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The ANSI-ASC C63® Committee on Electromagnetic Compatibility

An Update on the Committee’s Recent and Future Standards Development Efforts

This article is an update on the status of the ANSI-ASC C63® Committee on EMC (the C63 Committee). The C63 Committee is primarily a North American committee with a history dating back over 80 years. The Committee specializes in developing electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) engineering standards with an increasing emphasis on standards relative to wireless devices. The C63 Committee meets twice a year at various locations in the U.S. There are numerous meetings of Working Groups in the Committee via electronic means in the time-intervals between face-to-face meetings.

Brief History

The origin of the C63 Committee is still being researched. However, we do know that it was in existence in 1936 as an article published in the Industrial Standardization and Commercial Standards Monthly, Volume 8, Issue 3 (March 1937 – 61 -67) indicated. The appropriate article was “Standards Committees Report Progress on Important Electrical Problems.” It was reported that the “Radio Electrical Coordination Committee (C63), which is administered by the Radio Manufacturer’s Association, was very actively submitting materials to the international standards associations, especially CISPR, on behalf of the USA.”

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How to Perform a Radiated Emissions Measurement

Radiated emissions testing is the measurement of the electromagnetic field of the emissions that are unintentionally being generated by the equipment under test.

We also know that the American Engineering Standards Committee (AESC) was formed in 1916 and that Committee became the American Standards Association (ASA) in 1928. Then, in 1966, the ASA became the United States of America Standards Institute (USASI) which then evolved into the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1969. Today, ANSI is the accreditation authority for the C63 Committee.

Organizational Aspects of the C63 Committee

The C63 Committee consists of the Main Committee, eight Subcommittees and approximately twenty active Working Groups. The members of the Main Committee consist of corporations, organizations, government, and individual consultants.

Current organizational members include: the ACIL, Advanced Compliance Solutions, Inc., Alcatel-Lucent, Apple, Inc., the ARRL (the National Association for Amateur Radio), Blackberry Corporation, Bureau Veritas, CISCO Systems, Dell, Inc., Ericsson AB, ETS-Lindgren, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ISED-Canada, Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), the IEEE EMC Society, Liberty Labs, Motorola Mobility, Motorola Solutions, the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), Northwest EMC, PCTEST Engineering Laboratory, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), SPAWAR-US Navy, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB) Council, TŰV SŰD America, Inc., UL, LLC, and the U.S. Department of Defense – Joint Spectrum Center. Current individual EMC consultants on the membership roll include Stephen Berger, Don Heirman, Dan Hoolihan, John Lichtig, Werner Schaefer, Dan Sigouin, and Dave Zimmerman.

The Subcommittees that report to the Main Committee include:

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  • SC-1 – Measurement and Instrumentation – Chair – Zhong Chen
  • SC-2 – Definitions – Chair – Chris Dilay
  • SC-3 – International Standardization – Chair – Don Heirman
  • SC-4 – Wireless and ISM Equipment Measurements – Chair – Art Wall
  • SC-5 – Immunity Testing – Chair – Steve Whitesell
  • SC-6 – Laboratory Accreditation – Chair – Randy Long
  • SC-7 – Unlicensed Personal Communication Services – Chair – Vladimir Bazhanov
  • SC-8 – Medical Equipment Testing – Chair – Stephen Berger

Working Groups report to the Subcommittees. Each Working Group is responsible for one standard.

Recent Standards

So far in 2016, the C63 Committee has published two standards, C63.26 and C63.12

C63.26, American National Standard for Compliance Testing of Licensed Transmitters used in Licensed Radio Services

This new standard was published January 15, 2016. It represents a culmination of over four years of efforts by a Working Group led by Art Wall.

The general Introduction to the standard says:

ANSI C63.26 is a standard for compliance testing of transmitters operated in certain licensed radio Services. This consensus standard specifies methods, instrumentation, and facilities requirements for the compliance testing of a wide variety of radio transmitters designed to operate in licensed radio services. Tests methods are provided for measurement of radiated and conducted emissions, Radio Frequency (RF) output power, out-of-band emissions, frequency stability, and other regulatory requirements for a variety of devices. This standard serves as a companion standard to ANSI C63.10 for compliance testing of unlicensed wireless devices, and ANSI C63.4 for compliance testing of low-voltage electrical and electronic equipment.

“It does not include limits or station licensing requirements. It also does not consider test methods for requirements specific to maritime and aviation transmitters, ground based radars, satellite communication equipment, fixed microwave equipment, or broadcast transmitters. This equipment may be covered in future revisions of this standard. In addition, this standard does not include evaluation methods for transmitters subject to regulatory requirements concerning human exposure to RF energy; RF exposure conformity assessment methods are given in other standards.”

The body of the standard contains test methods covering:

  1. Commercial mobile radio services (CMRS)
  2. Public mobile services
  3. Cellular radiotelephone service
  4. Personal communication services (PCS)
  5. Miscellaneous wireless communication services
  6. Private land mobile radio services (PLMRS)
  7. Personal radio services (PRS)
  8. Public safety radio pool (previously known as the Public Safety Radio Service)

The annexes of the standard are loaded with important information.

