Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AA7BQ, Jan 15, 2005.

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  1. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder Administrator QRZ Page

    From the ARRL Letter:

    The ARRL has questioned the veracity and technical competence of the
    company operating a Westchester, New York, BPL field trial. It's also
    faulted the FCC for not shutting the system down. In December, after an
    on-site determination by ARRL Lab personnel and a local amateur that BPL
    interference on 14 MHz had reappeared, the League renewed its request that
    the FCC rescind its Part 5 Experimental license for Ambient Corporation's
    BPL pilot in Briarcliff Manor. Ambient told the FCC in October that it had
    addressed Amateur Radio interference complaints through improved software
    and notching, and it repeated that claim January 6, saying it was unable
    to detect the interference ARRL reported hearing. In a strongly worded
    rebuttal that cited "obvious and preclusive" interference along one
    BPL-active stretch of road, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD,
    questioned Ambient's credibility and competence.

    "Ambient's claim that it was unable to find that noise in December is not
    credible," Imlay wrote January 7 on the League's behalf. "If they were in
    fact unable to find the noise, their technical staff is not competent."
    The League said that Ambient's October 12 representation to the FCC that
    it had corrected "all harmful interference" from the system "has proven
    most assuredly false." Additionally, the League noted, an FCC Enforcement
    Bureau staffer also has visited the site and could attest to the
    interference observed on 14 MHz.

    In its January 6 response, Ambient claimed it was "unable to confirm the
    high signal levels" and said 80, 40, 30, 20, 15 and 10 meters "continue to
    be notched." Ambient also objected to ARRL's assertion that the signals
    constitute "harmful interference" and suggested the League was improperly
    using the FCC's complaint procedures.

    The League said its measurements on 20 meters along one stretch of BPL
    lines were "between 20 and 40 dB higher" than when the BPL signal was not
    present, and it invited FCC officials to review a video on the ARRL Web
    site (click on "Videos of interference in Briarcliff Manor, NY")
    documenting the interference. ARRL accused Ambient of not only failing to
    remedy the interference but of stonewalling by arguing that the signals
    ARRL detected ought not be considered "harmful interference" under FCC's
    Part 15 rules.

    Westchester County ARES Emergency Coordinator Alan Crosswell, N2YGK,
    routinely travels on the roads in question and has just as routinely
    experienced interference in those areas, the ARRL said. The League took
    strong exception to Ambient's attempt in its January 6 letter to minimize
    the issue of interference to mobile stations. "Ambient's flippant
    suggestion that interference to Mr. Croswell's mobile Amateur Radio
    communications is not an issue, and that he should merely 'drive away from
    it' is not well taken and is unacceptable to ARRL," Imlay wrote. "It
    should be unacceptable to the Commission as well."

    In any case, given that the ARRL measured interference-level BPL emissions
    up to three-quarters of a mile from a BPL modem at Briarcliff Manor, the
    League noted, driving away would not be a practical remedy. "The system
    needs to cease operating on all Amateur bands instead," The ARRL asserted.

    Crosswell, who's also Westchester County RACES Officer, has documented BPL
    interference, complaints and related information on his "BPL in Briarcliff
    Manor" Web site <>.

    The League said the lingering Briarcliff Manor BPL situation underscores
    the "fundamental incompatibility" between Amateur Radio HF operation and
    "unlicensed (and apparently unregulated) operation of BPL systems." The
    ARRL also faulted the FCC for its "notable inaction over a period of many
    months in responding to complaints" regarding the Briarcliff Manor BPL

    "Ambient clearly is not in compliance [with FCC Part 5 Experimental
    rules], and the Office of Engineering and Technology needs to, in this
    most egregious case, finally do its job and shut this station down pending
    compliance determinations and a demonstration that the system can operate
    without causing harmful interference." It also demanded that the FCC
    rescind Ambient's Part 5 experimental authorization and "determine other
    appropriate sanctions" against the company.

    A copy of the ARRL's January 7 letter to the FCC is on the ARRL Web site
    t0105.pdf>. For more information on BPL, visit the "Broadband Over Power
    Line (BPL) and Amateur Radio" page on the ARRL Web site

    Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
    in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to
    The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    IMO, the ARRL has debased itself into a name-calling approach.

    I don't see how anything is gained by taking this tact.

    I have a lot of respect for Chris, but I don't think this was appropriate. That's my opinion.

    The FCC is not stupid, and is more than capable of sorting things out. All that this public stance accomplishes, IMO, is to fire up a hostile minority of hams and to further send non-hams running from the hills of cooperation with the 'amateurs'.

    BPL isn't going away, and neither is the FCC. The Part 15 rules have been upheld and BPL must-- and desires--to abide by them. SO why the heck are we apparently so self-serving as to feel it is OUR issue to decide??

    I am embarrassed for us as a service by this response.

    I also wonder if we will ever learn to come to terms with the changing wireless scene, if this type of stance is adopted more widely.

    Chip N1IR
  3. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    If there is, as the ARRL defines it, a "fundamental incompatibility between amateur radio HF operations (N1IR note: this is an ARRL assertion and not one that has been shown to represent the majority of US hams) and unlicensed ...operations.", you have the quandary where legally operating Part 15 devices will prevail, IMO.

    It was remarkably stupid, IMO, to place this in such dark, black and white terms. If Part 15 devices are legally working, then hams should stay the heck out of it. Or anything else that has nothing to do with Part 97.

    Obviously, if Part 15 devices are NOT legally working, then they will be shut down. Why this isn't obvious is beyond my comprehension: the FCC has certainly been clear about it, and they have the jurisdiction and power to do so.

