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ARRL Files More “Grow Light” Ballast Complaints with FCC


The ARRL has filed three more complaints with the FCC, urging its Enforcement Bureau to investigate and initiate enforcement proceedings to halt the marketing and retail sale of certain RF lighting devices typically known as “grow light” ballasts, which, it said, violate FCC Part 18 rules. The largely identical complaints zeroed in on three specific products: The Galaxy Legacy Selective Wattage Ballast, the Quantum Horticulture HPS/MH-600W RF Lighting Ballast, and the Lumatek “Dial-a-Watt Air-Cooled” 1000 W Ballast. The League had complained to the FCC in March 2014 about another Lumatek product, and noted that “apparently nothing has been done to date” in that case. The ARRL asserted that the three devices that are the subjects of its most recent complaints generate “blatantly excessive conducted emissions.” Further, the League alleged, the devices are being marketed and sold illegally — in both instances in violation of FCC Part 18 rules. Supporting all three complaints were detailed reports from the ARRL Laboratory that quantify the League’s emission level concerns.


“The level of conducted emissions from [these devices] is so high that, as a practical matter, one RF ballast operated in a residential environment would create preclusive interference to Amateur radio HF communications throughout entire neighborhoods,” ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, wrote in each complaint. The devices exceeded conducted emission limits under all test conditions, “sometimes by extreme margins, throughout most of the HF range,” Imlay said in his letters.

Samples of each RF lighting device cited were purchased by ARRL through retail outlets. All are manufactured overseas and imported into the US.

In a similar vein as its recent complaint about marketing of certain RF lighting devices by The Home Depot, the ARRL pointed out that there were no FCC labels on two of the devices mentioned nor any FCC compliance information “anywhere in the documentation, or in or on the box, or on the device itself,” in violation of FCC Part 18 rules.

The League asked the FCC to require removal of all such illegal “grow light” devices from retail sale and marketing and the recall of those devices already sold or available for retail sale, and it said the device importers should be subject to a forfeiture proceeding.

The complaints were addressed to FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division Chief Bruce Jacobs and Laboratory Division Chief Rashmi Doshi.

All related complaint letters and detailed ARRL Lab reports are attached below.





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