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Author Topic: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving  (Read 2118 times)

Offline KaySeeks

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Partially old news but with more depth here:

http://www.insideradio.com/pirate-radio-is-a-costly-overlooked-problem-and-it-s/article_73e73a12-3ecc-11e7-aecd-77c4ad3cfba2.html

Yeah, yeah, OK. They have been saying that the FCC are going to crack down more. Whatever.

Some of the links in the story are interesting to me. Like this: http://diymedia.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Pirate-2016-study-final-pdf.pdf
I like the photo of the pirate station antenna that is in the building next to the East Orange, NJ police station. (Location J, p. 86-87.) :D

Also of note:
"While getting Congress to pass legislation is always a lengthy process, Florida and New Jersey have already made operating a pirate station a felony under state law, while it’s a criminal misdemeanor in New York."

and
"Between Jan. 2003 and March 2017, the FCC issued 1,561 official warning notices to alleged pirates across 46 states with Arkansas, South Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia the only states untouched by the problem. Just one in ten of those warnings were escalated to the next step. The FCC says it proposed $2.15 million in fines against 168 alleged pirates. Yet of that number the Commission ultimately ordered just 93 pirates to pay up a combined $1.04 million. In order words, just 6% of the warning letters ultimately translated to formal fines. Also of note nearly half of the fines were to pirates in one state: Florida."
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Offline skeezix

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 1428 UTC »
Hundreds (they say) of pirates, but yet there are millions of electronic devices spewing for an ever increasing amount of RFI. Not a peep about that from the FCC nor even the broadcasters.

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Offline redhat

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 1457 UTC »
I was talking to a guy on the east coast yesterday.  He said recently there was a power outage...AM never sounded so good, all the noise vanished :)

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Offline ka1iic

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 1939 UTC »
Hundreds (they say) of pirates, but yet there are millions of electronic devices spewing for an ever increasing amount of RFI. Not a peep about that from the FCC nor even the broadcasters.

Where I am In Troy Ohio it is near impossible to hear much of anything in the AM broadcast band...  only 3 stations have a readable signal and even then 2 of them have noise. 

I said this so many times, put a REAL part 15 test of all of the junk China is sending over here and I mean everything including junky CFL and LED bulbs.  Yeah I know they are cheap but they are the best noise generators... 

There are tons of electronic junk from China that would fail the part 15 test...  so get your hands out of your asses Funny Circus Clowns...  Do your damned job or close up shop for good.
73 Vince
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Offline KaySeeks

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2017, 1903 UTC »
Not a peep about that from the FCC nor even the broadcasters.

Not completely true. Though the FCC haven't really taken any regulatory measures yet either.

Noise Floor Complaints Grow Louder

No issue is more pressing to SBE than the noise interference faced by AM stations. “To us, it’s all related to ambient RF noise,” Imlay said. Not only are radio frequency or RF-emitting devices filling homes and offices with noise clutter, but big box retailers sell industrial strength technology for home use. “The problem is one of those devices is going to cause noise in a city block and anybody who would like to listen to the AM band at home isn’t going to be able to,” Imlay said. With little enforcement by the FCC against unlicensed Part 15 devices that exceed RF limits, engineers say it paints a dire situation for radio going forward. “They’re killing the AM broadcast band,” Imlay said. “And as long as those kinds of things are happening, the AM broadcast band is doomed.”

The Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers (AFCCE) is similarly concerned about the noise problem and how the FCC enforces its rules. “AM broadcasting is the proverbial canary in the coal mine and it’s simple physics,” AFCCE president Bob Weller said. “The noise problem, if it is not addressed soon, is going to kill off AM but it’s also going to kill off the Internet of Things before it even gets started.” Weller, who previously worked in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau during the 1980s and 1990s, agrees enforcement needs to play a bigger role in the solution—not just with other technologies, but also among AMs to ensure station facilities aren’t drifting out of tolerance and causing interference. He says FM translators also need to be monitored. “A lot of this is a technical issue, not a legal one,” Weller said.

