FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

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PID_Stop
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FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by PID_Stop » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:18 pm

Today's Daily Digest includes the FCC's latest push to target unlicensed operation: about a dozen letters sent to different groups (some obvious, like the NAB and advertiser organizations, some less obvious, like chiefs of police and property managers), plus a more general public notice.

Seems like if they were really serious about this, they might have thought twice about scaling back their field offices. It's hard to do this kind of enforcement without people in the field... but it will be interesting to see what come of it.

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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by TPT » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:14 pm

Unless a tenant is clearly violating some general rule (such as restrictions on outside antennas, or placing equipment in unauthorized areas); property managers are not really in a position to do much about pirate operators who are otherwise compliant with the terms of their lease. Especially if the pirate operator is a minority. Too much risk of a backlash or discrimination suit.

They can, of course, report the operation to the Commission--then step back and wait for D.C. to act.

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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:54 pm

...and wait...and wait...and wait...and...
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by NECRAT » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:59 pm

Deep Thought wrote:...and wait...and wait...and wait...and...
If there was ever a time to like a post, this is it...
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by Kelly » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:31 am

But wait.. Weren't issuing CP's and licenses for LPFM's supposed to eliminate the need for Pirates to go on the air? That worked well on both fronts (sarcasm alert): Numbers of LPFM's are going silent faster than being built, and pirate stations are still there, potentially increasing in number.
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by kcbooboo » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:55 pm

I had a pirate in my area. They bought a "Dominator" FM antenna, some coax, an inexpensive exciter/transmitter, a clock timer, and an internet device to grab the streaming audio, threw it up on a chimney, and left. There were actually several in my state and they had real money-making ads by actual in-town businesses. Someone had expended considerable money to build up this system, a small studio (several people, microphones, a mixer, a computer, internet feed, etc) to keep it going, but this money was far less than they'd have had to pay the FCC to get a real license, with absolutely zero paperwork and no auctions to worry about. How hard can it be? They used to come on at 6pm and run until after midnight. There were times when they lost audio and only had a stereo pilot. Too bad that was deviating at almost 40 kHz, about 5 times what it should have been. Louder does mean the signal goes further, right?

The FCC was handed the whole case on a silver platter but by the time they got to town, the station was pulled down and moved elsewhere, with an even stronger signal on a new frequency that didn't bother as many people or any local stations. They were traced to the new location and they shut down and moved again. It's just a game to everyone.

I also got the distinct impression that the FCC didn't want to "rock the demographic boat" so-to-speak. So unless it was causing life-threatening interference, they just didn't really care. They told everyone they cared and that something would be done, but then did nothing to really get them off the air. I know that even some local law enforcement types wanted to get involved, but being radio, it's a federal case, and the FCC has a lot of "bark" but almost no "bite".

What they need is an applicable search and seizure warrant to grab the equipment and cancel the internet connection, but that's not how they work. They knock on the door, leave the "cease and desist" note and a pamphlet on how to legally get on the air stuffed into the front door, then leave, never to return again.

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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by Bill DeFelice » Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:45 pm

We have / had a pirate in Fairfield County that was interfering with the EAS monitor assignment for a 1kwAM/ 50kw FM and I believe it took quite a bit of time to get the field agents to come and serve them a NOUO. The station moved some distance away and re-established operations and has been on a number of years at this point without a follow-up visit. It sort of makes me wonder the seriousness of their actions.

On the other hand, I've been told of agents going gangbusters against educational institutions and radio hobby enthusiasts who might have exceeded the field strength limitations of Part 15 (15.209, 15.239) through some small installation indiscretion. In other cases, they simply didn't like what somebody was able to do under 15.219, which has no defined field strength as mentioned in at least two FCC documents I obtained. It bothers me that at least one adult (who's also a ham and familiar with FCC regulations) had been harassed by his local field agent for using a Part 15 certified 100 milliwatt AM transmitter which is virtually impossible to install in a manner not compliant with 15.219. I fail to understand how the field agent can get away with using undue influence against the operator's landlord to "persuade" the operator in surrendering his recently purchased, legal transmitter - still sold and marketed by a well-known company that also sells equipment to the broadcast industry.

I had previously authored the Radio World commentary Distinguish Pirates From Part 15 Operators in an effort to not only bring this to the attention of my peers in the broadcast industry but to point out that a fully Part 15.219 compliant, ground mounted Part 15 AM transmitter can cover more than 200 feet, as verified by my Potomac FIM-41. In fact, the testing of five of these legal low power AM transmitters were performed as part of the AM Transmitter Challenge. The resulting article was not only appears on my website but amateur radio publication CQ Magazine published it about a year ago.

