Friday, November 12, 2010

Peoria Area Residents Cry Foul Over Amateur Radio

Central Illinois News has the most recent details, as does the Southgate Amateur Radio Club 

One neighbor involved in this high emotion fight over access to the amateur radio bands has threatened to erect an electric dog fence or to committ to other activities that would impede Craig Thompson's use of the amateur bands. What this neighbor doesn't seem to know is that it is illegal to knowingly and willingly interfere with any licensed radio operation, even amateur radio.

The biggest question being asked is: "How does Craig Thompson's amateur radio activities trump the right of the neighbors to a traditional country view?" Well, the law being referenced here as it pertains to the "right" to have an "unobstructed view" is itself misinterpreted. The law speaks to conservation of the land, and the rights of land owners to not have anything built on THEIR land without their consent. Mr. Thompson OWNS the land he is building on and it does not belong to the community or any of the neighbors, and there has not been any proven argument as to how any environmental danger is posed to the community or to the land itself. Trivoli neighbors also have yet to prove that they actually have such a right to not look at some specific object or a specifically guaranteed right to be without some specific class of structure that blocks their vision when it doesn't pose a major danger.

Trivoli neighbors say they want to challenge HR2160 and use force to derail it's passage in Congress. This doesn't seem very likely given the reality of the support behind this bill. Mr. Thompson obeyed the laws completely, and his towers will indeed be erected as planned, and his operations will take place because his Amateur Radio License gives him access to the frequencies he is operating on and regulation of the use and access to radio and television signals are strictly the domain of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and FCC laws trump local ordinances. 

One specific neighbor states to have concerns about a medical implant for his heart condition. This neighbor should know that the frequencies Mr. Thompson is operating on are well BELOW what would be a concern for such a device, and furthermore should be advised that his own home appliances pose more of a risk to him than Mr. Thompson's RF signals pose.

A paranoid bunch has attempted to get local officials, as well as fellow neighbors to believe that Mr. Thompson can "listen in" on their "telephone conversations". This is simply not true! It is illegal for anyone to listen to cellular phones and almost impossible even if it were legal because cellphones today are all digital spread spectrum devices. This means that the signals hop frequencies several times per second and are most likely encrypted.

Neighbors also complain that there will be "interference" to their televisions, telephones, and other home electronic devices. Amateur Radio equipment, if constructed properly, will not pose any of these problems unless the band opens up OR the manufacturer of the home electronics equipment made the devices poorly and this is almost always the case. Mr. Thompson's neighbors also need to be aware that FCC Part 15 states on each and every home electronic device that the device MUST accept any and all interference, may not cause harmful interference, and must accept even that interference which causes undesired operation.

Filters are available on the market in the event that any of this interference takes place. Filters are affordable, and available in mass quantity. If neighbors ever chose to blame Mr. Thompson for any interference, they would be hard pressed to actually prove that 1. Interference is indeed coming from Mr. Thompson's antennas and 2. That the interference is due to a lack of compliance with good engineering standards.

Shortwave America thumbs it's nose at the Trivoli neighbors and laughs while advising them to find a life.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, they're always trying to steal a brother's thunder. Hey Dan, I started a little blog of my own Tom, AB9NZ

Anonymous said...

We had a similar problem many, many years ago here in Ohio. The neighbors were screaming and hollering simply because a new antenna was erected. So, we fixed them. We worked with the local authorities (County Commissioners) and the ham who put up the new antenna went on a vacation to Florida for a whole month. The neighbors were not told he left. Lights in the house were put on timers so it looked like someone was home and a car was left parked by the garage. SO, for an entire month, were wasn't going to be any RF coming from his QTH. As you might guess, the neighbors kept complaining DAILY(!) to the County Commissioners office that they were getting interference. At the end of the month, the ham came back from Florida and had a meeting with the Commissioners. He wasn't really surprised that the neighbors had continued to complain. THe Commissioners met with the neighbors and told them about the house being empty for the entire month. Brother, did the neighbors get shot down! END OF PROBLEM! So, this can be a VERY EFFECTIVE method of shutting up that pesky fools. Of course, if the "interference" goes away for a month, then the ham has to look at when he's operating, any problems with the gear or antennas, etc. Still, the neighbors don't have the right to shut the ham down---they probably just need to get some RF filters. Bob--WA8LVY

Anonymous said...

Short sighted neighbors who complain about their view aren't living in the world as it IS today. The US is constantly threatened by things like severe weather, terrorism, etc... you would think they might consider than in the event of some catastorphy like this that they might feel a bit safer having a neighbor who is able to communicate globally to pass what in one of these situations might be vital information. Information which might actually save their lives.

Short sighted folks suck. Grow up and share the nation with the rest of the citizens, you never know when a ham might help you or save your or a loved ones life!

In this electronic age folks have grown accustomed to having the internet, and TV, and Cellphones etc, but just imagine those went away for a while maybe a long while. Who would they want living nearby then?

This may be a hobby for some or most involved with it, but it also makes our great nation stronger!