May 3, 2023, was the end of the transition period for the new FCC rules governing RF exposure which eliminated previous station evaluation exemptions.
Licensees have enjoyed a 2 year grace period during which they could have performed these evaluations and made any needed adjustments to their stations.
RF exposure evaluation of ALL Amateur Radio stations—and compliance reassessment subsequent to station modifications which could affect exposure—is now mandatory.
As detailed in a May 2023 QST article by Greg Lapin, N9GL, the rules now require amateur radio operators to perform station evaluations. The Amateur Radio Service is no longer categorically excluded from certain aspects of the RF exposure rules, and licensees can no longer avoid performing an exposure assessment simply because they are transmitting below a given power level.
The ARRL website features an RF Exposure landing page with resources, such as an RF exposure calculator, the entire RF Safety section from the 100th Edition of the ARRL The Handbook, a video explaining the topic, FAQs about the subject, and more. These tools and resources are available to the public without an ARRL membership or website account. 1
Anyone who has taken an exam or renewed their license in the last few years has had to agree to the following statement (either on an NCVEC form 605 or was asked a question on the FCC website):
I have read and WILL COMPLY with Section 97.13(c) of the Commission’s Rules regarding RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) RADIATION SAFETY and the amateur service section of OST/OET Bulletin Number 65 (OET65 addresses evaluating RF compliance).
Other RF Exposure related resources and discussions available on-line include:
- KA0LDG’s RF Exposure Evaluation presentaion
- ARRL Helps Radio Amateurs Comply with New RF Exposure Evaluation Rules (on the Amateur Radio subreddit).
- FCC Exposure Rules Soon to Affect Every US Radio Amateur (on the Amateur Radio subreddit).
“ARRL Helps Radio Amateurs Comply with New RF Exposure Evaluation Rules”, ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio, accessed May 9 2023, https://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-helps-radio-amateurs-comply-with-new-rf-exposure-evaluation-rules. ↩︎