    The ARRL is NOT the FCC; and the FCC needs no amateur organization to tell it how to do its job.

    Chip N1IR
  4. K9FV

    K9FV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, from reading the report it sounds like the BPL is not operating legally under Part 15 - and the FCC is ignoring the results. Perhaps strong language is required to get attention when everyone seems to be ignoring or denying the situation? 20 to 40 db is what - 3 to 6 "S" units?

  5. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Ken,

    The FCC is ignoring no results. Just because they're not taking some high handed approach such as the ARRL (IMO) doesn't mean they aren't aware of the FACTS and aren't acting upon them.

    IMO what the ARRL has said, effectively, is that from now on, it's an "us versus them" approach.

    This signals the end of any cooperative phase, IMO. That lasted about, oh, three months it appears.

    I think ARRL members, at this point, should strongly consider whether the ARRL represents the best interests of US hams, IMO.

    Chip N1IR
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    No, Chip in this case I would have to disagree with you. I note your liberal use of  “IMO”, and I accept that in as much as opinions are like behinds, everyone has one. In this instance I do not feel your opinion is based on anything but that. I just returned from Washington, D. C. last night (flight from hell) after two days of meetings with one of the branches of federal government, most of which was about BPL.

    The FCC is taking a dangerous road in that by ignoring of enforcement of the part 15 rules, they are sending a signal to the BPL operators and other part 15 manufacturers that they are going to look the other way. This does not bode well for licensed spectrum users. The attitude that there is no interference is folly to say the least. While not related to BPL there is now a draft bill circulating on the hill that would change part 15 in that the licensed spectrum user would have to mitigate any interference complaint to a part 15 user.  To refresh those who are not fully versed in the rule, it says that a part 15 device must accept from, and must not cause interference to a licensed service. To change this would be nothing short of disaster for legitimate licensed services.

    The FCC must remove the rose colored glasses and do their job. Go measure the BPL signal and not on just one band but all the amateur bands, and where the interference exceeds the part 15 levels, enforce the rules. It is just that simple. Quite frankly, we growing tired of this "shell game."

    Jim, W5JBP
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Jim,

    You are correct that opinions are welcome here, even if you feel obligated to disparage mine. That's OK. If the President of the ARRL says that my opinion is like a horse's behind, then he has made a conscious decision to represent his organization in that way. Basically, this is consistent with the rhetoric to which we are now commenting upon.

    Yes Jim, I feel that the ARRL has taken an unacceptable turn that will reflect poorly in the coming months and years, and severely divide the non-profit with time.

    My personal opinion is that I am disappointed that you have allowed the organization to be represented with such an extreme stance; it was within your power to head towards resolutions rather than conflict (IMO). For a short while there, it looked like calmer heads would prevail.

    Jim, you may calmly continue to ignore me; that's OK. I feel that I represent an opinion that is educated, and does have bearing on the situation. I am long since past the age where I get offended by opinions, and long past the age where I am willing to disparage my own hard-earned wisdom.

    In a nutshell, Jim, IMO, the ARRL has taken a stance that does not represent US amateurs, and will not represent the membership well in the mid and long-term. It is a stance based upon absence of cooperation, IMO.

    In any case, I'm sure your comments will help keep the faithful informed, and I wish you the best.

    Chip N1IR
  8. K5CO

    K5CO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Among others, Earthlink had a look at BPL and determined it to be too costly when compared with any other (alternative) method. So, with market forces in place, BPL will go broke, its stock holders will lose their money and the FCC commissioners will likely have pocketed their bribes whilst doing no long term damage.
    Besides, power companies can't deliver power without creating much RF noise. It seems unlikely that they will be able to deliver the Internet with any consistancy. It would be like watching girls play hardball.
  9. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page


    This is the quintessence of the issue: the "we" is relatively small in number, and it is incorrect to assert (although you haven't done so here) that the "we" is the entire US radio amateur community.

    You just don't have that mandate, nor evidence of that support, IMO. If you do, kindly correct me here.

    I appreciate that I am a minority view on this forum, but I do not believe that I espouse a minority view.

    Some of us don't see a shell game, but the FCC trying to do its job, hoping to help the various sides work out their differences within the context of Part 15 and Part 97.

    Chip N1IR
  10. N8BMB

    N8BMB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have to disagree with N1IR. "IMO", it seems as though he is not as eduacated about BPL as he may want to believe, and may be involved in providing BPL in some manner by trying to downplay the interference BPL causes.

    BPL is a BAD, BAD, BAD way to deliver internet. I had read somewhere that this technology was going to be used to deliver internet service to RURAL areas. Why the hell, then, is it being deployed in URBAN areas? Even as a test, it should and MUST be tested in the area in which it was supposed to service in order to give "fair" test results. I could very well be that in a RURAL setting, the interference may not be as much as an issue as it is now, supposing the distances between the homes and powerlines are usually wider than in an URBAN area. This may give a better test result.

    Anyway, I still believe the FCC, when it comes to BPL, is doing just what KD5PSH stated - taking bribes - and doing nothing about the interference issues. Gees, if I put out that much interference, I am sure the FCC would have beat down my door to get me to eliminate the interference.

    It seems very possible that the FCC has other agendas in mind when it comes to BPL. Why, then, have they and dothey continue to drag their feet when it comes to BPL interference issues? Anything else gets jumped on right away, just look at the enforcement letters that the ARRL posts. You never see ANYTHING in those letters relating to BPL. This begs the question as to WHY?


    Dennis - N8BMB
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