What do tablets, cellphones, hearing aids, TV remotes, garage door openers, and weather stations have in common? They all emit a type of low-level electromagnetic energy known as radio frequency or RF energy, which is most often used to transmit electrical signals for communication purposes.
Because RF energy is a type of radiation, the Federal Communications Commission requires products that emit RF radiation to be tested and certified to operate within safe levels. Unlike some weather stations sold online, AcuRite products that use radio frequency are tested and FCC-certified.
What Is RF Energy, and Where Does It Come From?
The FCC defines RF energy as the part of the electromagnetic spectrum where electromagnetic waves have a frequency that falls between 3 kilohertz (3 kHz) and 300 gigahertz (300 GHz). There are natural and artificial sources of electromagnetic energy. Visible light and lightning are examples of natural sources. Electrical appliances, wireless devices, and commercial broadcasting are examples of human-made sources.
What Is an RF Device?
RF devices are any products that intentionally or unintentionally generate or emit radio frequency energy. They include nearly any type of wireless device, including Bluetooth® devices, remote controls, and, of course, remote weather stations.
When you place a coffee order through a smartphone app, listen to your radio, or tell Alexa to turn on your lights, you're using one or more RF devices to accomplish a task. RF energy powers emergency communications services for fire, ambulance, and police and lets you keep an eye on your sleeping baby through a baby monitor. It's also how AcuRite sensors communicate to your home display and your AcuRite Access®, which can then use other communication, like Wi-Fi or ethernet, to push the data to My AcuRite® where it can be accessed through your computer or mobile device.
Why Do RF Devices Have To Be FCC-Compliant?
An RF device must be approved using the appropriate equipment authorization procedure before it can be imported, marketed, or sold in the U.S. Those who market intentional RF devices in the U.S. without FCC authorization are doing so illegally, and the eventual product owner shares liability.
RF devices have the potential to interfere with radio transmissions that fall into the 9 kHz to 3000 GHz radio frequency range, such as those used by cordless phones, radio, and television. Interference may cause a temporary loss of signal or affect the quality of the signal. It may freeze the picture on your TV screen, cause static on your phone line, or completely block you from accessing the internet.
RF devices may also affect the operation of hearing aids, and there is some evidence that they may interfere with older pacemakers. The stronger the emissions from the device are, the more likely it is that they'll cause interference.
Approval from the FCC means that a device meets the standards set by the FCC to limit the potential that it will interfere with other radio frequencies, including those used by hearing aids and other medical equipment. In addition, the FCC standards ensure that devices comply with limits for human exposure to RF fields that have been set by agencies and organizations, like the World Health Organization, that are concerned with human health.
Once a product has been thoroughly tested and approved, the FCC issues a unique RNE (registration number), which is then published, along with specific information about the device, in a searchable database. To find your AcuRite product on the list, all you need is the FCC RNE identifier you'll find on each of our products.
Importance of Buying FCC-Authorized Products
Some of the benefits of buying an FCC-certified product are obvious. It is less likely to interfere with your wireless signal, disrupt your internet access, or cause static during your phone calls.
A less obvious benefit lies in the additional steps required by the authorization process: the manufacturer must supply labeling, packaging, and operation information to the FCC, which is then available to the consumer, both in the package and online through the FCC database. That means that if you misplace your owner's manual or need more information about the product, you can easily find it in the FCC database.
Which AcuRite Products Are RF Devices?
Many of our devices are classified as RF devices — RF technology is what allows AcuRite monitors inside and outside your home to transmit data to all indoor displays or an AcuRite Access. Most AcuRite sensors use a frequency of 433 MHz. Each of these transmitters are classified by the FCC as an “intentional radiator” by application. Our units normally fall under the section of FCC regulations, Part 15.231 Paragraph E, which is for periodic operation. Conformance to this FCC regulation requires stringent radiation emission limits to assure low interference operation. Including the technology to meet this regulation requires a great level of expertise that may not be present in unauthorized products.
After an AcuRite product passes FCC testing, it should have an FCC ID as an intentional radiator, which should be on file in the FCC system and searchable within the FCC ID database online.
AcuRite FCC Certification
At AcuRite, we are committed to ensuring that all of our products meet safety and accuracy standards. Our weather stations, monitors, and other RF devices are compliance-tested and FCC-certified so that you can rest assured that they meet the highest quality and safety standards — and won't interfere with any other RF devices.