| I wouldn't feel too secure regardless of which band I was operating on that
| is below 500 MHz.
500 MHz? Current implementations of BPL do 2-30 MHz or so, with
future implementations *perhaps*
going as high as 80 MHz.
| The frequencies that will be in use cover all of the HF/VHF amateur
| radio frequencies.
By `all', I hope you mean `some'? For example, I know of no current
BPL implementation that goes into VHF at all, and even future ones
aren't planning on going over 80 MHz.
Now, there may be some issues with harmonics, but so far I don't think
they've been a big problem in existing BPL installations.
The FCC will tolerate no interference with the aircraft bands -- 108 -
137 MHz, as they actually care about protecting that spectrum -- so if
something does interfere with `all VHF amateur radio frequencies (50
MHz, 144 MHz, 222 MHz)', it'll probably also interfere with the
aircraft band, and the FCC would smack them down.
| While the power levels will be low, their close proximity to
| virtually any flying field will make them seem thunderously loud.
Yes, most flying fields have power lines in close proximity. However,
what BPL is really a danger to is ham radio HF activity, where you're
usually talking to somebody using skip, and so your signal is often
millions of times weaker than even your 1/2 watt R/C transmitter 1/2
(And don't forget -- not only does your house also have power lines in
close proximity, but they're probably connected to your house and so
the signal comes even closer to your gear and antenna.)
| Don't believe me. Go to the ARRL's website, www.arrl.org, and read up on it
| for yourself.
Yes, BPL is real, but it's a *much*
bigger problem for HF ham radio
than it is for VHF R/C usage. That doesn't mean it's not a concern,
but it's likely to be a much smaller concern. There are BPL
installations scattered across the country, but generally they have
not been terribly successful. One big problem is that they tend to
interfer with licensed ham radio operations, and quite often this
interference has gotten the things shut down.
The AMA has been (made) aware of BPL issues since the beginning, and
they claim they've done some testing and not found any interference
issues. My guess is that their testing consisted of finding a flying
field near some power lines carrying BPL and flying a plane with 72
MHz radio gear -- which wouldn't be a very effective test if the BPL
is only using 2-30 MHz, especailly if it might go up to 80 MHz in the
future. (Of course, this is only a guess. I don't know what they
really tested. If they also tried 27 MHz equipment, that would be a
In any event, I doubt any current BPL installations are a big risk to
R/C on 50, 53, 72 or 75 MHz bands. 27 MHz might be a bigger concern,
but even then it really shouldn't interfere too much (but I'd suggest
If the BPL does ever go up to 80 MHz, then it could become a potential
problem for all the standard R/C bands.
Now, if BPL does interfere with the R/C bands, the ham band users will
have a *big*
advantage in dealing with it. The rules are different
for the ham bands -- basically, licensed users of a band have more
rights to that band than unlicensed users do. If something interferes
with the 72 MHz R/C band, we just have to accept it. If something
interferes with the 50 MHz R/C ham band, the ham radio operator can
complain to the FCC about it, and the ham radio operator's licensed
use should outweigh the unlicensed BPL use. The FCC has made it clear
that licensed amateur radio use isn't so important to them, but even
so, it's going to be more important than unlicensed 72/75 MHz R/C use.
Doug McLaren, firstname.lastname@example.org
`The lesser of two evils ... is still evil.'
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