Doug Lung / RF Report
11.04.2013 09:37 AM
FCC Cites Hair Salon for Cell Site Interference
Fluorescent lights identified as ‘incidental radiators’
This week the FCC issued a Citation and Order against the operator of an incidental radiator for causing interference to an AT&T cell site next door. The incidental radiator was transmitting on 705 MHz. The interference wasn't from a computer or other electronic device, but rather from fluorescent lighting fixtures used in the Perfect Cuts Salon in San Antonio, Texas.

In response to an FCC inquiry about the interference, the owner of the salon, Ronald Bethany, said that the lighting wasn't causing him any problems and he saw no reason to repair or replace the fixture to resolve the interference. On a telephone call on 7/31/2013, the FCC Enforcement Bureau agent reiterated Mr. Bethany must resolve the interference or be in violation of the Rules.

The Citation and Order directs Mr. Bethany “to describe the steps he has taken or plans to take to eliminate the harmful interference caused by his incidental radiators, i.e., lighting fixtures, as well as a time line for any pending corrective actions, within thirty (30) calendar days after the release date of this Citation.” It warns, “A failure to respond in writing, or an inadequate, incomplete, or misleading response, may subject Mr. Bethany to additional sanctions.”

The Citation and Order further noted: “If, after receipt of this Citation Mr. Bethany again violates Section 15.5(b) of the Rules by engaging in conduct of the type described herein, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures not to exceed $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation, and up to $112,500 for any single act or failure to act. For instance, the Commission could impose separate forfeitures for each day on which his incidental radiators cause harmful interference.”

The Citation and Order stated that failure to comply could also result in seizure of equipment and even imprisonment.

For specifics see the Citation and Order (DA 13-2077).

What I find troubling is the possibility that similar fixtures in different businesses around the country are radiating signals in the UHF band strong enough to interfere with a nearby cell phone sites. Such devices are also likely to cause interference to TV reception, but with the transition to digital, viewers no longer see slowly rolling bars from interference modulated with 60 Hz and multiples of 60 Hz rolling through the picture to give them a clue that local interference is the reason they can't get that channel.

As the owner of the incidental radiator, Mr. Bethany is the one the FCC will hold responsible, but it seems to me the company that installed the lighting and the manufacturer (assuming it was installed correctly) should bear the cost of fixing it, as well as testing and if necessary replacing similar fixtures installed elsewhere.

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Posted by: Anonymous
Mon, 11-04-2013 11:29 AM Report Comment
I believe many of the viewer complaints I handle on loss of a DTV signal could be attributed to similar sources. Some years ago a fellow Ham Operator was troubled by strong power line RF noise that the power company traced to a neighbor's faulty circuit breaker for the washing machine. The neighbor was asked to replace it but never did. James L. Jones WUNL-TV (KS8X)
Posted by: Anonymous
Tue, 11-05-2013 02:30 AM Report Comment
I suppose it's possible that the light fixtures were not properly grounded. But what irks me is that the FCC doesn't single out the (probably Chinese) manufacturer who made this thing! Who built this thing? And why aren't fixtures like this required to be inspected FIRST by the FCC for interference compliance problems, before the greedy bums are allowed to imported millions of them into this country? ---Duke & Banner
Posted by: Anonymous
Tue, 11-05-2013 08:38 AM Report Comment
Seems to me that as much as ATT makes they could afford to replace the light fixture for the shop.
Posted by: Anonymous
Mon, 05-12-2014 08:55 AM Report Comment
This thread is old, so I don't know if anyone will read this, but here goes.... The manufacturer DID offer to fix the problem, but Mr. Bethany refused their help, and insisted they just send him money instead. Is it possible that he never intended to fix the problem at all?

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