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FCC Enforcement Actions in the AM Band

When discussing unlicensed low power radio, the topic of the FCC will inevitably come up, followed by the question "What would the FCC do if I..."
     Fortunately, the FCC provides an easily accessible record of all of its enforcement activities. In reviewing recent FCC field actions we can learn from the mistakes of others and get a better idea of what to expect.
     You might also wish to review the FCC Enforcement Bureau Inspection Fact Sheet for general information about a station inspection. In this post we'll look at AM Band Enforcement Actions to see what kinds of violations the FCC has focused on in the AM band.
  1. the combined length of the antenna and ground lead was 8.4 meters, exceeding the permitted 3 meter (9.8') limit
  2. the total length of the station's transmission line and antenna exceeded 3 meter (9.8') limit
  3. field strength on 1620 kHz measured at 23,600 (uV/m) at 75 meters, exceeding the maximum permitted level of (24000/F) uV/m at 30 meters
  4. measurement of the field strength far exceeded the permissible level for a non-licensed low-power radio transmitter (24000/F) uV/m at 30 meters
  5. based on field-strength measurements of the signal taken by the agents, the station required a Commission authorization to operate
  6. operation on frequency was measured at 650 µV/m at 38 meters, exceeding the limit of 24.24 µV/m at 30 meters
  7. field strength on frequency 1640 kHz measured 14,500 uV/m at 62 meters, exceeding the maximum permitted level of 14.6 uV/m (24,000/1640) at 30 meters
  8. ground lead used measured approximately 100 feet (31.2 meters), exceeding the permitted 3 meter (9.8') limit
  9. the approximate length of the antenna, transmission line and the ground lead was 30 feet (9 meters), exceeding the permitted 3 meter (9.8') limit
  10. field strength on 1590 kHz measured 35,000 uV/m at 30 meters, exceeding the permitted level of 15.1 uV/m (24,000/1590) at 30 meters
  11. field strength on 1700 kHz measured 27,000 µV/m at 35 meters, exceeding the permitted level of 14.118 µV/m at 30 meters
  12. operation on 1710 kHz was measured at 1,200 uV/m at approximately 320 meters exceeding the allowable unlicensed limit of 100 uV/m at 30 meters on this frequency
  13. field strength on 1690 kHz was measured at 22,000 uV/m at 57 meters, exceeding the permitted level of 14.2 uV/m at 30 meters
  14. operation on 1710 kHz measured 8,000 uV/m at 580 meters, exceeding the allowable unlicensed limit of 100 uV/m at 30 meters on this frequency
  15. operation on 1710 kHz measured 14,000 uV/m at 50 meters, exceeding the allowable unlicensed limit of 100 uV/m at 30 meters on this frequency
  16. agents observed that the total length of the transmission line and the antenna in use significantly exceeded three meters (9.8')
  17. 20 foot ground wire exceeds the 3 meter (9.8') combined maximum length of all radiating elements permitted
  18. field strength on 1700 kHz measured 27,000 µV/m at 35 meters, exceeding the permitted level of 14.118 µV/m
  19. field strength on 1120 kHz measured at 134,000 uV/m at 232 meters, exceeding the permitted level of 21.43 uV/m at 30 meters
  20. antenna's ground lead measured at approximately 40 feet long, exceeding the permitted 3 meter (9.8') limit
  21. field strength on 1640 KHz measured at 3,600 uV/m at 84.1 meters, exceeding the permitted level of 14.6 uV/m at 30 meters
     There might be two ways to look at this. Yes, there have been a number of enforcement actions over the past 8 years but, most are for outrageous power levels or blatantly ignoring the 3 meter rule for antenna and ground.
     Other than that, there seems to be little enforcement attention paid to low power AM broadcasting.

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