My Baloney has a First Name

Beware of the haters and baiters

A recent perusal of some of the radio blogs (some of which are linked on my blog) shows a disturbing trend.  Lately I've notice an increase of blatantly false information being disseminated by people who have chosen to oppose experimental broadcasting. 

Crotchety hams, trolls and other digital malingerers have taken it upon themselves to declare that "the FCC is 'clarifying' part 15 (the regulations that govern low power radio) to limit range" and other assorted nonsense.

Apparently deeply perturbed by the new opportunities inexpensive electronic technology provides to today's broadcast experimenter, these troglodytes are out to stop us from having fun.  Don’t let this twisted anger deter you from enjoying our hobby!

So what's an experimental broadcaster to do?

Most of what has been written by the nay-sayers is complete nonsense and is, unfortunately, made worse by the fact that the FCC doesn't need to respond. It's not like the FCC (or anyone else) has staff checking blogs for accuracy!

The big answer is easy - buy an FCC certified transmitter or carefully build your own using well-regarded plans and kits; educate yourself; follow the rules and enjoy the hobby. 

The FCC Office of Engineering & Technology (OET) releases updates when policies change, and these can be viewed at the OET web site and bulletin library.  To monitor FCC enforcement actions, visit the Enforcement Bureau and enjoy the Field Issued Citations page to learn about the kinds of activities that really do get the attention of the FCC.

And of course, check my blog because I'll yak up anything I might notice on the FCC sites.  In my opinion, if you make a good faith effort to obey the law then you need not worry about whatever this week's idiots are blathering about on '' 

I'll also share a personal experience that I hope will shed a little light on the FCC.  I have been participating in experimental broadcasting full time since 1989.  In 1997 I inadvertently violated FCC regulations with my scratch built low power FM transmitter.  I constructed a leaky cable antenna that had an RF shield flaw in the terminating resistor that released excessive signal strength over the air. 

What happened to me?

In July of that year I received a certified letter from the FCC containing a Notice of Unlicensed Operation (NOUO).  The notice stated that The FCC had received a complaint of unlicensed operation from a licensee (a local radio and TV station) and that the FCC had investigated that complaint.  The letter went on to say that as a result of this investigation a signal had been identified coming from my premises, "which exceeded the maximum, permitted level of 250 uV/m at 3 meters for non-licensed devices."

Don't Buy Any FM Transmitter Until You See Our FM Transmitter

This letter directed me to cease all operations immediately and asked for a response within 10 days. 

So that's what I did.  I happily turned off my transmitter because I have no interest in violating the law and I sent a certified letter back the next day confirming I had fully complied with all FCC directives.  I also apologized for my mistake and thanked the Field Engineer for his time.

Five days later I received a letter thanking me for my cooperation and confirming that the FCC considered the matter closed.

I personally think the FCC is a pretty cool outfit. They regularly recruit young people to get into electronics and engineering, provide internship opportunities and get to work with some pretty neat technology.  I find the attempts of the haters to portray the FCC as some sort of big evil boogey-person to be frankly offensive.

LPR Guy,
Mar 14, 2013, 7:07 AM