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Clarification and Waiver of Ship Radar Standards

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Released: June 5, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th St., S.W.
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY 202 / 418-2555

DA 12-880

Released: June 5, 2012



In this Public Notice, we clarify and waive certain provisions of Section 80.273 of the
Commission’s Rules1 regarding radar installations on board ships. Specifically, we grant a blanket waiver
of the requirement in Section 80.273(b) that radar equipment on voluntary vessels2 comply with
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard 62252.3 In addition, we clarify that radar
equipment on compulsory vessels4 must comply with the standards now incorporated into Section
In the Fourth Report and Order and Second Memorandum Opinion and Order in WT Docket No.
00-48 (Fourth Report and Order),5 the Commission amended the Part 80 rules governing the maritime
radio services by, among other things, updating the rules for ship radar equipment and incorporating by
reference the relevant international standards for such equipment, including IEC 62252.6 The
Commission grandfathered equipment installed prior to the effective date of the Fourth Report and
, but prohibited any new installations of equipment not compliant with the new standards.7 The rule
changes took effect on January 3, 2012.
On February 27, 2012, the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM)
requested that the Commission delay or suspend the requirement that voluntarily installed radar
equipment comply with IEC 62252.8 RTCM explains that IEC 62252 has not been adopted as a radar

1 See 47 C.F.R. § 80.273.
2 I.e., vessels not required by treaty or statute to be equipped with radio equipment. See 47 C.F.R. § 80.5.
3 See IEC 62252, “Maritime navigation and radiocommunication equipment and systems—Radar for craft not in
compliance with IMO SOLAS Chapter V—Performance requirements, methods of test and required test results,”
First edition, 2004–07 (IEC 62252).
4 I.e., vessels required by treaty or statute to be equipped with radio equipment. See 47 C.F.R. § 80.5.
5 See Amendment of Parts 13 and 80 of the Commission’s Rules Concerning Maritime Communications, Fourth
Report and Order and Second Memorandum Opinion and Order
, WT Docket No. 00-48, 25 FCC Rcd 7781
6 Id. at 7789-90 ¶ 16.
7 Id. at 7790 ¶ 17.
8 See Petition for Rulemaking (filed Feb. 27, 2012). RTCM also requests that the Commission amend Section
80.273 and other rules governing radar equipment. In this Public Notice, we address only RTCM’s request for
relief from the requirement that voluntarily installed radar equipment comply with IEC 62252. RTCM’s request
for rule changes will be addressed in a separate proceeding.

standard in other nations, and manufacturers have not designed and built radar equipment to that standard
and will not be able to do so in the near future.9 As a result, recreational boaters and others who wish to
install maritime radar equipment voluntarily are unable to do so in compliance with Section 80.273(b).10
Section 1.925(b)(3)(i) of the Rules provides that the Commission may grant a rule waiver if it is
shown that the “underlying purpose of the rule(s) would not be served or would be frustrated by
application to the instant case, and that a grant of the requested waiver would be in the public
interest….”11 The primary purpose of Section 80.273(b), like other Part 80 rules establishing standards
for ship radio equipment, is to promote maritime safety. That purpose would be frustrated if Section
80.273(b) were to have the unintended effect of precluding mariners from installing radar equipment on
their vessels on a voluntary basis.
We accordingly waive Section 80.273(b). This waiver permits the owners and operators of
voluntary vessels to carry radar equipment even if it does not comply with IEC 62252,12 and allows the
FCC Lab or Telecommunications Certification Bodies to authorize radar equipment without reference to
any particular standard if the equipment is intended for use solely on voluntarily equipped vessels.13 The
Commission may revisit Section 80.273 and other rules governing ship radar equipment in an appropriate
rulemaking proceeding.
In addition, we note that Section 80.273(c) currently requires compulsory vessels to carry radar
equipment that meets the standards in Section 80.273(b). It is clear, however, that the Commission
intended that radar installations on compulsory vessels be governed by the compulsory-vessel standards
incorporated by the Fourth Report and Order in Section 80.273(a) rather than the standard for voluntary
vessels incorporated by the Fourth Report and Order in Section 80.273(b). We so interpret the rule, and
hereby clarify that installations that meet the standards now incorporated in Section 80.273(a) will be
deemed to comply with Section 80.273(c), provided that they meet the other requirements set forth in
Section 80.273(c).
For further information, contact Jeff Tobias of the Mobility Division, Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-0680, TTY (202) 418-7233, or
Action by the Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

9 Id. at 2.
10 Id.
11 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(i). The Commission may grant such a waiver on its own motion or upon request.
See 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(a).
12 In order to obtain equipment authorization, radar equipment must still comply with the applicable technical rules
in Part 80, such as those pertaining to power limits, bandwidth limits, and out of band emissions. See, e.g., 47
C.F.R. §§ 80.205, 80.211, 80.215.
13 This waiver does not relieve any mariner of the requirement to use equipment authorized under Part 80. See 47
C.F.R. § 80.203(a). Nor does it relieve manufacturers of radar equipment intended for installation on voluntarily
equipped ships by persons without FCC operator licenses of the requirement that they include with their
equipment authorization application a manual that provides step-by-step procedures for the installation,
calibration, and operation of the radar equipment. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 80.177(d), 80.203(d).

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