FCC Targets Online Retailer in Citation
June 7, 2013 — The FCC this week cited an Omaha, Nebraska-based online retailer for marketing unauthorized RF devices — including 10 and 12 meter amplifiers capable of putting out up to 8200 W — in violation of FCC rules. An FCC Citation and Order dated June 6 orders Enterprise Group Inc, doing business as ePowerAmps, to immediately stop advertising, marketing and selling “all unauthorized radio frequency devices, specifically modified Citizens Band (CB) radios and non-certified radio frequency (RF) amplifiers for use in the 10-12 meter bands.” The FCC said continuing to engage in such conduct could subject the retailer to substantial fines and seizure of equipment.
Responding to the citation’s release, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, said it’s reassuring to see evidence of the FCC’s continuing commitment to enforcement relating to Amateur Radio. “It is gratifying to see the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau taking action against flagrant violators,” he commented. The Amateur Radio community has long complained about interference, mainly on 10 meters, from unlicensed CBers and and so-called “HFers.” The FCC once banned the sale of amplifiers capable of operating above 24 MHz, a move that some considered misguided and punitive to Amateur Radio licensees.
The FCC C&O described ePowerAmps as “an online retailer of CB and amateur radios, linear amplifiers, and radio accessories, which specializes in the ‘customization of radios.’” Responding in April to a complaint, an agent from the Commission’s Kansas City office observed on ePowerAmps’ website “illegally modified CB radios being offered for sale in the United States.” The FCC said the retailer also offered offer various modifications and upgrades for 35 makes and models of FCC-certified CB radios. These included swapping out the original final amplifier for a higher-powered replacement. Other mods expanded the authorized frequency range of a CB to include what it called the “26 MHz range and the upper 27 MHz range.” Linear amplifiers offered for sale varied between 120 W and 8200 W and ranged in price from around $140 to nearly $2600, the Commission said, adding none of the 50 linears offered for sale appear to have FCC certification.
The FCC called on ePowerAmps to confirm “in writing” that it has stopped marketing unauthorized RF devices and to provide certain information to the commission within 30 days of the C&O. The information request, contained in a non-public appendix to the C&O, seeks to determine ePowerAmps’ “external RF power amplifier suppliers and sales, as well as the disposition of its illegal inventory,” the Commission said. The FCC gave the retailer 30 days to respond to the C&O and even to challenge the FCC’s findings.