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

N6KJ kelly at thejohnsons.ws
Thu Jul 15 15:28:31 EDT 2004

This nation is governed by laws and regulations.  The way we maintain
a reasonably civil society and avoid anarchy is through a set of
laws and punishments for failure to adhere to the law.  You may not like
the American system, but this is what we have.  Personally, I think
it is better than any of the alternatives.  The FCC Part 15
regulations state that Part 15 devices must NOT cause interference to
licensed radio users and must ACCEPT any interference from licensed
radio devices.  The FCC has failed to enforce its own set of regulations
in order to allow this technology to move forward.  The American people
SHOULD be concerned about any wide-scale lawbreaker that is allowed to
continue breaking the law with impunity.  

If BPL is so darn important that all HF users should be displaced for
the "good of society" then change the law/regulations.  If amateur radio
is really as "antiquated" and "pointless" and "retro" as you suggest then
why doesn't the FCC just eliminate amateur radio HF bands and give it
to other services (in this case BPL).

The problem with your argument is that you are, in essence, saying that it
is ok to break the law as long as you are doing something that is
considered "good for society".  I reject that view.  

On a related note...I'm sure it would be in MOST people's best interest to
open up ANWAR to oil drilling.  I'm sure the majority of Americans would
be supportive of doing so.  Why don't we do it?  Because a small minority
(with huge political clout) successfully lobby Congress to prevent it.
Such is Representative Government.  

Oh yeah, a couple more things.  In your statement you talked about a hypothetical
cancer treatment machine that could ONLY use HF frequencies.  You went on to
say that if such a machine existed then amateur radio operators should
roll over and die for the "good of society".  First, you fail to recognize
that amateur radio is still used for emergency communications.  It is hard
to estimate how many people are saved or helped with amateur radio.  Are 
you suggesting that "numbers are the only thing that is important"?  Can you
name another "life saving technology" that was allowed to supplant an existing
"life saving technology" because it saved more people than the one it is
supplanting?  Our government routinely writes laws that are intended to save
no more than a handful of people.  My point is to say that for those in the
"life saving" business, losing one person is too many.  What do you think
would happen the first time that one of those cancer machines caused enough
interference to prevent an amateur radio operator from helping save the
life of someone?  Can you say "lawsuit"?  Why?  Because to that ONE person's
family, it is unacceptable to allow their loved one to die so that 1000
other people can get cancer treatment.  What do you think will happen the
first time that BPL interferes with home medical equipment (operating
on 49MHz for example) and causes someone to die or to be severely injured?
Can you say "lawsuit"?

You also can't compare your hypothetical cancer treatment machine to BPL 
because you specifically stated that the cancer treatment machine could
only work on HF frequencies and you implied that this machine is
one-of-a-kind in its ability to cure cancer.  In other words: there is no 
alternative.  BPL has numerous alternatives, most of which are far superior both
technically and economically.  If BPL were the ONLY way of providing
broadband to people then I would agree that maybe it needs to be allowed
in spite of what it does to amateur radio.  In that case we truly WOULD
be standing in the way of progress.  This is simply not the case with BPL.
If it can be implemented with
no interference then go for it, but otherwise...there are better (and cleaner)

Let me also remind you that BPL is not the end of this.  BPL is merely the
"Camel's Nose" under the tent.  As soon as a precedent is set which allows
Part 15 devices to interfere without fear of FCC enforcement you can bet
that more polluting devices will follow.  You can't selectively enforce
the law without risking chaos.  I guess the FCC doesn't realize this.

I find it quite interesting that one of the National Conventions (maybe both)
has stated that WiFi will be prohibited due to the fact that it INTERFERES
with television broadcasting.  Hmmmmmm.  Obviously, our elected officials
know something about interference.  I assume they only care about it when
it affects them directly OR it affects one of their large campaign donors!

On Thu, 15 Jul 2004 14:50:07 -0400, "Dave Bernstein" wrote:

> 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.
> [ Lots of Stuff Deleted ]

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