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Re: [RFI] ARRL Board of Directors resolution related to FCC enforcement

To: rfi@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [RFI] ARRL Board of Directors resolution related to FCC enforcement of radio-interference issues
From: "Roger (K8RI)" <k8ri@rogerhalstead.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2015 23:13:07 -0400
List-post: <rfi@contesting.com">mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
Not always.
Back in , I believe it was the 1990s Chrysler had a V-6 in a new line of cars. (Cab forward?) The computers in those cars from a block distant could over power our repeater just 2 miles distant. I was interested in purchasing one, but discovered the computer signal on a test drive. The dealer worked with me to pinpoint the problem. He was very helpful. It turned out to only be on the high performance configuration of cars with that engine. However the response from Chrysler was basically. Tough! Live with it. Two years later they still had the same problem, but it was eventually fixed. In the mean time I purchased a Trans Am.

Industry is learning, but I believe the learning process still is ongoing with new RFI sources constantly showing up.

Had it not been for the ARRL, BPL would have become a reality. I believe it took many hours (over years?) for that process which Ed should be able verify. Thanks for the hard work Ed.

Having been an instrument rated pilot and heavily involved, I'm quite familiar with the following about 5 to 6 years ago.

The same is true with LightSquared and their ground based wireless augmentation system which would have placed many ( I believe it was to be 40,000.) 40 KW ground based transmitters next to the GPS satellite down link frequencies. Based on their information provided to the FCC that there would be no interference, the FCC granted temporary approval for the installation of ground transmitters even though the satellite industry and aviation groups provided information that these transmitters would (not could) create dangerous interference to aircraft using GPS navigation, particularly in high density traffic areas around major airports and cities. I believe you will find that the FCC violated their own rules in the case of authorizing (even on a trial basis) of LightSquared's ground based transmitters. They went so far as to provide the FCC with what was basically false information. Only the massive input from other Federal departments, industry, and individuals finally stopped the implementation. There were likely to be Billions of dollars at stake in the future. The whole story including reason, makes for interesting reading, but not here.

How it was done: Quote from "The Left Seat": " the FCC issued the wavier for a ground based system in the satellite bands against the concerns and recommendations of the Department of Defense, Transportation, and Homeland Security AND its own guidelines. The NPRM was issued in such a manner that the comment period was far shorter than normal. On top of that the accelerated test schedule, LightSquared is the only one who will present the data to the FCC, and they are required to have equipment in place “IF” the OK is given." Links were provided in the blog.

That it went away quietly with no fanfare raises questions. You almost have to go to the pilot groups to find out the real details. "LightSquared ground based transmitters to interfere with GPS" as search criteria did produce results, but much of the drama is no longer there, although I did not follow all of the links. The "Left Seat" blog should provide some interesting background.

In these instances Industry was anything but proactive. There will always be companies like LightSquared pushing the limits.

Off shore companies producing these little switching power supplies aren't worried as the FCC can go after the importers and chains selling their products. Even prevent the importation of their products, but they can easily change their name or names. Until the FCC tests random samples of every one of these products on a continuing basis, they will be imported by the millions. I don't think the FCC has near the required manpower to even think about undertaking such a job, or the money to hire it done. Hence the "Case by case" approach. We are few in relative numbers, so the numbers without complaints and happy customers keep these RFI generators coming in and raising the noise floor ever so slowly. Eventually you will need to move well into the country to even think about weak signal work on HF, or even higher. Hopefully things will change for the better.

I have worked quite a few AU signals on six that were so weak they didn't even show on the scope which was a straight line with the noise being barely visible. I could only hear a slight change in the background noise (AU buzz) with CW. Even raising the noise floor a db would likely make that impossible. But what do we do when the RFI is caused by thousands, or more of these devices? It's like trying to find a single blade of grass in an over grown pasture. Removing the one is quickly over shadowed by the thousands that take its place.

I never noted light pollution until we lived way out in the country. One night I stepped out on the front porch, looked up at the night sky and was astounded by the mass of stars, yet it was so dark, I almost fell off the porch. Like the noise floor slowly creeping up, I never noticed the light pollution until I had something with out it for comparison. In many ham cases we only have our old memories on which to rely.

We can provide RFI data for individual items, but when produced by a cottage industry spread over a very wide area, there is likely to be little consistency, even between light bulbs on the same shelf. So how can we as individuals, or a group provide meaningful information when it's quite possible a test lab could end up with a case of perfectly quiet samples? Again, we are back to the case by case problem. Eventually, the sheer volume will make automated, mass production cheaper than the cottage industry. Then we will see consistency but who knows when..


Roger  (K8RI)

On 8/3/2015 2:50 PM, Hare, Ed W1RFI wrote:
A billion dollar corporation is going to stand silent while the FCC either 
forces their product to be
removed or re-engineered at great expense?

The automotive industry also has been very pro-active about avoiding EMI 
problems involving Amateur Radio, developing standards for the installation of 
on-board transmitters.

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