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
Note location of receivers, stated in section 6.
Explanation of redactions:
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!
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:
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.
Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bill, who shares this public notice from the FCC:
Comment Deadline: August 11, 2016
The FCC’s Technological Advisory Council (TAC), an advisory group to the FCC operating under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, is investigating changes and trends to the radio spectrum noise floor to determine if there is an increasing noise problem, and if so, the scope and quantitative evidence of such problem(s), and how a noise study should be performed. In this public notice, the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) announces the TAC’s public inquiry, seeking comments and answers to questions below for the TAC about radio spectrum noise.
Click here to download a PDF of the full notice.
It’s at least encouraging that the FCC is investigating radio noise/interference–a serious issue for radio enthusiasts. Note that the comment deadline is August 11, 2016.
Thanks again for the tip, Bill!
(Source: ARRL via Eric McFadden, WD8RIF)
The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has told the FCC that the regulatory agency needs to take another tack in its efforts to tackle AM revitalization. If the FCC takes the SBE’s advice, the result could be less noise in the MF and HF Amateur Radio bands. In comments the SBE filed in response to an FCC Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry (MB 13-249) proposing ways to enhance the viability of the AM broadcast service, the SBE said the Commission must “commit to a regulatory plan which, over time, will reduce the levels of man-made noise in the MF bands, and more broadly in the bands below 30 MHz.” In comments it filed earlier in the proceeding, the SBE pointed out that “AM radio in particular is susceptible to interference from electronic devices of all types,” and that ambient noise on the AM band is only bound to get worse with further proliferation of noise-generating electronic devices, including certain lighting devices regulated under FCC Part 15 and Part 18 rules.[…]
Continue reading at the ARRL website…
Many thanks to an anonymous SWLing Post contributor who writes:
The FCC released this material [yesterday]. It consists mainly of letters to various organizations to ask their members to avoid cooperating with unlicensed radio stations.
The concern is that real estate owners may be harboring unauthorized stations, and that businesses may support such stations with advertising funds.
I would point you to an interesting opinion on the subject by Prof. John Anderson:
O’Rielly Outlines Anti-Pirate Agenda for 2016
John references this recent YouTube video clip of a Congressional hearing where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is questioned on the FCC’s enforcement efforts:
Again, I am not the source of the following material–the FCC is:
STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER MICHAEL O’RIELLY ON PIRATE RADIO ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY.
STMT. News Media Contact: Robin Colwell at (202) 418-2300, email: Robin.Colwell@fcc.gov OCMO https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-338021A1.docx
Released: 03/01/2016. FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY: PERSONS OR BUSINESSES OPERATING “PIRATE” BROADCAST STATIONS ARE SUBJECT TO ENFORCEMENT ACTION. (DA No. 16-159) This Enforcement Advisory discusses the rules that prohibit “pirate” radio, explains to the public at large what broadcast actions are illegal, why such activities may harm the public, and what do to in case someone suspects “pirate” broadcasts. EB . News Media Contact: Will Wiquist at (202) 418-0509, email: Will.Wiquist@fcc.gov
Note that the bulk of this report focuses on FM/AM radio pirates in local markets rather than shortwave pirates (though I’m sure, on occasion, shortwave pirates are on the FCC radar).