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FCC Cites Company for Selling Unauthorized RF Devices

08/11/2009

On August 10, the FCC issued a Citation to Future Hobbies for marketing unauthorized radio frequency devices in the United States that operate on restricted frequencies. According to the Commission, these devices were in violation of the Communications Act of 1934, As Amended and the Commission's Rules.

In response to a complaint alleging that Future Hobbies was marketing unauthorized audio/video transmitters that are capable of operating on restricted frequencies in the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands, the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the Commission's Enforcement Bureau sent Future Hobbies a Letter of Inquiry on February 25, initiating an investigation. The FCC wanted to know if the company -- based in San Jose, California -- was marketing an unauthorized radio frequency device, specifically, the FHV 2.4 GHz 1000 mW audio/video transmitter and the FHV 900 MHz 500 mW audio/video transmitter. According to the Citation, the FCC observed that these devices were marketed on the retailer's Web site in February 2009.

Future Hobbies responded to the Letter of Inquiry on April 8, telling the FCC that they began selling audio/video transmitters in question on January 2, 2007; they have sold 110 units of the 2.4 GHz device and 63 units of the 900 MHz device. These audio/video transmitters are imported from Taiwan. In its reply, the company told the FCC that they began importing the 2.4 GHz device in October 2006 and the 900 MHz device in September 2007. Future Hobbies went on to say that they discontinued importation of the 900 MHz device in December 2008; they last imported the 2.4 GHz device in April 2009, though the units imported on that date are not being marketed.

The FCC defines an "intentional radiator" as "[a] device that intentionally generates and emits radio frequency energy by radiation or induction." Intentional radiators, such as audio/video transmitters, are generally required by Section 15.201 of the Rules to be approved through the equipment certification procedures described in Sections 2.1031-2.1060 of the Rules prior to marketing within the United States.

The FCC noted that Future Hobbies admitted "that the two devices operate within restricted frequency bands listed in Section 15.205(a) of the Rules. Specifically, the 2.4 GHz device is capable of operating on 2370 MHz, 2390 MHz and 2490 MHz, and the 900 MHz device is capable of operating on 980 MHz, 1010 MHz and 1040 MHz." The FCC said that because these devices are capable of operation on restricted frequencies listed in Section 15.205(a) of the Rules, "the devices cannot comply with the FCC's technical standards and therefore cannot be certified or marketed within the United States."

The FCC said "it appears that Future Hobbies violated Section 302(b) of the Act and Sections 2.803 and 15.205(a) of the Rules by marketing in the United States the two transmitters [the FHV 2.4 GHz 1000 mW audio/video transmitter and the FHV 900 MHz 500 mW audio/video transmitter] listed above." Future Hobbies was warned that "if, after receipt of this citation, you violate the Communications Act or the Commission's Rules in any manner described herein, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures not to exceed $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation." The company was given 30 days to respond to the Citation either through a personal interview at the Commission's Field Office nearest to their place of business or a written statement. Future Hobbies was advised that any response should specify the actions that they are taking to ensure that they do not violate the Commission's Rules governing the marketing of radio frequency equipment in the future.



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