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RF Lighting Interferes with Amateur Radio, ARRL Claims

The ARRL, the national association of Amateur Radio, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against home improvement retailer, The Home Depot, for its alleged sale of illegal RF-ballast lighting devices.

According to a July 17, 2015 posting on the organization’s website, the ARRL filed a formal compliant with the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau Spectrum Enforcement Division and its Office of Engineering Technology. The ARRL’s complaint alleges that, on at least four separate occasions, Home Depot retail stores sold RF lighting devices solely intended for commercial use to consumers who expressly intended to use the devices in residential settings.

Under FCC Part 18 rules, RF lighting devices approved for use in commercial and industrial environments are subject to less stringent RF emissions limits. As such, they are not suitable for use in residential applications since they may interfere with permitted AM radio broadcasts as well as communications between amateur radio operators.

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The claims in the ARRL’s compliant were based on its own investigation of the retailer’s marketing and communications practices related to RF lighting ballasts, including point of sale signage. In most cases, the ARRL found that signage and other information available to consumers did not adequately address the potential for interference from commercial-grade ballast used in residential settings.

The ARRL also cited actual purchasing experiences, in which consumers reportedly informed Home Depot sales personnel of their intention to use the ballasts in residential settings but were not advised of the potential for commercial ballasts to create interference in such settings.

Read the complete text of the ARRL’s letter to the FCC.

Read the ARRL’s report on marketing violations by The Home Depot.

Photo by MattysFlicks

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