- May 15, 2019 at 4:33 pm #111122
Total posts : 14
The SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE has passed the SENATE version of the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act (S. 1228). The vote was unanimous and sends the bill to a vote in the full SENATE; the House version (H.R. 583) passed unanimously in FEBRUARY.
NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH said, “NAB thanks the Senate Commerce Committee for unanimously passing the PIRATE Act. The bill would better equip the FCC to combat pirate radio operations that interfere with legal broadcasts and pose a threat to air traffic control communications. We appreciate the leadership of Sens. DAINES and PETERS on this issue and strongly urge Senate passage of the PIRATE Act.”
The anti-pirate radio bill is intended to strengthen enforcement of anti-unlicensed operator laws and increase fines to up to $100,000 per violation and $2 million maximum.
The concern I would have is that Part 15 operators that stray, even the slightest bit, from the regulations will now be opened up to stiffer penalties and a criminal record. You may think you are following the rules, using certified gear or antennas and ground leads cut within a 1/16th of an inch of the lengths outlined in the rules, but the agents from the FCC may have a different opinion. At that point, you better lawyer up. This has the potential to get ugly and expensive.
- May 15, 2019 at 8:39 pm #111127
Wow! What an effective response to a problem. Violators who could not afford the possible $10,000 fine but now, faced with the new fine, by golly they will certainly abandon their evil ways. Legislators always want to appear to be problem solvers but usually have no motivation other than appearances.
In the many decades in which I have been listening to radio I have never experienced ANY interference from a “pirate” station, but I do from the tens of switching power supplies and high efficiency lights in my home. How about responding to this? Devices utilizing RF in their operation are already subject to Part 15 but enforcement here would apparently be a meaningless effort to address the perceived problem and in preference let’s threaten the few thousand license free users of the spectrum who are trying to abide.
I can find ways around interference (reminder: none from “pirates” or license free legal operators) if I really want to listen to stations which probably support the NAB but I don’t, and it is not because of pirates or switchers, it is because nothing I have found on broadcast media makes me want to endure 20 plus minutes an hour of advertising and self promotion. There are many other off the air sources for programs and information which I use. The sad thing to me is that the NAB and broadcasters appear not to recognize nor admit to the reasons for their own failures and instead look for non-existent impediments to their success and seek legislative solutions. By all means, if I fail at my business due to my own incompetence then I should seek government redress. It is rather fun to rant now and then.
I do not doubt there are instances where persons violating the Part 15 rules have caused interference but I find it a real stretch to believe that a person using a 100 mW AM transmitter in their basement is a noteworthy source of the problems. Someone please convince me otherwise with responsible data.
Interfering on FM with comparable power can certainly be problematic.
I cannot afford a ten thousand dollar fine so what am I going to do differently now that the fine may be ten times what I can’t already afford. I am going to try my best to operate license free under Part 15 rules as I have done for over 60 years with no problems from the FCC, nor from anyone else, and continue to have fun!
In my view, nothing has changed if you are operating according to the license free rules.
- May 16, 2019 at 3:58 am #111133
Personal observations/opinions …
… about Broadcast Stations:
- The early commercial radio stations served and grew their listener base by broadcasting programs that most people wanted to listen to, even though listeners had to buy new, and relatively expensive receive systems to do that.
- Present-day commercial radio station owners are focused on profits, which in their view are maximized by owning/operating many stations while eliminating local on-air talent, using national, syndicated program sources, and broadcasting many more commercials.
- The FCC and its predecessors once made reasoned technical decisions and Rules about the operation of AM/FM stations based on physical principles. Now such decisions are based more on political pressure, reducing their own administrative costs, and “selling” spectrum space.
… about Part 15 Operators vs. Risk of FCC Enforcement Actions:
- From reading and following this and other websites, some “Part 15” operators base their posts on unlearned/misunderstood engineering principles, wishful thinking, and/or situation ethics usually skewed toward increasing their useful coverage areas. But such increases (whether or not the reasons for it are recognized by their operators) can mean that, by the FCC’s definition, they are “Pirates,” and are more subject to FCC inspections/actions.
