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RSGB Criticizes TV Broadcast Portraying Radio Amateur as “Nightmare Neighbour”

11/01/2016

The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) has weighed in following the airing of a Channel 5 TV Nightmare Neighbour Next Door episode [the program may have been removed from the website — Ed.] that featured an Amateur Radio operator. In the program, neighbors of 75-year-old Armando Martins, M0PAM, of Kent, made unsubstantiated claims that RF radiating from his 30-foot vertical antenna was detrimental to their health.

“Unfortunately, the RSGB was not invited to be part of Channel 5’s Nightmare Neighbour Next Door programme or to verify any facts,” the RSGB said. “We have, of course, contacted Channel 5 about our concerns and have highlighted the positive aspects of Amateur Radio. We have also offered our expertise and input for future programmes where Amateur Radio is mentioned.”

Channel 5 broadcast the offending episode on October 27, and it drew criticism from radio amateurs across the UK, some of whom may have used a program complaint service form provided by telecommunications regulator Ofcom. Critics complained that the program was replete with false claims and note that Ofcom has never found any problems with Martins’ station.

Martins, a veteran radio amateur, was put off the air in 2010 by the Canterbury City Council after moving into a council house — a form of public housing — and was not allowed to install his antenna in the back garden, although that was more of a zoning issue. He subsequently moved to Kent, where the health claims began.

A radio amateur for more than 60 years, Martins was first licensed as CR6IL in Portuguese West Africa (Angola).

“Our volunteers spend a lot of time helping radio amateurs with planning applications,” the RSGB said. “It is by putting forward facts during those processes that we can help to dispel myths about Amateur Radio and any impact on the public or environment.”

The RSGB said it would let its members know if it receives a response from Channel 5.



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