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SCMS Seeks Clarification on FCC Citation

Enforcement Bureau’s Spectrum Enforcement Division told equipment dealer not to continue marketing certain BW Broadcast models

For an update on this story, see “SCMS Says BW Transmitter Is OK With FCC.”

No one likes to get a citation letter from the FCC; equipment dealers are no different.

This week, SCMS is responding to one it received from the FCC Enforcement Bureau’s Spectrum Enforcement Division that tells the dealer to stop marketing certain models of RF power amps and LPFM transmitters made by BW Broadcast. SCMS says it disagrees with the FCC finding but has responded and “of course will comply after it is clarified.”

According to a commission summary, the FCC received a complaint in 2013 alleging that SCMS was importing and marketing external RF power amplifiers and LPFM transmitters made by BW Broadcast Ltd., a U.K. company, that are capable of operating on frequencies below 144 MHz but that were not properly certified. The models listed are the BW Broadcast PA150, PA300, PA600 and PA 1000, as well as the BW Broadcast TX25 V2, TX50 V2, TX150 V2, and TX300 V2.

SCMS told the FCC at the time that the power amplifiers and LPFM transmitters involved have certification and provided a letter from BW Broadcast to support its statement.The manufacturer wrote that the RF amps are identical to those in certified FM transmitters it makes, and that the transmitters imported and marketed by SCMS “are by all intents and purposes the same models already certified by an FCC approved test lab.”

But the commission staff has ruled that an amplifier sold as part of a certified FM transmitter may not be marketed as a stand-alone product without a separate certification, and “BW Broadcast’s contention that the transmitters marketed by SCMS are essentially the same as its already certified transmitters does not exempt those models from the certification requirement.”

The citation involves no fine, and SCMS was given 30 days to respond officially, but the FCC cautioned the company to cease marketing those devices or it could be liable for forfeitures.

Asked for comment, SCMS President Bob Cauthen told Radio World, “It is our understanding the FCC correspondence is only questioning the use of the BW TX300V2 for the LPFM marketplace. Both BW and SCMS are not in agreement with the FCC findings, but of course will comply after it is clarified. We don’t agree on the PA amps either, but rarely sell them, so no reason to argue the point.”

Cauthen said that the TX300V2 model has been certified with the FCC for LPFM use. ”We think there is confusion over that submission and a formal response has been given to the FCC asking for clarification on this certification. … There is no issue regarding the use of all the BW TX Series units in commercial radio, translator or non-commercial high-power marketplace. Ironically, the federal government has purchased hundreds of them for various applications.”