  • Annex A (informative)—Sample test report template
  • Annex B (informative)—Pre-test site path loss characterization for determining radiated emissions
  • Annex C (informative)—Guidelines for determining equivalent ERP and EIRP
  • Annex D (informative)—Broadband measurement discussion
  • Annex E (informative)—Consumer signal boosters authorized frequency bands
  • Annex F (informative)—Guidelines for determining the mobile station coupling loss (MSCL)
  • Annex G (informative)—Wideband consumer booster noise limits
  • Annex H (informative)—Provider-specific consumer booster noise and gain limits
  • Annex I (informative)—Examples of out-of-band emission masks
  • Annex J (informative)—Glossary
  • Annex K (informative)—Bibliography and selected source material

It is expected that the FCC will adopt C63.26 and it will be “incorporated by reference” into the FCC rules. The Canadian government has already adopted the standard and it is part of their regulatory environment.

C63.12, American National Standard Recommended Practice for Electromagnetic Compatibility Limits and Test Levels

This standard was published 29 January 2016. The Working Group that developed it was chaired by Poul Andersen. The Working Group started with the 2007 version of the Recommended Practice and made some significant changes to it for this latest edition.

This standard provides a rationale and recommendations for developing emission limits and immunity test levels; it is called a recommended practice. The limits and levels are representative of current practice and user needs.

Emission limits are specified by national and international standards bodies. Emission limits are typically regulated and hence controlled, which is the case in the U.S. and Canada. Such regulatory limits take precedence, even if the limits are different from those considered in this document.

Unlike some parts of the world, EMC product immunity is not regulated in the U.S. and Canada except for some types of safety equipment. Thus, adequate EMC immunity is more a quality aspect of the product because, if it does not operate in its intended radio frequency (RF) environment, the user would deem it of poor design and quality. The EMC immunity test levels described in this document are representative of common levels applied internationally. However, severe environments (in which levels of electromagnetic disturbance are high) require the consideration of applying higher test levels. This consideration is described in this recommended practice. Finally, it should be noted that the entire recommended practice does not contain normative requirements; as such immunity levels are not universally required.

The Recommended Practice contains only one Annex, an Informative Bibliography.

Standards Approaching Completion

Standards approaching completion within the coming year include the following:

  • C63.2, Draft American National Standard for Specifications of Electromagnetic Noise and Field Strength Instrumentation for the frequency range 9 kHz to 40 GHz—This standard is a revision of a current standard. It addresses EMC receivers and their design. It is expected to be published in 2016.
  • C63.5, Draft American National Standard for Electromagnetic Compatibility—Radiated Emission Measurements in Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) Control—Calibration and Qualification of Antennas (9 kHz to 40 GHz)—This standard is a revision of an existing standard that was last formally published in 2006. It addresses the calibration of antennas that are used in EMC testing. It is a well-known standard and it is used world-wide by EMC laboratories.
  • C63.16, Draft Guide for Electrostatic Discharge Test Methodologies and Criteria for Electronic Equipment—This is a revision of an existing standard and it has been changed to a “Guide.”
    It has added some interesting elements to the challenge of testing electronic products to the
    complex phenomena of electrostatic discharge (ESD).

Standards Published in 2015 and 2014

Standards published in 2015 and 2014 include the following:

  • C63.7, American National Standard Guide for Construction of Test Sites for Performing Radiated Emission Measurements (March 2015)
  • C63.14, American National Standard Dictionary for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) including Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) (December 2014)
  • C63.9, American National Standard for RF Immunity of Audio Office Equipment to General Use Transmitting Devices with Transmitter Power Levels up to 8 Watts (Reaffirmed – October – 2014)
  • C63.18, American National Standard Recommended Practice for an On-Site, Ad Hoc Test Method for Estimating Electromagnetic Immunity of Medical Devices to Radiated Radio-Frequency (RF) Emissions from RF Transmitters (June – 2014)
  • C63.4, American National Standard for Methods of Measurement of Radio-Noise Emissions from Low-Voltage Electrical and Electronic Equipment in the Range of 9 kHz to 40 GHz (March – 2014)

Note – C63.14 (2014) was incorporated by reference into the FCC rules and will become the only test method document allowed by the FCC for Part 15 products. It should also be noted that C63.10 (2013), American National Standard of Procedures for Compliance Testing of Unlicensed Wireless Devices, was also incorporated by reference into the FCC rules for appropriate products.


The C63 Committee has been around for over 80 years. It published its first standard, C63.1, in 1946. The Committee continues to develop and revise standards in the EMC engineering and wireless device arenas. The standards are used world-wide and are used by government bodies in the U.S. for regulatory purposes.

Dan_Hoolihan_290x249Daniel D. Hoolihan is the founder and principal of Hoolihan EMC Consulting. He serves as chair of the ANSI-ASC C63 Committee on EMC. He is also a past-president of the IEEE’s EMC Society, and a current member of the Society’s Board of Directors. Hoolihan is also an assessor for the NIST NVLAP EMC and Telecom Laboratory Accreditation program. He can be reached at, or at 651-213-0966.

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