In an enforcement action addressing an ongoing issue in the LMR industry, the FCC last week ordered Amcrest Industries—a Texas-based dealer of a non-compliant two-way radio manufactured in China—must take steps to follow FCC rules or risk facing sanctions that could include daily fines.

Under FCC’s equipment authorization program, RF devices must pass test to verify that they comply with the FCC’s technical requirements for performance and safety before being marketed in the United States. In the action, the FCC ordered Amcrest—doing business as Baofengradio.us—to “cease and desist from marketing any Baofeng Radio model UV-5R V2+ that is capable of transmitting on unauthorized or restricted frequencies.”

Amcrest Industries is required to “take immediate steps to come into compliance with the Commission’s equipment authorization rules and cease marketing unauthorized RF devices in the United States,” according to the citation and order. “If Amcrest fails to comply with these laws, it may be liable for significant fines of up to $19,639 per day and other sanctions.”

According to the FCC citation and order, Amcrest Industries marketed four model of the non-compliant Baofeng radio. Amcrest Industries claims it stopped selling three of them “a few years ago,” but all of the radios remained on the company’s web site until the FCC issued a letter of inquiry (LOI) in February.

“After receiving the LOI, the [Amcrest Industries] confirmed with the manufacturer that model UV-5R V2+ is indeed capable of operating on ‘restricted frequencies,’ though it is incapable of operating at power levels above those specified in its Equipment Authorization,” according to the FCC. “The company then instructed the manufacturer to rectify the issue and subsequently confirmed with the manufacturer that ‘all [Amcrest] inventory currently on order and in the future will operate only on 145-155 M[H]z and 400-520 M[H]z.’”

Several in the LMR industry expressed support for the FCC’s action in the matter.

Mark Crosby, president and CEO of the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA), said that significant numbers of Chinese two-way radios are entering the U.S. marketplace without certification and creating interference concerns for legitimate spectrum users, including those in the public-safety and business-industrial sectors.

“All of the [spectrum] coordinators work hard, and the industry trade associations work hard to ensure that the spectrum isn’t corrupted by [non-compliant] devices,” Crosby said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “How can you coordinate [spectrum use] effectively, when you have non-compliant spectrum squatters that shouldn’t be using these channels? They just say, ‘Well, let’s try this frequency,’ and they go on there.

“It sort of corrupts the good efforts of the frequency advisory committees and the agencies and organizations that are trying to utilize the spectrum for the American public. When these [radios] come in, you can tell that these people don’t particularly care—or choose to learn—what the ground rules are."