FCC Warning on Noncompliant VHF/UHF Radios

FCC Warns on Noncompliant VHF/UHF Two-Way Radios
Monday, September 24, 2018 | Comments

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau released an enforcement advisory, noting that it has observed that an increasing number of conventional retailers and websites that advertise and sell low-cost, two-way VHF/UHF radios that do not comply with the FCC’s rules. Many of the radios violate one or more FCC technical requirements, the commission said.

“Such devices are used primarily for short-distance, two-way voice communications and are frequently imported into the United States,” the notice said. “These radios must be authorized by the FCC prior to being imported, advertised, sold or operated in the United States.”

Some of the radios can be modified to transmit on public-safety and other land mobile channels for which they are not authorized, while others are capable of prohibited wideband operations. “Such radios are illegal, and many have the potential to negatively affect public safety, aviation and other operations by federal, state and local agencies, as well as private users,” the FCC said.

Violators may be subject to substantial monetary penalties — up to $19,639 per day of marketing violations and up to $147,290 for an ongoing violation.

Equipment that does not comply with the technical requirements cannot be certified and thus cannot be imported, advertised, sold or used. There is an amateur radio exception to the certification requirement. If a device is capable of operating only on frequencies that the FCC has allocated for use by amateur radio service licensees, it does not require FCC equipment authorization, and an amateur licensee may use his or her license to operate such radios.

“If a two-way VHF/UHF radio is capable of operating outside of the amateur frequency bands, it cannot be imported, advertised, sold or operated within the United States without an FCC equipment certification,” the notice said.

“Even if a two-way VHF/UHF radio operates solely within the amateur frequencies, the operator is required to have an amateur license to operate the device and must otherwise comply with all applicable rules.”

Prior to purchase or operation, individuals should ensure that a device is either labeled as FCC-compliant or operates solely within amateur frequencies.

For additional information, visit https://www.fcc.gov/engineering-technology/laboratory-division/general/equipment- authorization and https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/mobility-division/amateur-radio-service.


Thanks to Virgil, AB5AR, for sharing this information.

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