Are you paying attention to frequencies? In case of interference, there is a risk of a hefty fine

You buy an electronic device, turn it on, start using it, it works fine, after a while you turn it off again and hide it. Sometime later it happens again and again and everything seems completely seamless. But what if you just broke the law and are you at risk of a fine from the authorities? If the mentioned device is a radio, microphone, remote-controlled toy or other device working with wireless communication, it can happen very easily. Even if they can’t be seen, they understandably exist allowed and unallowed frequencieswhich is “monitored” by the Czech Telecommunications Authority.

Communicating on a construction site via walkie-talkie or speaking into a microphone at a festival can actually be illegal activities if you are not careful about the frequencies the devices use. How can such an error occur? Someone could have set the device incorrectly, or it may come from a market where it is different defined so-called radio spectrum. I recently encountered one such device. It was the Xiaomi Walkie Talkie 1S radios that gave rise to the idea to create this article while reviewing them. And to interview the institution most called to it – the mentioned CTU.

“The use of frequencies in the Czech Republic is governed by § 17 of the Act on Electronic Communications (Act No. 127/2005 Coll.). According to it, frequencies can only be used on the basis of a general or individual authorization. In the case of PMR and CB radio stations or wireless microphones, this is mainly about use of frequencies based on general authorizations. These establish the technical conditions for the operation and use of frequencies by the devices in question, including the related technical standards that the operated devices must meet,” defines the basic terms of the Authority’s spokesperson, Tereza Meravá.

In addition to the parameters listed in the general authorization, every device that is put on the market in the Czech Republic must also be documented conformity assessment according to Government Regulation No. 426/2016 Coll., which stipulates for radio devices basic requirements regarding the efficient use of the radio spectrum, electromagnetic compatibility and safety. Various electronic devices from, for example, AliExpress and similar marketplaces often “fail” precisely at this request.

“For this reason, when using the device “amateurly”, we recommend always using only device a CE marked products, which proves that the product meets the safety, health and environmental requirements of the EU, and when using it follow the instructions given in the user manual. That’s the only way to guarantee that the device meets European harmonized standards and the user avoids possible problems that may arise during the operation of the device and the use of radio frequencies,” points out the spokesperson of the ČTÚ.

The Office for Frequency Band Orientation and Assignment runs a great web tool called Use of the radio spectrum, in which anyone can check what types of communications and devices different frequencies are intended for. When the device transmits in an unauthorized band, it is, of course, a problem. AND the user or operator may be fined for this. And not small.

The spektrum.ctu.cz web application will help with orientation

It was developed with the aim of gathering comprehensive information on the conditions of radio spectrum use in the Czech Republic in one place in a digital remotely accessible database. The application contains data from the national frequency table, the plan for the use of radio spectrum and general authorizations for the use of radio frequencies. Links to CEPT, ITU and European Union documents are attached. The search results are also displayed graphically and there is also a glossary of terms.

“For operating a device in violation of an individual authorization or using a frequency without an authorization, a fine of up to CZK 100,000. A legal entity or a natural person running a business up to the above CZK 50,000,000 or up to 10% of net turnover achieved during the last completed accounting period, depending on which of these values ​​is higher,” the spokesperson of the Office quotes the wording of § 118 and § 119 of Act No. 127/2005 Coll.

When determining the amount of the fine, the ČTÚ naturally assesses who, where and in what way may have illegally entered the radio spectrum. “In the case of violation of the terms of the general authorization, or the use of radio frequencies without authorization As part of the proceedings, the Office assesses all the circumstances of the commission of the offence and the social danger of criminal conduct, especially the effects on other users of the spectrum. All these facts influence the determination of the amount of the fine. Violation proceedings of this nature usually do not end with a mere warning,” reads the Office.

Useful links

Who and with what most often violates the mentioned rules? They are radio amateurs, owners of inappropriate routers, users of mobile signal repeaters (we recently informed you about them) or even unsuspecting owners of children’s toys.

“In the case of natural persons, we have recently investigated in particular using DECT cordless phones, not approved for operation in the Czech Republic, or intended for operation outside the European continent. These phones caused interference to mobile networks. Currently, it is most often about operation of repeaters and signal amplifiers of mobile radio networks. We can also mention the use of different WiFi devices and WiFi routers intended for a region other than Europe,” the spokesperson lists.

Radio spectrum and access to it after 2022

Radio spectrum and access to it after 2022

Children are also a problem radio-controlled toys and baby monitors, using frequencies that are designated for other purposes in the European region. “Recently, the Office quite often deals with the unauthorized use of frequencies by the operation of radio stations without individual authorization, especially in positioning accuracy applications (DGPS). Radiocommunication services are often disrupted when using frequencies without authorization or violating the conditions of a general authorization,” concludes Tereza Meravá.

For example, do you know what frequencies your mobile phone uses?


Source: Svět Androida by www.svetandroida.cz.

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