One of the problems of developing technology is that it, um, develops, which means that it can be a constant effort to keep up with it, even if you’re the one doing the developing. Case in point: an ultra-wideband ground-penetrating radar (GPR) device developed by Curtiss-Wright Controls, Inc. As we reported about 18 months ago, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) had granted Curtiss-Wright’s request for a waiver to operate a particular GRP device. The waiver was tailored to the specs of the device as Curtiss-Wright had described them in its request.

But as it turned out, Curtiss-Wright wasn’t tickled pink with the waiver because, between the times the waiver was requested (in June, 2010) and the waiver was granted (in January, 2012), the company had modified the GPR design some. Curtiss-Wright had apparently not expected that, in acting on its waiver request, the Commission would focus so narrowly on the details as described in the request.  Needless to say, the waiver as granted would not permit operation of the device as modified.  

So despite the fact that it had been granted what it had asked for, Curtiss-Wright promptly sought reconsideration or clarification, seeking to loosen the waiver up enough to accommodate the modified designed. And now, after taking a close look at the modifications, OET has granted that request. As a result, Curtiss-Wright’s modified GPR device should be good to go. The details of the modified waiver are set out in the decision.

(Interesting semantic point: OET technically denies Curtiss-Wright’s petition for reconsideration/clarification because, as OET correctly observes, its 2012 decision was completely correct, based on the information that Curtiss-Wright had theretofore filed. As far as OET is concerned, Curtiss-Wright’s petition was based on new information not previously presented to the Commission, so the petition amounted essentially to a request for a new waiver – which OET was happy to grant.)