Are FM Transmitters Illegal?
Are FM transmitters illegal for churches to use? That is the question that many church leaders are asking themselves these days. There are a lot of reasons why they might be wondering this, but the most common reason is because of being forced to use one due to Covid-19 mandates. This blog post will go in-depth into whether or not FM transmitters are legal for churches to use.
Before we start, let’s cover some basic misconceptions.
What Is FM?
FM stands for frequency modulation. It is the way that most radio stations broadcast their audio, and it’s also how your car stereo works (unless you have something like a CD player or satellite radio). It is also used by analog wireless microphones, which was how most churches used them up until recently. TV stations use FM as well. So do many 2-way radio systems (such as the ones used by police officers).
The FM frequency range is from 88 MHz to 108 MHz in North America.
Is it legal to use FM transmitters in churches?
In short, yes FM transmitters are legal for churches to use at their discretion. It’s also important that we add the disclaimer “for the most part” because there may be some limitations on when and where you can use them.
If you use an FM transmitter to broadcast at more than 1/25th of a watt, you are running an unlawful “pirate radio station.” The unauthorized transmission of radio signals is considered a serious offense by the Federal Communications Commission.
What are the legal limits of FM broadcasting?
You can transmit approximately 200 feet on FM frequencies, these devices are limited to an effective service range of approximately 200 feet (61 meters).
In order to use an FM transmitter with greater range legally, you must obtain a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These licenses are called “blanket licenses.”
Is it legal to use an FM transmitter in the United States?
Part 15 certified FM transmitters can be used legally by anybody, anywhere in the U.S. without the need for a license.
What is a Part 15 certified FM transmitter?
Part 15 is a set of rules established by the FCC in 1977 that govern how electronic devices can be used without interfering with radio stations. FM transmitters are considered “unintentional radiators” because they broadcast at very low power levels (25 milliwatts). As long as their emissions stay below certain threshold limits, Part 15 certified FM transmitters are allowed to be used anywhere in the world without any type of special license or authorization.
What if I buy an overpowered FM Transmitter?
Remember, if you broadcast your church service with an overpowered FM transmitter, you risk a $10,000 per single violation or one day of operation, and perhaps up to $75,000.
In the end, make sure your church is adhering to the law. If you need to broadcast a church service, a video live stream or radio station air time might be useful options.
Thank you for reading our article on Are FM Transmitters Illegal!