Emissions Designator


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What is an Emissions Designator?

An emissions designator is a 6 to 8 character code identifying the electromagnetic modulation characteristics of a wireless device. Different codes represent different features of the wireless emissions from a product. Emission Designators are used by many governments including the FCC and ACMA.
Legacy Emission Designators
Legacy emission designators (pre 1998) may contain only 3 characters. Legacy designators are missing the first 4 characters as well as the last character compared with modernized designators. The search above may be used for modern and legacy emissions designators.

Modern Emission Designators

Necessary Bandwidth
The first four characters of a modern emissions designator indicate the necessary bandwidth. Bandwidth is abbreviated to include Hertz, Kilohertz, Megahertz, or Gigahertz. Examples of this abbreviation are provided below.
  • 400 Hz = 400H
  • 2.4 kHz = 2K40
  • 12.5 kHz = 12K5
  • 6 MHz = 6M00
Modulation Types
The 5th character in a modern emissions designator is the modulation type. This will be the first character of a 3 character legacy emissions designator. Modulation types include amplitude modulation, angle-mdulated, pulse modulation, and combinations thereof. Modulation types not included in those categories are marked with X as the 5th category.
Nature of modulating signal
The 6th character of the emission designator (2nd character in legacy designators) signifies what type of data is being transmitted. Identified data transmission types are below:
  • N - None
  • A - Aural telegraphy, for people (Morse code)
  • B - Telegraphy for machine copy (RTTY, fast Morse)
  • C - Analog fax
  • D - Data, telemetry, telecommand
  • E - Telephony, voice, sound broadcasting
  • F - Video, television
  • W - Combinations of the above
  • X - All cases not covered above
Optional Detail
The 7th and 8th characters of emission designators give optional detail on the signal and datatype being broadcasted. These remaining characters are not used by the FCC.
7th Character
A   Two condition code, differing numbers or durations (Morse)
B   Two condition code, same number and duration, no error check
C   Two condition code, same num & dur, error check
D   Four condition code, 1 or more bits per condition
E   Multi condition code, 1 or more bits per condition
F   Multi condition code, conditions may combine

G   Broadcast quality (mono)
H   Broadcast quality (stereo/multichannel)
J   Commercial quality
K   Commercial quality, analog freq inversion or band scrambling
L   Commercial quality, FM pilot tone (i.e. Lincomprex)

M   Monochrome
N   Color

W   Combination
X   All cases not covered above

8th Character
M = Multiplex type
N   None
C   Code division
F   Frequency division
T   Time division
W   Combination of above
X   All other types