Updated FCC Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3

Two years ago KA0LDG made a presentation titled RF Exposure Evaluation for Amateur Radio Operators (PDF and Powerpoint versions are available in the Training and Education | Presentations folder on the RRRA Groupsware server) in anticipation of the updated FCC RF exposure rules.

This week ARRL reports in ARRL General Bulletin ARLB011 (2021) and the Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3 News story:

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. The new rules do not change existing RF exposure (RFE) limits but do require that stations in all services, including amateur radio, be evaluated against existing limits, unless they are exempted. For stations already in place, that evaluation must be completed by May 3, 2023. After May 3 of this year, any new station, or any existing station modified in a way that’s likely to change its RFE profile—such as different antenna or placement or greater power—will need to conduct an evaluation by the date of activation or change. 1

According to Greg Lapin, N9GL, chair of the ARRL RF Safety Committee and a member of the FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC):

“For amateurs, the major difference is the removal of the categorical exclusion … which means that every ham will be required to perform some sort of calculation, either to determine if they qualify for an exemption or must perform a full-fledged exposure assessment. For hams who previously performed exposure assessments on their stations, there is nothing more to do.” 2

Amateur Radio operators—especially those who have never conducted an RF exposure evaluation of their station—are encouraged to review the ARRL News Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3 article and visit the ARRL RF Exposure page for more information and resources.

RF Exposure Calculators


  1. “Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3”, ARRL the national association for Amateur Radio, accessed April 13 2021, http://www.arrl.org/news/updated-radio-frequency-exposure-rules-become-effective-on-may-3. ↩︎

  2. “Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3”, ARRL the national association for Amateur Radio, accessed April 13 2021, http://www.arrl.org/news/updated-radio-frequency-exposure-rules-become-effective-on-may-3. ↩︎