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BPL Broadband over Powerlines Jory McIntosh, KJ5RM ARRL Assistant Section Manager NTX BPL Task Force KJ5RM@KJ5RM.NET HTTP://WWW.TEXASBPL.COM Murder on the Power Pole The Impending loss of our Amateur Radio bands? What is BPL?

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murder on the power pole the impending loss of our amateur radio bands

BPL Broadband over PowerlinesJory McIntosh, KJ5RMARRL Assistant Section Manager NTX BPL Task ForceKJ5RM@KJ5RM.NETHTTP://WWW.TEXASBPL.COM

Murder on the Power Pole

The Impending loss of our Amateur Radio bands?

what is bpl
What is BPL?
  • BPL: Broadband over Power Lines – Designed to get high-speed internet access to rural locations.
  • Uses power lines to transmit data using RF from 2 to 80 MHz
  • Throughput speeds per line 60Mb/ 1Mb per user
  • Uses 802.11b to get signal from pole to user.
  • Each BPL unit costs around $5000
the technology of bpl
The Technology of BPL
  • Three Parts of BPL
    • Internet connection to Injector 802.11b/ethernet, T1…..
    • Injector converts and “injects” data onto line
    • Repeater, every 1200 feet boosts signal
    • Connection box. 802.11b, or Ethernet
so what s the big deal
So what’s the Big deal?
  • Powerlines are long unshielded wires.
  • What is your antenna made of? Wire……
  • What happens when you inject a RF signal on a wire? It becomes an antenna and radiates!!
  • Nothing like having a spark gap in your backyard.
  • Look around you and see how many powerlines there are.
  • Remember they are using 2-80Mhz from 75M thru 6M
taking out ham radio without firing a shot
Taking out Ham Radio without Firing a Shot
  • How many of you use or have used HF or 6 meters in the past year? How about 2M SSB?
  • How many of your are Tech, Tech Plus, General, Advanced, Extra.
  • A representative of the Power Line industry demotes you to Tech NO-Code, with 440 and up only. That’s the effect of BPL!
what they think about us
What they think about us!

"UPLC also commented on amateur radio opposition to the technology, urging the Commission to ignore "armchair amateurs that still use vacuum tube transmitters" and listen to the reputable companies and entrepreneurs who are the real experts on BPL and who have overcome enormous technical obstacles to make BPL a reality in the U.S."

myths about bpl
Myths about BPL

Its not going to effect me, I am in a big city.

Wrong! Its here now, Irving, Houston, and more on the way.

I am a No-Code Tech so I am not effected.

Wrong! Testing showed signals through 147 Mhz due to Harmonics and mixing! 6 meters is heavily effected!

I’ll fire up my big amp and show them!

Wrong! Think about it.

other countries that have said no
Other Countries that have said No!
  • The following counties forbid BPL due to interference concerns:
  • Japan
  • Finland
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Great Britain
  • Poland
  • Germany
here s the goods
Here’s the goods

Results from test In Irving using Yaesu FT-100, Full DSP, 2.4 Khz Filter ATAS-100 Antenna, 150 feet from BPL Unit.

more goodies from the test
More goodies from the test
  • BPL signal is wide ranging audio signal spaced every 3 kHz.
  • Each BPL inducer/repeater works in a different bandwidth. One may be centered on 40 meters on one pole and 20 on the next pole.
  • Multiple repeaters causing mixing and harmonic interference causing a full wipe of the amateur bands below 30 MHz.
  • ¼ Mile away signal was S5 to S7 on 17 meters!
  • Signals were still detectable at S1, ¾ mile away.
  • Hams living within 1 mile of test site were heavily effected!
  • BPL Signals detected on 144.340 Mhz!
  • System was scheduled to be taken offline 10/1……
sound off
Sound off!

Before the BPL was installed: 21.074

After BPL was installed:

How about ¼ mile away? 17 meters toast!

Want more? I got it if you want to hear it but I hope you get the point. From nice CW to total noise!

That was with a ATAS-100! It was reported to be much worse with a tri-band beam!

but its not harmful interference
But its not harmful Interference
  • BPL industry now say its interference but not harmful.
  • Harmful interference is interference which endangers the functioning of a radionavigation service or of other safety services or seriously degrades, obstructs, or repeatedly interrupts a radiocommuication service operating in accordance with radio regulations – (FCC Rules, Part 97.3(a)(23))
bpl is covered under part 15
BPL is covered under Part 15
  • Operation of an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator is subject to the conditions that no harmful interference is caused and that interference must be accepted that may be caused by the operations of an authorized radio station, by another intentional or unintentional radiator, by industrial, scientific, and medical equipment, or by an incidental radiator. – FCC Rules Part 15.5(b))
fcc update
FCC Update
  • Meeting on October 10/15/2004
  • BPL is assigned under part 15 regulations and okays deployment.
  • BPL equipment must be certified.
  • BPL installations must be reported in a public database.
  • There must be mechanisms in place to swiftly deal with interference complaints.
fcc comments
FCC comments
  • “BPL Devices pose a somewhat higher potential for interference to licensed radio services than typical part 15 devices” - Anh Wride – FCC Office of Engineering and Technology
  • “I take the concerns of this [amateur] community very seriously and believe that the FCC has an obligation to work hard to monitor, investigate, and take quick action, where appropriate, to resolve harmful interference” – FCC Commissioner Michael Copps
  • “These are important services that we need to protect from harmful interference” - FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstien
other options besides bpl for highspeed rural internet access
Other Options besides BPL for highspeed rural internet access!
  • EDGE technology
  • 802.11N
  • Expanded DSL and Cable
  • Test system was scheduled to be taken offline on 10/1 but…..
  • Amperion advised TXU that testing was biased and it was impossible that they were interfering.
  • Impossible that our transmitters were affecting their system.
  • TXU to get third party to come review system for interference.
  • We’ll be there!
let s summarize
Let’s Summarize
  • BPL – Allows data to travel over a powerline
  • Produces high levels of harmful interference between 2 and 80 Mhz + as defined in FCC rules.
  • UPLC doesn’t care about amateur radio interference. FCC is mindful of the interference issue but continues to push BPL even though it is in violation of regulations.
  • Other countries have said NO! to BPL due to interference issues.
  • BPL is already in North Texas and more on the way!
  • There are other options!
the time to act is now
The time to Act is now!
  • Mail your congressman or congresswomen
  • If you go to a BPL test area, listen, record, and issue a complaint of any interference to the FCC and ARRL.
  • Join the ARRL, or send money to the BPL Fund.
  • Tell your friends, your co-workers, City council, and anyone that uses Radio equipment.
  • If you love Ham Radio as much as I do, You must Act! Don’t let them take our bands without a fight!
addresses and links
Addresses and Links

ARRL BPL information Page


Congressional Addresses and Phone numbers:

  • GO BPL – Good Information Site

  • North Texas BPL Task Force

closing and discussion
Closing and Discussion

"First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win."

- Gandhi