF Devices?

Note: This edition of Crosby's Blog is guest authored by EWA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Spectrum Strategies Robin Cohen. 

On August 1, 2018, the Enforcement Bureau (EB) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Citation and Order to Amcrest Industries, LLC, doing business as Baofengradio.us, a Texas-based dealer of Baofeng radios, notifying the company that it was marketing an unauthorized radio frequency (RF) device — a handheld two-way radio — in violation of Section 302(b) of the Communications Act.

Acting on a 2013 complaint, the EB requested information from Amcrest and learned that it was marketing UV-5R model radios that were capable of operating on “restricted [land mobile] frequencies” and at greater than authorized power levels. The Citation noted that Amcrest had stopped marketing all but one device, which did not exceed the certified power levels, but still was capable of operating on Part 90 frequencies. The company has been directed to stop marketing that device unless/until it is compliant with FCC requirements and advised that a failure to do so could result in fines.

This action marks the first time the FCC has acted against non-compliant RF devices since meeting with the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) in February of this year regarding this growing concern.
The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) is extremely concerned about this issue because the introduction of these non-compliant devices creates an unsafe environment for the licensed users that have followed the rules and are operating within the law. As EWA President Mark Crosby stated in a recent interview with Urgent Communications

“It sort of corrupts the good efforts of the frequency advisory committees and the agencies and organizations that are trying to utilize the spectrum for the American public. When these [radios] come in, you can tell that these people don’t particularly care—or choose to learn—what the ground rules are."