AFCCE met with Pai in April to discuss its concerns and Weller believes the chairman, while not tipping his hand in any way, is aware of the situation and he pressed them for how broadcasters could formulate a solution that wouldn’t draw objections from other segments of the industry.

Pai said he heard “a lot” from Midwest broadcasters during his road trip about the noise floor and the problem of modern technology creating all sorts of inference and preventing AM stations from delivering high-quality signals to listeners. “As I go back to DC that’s one of the things that we’ll be looking at—ways to improve the noise floor in order to make sure you are able to communicate information,” Pai said during an interview on WRDN, adding, “If we don’t have that you are really just broadcasting out into the ether.”

Last year the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council opened an inquiry on radio noise and how it can be studied to compare with data from decades ago. While the status of the effort is unclear, it appears that the FCC has decided to conduct its research in-house. However it’s completed, Imlay said something is needed since no one is quite sure whether the FCC’s governing RF emitters are too liberal, too conservative or just right. “Any of the academic studies that have been done since then indicate that there is a general increase over time in ambient RF noise to the point where in SBE’s view it’s a toxic environment for any listener to try to listen to AM broadcast stations because the listening environment becomes unpleasant very quickly,” he said.

Weller says the noise floor is a common problem that doesn’t just plague AM. It’s one reason why HD Radio FMs needed a power boost and why when VHF television stations switched from analog to digital the coverage was not as good as expected, especially indoors.

Radio receivers aren’t currently required to be manufactured to meet any spectrum efficiency standard and the NAB says adopting minimum performance standards for radio receivers could be one solution for the FCC to help broadcasters. “I know that might be controversial, but the truth is that consumers are often buying radios and other products that don’t work very well because of interference issues,” spokesman Dennis Wharton said.


From http://www.insideradio.com/bumps-remain-on-long-path-to-am-revitalization/article_cbbd1766-54b6-11e7-9742-a37b51b593b5.html
« Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 1914 UTC by KaySeeks »
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Offline Looking-Glass

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2017, 2131 UTC »
Not only junk from China, I have a new Samsung refridgerator made in Korea and it's "digital inverter" creates crud all across HF, worse 5-12MHz sector, ferrite beads on power lead doesn't make a difference. Neither does an in line "AC Filter". 

Neighbours have a new 55 inch TV from China, generates spurs all over HF up to 10dB over nine.

Gas ducted house heating control panel generates RF also over HF, all this never ends.

Only time I can really DX on HF is after midnight when everyone turns off their crap and goes to bed! 8)
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Offline Azimuth Coordinator

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2017, 2305 UTC »
This is why it matters so much on FM...   20 Billion reasons..

 iHeartMedia Inc. lost $174 million in the second quarter as the radio, billboard and digital giant edged closer to bankruptcy as it struggles under more than $20 billion in debt, the company said Thursday.

The San Antonio-based company’s second-quarter loss narrowed from a loss of $278.9 million during the same three months last year, the company said in releasing its earnings results Thursday. It was the company’s 28th loss over the last 29 quarters.

Revenue dropped to $1.59 billion in the second quarter, from $1.62 billion a year ago, a 1.5 percent decline.

Analysts right now aren’t concerned about profits as its been more than 7 years since the company’s been solidly profitable. They are instead keeping a close watch on iHeartMedia’s cash flow, which is key to its ability to stay afloat.

iHeartMedia, which owns more than 850 radio stations and sponsors popular music festivals across the U.S., reiterated its April 20 warning to investors that it may not survive another year. The company has generated negative cash flow over the last two years, meaning that it’s spending more money on its debt and other expenses than it’s generating.
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Offline redhat

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 0030 UTC »
iHeart is probably going to hit the debt wall next year I was told, and once in receivership will be auctioned off piece by piece.

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Offline skeezix

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2017, 0034 UTC »
Not completely true. Though the FCC haven't really taken any regulatory measures yet either.

