US $ 100,000 fine for deviating satellite radio frequency

Radio signals went from a US ground station to an approved satellite for 13 days, but with a radio frequency shifted by half a MHz. This did not cause interference. However, operator L3 Technologies Harris Corporation (L3Harris) now has to pay the US regulator FCC $ 100,000. The agency wants to make it clear that it "does not tolerate the unauthorized operation of satellites, because such unauthorized processes involve the risk of satellite collisions and radio interference", which endangers important satellite communications by companies and authorities.

L3Harris specializes in surveillance, microwave weapons and electronic warfare technology and has approximately 50,000 employees. The company emerged in June from the merger of Harris and L-3 Communications. On November 29, 2018, Harris had a six Cubesat unit-sized HSAT-1 satellite launched from India into a low orbit (LEO). The radio connection with the satellite was approved by the FCC, which had released 2095.875 MHz to 2097.125 MHz for the uplink.

In fact, the ground station radioed to 2095.375 MHz to 2096.625 MHz, i.e. shifted by 0.5 MHz. The company noticed the mistake and made a self-disclosure on December 5, 2018, but continued to transmit on the partly wrong frequency. On December 10, 2018, an application for approval of the frequency actually used followed, and the unlawful transmissions were only suspended the following day. Harris always used the correct frequency for the downlink.

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L3Harris admitted the violation, committed to paying $ 100,000 in settlement, and waived legal remedies. In addition, it must internally develop a telecommunications compliance program and submit various reports to the FCC for five years. This effort is likely to cost more than the fine.


. (TagsToTranslate) FCC (t) telecommunications law (t) Radio (t) Harris (t) L3Harris (t) Networks (t) space (t) Satellite (t) United States