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RF Exposure

Introduction

Amateur Radio is basically a safe activity. In recent years, however, there has been considerable discussion and concern about the possible hazards of electromagnetic radiation, including both RF energy and power-frequency (50-60 Hz) electromagnetic fields.  To allay such concerns, the FCC set limits on the amount of RF energy people can be exposed to. Some stations need to be evaluated to see if they are in compliance with the rules.

If you do have to do a station evaluation for one or more powers or modes, use this worksheet to guide you through the process. This single page worksheet and instructions will suffice for many stations. You can keep this worksheet in your station records,  You do not need to send anything to the FCC once you complete your evaluation.

See Chapter 5 of the ARRL RF Exposure and You book for more information about multiple-transmitter sites. This book may be downloaded, although some of the information on categorical exemptions for amateur radio has been superseded by the new rules changes.  The book can be downloaded for free.
 

Breaking News:

The FCC has made changes to the RF-exposure rules that change the ways that radio stations can determine whether they are exempt from the need to do a routine RF-exposure station evaluation.  To answer the questions HQ staff are receiving about these changes, ARRL has prepared an RF-exposure FAQ to help hams understand the new rules.

Articles

The following links are to ARRL articles  on RF safety.  Some of the information, such as the descriptions about how to determine if a station is exempt from doing an evaluation, has been superseded by the recent changes to the FCC rules.  See the Frequency Asked Questions link above for more information about the new rules.

Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3
The FCC has announced that rule changes detailed in a lengthy 2019 Report and Order governing RF exposure standards go into effect on May 3, 2021.


"Learning to Live with RF Safety," QST March 2009 pp. 70-71.

RF Safety at Field Day QST June 1999, pp. 48-51
A case study of Field Day with NSRC in a public park

FCC RF Exposure Resources

These links are to documentation that is on the current FCC web site. Some of this information has not yet been updates to reflect the recent changes in the rules.  The information on how to evaluate a station is the most current information that the FCC has available. Information on station exemptions has been superseded by new methods that all radio services use to determine whether a particular installation needs to be evaluated or not.

Web Links

Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3
The FCC has announced that rule changes detailed in a lengthy 2019 Report and Order governing RF exposure standards go into effect on May 3, 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions about the May 3, 2021 changes to the FCC RF-exposure rules
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/RFsafetyCommittee/RFXFAQJune15.pdf


RF Exposure calculator
http://www.lakewashingtonhamclub.org/resources/rf-exposure-calculator/


The following links are to ARRL information on RF safety.  Some of the information, such as the descriptions about how to determine if a station is exempt from doing an evaluation, has been superseded by the recent changes to the FCC rules.  See the Frequency Asked Questions link above for more information about the new rules.

The ARRL Handbook's RF safety coverage as a PDF
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/RFsafetyCommittee/28RFSafety.pdf

The ARRL book, RF Exposure and You, is available for free download:
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/RFsafetyCommittee/RF%20Exposure%20and%20You.pdf
Four page index.