Good. But, its only talk. Lots of bureaucratic nothingness. No action. I'll be happy to give Pai (and/or his designee) a tour of the RFI in my house, neighborhood and the area. Open invitation to the FCC, provided the actually do something and not just another "fact finding" boondoggle.

Killing off IoT before it gets started? For security, that would be great. Those things...

Meanwhile trying to find a solution when he goes back to DC, is he joking? Why do licensees pay a lot of money for licenses? In part for protection from unauthorized transmissions, allegedly. If Uncle Charlie won't do what he's supposed to do and protect the licensees, then do away with license and let it be a free for all. It already is a free for all for the "low power" stuff. NAB wants receivers to have some minimum specs? How about enforcing the existing Part 15 emission standards across the board instead to get rid of the RFI emitters? Will it cause prices to go up? Maybe, but allowing more & more of these things will only make it worse.

Was listening to MW today and right at 2320 UTC, right on schedule, some local noise maker comes on and splatters the MW band from the low part to around the middle with some sort of data every 8 kHz. Its been doing that for 10+ years. Never have been able to track it down.

Power outages, then its great. Silent as can be on the bands, just as when I moved in back in 2001 (it was very, very quiet back then). During power outages, I try to sneak in some DX, although then I lose my computers & SDRs, so I have to do it old school with the ICF-2010. Fansome would be proud. Only one knob, but sooooooooo many buttons.

Tried to listen to 16m SWBC band today, but something has a repetitive pulse. I scanned the HF band and the amateur bands are notched out. Imagine that.
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Offline redhat

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2017, 0053 UTC »
Quote
Tried to listen to 16m SWBC band today, but something has a repetitive pulse. I scanned the HF band and the amateur bands are notched out. Imagine that.

Sounds like BPL.  There was some stipulation that they had to protect the HAM frequencies.  Everything else is fair game.

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Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2017, 1452 UTC »
Weller says the noise floor is a common problem that doesn’t just plague AM. It’s one reason why HD Radio FMs needed a power boost and why when VHF television stations switched from analog to digital the coverage was not as good as expected, especially indoors.


The second canary in a coal mine: the fact that even with new digital broadcasting technology they have to boost power in some way just to make a signal listenable -- and as more RFI predominates, that need for some way of boosting the digital signal will increase.

This especially applies to AM, where digital can work, except the stations need to be fully digital and probably have more power to actually be listenable in most of their metro.

Power = electricity produced from burning coal in much of the U.S.

The only conclusion I can reach (sarcasm button on) is that RFI causes more global warming (sarcasm button off).
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Offline Josh

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2017, 1858 UTC »
How does one service a 20B debt with only 1.5B of income? Also, China, and hence wallstreet, will never allow costly filtration to enter their electronics supply chain. Perhaps if people stopped buying the unfiltered crap...
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Offline redhat

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2017, 0342 UTC »
Weller says the noise floor is a common problem that doesn’t just plague AM. It’s one reason why HD Radio FMs needed a power boost and why when VHF television stations switched from analog to digital the coverage was not as good as expected, especially indoors.


The second canary in a coal mine: the fact that even with new digital broadcasting technology they have to boost power in some way just to make a signal listenable -- and as more RFI predominates, that need for some way of boosting the digital signal will increase.

This especially applies to AM, where digital can work, except the stations need to be fully digital and probably have more power to actually be listenable in most of their metro.

Power = electricity produced from burning coal in much of the U.S.

The only conclusion I can reach (sarcasm button on) is that RFI causes more global warming (sarcasm button off).

There may be some comfort for you in the fact that modern transmitter efficiency is better than most of the older analog boxes.  Still pretty aweful by FM and AM standards, but state of the art efficiency now is around 45% AC to RF efficiency, older boxes were lucky to break 25%.

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Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2017, 1214 UTC »
Redhat, I'm glad to hear that.


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Offline ka1iic

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Re: Pirate Radio is a Costly, Overlooked Problem—and It’s Thriving
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2017, 1758 UTC »
Let's see some serious dat modulation...
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73 Vince
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