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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB093 (1999)

ARLB093 FCC intervenes in power line noise complaints

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 93  ARLB093
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  December 3, 1999
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB093 FCC intervenes in power line noise complaints

The FCC has contacted a West Coast power company to remind the
utility of its obligation to fix equipment problems that cause
harmful radio interference. The case involved longstanding
complaints by several northern California amateurs to Pacific Gas &
Electric Company regarding severe power line noise on the ham bands.

On November 22, the FCC's Consumer Center wrote PG & E Senior VP
James K. Randolph, requesting the company to correct the problem
''within a reasonable time.''

Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth
said the situation involved ''a long history of non-response'' by PG
& E. He said the hams involved have ''shown a lot of patience.''

The FCC letter points out that the FCC encourages parties to resolve
such problems ''without FCC intervention'' but says the FCC will
step in when necessary.

The Commission's letter said: ''The FCC has the responsibility to
require that utility companies rectify such problems within a
reasonable time if the interference is caused by faulty power
utility equipment.''

Under FCC Part 15, utilities and others that fall under its
provisions are obliged to not cause harmful interference to licensed
services and to cease operating a device that's causing harmful
interference upon FCC notification. The FCC said its letter was
intended as a reminder that the unresolved interference problem
''may be a violation of FCC rules and could result in a monetary
forfeiture for each occurrence.''

Hollingsworth and ARRL Lab Supervisor, Ed Hare, W1RFI advise that,
before contacting the FCC to intervene as it did with the PG & E
situation, affected amateurs first should attempt to work patiently
with the utility and should contact the League for assistance.

The ARRL Technical Information Service has prepared a Web page,
''RFI--Electrical and Power Line,'' at Amateurs suffering from
interference believed to be emanating from power generation or
transmission facilities also may contact Ed Hare, W1RFI,


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