In spite of multiple queries to Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners O'Rielly and Pai I have yet to see them fully explain the difference between blatant pirates and campus / hobby radio enthusiasts legally operating on the AM or FM band. I can see O'Rielly's plan causing more harassment to Part 15 compliant operators where the layperson isn't going to know or understand the difference between them and pirates.

Just to be clear, I have no use for pirates, but I think those who provide enforcement need to understand that compliant Part 15 operators AREN'T pirates.
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by NECRAT » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:43 pm

Bill DeFelice wrote:We have / had a pirate in Fairfield County that was interfering with the EAS monitor assignment for
I DF'ed a really strong pirate in Bridgeport about five years ago, on 106.5(+/- 200kHZ). The antenna was mounted fairly high on a pole right next to I-95.

I've been finding , IDing and locating pirates for close to 8 years now. Boston has a really, really bad problem with them.
There are two locations, one which has four pirates on the roof, the other has two. The roof with four, has one which is operating in the "Several Kilowatt range." (You heard that correctly.). Many New England cities seem to have a few, but nothing comes close to Boston and Brockton, MA.

In Worcester, MA., a pirate operating on 105.5 , causing illegal interference has been issued NOUOs, been sued, and just keeps failing to appear in court, and keeps failing to pay any fines. He keeps operating as well from the roof of the building he leases from as well. The problem is, it needs to be a stronger punishment than just fines. I'm talking actual jail time. Now before I get the "Jail Time?, For pirate radio?". Yes, remember in many cases, you're causing illegal disruption to businesses and in many cases, these guys are operating at RFR levels that are hazardous, which can cause medical harm. Both are crimes.

Who knows what the long run will bring. All I know is this, as long as pirates keep coming up, I will keep searching them out.
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by Bill DeFelice » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:54 am

NECRAT wrote:
Bill DeFelice wrote:We have / had a pirate in Fairfield County that was interfering with the EAS monitor assignment for
I DF'ed a really strong pirate in Bridgeport about five years ago, on 106.5(+/- 200kHZ). The antenna was mounted fairly high on a pole right next to I-95.
It's the same one, but at this point I can't recall if it was before they were busted or not. They continue to operate and I don't know if they haven't been served due to "ethnic discrimination" or not, but they continue to litter the landscape. In fact, a licensed translator is due to go live on the same frequency soon so I wonder what the licensee will do about this.
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by NECRAT » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:25 pm

Bill DeFelice wrote:
It's the same one, but at this point I can't recall if it was before they were busted or not.
They were issued a NOUO (Notice of Unauthorized Operation) in 2003

http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotic ... 224A1.html
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by kcbooboo » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:56 am

There was also a pirate up in the Waterbury area, 8/84, whose sub-harmonic (1/2 the FM freq) was interfering with the input of a 6m repeater. It might have been around 106.5, so half that is 53.25, which would bother a 53.30 MHz input, especially with 37.5 kHz deviation. Not sure how a modern exciter could have such a strong sub-harmonic. I could believe a strong 2nd harmonic though.

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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by Bill DeFelice » Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:22 pm

kcbooboo wrote:Not sure how a modern exciter could have such a strong sub-harmonic. I could believe a strong 2nd harmonic though.
Bob, from what I've seen mentioned many these pirates purchase those Chinese imported CZH transmitters (or similar) which had been measured to be riddled with spurs. This is why I'm surprised many more pirates haven't been stomped upon for causing interference on other frequencies.
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by kc8gpd » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:51 am

here is another letter similar to Bill's "Open letter to the FCC"

this was created by KEBS Radio (Tim In Bovey)

Part 15 Broadcasting Is NOT “Pirate Radio” !

i maintain a station file for my part 15 operation with all the relevant info on my operation in a file folder. i will be acquiring soon a real estate brochure box to place the file in a weatherproof container outside my residence near my transmitters should the FCC show when i am not home they will have access to my contact info and my transmitters and operation info without me needing to be there.

Bill's open letter as well as the above linked document are all part of my station file along with things like part 15's rule's i operate under as well as transmitter pictures, manuals and test data printed out from FCC website.

it's about a 100 page thick file.

for those interested, pictorial details of my operation along with a text file description is located here

i do tinker around with carrier current as described in the text but it is only intermittent as my results with carrier current at this location have not been all too spectacular.
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by Bill DeFelice » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:11 pm

kc8gpd wrote:here is another letter similar to Bill's "Open letter to the FCC"

this was created by KEBS Radio (Tim In Bovey)

Looks interesting and somewhat similar to the Pirate Radio Vs Part 15 Radio Fact Sheet
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Re: FCC wants to make pirates walk the plank

Post by kc8gpd » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:37 pm

i added that one to my file too. might redact Tim's letter from my file. that one linked seems much better written.

this is also in case my landlord should come asking about this stuff in addition to the FCC. i went back to the original topic on p15us and let tim know about the similarities to the document located on your website.
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