FCC Invites Comments on Eliminating Gain Limit on Amateur Amplifiers

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments on a proposed change in its regulations that would eliminate the 15 dB gain limitation on all amateur amplifiers.

The FCC’s request for comments follows a Petition for Rule-Making (RM-11767) submitted in April 2016 by Expert Linears America LLC, an amplifier distributor based in Magnolia, Texas. In its petition, the company says that the 15 dB gain limitation is an obsolete requirement that is no longer relevant in today’s marketplace.

“The Commission adopted this rule in 1978 to prevent commercial manufacturers from marketing to CB Radio Service users RF power amplifiers that had been approved for use at amateur stations,” Expert says in its Petition.

In 2004, the FCC removed a similar requirement that amplifiers be designed to use a minimum of 50 W of drive power, but the 15 dB amplification limit was not addressed at that time. “Although no party advocated retention of the 15 dB limit, it remains in place today,” Expert asserts.

According to Expert’s Petition, today’s technologically advanced amplifiers are more efficient and therefore certain low-power transmitters require more than 15 dB of amplification to achieve the maximum legal power output. The company stresses that the gain limitation puts U.S. manufacturers and distributors at an unnecessary disadvantage, and requests that the restriction be removed from all amplifiers sold or used in the Amateur Radio Service.

Comments on the proposed change to the gain limitation on amateur amplifiers can be submitted through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System.


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