Tuesday, April 13, 2021

New FCC RF Exposure Rules Take Effect May 3

Back in 2019, the FCC adopted new rules relating to radio frequency (RF) exposure levels which ended amateur radio's categorical exemption making station evaluations. (The exposure limits have not changed, just the methods used to make measurements and the elimination of categorical exemptions.) The rules were not implemented immediately in order to give hams and other licensees time to figure out how to meet the new requirements. Time's up. The new rules take effect on May 3 and affect all of us. Here are key points relating to amateur stations, according to the ARRL:

* Existing stations have an additional two years in which to determine whether an evaluation is required (and if it is, to do it);

* New stations or existing stations that are modified in a way that affects RF exposure (such as putting up a new tower or antenna) must comply with the new rules before being put into service.

There are still exemptions, and some amateur stations may qualify. You now need to determine that on an individual basis. The ARRL is offering to help hams make the necessary determinations and has made its RF Exposure and You book available for free download from the ARRL website. The League is also working with the FCC to update its official guidance in "OET Bulletin 65" and is developing tools for hams to use in performing exposure assessments.