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FCC Part 15

The Federal Code Of Regulation (CFR) FCC Part 15 is a common testing standard for most electronic equipment. FCC Part 15 covers the regulations under which an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator that can be operated without an individual license. FCC Part 15 covers as well the technical specifications, administrative requirements and other conditions relating to the marketing of FCC Part 15 devices. Depending on the type of the equipment, verification, declaration of conformity, or certification is the process for FCC Part 15 compliance.

Verification is a procedure where the manufacturer makes measurements or takes the necessary steps to insure that the equipment complies with the appropriate technical standards. Submittal of a sample unit or representative data to the Commission demonstrating compliance is not required unless specifically requested the Commission. Verification attached to the equipment a label showing that compliance is met.

Declaration of Conformity is a procedure where the responsible party makes measurements or takes other necessary steps to ensure that the equipment complies with the appropriate technical standards. Submittal of a sample unit or representative data to the Commissions demonstrating compliance is not required unless specifically requested. The Declaration of Conformity attaches to the equipment a label showing that the sample has been tested and found acceptable by the responsible party.

Certification is an equipment authorization issued by the Commission, based on representations and test data submitted by eh applicant. Certification attaches to the units subsequently marketed by the grantee which are identical to the sample tested an FCC ID number to show compliance.

FCC Part 15 Subpart A contains specific information regarding testing and certification. Information like, scope of the rules and legal implications, definitions, prohibition against eavesdropping, labeling, and other sections.

Some more interesting descriptions used in the FCC Part 15 as listed in Subpart A.

Digital Device. “An unintentional radiator (device or system) that generates and uses timing signals or pulses at a rate in excess of 9,000 pulses (cycles) per second and uses digital techniques; inclusive of telephone equipment that uses digital techniques or any device or system that generates and uses radio frequency energy for the purpose of performing data processing functions such as electronics computations, operations, transformations, recording, filing, sorting, storage, retrieval, or transfer. A radio frequency device that is specifically subject to an emanation requirement in any other FCC Rule part or an intentional radiator subject to Subpart C of this part that contains a digital device is not subject to the standards for digital devices, provided the digital device is used only the enable operation of the radio frequency device and the digital device does not control additional functions or capabilities.”

Intentional radiator. “A device that intentionally generates and emits radio frequency energy by radiation or induction.”

Class A Digital Device. “A digital device that is marketed for use in a commercial, industrial or business environment, exclusive of a device which is marketed for use by the general public or is intended to be used in the home.”

Class B Digital Device. “A digital device that is marketed for use in a residential environment notwithstanding use in commercial, business and industrial environments. Examples of such devices included, but are not limited to, personal computers, calculators, and similar electronics devices that are marketed for use by the general public.

FCC Part 15 Subpart B is for unintentional radiators. The category of unintentional radiators includes a wide variety of devices that contain clocks or oscillators and logic circuitry but that do not deliberately generate radio frequencies emissions. Among the common unintentional radiators are personal computers, peripherals, receivers, radios, TV sets, and cable TV home terminals. FCC Part 15 Section 15.101 has a very informative table for unintentional radiators. Two levels of radiation and conducted emissions limits for unintentional radiators are specified in FCC Part 15 Subpart B. The two levels are Class A digital devices, the higher less strict limits, and Class B digital devices, the lower more strict limits. Manufacturers are encouraged to meet the Class B digital device limits.

FCC Part 15 Subpart C is for intentional radiators. The carious types of intentional radiators covered by Subpart C include cable-locating equipment, cordless telephones, remote control and alarm transmitters, field-disturbance sensors for opening doors, and spread-spectrum systems for wideband data transmission. Intentional radiators governed by FCC Part 15 Subpart C must either have a permanently attached antenna or provide a unique coupler to prevent the use of unauthorized antennas. The FCC Part 15 Subpart C rules for operation of radio transmitters for the most part are very detailed regarding fundamental field strength, power and/or power density, frequency accuracy, and permitted harmonic and spurious emissions.

FCC Part 15 Subpart D outlines the regulations for unlicensed personal communication service (UPCS) devices operating in the 1910 – 1930 MHz frequencies bands.

FCC Part 15 Subpart E sets out the regulations for unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices operating in the 5.15 – 5.35 GHz, 5.47 – 5.725 GHz, and 5.725 – 5.825 GHz bands.

FCC Part 15 Subpart G sets out the regulations for Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL) devices operating in the 1.705-80 MHz band over medium or low voltage lines. This section outlines the geographical area within which Access BPS operations are not permitted in certain frequencies bands.

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