September 07, 2016

CAUTION: How much RF is too much?

It used to be a simple matter of stick it up, hook it up and transmit. And for some hams, that's still the case. But the first rule of good hamming is "Be safe" and that means watching out for the seen (like guy-wires in strange places) and the unseen (like too much RF).

It hasn't been that long ago that the FCC began requiring basic RF exposure evaluations for certain ham stations. In fact, many hams still remember the firestorm of controversy that accompanied the 1997 release of RF exposure standards by the FCC. The storm has subsided and the regulations now include a complete table showing every ham band and the RF level that triggers and required RF evaluation.

New hams may find this all a little confusing. But let's be honest, experienced hams could use a refresher course every now then as well. Here's a great article from QST with a complete overview of RF exposure. The ARRL has a nice page with lots of additional resources. and The has some great info as well.

Bottom line...Have Fun, but Be Safe!