- Accurate technical information posted on websites about the operation of unlicensed transmit systems actually meeting Part 15 Rules tends to be challenged and/or dismissed.
- May 16, 2019 at 4:02 am #111135
Total posts : 36
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Hartford, Connecticut – where I hang my hat – has a lot of pirates on AM and FM.</p>
As more LPFMs or translators come
on the air, the pirates try to move. Just in the last couple
of weeks, a pirate with a large coverage area was squashed by
a new translator that is running max erp (for translators.)
I was amused by this, initially.
Then I realized the translator’s
programing had no value (well, to ME anyway.)
Then, I discovered (while monitoring a bunch of radio
stations, ham frequencies, and streaming stations all at the same time – well SORT OF anyway) that the previously squashed pirate had plunked
itself down JUST ONE CHANNEL
UP from a local.
While tearing my hair out over that (what very little hair is left)
I fired off an E-mail to one of my local BC engineering buddies so
he knew about it. (Not that it will ever make a diference.) But he and I try to keep track of “everything” on AM and FM so there you have it.
- May 16, 2019 at 11:21 am #111141
Total posts : 199
It will certainly put the narcs on full alert and many don’t know the diffference between legal and Pirate AM stations!!
But I always advertise I’m legal under part 15 section 219. I do promote the Tecsun AN 200 loop for the receivers as well as the Turk AM Advantage and hope more listeners will buy it to receive my station while I stay perfectly in part 15: 219 rules. If your really afraid I suppose a Procaster or Rangemaster is your only choice as a transmitter goes and that means No More C-Quam AM stereo. Some (Even Michelle Bradley’s Facebook Forum part 15 AM&FM Hobby Broadcasting) is suggesting that by the book the ASMAX2 is illegal because its a kit. But in their opinion the FCC may not do anything about it. But now that the NAB has the hots to kill Hobby Broadcasting we may be forced to only use those.
The Fight Back and Legal is Promote that Tecsun AN 200 loop and make videos of it receiving a legal part 15 station as well as receive amplifiers for AM and let the public know they don’t have to be stuck with crap commercial Radio!!
Be legal too as this is a slap in their face whereas they can’t do anything about you gaining listeners. I bet you could go on TV and advocate this loop to receive your station and though the NAB would cry about it they can’t get you off the air as long as you don’t make hate speeches or broadcast obscene language and try and be a station that offers some sort of quality content that is missing from Radio. I’m gonna still be out there and work ever so harder to obtain my goal. It only makes me want to work harder to achieve it. Life is not always easy and you have to work for great things to happen.
- May 16, 2019 at 4:05 pm #111154
Rich stated: “Accurate technical information posted on websites about the operation of unlicensed transmit systems actually meeting Part 15 Rules tends to be challenged and/or dismissed.”
That statement is overly general and simply not true. Information posted and postulated as technical is not always accurate, no matter what the website, or the poster.
Rich also stated “The FCC and its predecessors once made reasoned technical decisions and Rules about the operation of AM/FM stations based on physical principles. Now such decisions are based more on political pressure, reducing their own administrative costs, and “selling” spectrum space”
That is also not true. The FCC has (almost) always based their decisions on reasons other than physical principles. The FCC rules themselves (particularly 15.219) are not detailed descriptions of physical principles, but rather, words that can (and have been) interpreted in many ways.
Back in the early to mid 2000’s, it was deemed perfectly acceptable to elevate a transmitter and ground that transmitter to a metal mast. A decision not to allow that type of installation was made in the latter 2000’s, and yet no rules (or physical principles) were changed.
- May 16, 2019 at 10:19 pm #111157
Artisan Radio wrote “Back in the early to mid 2000’s, it was deemed perfectly acceptable to elevate a transmitter and ground that transmitter to a metal mast. A decision not to allow that type of installation was made in the latter 2000’s, and yet no rules (or physical principles) were changed.”
