ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB039 (2004)

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ARLB039 FCC requires BPL trial to work with ham radio club

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ARRL Bulletin 39  ARLB039
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  December 10, 2004
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB039
ARLB039 FCC requires BPL trial to work with ham radio club

The FCC has required Electric Broadband LLC (EB), which is running a
BPL field trial in Cottonwood, Arizona, to maintain contact with a
local Amateur Radio club. The Commission granted EB a Part 5
Experimental license WD2XMB for the company's BPL pilot on November
19, although the ARRL earlier this year asked the Commission to
withdraw its authorization for the operation. Verde Valley Amateur
Radio Association (VVARA) BPL Committee Chair Robert Shipton, K8EQC,
believes it might be the first time the FCC has ever imposed such a
requirement.

"Our BPL committee in Cottonwood was surprised to see this
stipulation," Shipton told ARRL. "Time will tell if it really
matters or not."

Under a "Special Conditions" section in the WD2XMB experimental
license, the FCC stipulated that the licensee "must establish and
maintain a liaison relationship with the Verde Valley Amateur Radio
Association." The Commission also required EB to respond to
interference complaints "in a timely manner." System operators
indicated earlier this fall that they would notch amateur
frequencies, including 60 meters. Interference is still being
experienced in the 60 meter band, VVARA says.

Shipton said Mountain Telecommunications Inc, which handles system
operations, has worked with the VVARA and "expressed sincerity" in
resolving interference to any amateur frequencies affected by their
equipment. "Although progress with notching has been made, the
representative samples in a trial that is statistically too small in
geographical area will not demonstrate any significant results,"
Shipton said. "Our club questions whether a buildout that involves
many more HF segments would be able to avoid the use of amateur
spectrum."

EB and utility APS have been operating the BPL experiment at two
Yavapai County, Arizona, sites since June, and the first amateur
interference complaint was filed that same month.

In support of VVARA's effort, the ARRL has twice asked the FCC to
shut down the Cottonwood BPL field trial for interfering with
Amateur Radio communication. League personnel conducting testing of
the Cottonwood system this past summer found "extremely high" levels
of radiated RF energy on amateur HF bands at the time.

The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, which handles grants
applications for STAs and Part 5 Experimental licenses, has yet to
respond to the League's assertions and requests regarding operation
of the Cottonwood BPL field trial.
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