What Is A Part-15 Radio Station?

By Christopher A. Stanley – Staff  Writer (The Reporter-Lansdale, PA)

Part 15 refers to the section of Federal Communications Commission Code that governs unlicensed radio transmissions.

The regulations severely restrict non licensed FM (88-108 Mhz) broadcast to a range of about 200 ft, useful for such purposes as drive-in movie theater audio.

Unlicensed AM (540-1700 Khz) radio broadcasts are limited to one-thnth of a watt transmitting power as opposed to licensed stations, which range from 500-50,000 watts), and depending on the quality of transmitter, antenna, signal and other factors have a range of a few blocks to several miles.

These stations must not give any interference to existing stations and must receive all interference (they can’t complain about signals from any other station).

A “pirate” station is one that exceeds these limits and is illegal.

The law allows an operator to use multiple transmitters: low power stations in Montclair and Union County, N.J., do this to cover larger areas.

Content of the broadcasts are not restricted by the FCC regulation.  Stations may be either commercial or nonprofit.




David C. McCrork

3 thoughts on “What Is A Part-15 Radio Station?

  1. Dave, what became of the 1620 kHZ signal once heard in and around Lansdale? I am member of DVHRC (Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club) which meets monthly in Telford except during this Covid period. I produce a short quarterly newsletter for the club called the Oscillator. Still receive the old time radio programs via web streaming. Nice job on your programming! GREG

    1. Greg, Thanks for reaching out. This is John Treese, I have taken over the operation of WNAR. Dave is in the process of retiring and will be moving from his current home and will no longer be able to host the WNAR part-15 transmitting equipment.

      I worked with Dave at WNPV in Lansdale for many years and became close friends with he and his wife. When I learned that he was planning to retire I offered to continue his programming on the internet into the future. He graciously agreed and has also provided the transmitting equipment needed to return WNAR to the air, which I hope to do in the near future. I plan to roll out some enhancements to WNAR, (website, news service, etc.) and am always looking for suggestions for programs to add. Many people love these old radio programs as do I, and it is a pleasure to be able to continue Dave’s hard work and labor of love. Thank you for your inquiry and please let me know if you have any questions.

      1. Thanks John, I’ll pass that along in our spring newsletter which you may view at DVHRC.org (see Oscillator April 2021) by end of week. GREG

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