Radio Waves: FCC Wipes Out Engineering Division, Last Nazi Message Decoded, Remembering Ronan O’Rahilly, and French Radio Society Free Publications

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Mike, Eric McFadden, and Paul Evans, and for the following tips:


FCC Eliminates Its Own Engineering Division (Radio World)

The Federal Communications Commission has elected to eliminate the Engineering Division at the organization in an effort to, as it says, “streamline the organization of the Media Bureau” as part of the public interest.

The commission plans to fold the work of the Engineering Division into the Media Bureau’s Industry Analysis Division (IAD) due to changes in the duties of the Engineering Division.

“By incorporating the work and staff of the Engineering Division into IAD, we can better ensure that the bureau’s technical expertise is integrated more fully into the bureau’s adjudicatory matters and policy proceedings,” the commission announced on April 29.

Back in 2002, the Engineering Division was established to conduct technical reviews of media-related matters, including overseeing technical compliance of TV and radio broadcast licenses, as well as things like cable regulatory filings and license transfers. But as the industry transitioned from analog to digital and from paper to electronic filing, the Engineering Division’s tasks have diminished.[]

Last Nazi message intercepted by Bletchley Park revealed (BBC News)

The last German military communications decoded at Bletchley Park in World War Two have been revealed to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

They were broadcast on 7 May 1945 by a military radio network making its final stand in Cuxhaven on Germany’s North Sea coast.

The message reports the arrival of British troops and ends: “Closing down for ever – all the best – goodbye.”

After Germany surrendered, VE Day was declared the next day.

In 1944, this German military radio network, codenamed BROWN, had extended across Europe sending reports about the development of experimental weapons.

But a year later, as the Allies entered the town and closed in on his position, a radio operator at his post signed off to any colleagues who might still be listening.[]

Remembering ‘Radio Caroline’ Founder Ronan O’Rahilly, A Pioneer Of Pirate Radio (NPR)

NPR’s Scott Simon talks to U.K. broadcaster Johnnie Walker about Ronan O’Rahilly, the founder of the pirate Radio Caroline, who died on April 20 at the age of 79.[]

French Society makes Radio REF free for April and May

Paul Evans notes that two REF-Radio publications are now free to download via the REF website. If you know French, you’ll enjoy these quality radio publications:

Click here to download REF-Radio (PDFs) for:


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4 thoughts on “Radio Waves: FCC Wipes Out Engineering Division, Last Nazi Message Decoded, Remembering Ronan O’Rahilly, and French Radio Society Free Publications

  1. Paul B. Walker, Jr.

    I can see not a single darn person read the article for details, they only read the headlines…

    “The commission plans to fold the work of the Engineering Division into the Media Bureau’s Industry Analysis Division (IAD) due to changes in the duties of the Engineering Division.”

    They are getting rid of the division, but not getting rid of it’s work!!

    Reply
  2. Kebalananda

    The FCC has in no way eliminated all engineering concerns. It consolidated the engineering function in one of its bureaus (the Media Bureau). Just one. The engineers there are moving to another division within the bureau.

    Engineering certainly is a lower priority at the FCC compared to law and economics. There have been no engineers or technologists among the Commissioners for decades despite pleas to Congress from the technical community. But the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) continues its many functions as before.

    Reply
  3. David W Loder W2HQN

    When I took my first FCC exam, I was fifteen. It was in 1957 to get an amateur radio novice license. The examiner was a seasoned ham with 30 or more years as an amateur radio operator, with an engineering background as he worked at WDSI, an overseas broadcasting station a few miles away. It was a Voice of America station requiring a First Class Commercial Broadcast license.
    He instilled in me the serious and highly developed respect for “Uncle Charlie” as certain hams referred to the FCC as. Rules as to frequencies used by hams then, as well as power input and the long mandated radio laws in effect from radio acts of 1912 and 1934 we abided by. That test was by mail in a sealed inner envelope only to be opened by the examiner.

    Later at a FCC field office in Manhattan I took the General Class exam to gain full privileges on the amateur bands. That was a big step, and many other young people were there as well for licensing by the FCC Field Engineer who had been widely known for many years in the amateur and commercial radio community.
    Those engineers had the highest respect from those of us taking the exams as they were akin to other Federal agents in our nation’s agencies long established. Far from ordinary, they were very well organized and authoritatively professional in managing their field offices. Over the years, on other occasions I visited several other field offices for various changes in address, callsign changes and always was treated respectfully.
    Over the decades since, the amateur radio rule enforcement as to poor and illegal practices have been sadly lacking. The “broom closet” reference above doesn’t surprise me at all, since our radio spectrum has been violated in so many ways, without sufficient agents to stop the offensive language, willful interference and more serious violations regarding the disregard for what was formerly a ‘gentlemen’s’ hobby.
    If there is to be an overhaul, I’ll be one of the first to endorse any action to restore our amateur radio’s law enforcement and restore the respect of public opinion as to how dedicated we are in emergencies, and disastrous events where almost all other communications have been broken down or useless.

    Reply
  4. Jake Brodsky, AB3A

    With the removal of all pretense of engineering concerns, the FCC has completely jumped the shark. I always knew they relegated the engineers to a broom closet. It’s been like that since the late 1970s at least, and for all I know it may have gone on even longer than that.

    It looks like the Federal Communications Commission is overdue for a complete legislative overhaul. The RF spectrum allocations are a politically driven disorganized mess that serves almost nobody well, unless you happen to be a telecommunications attorney.

    I miss the days when ordinary engineers could pick up virtually any part of the FCC regulations, read them, and understand what they were reading. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

    Reply

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