FCC Denies Expert Linears’ Request for Waiver of 15 dB Rule, Petition Pending

From ARRL:

SB QST ARL ARLB045
ARLB045 FCC Denies Expert Linears’ Request for Waiver of 15 dB Rule,
Petition Pending

The FCC has denied a request by Expert Linears America LLC to waive
Part 97.317(a)(2) of the Amateur Service rules limiting amplifier
gain. Expert, of Magnolia, Texas, distributes linears manufactured
by SPE in Italy. Its waiver request, filed in June, would have
allowed Expert to import an amplifier capable of exceeding the
current 15 dB gain limitation as it awaits FCC action on its April
petition (RM-11767) to revise the same Amateur Service rules. That
petition remains pending. Expert has asserted that there should be
no gain limitation on amplifiers sold or used in the Amateur
Service. Most commenters supported Expert’s waiver request, but a
couple of commenters – including FlexRadio – demurred.

“In light of the conflicting comments regarding the desirability of
eliminating the 15 dB limitation, we conclude that waiving the
limitation at this stage of the rulemaking proceeding would
prejudice the rulemaking proceeding and prematurely dispose of
commenters’ concerns,” the FCC said in denying the waiver.
“Moreover, we agree with FlexRadio that granting Expert’s waiver
request while the rulemaking petition remains pending would provide
an unfair market advantage for one equipment model over other
manufacturers’ RF power amplifiers that would still be limited by
[the existing rules].”

The FCC said it would rather give full consideration to “the pending
issues” and apply the result of the rulemaking proceeding to all
Amateur Radio Service equipment. The Commission said rule waivers
“generally” are not warranted “merely to accommodate technical
parameters that are based solely on harmonization with the
manufacturer’s products available abroad.”

The FCC said a minority of those commenting on the waiver request
expressed concern that eliminating the 15 dB limitation would lead
to an overall increase in power levels, “including transmissions
that intentionally or unintentionally exceed the maximum power
limit.”

In its April rulemaking petition, Expert maintained that the 15 dB
gain limitation is an unneeded holdover from the days when
amplifiers were less efficient and the FCC was attempting to rein in
the use of Amateur Service amplifiers by Citizens Band operators.

Although the FCC had proposed in 2004 to delete the requirement that
amplifiers be designed to use a minimum of 50 W of drive power – and
subsequently did so – it did not further discuss the 15 dB limit in
the subsequent Report and Order in that proceeding.

Expert has pointed to its Model 1.3K FA amplifier as an example of a
linear “inherently capable of considerably more than 15 dB of
amplification,” which would make it a suitable match for low-power
transceivers now on the market.

The full Report and Order can be found on the web in PDF format at,
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-149A1.pdf .

Posted in Regulatory, Uncategorized