First question, “deemed perfectly acceptable” by whom?
Second question, if no rules (or physical principles) were changed then what happened?
- May 17, 2019 at 5:54 am #111164
1. The FCC
2. The FCC changed their interpretation of ground wire as written in the rules
- May 17, 2019 at 6:46 am #111166
ArtisanRadio wrote: “The FCC has (almost) always based their decisions on reasons other than physical principles.”
The early technical decisions for AM/FM/TV broadcasting such as the transmitter power, frequency, transmitter site location, required antenna efficiency, and permitted radiation pattern were made by the FCC with due respect to the physical properties applying to the various classes of stations.
They still apply, although now with less interference protection than originally provided.
- May 17, 2019 at 4:31 pm #111183
Thanks for the reply. I asked question 1 with the thought that it was perhaps “perfectly acceptable” to the Part 15 broadcasters based on my reading of years of posts here and elsewhere, perhaps due to either lack of enforcement or knowledge of the .219 restrictions and your response suggests it was a change in FCC interpretation, or as I prefer, a change in enforcement priority. We are most likely both correct.
The FCC didn’t suddenly change the 3 meter rule since it was first added to .219. I knew about it a long time ago and accounted for it in my station construction. Perhaps a point to be made is some either didn’t understand the restriction or chose to ignore it and were surprised when NOUOs began appearing regarding this.
An experienced radio technologist knows what “ground lead” means with regard to antenna systems and I allow that some don’t, but should the rule be written differently about what the FCC means when using this term? This is not likely so a workable approach would seem to be where those experienced with radio technology and rules could offer their expertise without being criticized and challenged while trying to help by explaining the technology and guide others. This would only be a advisory situation and it would be up to the license free broadcasters to decide how to proceed.
- May 18, 2019 at 11:42 am #111192
My comments were directed towards those who claim to know the precise meaning of the FCC rules (most especially 15.219), when the FCC themselves have enforced those rules inconsistently over the years. That would imply that the terms contained within those rules, such as ground lead, are subject to interpretation (and NOT based absolutely on physical principles).
A good case in point is the Talking House transmitter, which is grounded by the neutral power connector. That transmitter is Part 15 certified, there are many thousands operating without any issues, and yet, it can also be interpreted (by those taking the strictest definition of ground lead) as being not compliant (as it uses a house’s electrical path to ground as part of its ground). That to me indicates that the FCC takes other factors into consideration.
In actual fact, it is only an FCC inspector that can determine if someone is compliant with the Part 15 rules. It really doesn’t matter what even an experienced radio technologist says. And why should such individuals not be subject to criticism (when deserved) when they themselves are not reluctant to criticize others (as in the original post)?
Regardless of this new pirate act, if you use a Part 15 certified transmitter, install it according to the supplied instructions (which form part of the certification) and cooperate with an FCC inspection if one occurs, I don’t believe that there is anything to fear. Pirates don’t tend to use certified transmitters, and they most certainly don’t have installations that are anything close to compliant. As with most other things legal (I worked on contracts for many years in consulting), intention is the key – if you can demonstrate that you intended to operate within the rules, you’ll be OK.
- May 19, 2019 at 4:30 am #111199
ArtisanRadio wrote: My comments were directed towards those who claim to know the precise meaning of the FCC rules (most especially 15.219), when the FCC themselves have enforced those rules inconsistently over the years. …
AR probably includes me in the quote above, however I have never posted that I know the precise meaning of the FCC Rules applying to Part 15 systems. That is false.
What I _have_ posted are comments and documentation showing the electrical performance of Part 15 setups at both their complete system and subsystem levels, the technical accuracy of which has not been disproven.
Everyone including the FCC is free to interpret the Rules applying to Part 15, but not the Physics underlying those Rules — which are “set in stone” by natural laws.
- May 20, 2019 at 5:23 am #111207
Total posts : 268
“You can’t deny the laws of physics.” – Mr. Scott, Chief Engineering Officer
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