Total posts : 45366
The micro power FM broadcasters who get a letter or a visit from the FCC are operators openly and unabashedly violating more than just Part 15 rules. I did mention in my previous comments the use of “gain antennas”. Gentlemen, a half wave dipole in the world of antenna design IS a gain antenna. I don’t care what the antenna catalogues say. I design and manufacture commercial and amateur antenna systems. The theoretical “no gain” antenna used by the FCC for field strength comparisons and analysis is the famous “isotropic” system. Theoretical gain is zero.
However, in the real world, we use shortened antennas (less than 1/4 wavelength, gain less than zero), 1/4 wave antennas (gain near zero) and antenna systems in multiples of 1/8 wave increments from 3/8 wave to 3/4 wave. The longer antennas are specifically used for gain and pattern shaping. ERP is a product of antenna gain. Antenna systems are a complex combination of gains and losses. As broadcasters we are most concerned with the NET gain or loss of the system.
Additionally, how does the Part 15 broadcaster who desires to operate within the letter of the rules and who does not possess a degree in engineering, decades as a practicing broadcast field engineer or a bench full of lab quality test gear, determine whether his operation is legal or not? If antenna length/gain is not definitive, if transmitter input power is not definitive, if relative field strength won’t help and if your receiver is not a benchmark, what is?
The word “intent” is the key to any FCC violation. Ignorance of the rules is not protection under FCC administrative law. But lack of intent to violate the rules is. That is why I recommend keeping complete and accurate records of how you operate and what you broadcast. Remember, there is NO freedom of speech when it comes to the Communications Act of 1934.
In Portland, Oregon or Berkley, California or San Diego operators were visited because of the openly advertised “pirate” status of the stations. Upon visiting the stations blogs and web sites, I found that the transmitters and antennas systems in use would make a licensed lpfm’er drool. Most, and I repeat, most of the enforcement log contains entries from stations and operators who blatantly claim ignorance of the rules or openly advertise their illegal radio operation. If Iwere an FCC inspector and it was brought to my attention that a radio station in my area was using the skull and cross bones as their logo and banner, I would take a second look.
So, before we calculate the ERP of the sun and make a computer analysis of its ability in nano-watts to stay within the rules of Mother Nature, let’s “dumb it down” so that the regular hobby broadcaster GETS IT. Understanding, finally, that after decades fo rulemaking and experience the FCC and federal regulators are STILL trying to reach the same goal.
Marshall Johnson, Sr.
Rhema Radio – The Word In Worship