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Equipment type certification vs. conformance?

Aug 24th 2016, 06:24

jazzop

Joined: Aug 23rd 2016, 22:57
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I find it ridiculous that different operating rules (e.g., amateur, GMRS, NTIA) seem to require entirely different equipment certification labels, making it expensive and cluttered for someone like me who has reason to operate on many different bands under different regulatory authorities.

As an FDA-compliance guy, I know that one is free to use any equipment one chooses, as long as you can show that it conforms to the regulatory requirements. In most cases, it's more convenient to purchase a major brand that has gone through the validation process already; but the option remains to build your own and run it through a testing protocol to show conformance.

I'm not an FCC expert by any means. Can anyone tell me if it is truly the case that you can't use a radio on a certain band unless it has a seal of approval (certification) under that regulatory Part? Or can you simply show (if inspected/audited) that the equipment meets the technical specs under that Part and that you operated it under the rules of that Part?

If you really are beholden to the manufacturer to have applied for certification under the Part(s) you care about, why don't more mfgs apply under as many as possible? Testing and validating a piece of electronics ain't as complicated as biomedical stuff (no offense, double-E's).
Aug 26th 2016, 01:48

W1VT

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I think the problem is there is no longer a "super user" license--there used to be First Class Telephone licenses that the FCC could used to ascertain user proficiency, but they are no longer issued.

http://wireless.fcc.gov/commoperators/index.htm?job=license

You are lucky if you can accurately measure radiated emissions--the ARRL HQ lab doesn't has an anechoic chamber for measuring them due to the high cost of such facilities.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer
Sep 4th 2016, 17:34

jazzop

Joined: Aug 23rd 2016, 22:57
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
In many industries, there are independent professional organizations that provide technical and regulatory compliance services for their members. If radio manufacturers don't want to spend the money to type-certify under multiple FCC/NTIA/ITU rules, it seems like there's an opportunity for ARRL to increase revenue by providing an FCC Accredited Testing Laboratory for testing and certification services.

To keep with its mission, ARRL could start out by providing only Part 97 certification at a price that would sustain the test lab's existence. Over time, the ARRL lab could expand its capabilities, offering other test protocols, especially to get amateur-market equipment certified for other commercial/government segments. At all times, however, any device entering the lab for a certification workup, if not already Part 97 certified, would be required to have Part 97 included in the work order. This would help keep the amateur radio equipment market healthy, with lots of COTS choices and potentially lower prices. I don't think that future hams are going to be too keen on building their own equipment; while it's cool and interesting, I don't have time for that.
Sep 6th 2016, 16:51

W1VT

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-turns-away-petition-to-allow-hams-to-operate-non-certificated-transmitters-on-gmrs
In a June 20 letter to Friedlander, the FCC pointed out that GMRS transmitters that also can be used on Amateur Radio frequencies will not be certificated. The FCC said it adopted that rule “to prevent the possible proliferation of GMRS equipment that is also capable of operating on frequencies for which the GMRS licensee is not authorized.”

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