The US Coast Guard says it’s received reports from crews, ship owners, inspectors, and other mariners regarding poor reception on VHF radiotelephone, digital selective calling (DSC), and automatic identification systems (AIS) when in the vicinity of LED lighting systems. This could include interior and exterior lighting, navigation lights, searchlights, and floodlights found on vessels of all sizes.
“Radio frequency interference caused by these LED lamps [was] found to create potential safety hazards,” the Coast Guard said in an August 15 Marine Safety Alert. “For example, the maritime rescue coordination center in one port was unable to contact a ship involved in a traffic separation scheme incident by VHF radio. That ship also experienced very poor AIS reception. Other ships in different ports have experienced degradation of the VHF receivers, including AIS, caused by their LED navigation lights. LED lighting installed near VHF antennas has also shown to compound the reception.”
ARRL has determined a wide range of interference-causing potential from consumer lighting devices.
“While some are relatively quiet, other devices — even those that meet the required FCC emissions limits — can still cause harmful interference,” said ARRL Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineer Mike Gruber, W1MG. “My best recommendation is to try LED lights before you buy, especially if there is a possibility that the device will be used while you’re operating. “Once you have determined that a particular LED device is quiet, then purchase as many as you need from that same store.”
Over the past few years, ARRL has provided the FCC with reports of LED and other lighting systems that are not in compliance with FCC regulations. In several instances, these devices greatly exceeded the FCC’s emissions limits, in one case by as much as 58 dB, creating as much noise as 650,000 legal devices.
“Several recent FCC enforcement actions involving LED manufacturers have been encouraging,” Gruber said. “These actions can and will make a difference. I would also like to emphasize that the ARRL remains committed to working with both the FCC and manufactures help facilitate that positive difference in any way it can. It is possible for LED and other lighting technologies to coexist with both amateurs and other users of the radio spectrum.”
The Coast Guard said that, while radio interference from LED sources may not be immediately evident, it’s possible to test for it through several steps, including turning off all LED lighting systems on board to see if the interference disappears. The Coast Guard suggested adjusting the VHF radio’s squelch just to the point where it cuts the audio on a vacant channel. If the noise returns, LED lights have raised the noise floor.
If this is the case, the Coast Guard said, it’s “likely” that shipboard VHF radio and AIS reception are being degraded by LED lighting. The Coast Guard has asked mariners experiencing this problem to report their experiences to the Coast Guard Navigation Center, selecting “Maritime Telecommunications” from the menu on the left and providing details on the online form. — Thanks to gCaptain.com and Frank Smith, WS1MH
“I got to talk with Tim Factor from Yaesu about some of the handhelds Yaesu offers, while I was at GigaParts. I constantly get questions in emai... Read more
The RigExpert AA-230 Zoom analyzer is designed for measuring SWR (standing wave ratio), return loss, cable loss, as well as other parameters of cable... Read more
SainSonic releases its debut radios – SainSonic RST599 two-way radios. This revolutionary design marks the start of an exciting new produ... Read more
Description Functional overview of the application DR functions You can use some transceiver’s DR functions. Share pictures Send and receive vo... Read more
“RFinder has been the ‘Social Repeater Directory’ for a while now with its support of repeater check-in postings to APRS and... Read more
RFinder now includes the ability to make jamming reports. This is already available in RFinder Android and should be available on iOS devices by Dayto... Read more
TH-D74 Kenwood Industry’s first*1 portable amateur radio, supporting on both APRS and D-STAR® JVCKENWOOD will release a new high-end 144/430 MHz... Read more
Elecraft KX2 An 80-10 m SSB/CW/Data station that fits in your pocket! Our KX2 “stealth” transceiver can go wherever your imagination takes you. Thank... Read more