(Source: Radio World via Marty)
“Opponents of illegal broadcasting scored a major and long-anticipated victory today: The Senate (finally) unanimously passed the PIRATE Act Wednesday.
Short for “Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement,” only one hurdle remains for S.R. 1228: President Trump’s desk.
The legislation also represents a coup for FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who has championed the anti-piracy enforcement actions recently.
In response to the act’s Senate passage, National Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Gordon Smith said, ‘This legislation provides stronger resources to help the FCC combat illegal pirate radio operations, which not only interfere with licensed radio stations but also public safety communications and air traffic control systems. We look forward to the President signing the PIRATE Act into law.’”[…]
As for unlicensed part 15 transmitters, I’ve set up a considerable number of them (all AM) in my previous job. Lots of fun was had in trying to increase the range while staying within the FCC regs. With output power no more than 100 mW (legal limit) and antenna length not exceeding a meter (including coax length) best distance was around 1/10 mile for voice. Radials are also considered part of the antenna length so basically radials are out of the question, but you can attach an earth ground. All stations were at ground level in a suburban environment.
Always wondered what a part 15 station’s range would be if set up on a roof top. As a matter of fact there is/was a company selling part 15 stations where the xmitter is attached directly to the antenna and the whole business is fastened to a telescopic mast. Control of the xmitter and audio feeds were via cable. Nice idea. These may still be for sale.
Lots of us got out feet wet with those type of “home broadcasting stations” as kids, e.g. the Remco “Caravelle.” Some folks use old RF signal generators as impromptu transmitters also.
While I support laws against pirate hams on SW, VHF, UHF, etc., I think the FCC is wrong with this act.
The pirates in big cities like NYC are low-powered AM stations that provide news, music, etc., in the languages of their target communities. They provide a service to their communities.
The big commercial stations, which support the act, completely ignore these communities.
Instead of pandering to these big businesses, the FCC should have worked with the pirates to move their stations to other non-interfering frequencies. The FCC should have tried to legalize the pirates, for the benefit of the communities.
The airwaves are for everyone. The FCC forgot that.
At the linked article, there’s another link to a previous article summarizing the main points of the bill. Looks like they’ve taken away the “one free warning” provision. Hm, I hate to see that part go. On the whole though, it’s about what we’d all expected.
I just wish this came with an opening for more LPFM stations. There’s a lot of unused broadcast FM spectrum out here in flyover country, and we could use something other than the bigcorp robo-players. “Oh boy, ANOTHER automated oldies station. Calm me down.” Having some openings to provide variety would be really nice.
They did leave the last paragraph of the Act intact,Part 15 unlicensed operation
will still be allowed and won’t be considered “pirate”.
Maybe I’m just a cranky old man, but I take no joy or comfort from this. It just seems to be more of the ever increasing “jack-booted” control over an ever decreasingly free people. No, I take no joy or comfort from this at all.
With Amazon and Ebay offering 30 watt FM broadcast transmitters for sale this Act was
Maybe the FCC can ban these things now.
Too many folks think “it must be OK since they sell stuff like this”.
The same thing has been said about (thinly-veiled) 10-Meter Amateur transceivers modified for and marketed to CBers. And the attendant “splatterbox” linear amplifiers. But the FCC doesn’t see a profit in busting Bubba Channel Master, bleeding two counties and making his neighbors (on radio and not) miserable.