Tower Light Regulations: Monitoring and the FCC

For years, there was a general lack of concern by licensees and owners of radio towers for tower light regulations. Why? Because the fine amounts were extremely small. Because the FCC lacked manpower and money for field inspections, enforcement was difficult. Times have changed considerably.

How and Why FCC Regulations Affect You

It all changed in 1989, when an air-med helicopter crashed into an unlit tower in North Carolina. Several people were killed in the crash and government lawyers took action. This led to increased surveillance and inspections. There were also big fines that the FCC could levy against every licensee on a tower.

In this new environment with stricter tower light regulations, you must protect yourself with an automatic tower light monitoring system.

Examples of FCC Rules in regard to Tower Light Regulations:

  • You must observe tower lights at least once every 24 hours - either visually or through an automatic indicator.

  • You must maintain an automatic alarm system to detect any light failure.

  • You must inspect all control devices, indicators and alarm systems at least every three months.

  • You must report immediately to the nearest Flight Service Station or FAA office any improper function of top steady burning lights.

  • You must record all tower light inspections in the station record.

How Can You Ensure Your Compliance and Safety Against Strict FCC Tower Light Rules and Regulations?

Are you prepared for your next tower light failure?

Do you have the monitoring solution that allows you to comply with tower light regulations?

Having a high-quality monitoring solution installed will dramatically reduce your risk of crossing paths with the FCC. By choosing and implementing the right monitoring solution, you will reduce your risk of hefty fines and liability.

What does "The Right" Monitoring Solution Look Like?

To successfully monitor your tower and ensure that all the FCC regulations are continuously met, you need a reliable Remote Telemetry Unit, or RTU, to give you complete visibility of your remote tower site.

Such an RTU will send you detailed alarm notifications, alerting you of power failures and other problems at the site that could effect your tower lights. It will also have the ability to remotely turn on a battery or backup generator in the event of a commercial power failure.

As an additional point, look for an RTU that can also monitor other equipment you may have at the site. Theres no sense in having one unit to monitor just the tower lights and other units to monitor other equipment. Simplify by getting an advanced RTU with complete site monitoring capabilities.

If you have multiple tower sites that need to be monitored, you may also consider a master stations. Your RTUs will send any alarm notifications to your master station at your central office. This means you only have to look at one unit to see alarms from all your sites, rather than checking each unit individually.

The AlphaMax and NetDog G2 are two high-quality tower monitoring solutions that provide effective results against regulations set by the FCC.


The AlphaMax monitors your tower lights and reports outages to up to 4 paging devices. The AlphaMax also has the ability to remotely activate site equipment and can be equipped with a backup battery supply that lasts up to two days. If your tower loses commercial power, the backup battery can be activated until power is restored, so that you can avoid heavy fines and prevent air traffic accidents.

Netdog G2

The NetDog G2 is perfectly suited for smaller remote sites that require constant monitoring. The NetDog provides dial-up alarm reporting, LAN connectivity, and a convenient web browser interface. It also provides 2 analog inputs and allows for easy wiring with screw-down connectors. With the web browser interface, you can check the status of your tower lights from any computer with internet connectivity. Be the first to know of any problems at your remote tower site.

Get a Custom Application Diagram of Your Perfect-Fit Monitoring System

There is no other network on the planet that is exactly like yours. For that reason, you need to build a monitoring system that's the right fit for you.

"Buying more than you need" and "buying less than you need" are real risks. You also have to think about training, tech support, and upgrade availability.

Send me a quick online message about what you're trying to accomplish. I'll work with you to build a custom PDF application diagram that's a perfect fit for your network.