Ofcom Licence Variation – ICNIRP general public limits

radiation patterns for half wave resonant loop antenna
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=286855

At the time of writing most GARC members (if not all) would have received a letter from Ofcom stating changes to the amateur radio licence. If you have not received this letter it may be worth checking your email address is correct on the Ofcom licence portal. A link to a copy of the letter can be found below as well as links to Ofcom and RSGB websites.

In October, we also issued a Statement setting out our decision to formally require licensees to comply with the ICNIRP general public limits and we recently published an update on how we propose to implement that decision.
We are now writing to you to inform you of our proposal to vary the terms and conditions of your licence(s) to require you to comply with the ICNIRP general public limits. In accordance with the Wireless Telegraphy Act and your licence(s), we are giving you notice of our proposal by publishing a General Notice on our website.

Excerpt from Ofcom letter to radio amateurs

Ofcom Letter
Ofcom EMF webpage
RSGB EM Field Exposure

Most radio amateurs have been aware of this forthcoming change for some time and it has caused a great deal of debate and response. Some of the responses have been published by Ofcom including from the RSGB.

In short, radio amateurs must demonstrate ICNIRP compliance by limiting EMF exposure to members of the public when transmitting.

This condition will apply to all licence classes which authorise equipment to transmit at powers higher than 10 Watts EIRP or 6.1 Watts ERP. Ofcom require affected licensee’s to keep records that demonstrate how they have complied with the ICNIRP general public limits.

Excerpt from Ofcom consultation

This is going to be different for everyone depending on where they live and the setup of ariels etc. At best it will be a paperwork exercise at worst it may mean moving ariels or reducing power and time transmitting. The RSGB have developed a prototype additional front sheet in the RSGB/Ofcom calculator. This is likely too change along with additional tools comming from the amateur radio community.

However, even if compliance cannot be reached there may be other mitigating circumstances that the RSGB are looking into which may be the radio amateur can demonstrate where members of the public are not present when transmissions take place. Consideration will also need to be taken when operating mobile/portable setups.
Ofcom in the document has designated family as members of the public! but interestingly visiting radio amateurs are not classed as members of the public.

If, after reading the above information, you wish to make a representation to Ofcom in relation to our proposal to vary your licence(s), you have up until the 18 April 2021 to do so. However, if you do not wish to make a representation you do not need to take any action at this time. More information on the representation process can be found by visiting the Ofcom EMF webpage.

Excerpt from Ofcom letter to radio amateurs

The final decision to vary the licence to include the EMF condition will be made by 18 May 2021. Compliance will likely be enforced after a 6 month grace period for frequencies above 10 Mhz and 12 months for frequencies below that.

Any of the above information may contain inaccuracies or subject to change. It’s advised that you visit the RSGB and Ofcom websites for further information on how radio amateurs can comply with the new proposed Ofcom EMF NOV.