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Comment to UPLC

Ms. Patterson;
As an FCC licensed,  "amateur radio operator" for the past 7 years, I
wish to point out a few details which were apparently ignored by the
author of these comments:

"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. All the
field trials over the years in various parts of the country have shown
that the risk of interference from BPL is extraordinarily low, because
it produces only minimal radio frequency energy at a few points in the
system. Moreover, these systems will incorporate adaptive interference
mitigation capabilities that will effectively remedy any interference
that might result to fixed and mobile operations in the High Frequency
(HF) band (1.7-80 MHz)."

Personally, I operate completely modern and solid state equipment. Other
"amateur radio" operators do utilize vacuum tubes for a number of
reasons which include the operation of antique equipment for purely
nostalgic reasons. A greater number of "amateur radio operators" operate
high powered transmitters for which vacuum tubes are still a viable
technology. Several years ago, the US Navy, recognizing a dearth of
knowledgeable microwave vacuum tube engineers, began a crash program to
revitalize that industry. Most households include two or more devices
which employ vacuum tubes. These include televisions, computer monitors
and microwave ovens. Vacuum tubes are still employed in industrial,
scientific and medical fields. X-Ray machines, MRI machines, lumber
processing plants, electron microscopes, and particle accelerators are
only a few of the many applications which employ vacuum tubes.

Although I am an "amateur radio operator" and have been for 7 years, I
am also a telecommunications professional and hold an FCC license issued
some 25 years ago as well as PCIA certifications which were obtained by
demonstration of technical knowledge in the engineering, operation, and
maintenance of radio systems. I have been employed in the field of radio
communications for some 27 years. - 20 years longer than I have held an
"amateur radio license". A large percentage of my peers in the "amateur
radio" community hold similar or greater credentials.

My FCC licensed "amateur radio" station, which was constructed by me, is
for the primary purpose of communicating through "amateur radio"
satellites. (see: www.amsat.org) These satellites were constructed by
"amateurs" like myself using funding by "amateurs" like myself. These
private satellite investments total in the millions of dollars.

In my profession, my clients utilize FCC licensed radio systems which
operate within the same radio spectrum UPLC seeks for BPL. Some of these
clients have communications requirements to protect critical
infrastructure and safety of life. The national power distribution grid
encompasses virtually the entire land mass of the United States. This
power distribution system today creates electromagnetic interference
which disrupts communications to those same licensees. This problem is
well documented and the skills with respect to locating such
interference were largely developed within the ranks of the "amateur
radio" service. The ARRL has several publications dealing extensively
with this problem.

To discount the seriousness of the "amateur radio" community would be
akin to dismissing the contributions of private general aviation pilots
simply because they do not pilot aircraft for hire.

To say that "amateur radio" operators are less knowledgeable than
"reputable companies and entrepreneurs who are the real experts on BPL"
is very short sighted. I fear that the UPLC will succeed in getting what
it wants. The opposition raised by the "amateur radio" community will
only be the tip of the iceberg once this technology begins to interfere
with other legitimately licensed services, including those across
international borders. Unfortunately the "reputable companies,
entrepreneurs" and so-called "BPL experts" will not be around to solve
the problems. It will be the engineers and technicians - "amateur radio"
operators like myself, who will be called in to mitigate the resulting
mess.  I suggest you review the ongoing battle between public safety
licensees and NEXTEL which resulted from similarly ill advised
technology decisions.

I do hope, Ms. Patterson, that you do not have a large portion of your
retirement funds invested in BPL technology.

Joe Leikhim K4SAT, PG1819647

Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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