REC Networks reports that a low-power FM station in California was recently cited by the FCC for operating without a transmitter that has been certified for use in the LPFM service.
According to REC Networks, “the certification requirement dates back to the 1990s prior to the establishment of the LPFM service with the surge of pirate radio operations that took place following the passage of the Telecom Act of 1996 which opened the door for the relaxing of the national ownership rules. The certification requirement was to assure that unstable pirate equipment was not used in the licensed service. It also assured that older equipment which may be more vulnerable of going out of tolerance without the knowledge of station staff, many whom may be inexperienced broadcasters, would cause interference inside or outside of the FM band with the latter putting safety of life communications at risk.”
Every transmitter model that has been lab-tested and certified for LPFM use will have a label that reads “FCC ID” and then a code. A transmitter without that label may be subject to enforcement action which could include forfeitures. A transmitter that is advertised as Part 73 “type accepted” or “verified” does not necessarily mean the unit is certified for use with LPFM.
REC Networks has a list of models of FM transmitters for which a “FCC ID” exists and therefore would be certified for use by LPFM stations in accordance with the terms of their station license. This list can be found at https://recnet.com/certified.