Electromagnetic Compatibilty

LED lighting equipment may cause severe electromagnetic disturbances

More an more LED lights are entering the market and are being used by radio amateur and their neighbors. There is a limit to maximum disturbance voltage on the mains port defined in EN55015, which is equivalent to the protection of EN55022, however it is not fully implemented within the EU due to a transition period of the standard.

As consequence, we can observe some LED lights causing only little trouble, others however cause a great amount of harmful interference due to mains line radiation. As worst case, we identified some LED lights which could be as far as 40 - 60 dB over the limit on some frequencies. In the following paper you can monitor some measurements [1] we have done ourselves under non emc lab conditions, however there is also an ETSI paper available [2], which addresses the problem.

We suggest to monitor the development in you country closely and make own measurements, if feasible.

[1]: 110826 Measurements LEDs rainy Sunday

[2]: ERMTG28(11)0095_LED_invistigation.pdf (for ETSI members only)


As announced during the EMC WG meeting in Friedrichshafen during the HAM RADIO 2009, the software ICNIRPcalc was uploaded to the IARU R1 Server. For download please click here. With ICNIRPcalc everbody can calculate safety distances for many know amateur radio antennas with respect to ICNIRP limits. A similar programm is in use in Germany for station assesment for many years. This version is just a translated simplified version.

Addendum: Please use Comma as decimal separator or simply choose regional settings "Germany".

EMC Articles and links covering EMC topics

April 2006: IARU Region 1 makes input to ETSI PLT on coexistence between radio services and PLT

July 2005: IARU Region 1 asks Member Societies to take action on the Draft Standard for emissions from wireline systems prEN 50471

December 2003: IARU Region 1 makes input to ETSI/CENELEC Joint Working Group on the role of the Amateur Radio Service in disaster relief

IARU makes input to WGFM on the role of the Amateur Radio Service in disaster relief

November 2003: IARU Region 1 makes input to ETSI on PLT emission standards

IARU Region 1 has made a formal response to the recent questionnaire from ETSI and CENELEC about proposals for emission standards from cable-based telecommunications networks (and in particular PLT). A pdfcopy of the response is available for download here.
October 2003: IARU Region 1 input to the European Commission PLT Workshop held on 16th October 2003.

August 2003: An EMC Special Report Guidelines on the evaluation of amateur radio stations with respect to conformity with RF exposure limits.
Useful links to site carrying more information on PLC:

EMC Committee

The EMC Committee is a permanent committee of IARU Region 1 set up to:

  • exchange information related to all aspects of electromagnetic compatibility,
  • provide advice on EMC to IARU Member Societies,
  • prepare papers on EMC presenting the interests of radio amateurs with respect to EMC
  • influence EMC related legislation and standards for the benefit of amateur radio

The EMC Committee Chairman Coordinates the work of the Committee

All Member Societies of IARU Region1 may nominate a member of the EMC Committee.

Over recent years, the focus of the EMC Committee has been on Powerline Communications (PLC). PLC is a technology which can provide broadband Internet connectivity using the mains power wiring supplied to houses. Whilst attractive in that it uses existing infrastructure, PLC has a number of drawbacks as far as users of the radio spectrum are concerned. PLC systems radiate broadband emissions across the HF spectrum 24/7, which can cause severe interference to conventional radio services.

Since EN 50561-1 is in place, European Standerdization requests permanant frequency exclusion of all amateur and aeronautical spectrum on shortwave. Broadcast is protacted partially by a dynamic frequency exclusion, if the broadcast station produces a field strength of 40 dB(µV/m) at the recivers location. If you want to listen to a weaker radio station, you will be disturbed.

However, the current PLC standard is not a solution for everything, bacause there may still be noise in the amtauer spectrum, when intermodulation of PLC signal occur at nonlinearities connected to the main. Examples would be some LED lighting modules or cell phone chargers. In these cases, the notches in the excluded frequency bands are filled up aprtially again.

Members of the IARU Region 1 EMC Committee have been very active for some years representing the interests of the Amateur Radio Service in a number of forums considering the standards that should apply to PLC systems. These forums have included the CEPT SE35 project teanm, the ETSI/CENELEC Joint Working Group and finally the CENELEC TC210 WG11.

For more information on PLC systems, IARU postition papers on PLC, what PLC emissions sound like, and recent developments on PLC emissions and interference, check the EMC papers and links page

IMPORTANT: It is essential that cases of interference to the Amateur Radio Service are highlighted. If you are aware of any such cases, please alert Thilo Kootz, DL9KCE - IARU Region 1, EMC Committee Chairman.