Tag Archives: FCC

FCC Commissioner pushing for aggressive pirate radio enforcement

Many thanks to an SWLing Post contributor who shares this FCC PDF document: Remarks of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly Before the 2017 Hispanic Radio Conference, Fort Lauderdale, Florida March 28, 2017.

Note O’Rielly’s remarks regarding pirate radio enforcement in the south Florida radio market:

“Many of you may have heard me speak before about pirate radio, a huge problem here in South Florida and one that has a disproportionate impact on the Hispanic radio community. The failure to properly address it highlights a deficiency in the Commission’s enforcement tools and undermines our overall credibility. Today, these squatters are infecting the radio band at the expense of listeners of legitimate radio stations, causing great harm to emergency preparedness within covered areas and undercutting the financial stability of licensed radio stations, your stations.

To that point, I could use your assistance in batting down arguments that pirate radio stations are somehow training grounds for those seeking to enter the field or that these “stations” bring a unique service to primarily minority communities, and therefore should be left alone. Few people actually have your background, experience, and history of serving these important communities, so your voice and words would be a welcome rejoinder to these baseless claims.

On my part, just this morning, I spent some time with the FCC’s Miami Field Office to ring the figurative fire alarm on overall efforts to combat pirate radio stations. Quite frankly, I sought answers on why these stations weren’t already eradicated. In particular, I discussed their recent enforcement actions in this market, what obstacles they face in expediting cases, and what additional authority may be of assistance. I also raised the issue of whether the ability to seize pirate equipment found in common areas could aid their efforts. In addition, we discussed whether our current fines should be increased, and if imposing penalties on those that directly and intentionally facilitate pirate stations could be helpful. It was a very positive meeting, and I walked away with renewed belief that the Miami Team was up to the task. But, they are also on notice that I expect to see this situation addressed quickly and sufficiently.”

Click here to read Commissioner O’Reilly’s full remarks (PDF).

In addition, this reader notes a new job posting with the FCC for an enforcement officer:

https://fcc.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/466088000/

Activating mobile phone FM: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s remarks at NAB symposium

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Aaron Kuhn, who shares the following:

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s remarks at the North American Broadcasters Association’s Future of Radio and Audio Symposium from today have been posted at

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0216/DOC-343529A1.pdf

I found the most interesting info in the statement is only 44% of the top selling smartphones in the US have an FM Chip activated have them activated. This figure pales in comparison to Mexico, where 80% of the top selling smartphones have the FM Radio chip activated.

Chair Pai goes on to state:

“You could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone. The former head of our Federal Emergency Management Administration has spoken out in support of this proposal.

[…]I’ll keep speaking out about the benefits of activating FM chips. Having said that, as a believer in free markets and the rule of law, I cannot support a government mandate requiring activation of these chips. I don’t believe the FCC has the power to issue a mandate like that, and more generally I believe it’s best to sort this issue out in the marketplace. For despite the low numbers, we are seeing progress; in the last two years, the percentage of top-selling smartphones in the United States that have activated FM chips has risen from less than 25% to 44%. “

Which leads me to this question for the SWLing Post community: would the benefits, emergency and otherwise, of mandated, activated FM Receiver Chips in new Smartphones sold outweigh the free market arguments?

Feel free to share your comments!

Please note: our SWLing Post comment moderators keep this site a safe haven from partisan politics–after all, we’re here to talk and play radio! Sometimes, however, local/international politics and radio intersect, but please leave partisan discussions or any animosity for specific politicians for a political site. 🙂

Ajit Pai designated as chairman of the FCC

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai (R)

(Source: Forbes)

In one of his first official acts, President Trump designated Commissioner Ajit Pai as the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He is the first newly appointed Republican chairman since Kevin Martin nearly 12 years ago. Many have asked: how will the FCC change under Chairman Pai?

Until recent years, the FCC was not a partisan agency. Having served with commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael O’Rielly, Chairman Pai is not expected to be particularly partisan.

Chairman Pai has served as a commissioner for nearly 5 years, and his views on a wide range of topics are publicly available on his FCC website that highlights his many Commission opinions, Congressional testimonies, speeches, publications, and blogs.

It is impossible to predict exactly where Chairman Pai will go with specific future policies such as network neutrality, particular mergers, and the aftermath of the disappointing and flawed broadcaster spectrum auction. But it is easy to describe broad themes of a Chairman Pai: follow the law, less regulation, and a folksy approach to government. […]

Continue reading at Forbes.com.

New Experimental Radio Station: Skycast (WI2XER)

Skycast

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Benn, who writes:

[Skycast (WI2XER)] is a station in the Experimental Radio Service, licensed under Part 5 of the FCC Rules.

Benn provided the following details:

Licensed 3 March 2016: SKYCAST SERVICES LLC WI2XER 0809-EX-PL-2015

New experimental to operate in HF bands from 13.87 MHz to 21 MHz to pursue significant advancements in the state of telecommunications technology.

Farmingville (Suffolk), NY

www.skycastservices.com

License:
https://apps.fcc.gov/els/GetAtt.html?id=173579&x=.

Explanation, redacted:
https://apps.fcc.gov/els/GetAtt.html?id=170747&x=.

Note location of receivers, stated in section 6.

Explanation of redactions:
https://apps.fcc.gov/els/GetAtt.html?id=171385&x=.

Benn continues:

HF operations in the ERS are rare. I have been following ERS for years.

Applicants in this service are required to describe their experimental program, but can ask the FCC to withhold certain details from public disclosure. That is the reason for the redactions.

The actual purpose of this Skycast is not obvious from the available documentation, but some intrepid investigation may reveal it. SWLs should listen for these operations. The company said that the receivers are in Western Europe.

Experimental stations are not supposed to directly generate revenue. There are occasional exceptions. Most ERS stations are for defense and security related developments, specific demonstrations or academic research.

Readers: please comment if you have any information about this station or its service. Any reception reports/notes would also be welcome!

Steve notes the ITU-R Recommendations on Radio Noise

SX-99-Dial

Commenting on our post about the FCC Noise Floor Inquiry, SWLing Post contributor, Steve Yothment writes:

One of the definitive documents on Radio Noise is the ITU-R Recommendation on Radio Noise, version P.373-12. This (latest) version is dated 07/2015, so it’s only a year old. You can download it [as a PDF] here. It has a lot of info on natural and man-made radio noise.

My favorite graph from the document is shown below:

Graph

It shows the level of radio noise vs. frequency for good and poor conditions. It can be rather surprising how noise, even under the best conditions, can be quite excessive on shortwave frequencies. For example, the best case noise level for 10 MHz is about 30dB above the Johnson Noise level. (That’s the noise level from just a resistor at room temperature.) That’s why the noise level in your shortwave receiver’s speaker gets so much higher when you attach the antenna!

That is fascinating, Steve! It’s no wonder we struggle with noise issues–even in the best of times, it appears.