FCC Approves BPL Deployment

It sounds like a great idea in theory: turn the electrical grid into a network for broadband data delivery. No new wires to run or jacks to install; the power plug becomes your express-ramp to the InfoMation SupaHiway.

There’s just one problem: because most of the power grid doesn’t use insulated wires, the data sent through Broadband over Power Line (BPL) systems (as an RF signal that rides the wire) radiates into the surroundings – to the detriment of any user of HF radio frequencies within a half-mile to a mile of the power line cum data pipe. Read More

FCC vs. Freak Radio: The Government’s Evidence

Here is the civil forfeiture complaint filed to seize Free Radio Santa Cruz’s gear on September 29. It makes for interesting reading. Some points of note:

The FCC unmasked one of Freak Radio’s volunteers (Vinny Lombardo, aka “V-Man”) in 2000 with the help of a helpful Santa Cruz Police officer (Detective Sepulveda), who sent the FCC a 1996 news article containing Vinny’s picture. FCC field agent William Zears then looked at voter registration records to tie the V-Man to the station. Robert Duran (aka “Skidmark Bob”) was unmasked in a later article; both identities were further cross-checked using California DMV records.

However, the affidavit ties Vinny and Robert to the station during its early years (1995) – before the two had even met, and the document itself only covers the FCC’s investigation over the last four years. Read More

FCC v. Denver Free Radio: Round 2

Hide-and-seek has its moments:

KCTS (Cactus Radio) in Denver made it through the weekend at least. Went up Thursday night and broadcast through [Tuesday evening].

Jon Sprague, our local FCC enforcement agent, again visited the newly installed STL site…delivered the usual speech and warning letter. The STL host told him that he thought it was ham radio rebroadcaster unit [a] friend of a friend asked him to let them set up at his house due to his location. Sprague asked to inspect the equipment, the host told him only with a warrant and the portly agent of the shadowy FCC enforcement branch wrote out the warning and left in a huff. Read More