Friday, December 13, 2019

Hams Lose Special Exemptions on RF Exposure Rules

The first major revision of the FCC's RF exposure rules in more than 20 years will result in changes in the way that hams must apply the rules. The ARRL Letter reports that the basic limits remain unchanged, but that amateurs will now be subject to the same standards for evaluating RF exposure as other FCC licensees. The current rules provide a framework specific to amateurs that exempts certain transmitters from the need to conduct evaluations based on their power and operating frequencies [see Section 97.13(c)(1) of the rules]. 

The new rules will replace that framework with a general statement that "amateur licensees may evaluate their operation with respect to members of his or her immediate family using the occupational/controlled exposure limits" already in the rules while potential RF exposure to other people "must be evaluated with respect to the general population/uncontrolled exposure limits." 

The practical impact on most amateurs, according to the FCC, will be negligible, noting that a transmitter that had been categorically excluded from evalution in the past most likely will remain exempt. The ARRL is asking the FCC to provide an online calculator with which to make determinations about RF exposure measurements.