- November 19, 2005 at 8:59 pm #6452oldguyParticipant
Total posts : 7
How do part15’ers feel about pirates?
Hi. I have wondered for a while now how the “true” part 15 operators feel about those of us who operate at ERP’s of 1-10 watts?
Do you feel that we are giving part 15 a bad name?
Are we cheating at the hobby somehow…getting out 2-5 miles?
I’m just curious how others feel. I’m sometimes afraid to mention that I operate at 3 watts when I post something for fear of reprisials (Oh what a fragile ego huh….).
Just for the record, I am a former “real” radio guy having worked in commercial radio for about 30 years. I have been out of the biz for nearly 8 years and have recently tried to get back into it without any luck. So out of frustration I went back to my roots (had an AM “pirate” station when I was 14) and built a FM transmitter kit and “bingo”…back on the air I was. It has been a fun hobby, and it is great to be able to “program” a station the way I think it should be programmed instead of following some bozo’s idea of what should be what.
The above must be my justification for running at more than CFR 47, part 15 allows.
But I am curioius what others think & feel about us “pirates”?November 20, 2005 at 12:28 am #12787jbprptcoGuest
Total posts : 45366
Old Guy, I’ve been a pirate and even now stretch the rules a bit. Some of us aren’t blessed with good transmitter sites, etc. and feel some need to equalize, and then, the old argument that the airwaves belong to the people. HOWEVER, I’ve been careful not to cover the pirate subject and their capabilities on this website. The people here seem all to try to work within the law exerting a lot of effort in their planning and equipment building, and I think the founders and keepers of the site want to keep it clean and above suspicion should the legal powers look in on it. Just my opinion, trust others will comment. By the way, among others, there is a site, Free Radio Network, http://www.frn.net, for pirates. And, since you were in broadcasting too, just celebrated my 50th anniversary last Sat. working for our local 1000 watt am station as a weekend announcer/dj/newsman. JimBNovember 20, 2005 at 12:50 am #12788techpuppyGuest
Total posts : 45366
This site does a wonderful job of providing information about legal part 15 broadcasting. That’s what I do.
However, I’ve also got to say that I think that pirate stations also serve an important purpose. Whether legal part 15 or pirate the numerous start ups of independent broadcasting show that the current FCC environment is wrong.
Broadcasters were supposed to be “trustees of the airwaves” and serve the public with their programming. We all know that isn’t the case anymore. I was incensed that political bimbo FCC commissioner Abernathy* said during a public hearing that there was no evidence that consolidated media ownership had reduced the quantity of local originated programming? Obviously she knows where her political alliances lie and it’s not with serving the public.
The FCC has frozen applications for new stations using the rather lame excuse that digital issues need to be resolved first. There is no way to start a new licensed station to truly serve the needs of local communities or even to provide alternative programming and views.
Meanwhile the corporate broadcasters have a few hours of a minimum wage dj playing some records and reading the weather in the morning, then they switch to satellite delivered programming for the balance of the day and night. One full power TV station in our market now promotes that they cover ONLY the metropolitan area for news and information even though their 5 million watt signal covers 65-70 miles from the “metro” area.
Now to my point: Legal Part 15 broadcasters and Pirate stations both point our the inadequacies of broadcasting in our country. It’s hilarious to read in press releases how the FCC has closed down some pirate stations and used the justification that “they never applied for a license.” Perhaps that would have a bit more validity if they actually accepted license applications. Equally sad is that they formed a committee on localism. I guess it looked good on their website. It served no purpose.
Part 15 broadcasting is a legal way to try to distribute a diversity of music, news and opinions that simply isn’t there with regular broadcasters. We get some attention, but have little coverage. It’s a start.
I don’t like pirate stations being confused with Part 15 broadcasters, yet I have to admit pirate stations are a much more effective form of protest against the “big corporations have more rights to broadcasting than communities” attitude of the FCC. Much like early newspapers helped shape our democracy, it may take the work of both part 15’ers and pirate stations to force the FCC to do the right thing. The part 15’ers are on the air with alternative programming of various types and there’s not much anyone can do to shut them down. The Pirate stations may be subject to being shut down, but they get more publicity and point out the need for more localism and diversity in programming.
If the FCC were taking their responsibility seriously, there would be no need for pirate stations.
*I have Abernathy’s testimony on DVD. My use of the word “bimbo” reflects only my opinion and should only be construed as valid in a political sense. Other words which would imply accepting favors for actions might be more accurate, but I’m sure not appropriate for this forum.November 22, 2005 at 1:57 am #12789radio8zGuest
Total posts : 45366
I would like to add my opinions on pirate broadcasting.
First, I believe anyone who wants to and is qualified (see the catch?) should be allowed to use higher power and better antennas for community broadcasting on AM and FM than the rules permit. We can discuss how much range, etc., but for now I would like to avoid that.
But pirating is now drawing FCC attention and that is not good for the pirates nor for the “legal” part 15 folks. Why? Because I cannot see the Congress through the FCC relaxing the microbroadcasting rules, but I do see elimination of all unlicensed broadcasting in response to the actions of a few who run high power. Don’t think so? When I was a kid in the fifties, I sometimes took my rifle to school so I could go plinking with my friends afterward. What was the response to this which was caused by a few who were irresponsible, criminal, and caused harm? The majority who caused no problems now cannot even think about having a firearm on school grounds. Not even a BB gun, not even a toy gun, not a Part 15 pen knife. You will say that I cannot compare the two, but I say I am looking at the offical responses to abuses of priviledge. All get caught in the net because of the infractions of a few.
I would favor a licensing system for those who want extended coverage beyond that which we have with Part 15. Perhaps a written test such as is used for ham radio to insure understanding of the technology and the rules would be appropriate for a personal license. I don’t like the notion of a station license and mandatory frequency assignment as is done for licensed broadcasters now. The same problems of no available frequencies would still be there.
I went a little off your topic, so let me close by saying “What do I think of pirate broadcasting”. I don’t think you should be doing it.
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