[RFI] Broadband over Power Line (BPL) radio interference

Dave NØRQ n0rq-1 at dfwair.net
Thu Jul 15 15:22:40 EDT 2004

Yes, BPL should fail on the basis of economics, and superior alternatives
to BPL, and one thing that really isn't being mentioned very much -- 
the fact that BPL will not just be the cause of interference, but the
*receptor* of interference, perhaps to the point of making it unusable.

Imagine all those 100 watt signals on 80m, and kilowatts on 20m,
and 24x7 100 watt beacons on 10m & 6m... all those signals from all
the unhappy hams on all the HF bands, including beacons below 10m
(while the control op is there), and the mobile HF guys parking under
BPL devices for some period of time, and new 40m and 160m dipoles
that just happen to be close to and run parallel with the power lines...

We might never hear anyone answer us because of the noise, but we'll
still be calling CQ -- and BPL won't like those big signals one tiny little

My prediction: BPL will be allowed, implemented to some degree, but the
problems (economic and interference) and the superior microwave options
will render it unfeasible, and after a few years, it will die a slow and

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dave Bernstein"
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 1:50 PM
Subject: RE: [RFI] Broadband over Power Line (BPL) radio interference

> Attacking BPL on the primary grounds that it causes severe radio
> interference to hams, CBers, and SWLs is a bad idea. Why? Because too
> much of the audience will wonder why we should hold back the advance of
> broadband internet access so that a small group of retro hobbyists can
> continue to communicate via the ionospheric refraction of HF signals.
> Consider the following hypothetical situation: A research group develops
> a medical instrument that destroys every cancer cell without damage to
> normal cells. As a side effect, this instrument generates enormous RFI
> in the 3.5 mhz to 28 mhz range; the instrument's effectiveness depends
> on the use of precisely this frequency range. Would we take the position
> that this  device cannot be deployed because it would prevent amateur
> operations within, say, a 50 mile radius of any hospital? I think not.
> We'd be unhappy, but none of us would deny the world a cancer cure to
> preserve HF amateur radio.
> The above situation is hypothetical -- no such instrument exists -- but
> illustrates that there are advances for which even we hams would accept
> the demise of our hobby. Cheap rural broadband access isn't a cure for
> cancer, but there are a lot of people with little knowledge of or
> sympathy for amateur radio. To them, our anti-BPL arguments look way too
> much like old fogies holding back the wheels of progress. Though their
> execution was rather clumsy, we've already seen the UPLC painting this
> picture.
> Fortunately, there's a more effective way to attack BPL -- its economics
> are terrible. There are two reasons for this:
> 1. its not "plug and play" -- transformers must be bridged, or
> pole-mounted WiFi transceivers must be installed to provide connectivity
> to subscribers; the resultant labor costs and time-to-revenue delays are
> signficant
> 2. it generates electromagnetic interference to a range of critical
> public safety and aviation services, the mitigation of which can
> introduce unpredictable delays in deployment (and thus revenue) as well
> as signficant (and not yet bounded) costs
> Even more fortunately, there's a better alternative to BPL -- WiMAX. The
> advantages of WiMAX have already been enumerated on this reflector, so I
> won't repeat them here. However, I will note the lack of engagement with
> our most effective allies in this fight: the companies driving the WiMAX
> consortium. Intel is building its strategy around WiMAX. There are
> another 100 companies -- AT&T, BT, Covad, France Telecom, Fujitsu,
> Motorola, Proxim, Qwest, Siemens, Tata -- serious companies committed to
> driving WiMAX down the same ubiquity curve we've enjoyed with WiFi; see
> http://www.wimaxforum.org/home .
> As an example, what would be the impact of the WiMAX Forum and ARRL
> jointly announcing that amateur radio operators will make tower space
> available to WiMAX operators at no charge? I'd certainly forgo the
> monthly rental fees to help preserve HF amateur radio.
>     73,
>         Dave, AA6YQ
>         (not affiliated with any telecom company)

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