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Powerline Networks Interfere With Spooks?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i'm-ok-with-that dept.

Government 85

An anonymous reader writes "Powerline technology which ships network data over mains cables could be causing interference for spies, according to a letter from the UK's top secret listening station, GCHQ. However, the British regulator says that objections to powerline all come from radio amateurs — and a Google search reveals that the writer of the letter (which GCHQ seems to be disowning) comes from a ham."

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GCHQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156066)

Garbage collectors headquarters??

Re:GCHQ (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156240)

Hand in your geek card. You can apply to get it back after reading The Code book [simonsingh.net] .

Could it be... (5, Funny)

airconswitch (2038108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156094)

SENTRY SAPPIN' MY SPY?

Engineer: (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156704)

I told you, don't touch that darn thing!

Spies? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156170)

Last I checked most 'bugs' don't transmit in the shortwave bands. Now I know this interferes with amateur radio because when most stations are only pushing 100 watts you need a very sensitive receiver and a very good antenna, but would this interfere with spy number station reception which I'd say is done by cheapo shortwave receivers?

Re:Spies? Really? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156364)

There may still be COMINT in the HF spectrum, and there's no substitute for a sensitive antenna/receiver combination. Imagine, for example, if they want to listen to mobile HF stations.

Here's the "original" release (4, Informative)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156174)

Here [ban-plt.co.uk] is the original GCHQ release mentioned in TFA.

Rasicm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156176)

Why would slashdot post a racist title like this?

Re:Rasicm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156390)

While "spook" is a rather old and controversial term to refer to a person of color, the term "spook" is more often associated with spies and counterintelligence. Most Slashdot users will find this headline perfectly acceptable since racism is likely not their first impression. On the other hand, only someone looks for racism around every corner or someone who has racism in the very forefront of their minds would bother to make a big deal about this.

I suggest you move on, and learn how to spell properly - your title caption is spelled wrong.

Re:Rasicm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36157734)

No - he misread the title to mean "Powerline Networks Interfere With Spocks?"

Re:Rasicm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36161922)

I'M a racist you insensitive clod!

Re:Rasicm (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163070)

...or someone who lives in a community where the term is still applied mainly to black people.

This is the internet, where you cannot be sure of who will read you or from where. Are you sure that, in all the places of the world, there will be no place where this slang will be missinterpreted?

Of course people of these places might try to understand that no everywhere is like their place, but so can you. And, having lots of perfectly correct ways to tell the same idea with standard, non-ambiguous English words, the choice of words is really very poor and shows a substandard work from the editors. Why could not they title it as "Powerline Networks Interfere with (Intelligence RF|Spies|SIGINT)?"? All of these options send the same meaning than the chosen one (or are even more precise), are less prone to error/susceptibility, and are more accessible to people who does not know slang.

In short, except you are writting in your FB profile for your friends, avoid slang while you can because there is a lot of world outside.

Re:Rasicm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163832)

Wow, never even heard of this as a racist term.

Not just radio amateurs (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156220)

Powerline broadband also interferes with HD Radio, Digital TV, DAB, and TV Band internet devices.

It's possible it also interferes with cellphones and Wifi, but I'm not certain (the frequencies may be too high).

Big Brother is watching YOU (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156228)

The Government Communications Headquarters is fortifying its defences in the war against hackers...which, for all they know, could be YOU!

Don't try anything funny...but, don't worry, if you aren't doing anything wrong, there is nothing to worry about.

Keep calm, carry on...just always know YOU are being WATCHED.

God is watching Big Brother (0)

Trivial Solutions (1724416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156394)

God says...
repose mariners naked messages imperfections foundations
wither estranged renderest bears plan loved forasmuch
record higher enamoured remembered purposes thoroughly
voluptuous hopeful affliction fee repelled wisdom recess
Both distill mass Dost Weight sleeping introduced unthought
hast docile Insomuch passes communicate destroyers places
famous continually hers harder affirmed failing jests
substances insensibly perfecting engaged hair generations
lacking strongly cloyedness various panegyric urgently
Priest judges drunkenness Ostia impressing carest continueth
hang deliverest Sacrament reader consulters incorruption
wholesomely drove knocking cold members despised hart
me commend lineaments nests

Re:God is watching Big Brother (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156696)

Could you explain what you're writing here? It looks like you're writing in tongues. What are you trying to communicate? Genuinely curious.

Re:God is watching Big Brother (1)

Trivial Solutions (1724416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157044)

Take microsecnd range stop watch. press button randomly. use as random numbers to pick words. No cheat ouija board. How do you think God talked in the Bible, Hollywood?

God says...

disguised perishable wholesomely holds cogitated usual
immortally return marvel quitting scourge astrologers
fittest Rebuke

Re:God is watching Big Brother (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157360)

Do you derive any meaning from that? The bible is coherent, maybe as it was interpreted from the "raw feed", whereas I can't make heads or tails from your message.

Re:God is watching Big Brother (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157432)

How do you think God talked in the Bible, Hollywood?

The same way he talks to us now.
Via the crazy ramblers on the street :)

Re:God is watching Big Brother (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157704)

Underlay turntable grave work. Recursion host embarrassment, offering appointment dancing settle. Processor grand ruling abuse lesser kernel do make arguing space.

SheevaPlug "jammers" (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156338)

This is just begging for someone to come up with a SheevaPlug-style jammer that dumps random onto your power lines.

Re:SheevaPlug "jammers" (3, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156522)

This is just begging for someone to come up with a SheevaPlug-style jammer that dumps random onto your power lines.

Unfortunately, lots of household appliances already do that.

Looking at the above comments, I think a lot of readers are interpreting it as the 'spies' are using the power lines as antennas. It's more like coax. Like those baby monitors you plug in the receiver in the bedroom by the crib, and plug in the receiver in the kitchen/living room/bedroom, and set it to one of several provided channels, and it uses the power wires within your house to help carry the signal. This has the advantages of using very little power, providing very clean audio, and works anywhere in the house with no loss in power. And also doesn't radiate much.

But if a spy sticks a wall wart in an outlet in a room with a bug in it, it can transmit easily to several other houses in the neighborhood with a receiver plugged into the wall in the same way. There are also bugs like that which are integrated into the outlets themselves so you don't even see them from the outside. Traditional over-the-air bug sweepers have a harder time finding them because the transmissions are very low power, because the transmitter and receiver's antennas are basically touching.

It'd depend on the receiver being used, the frequency chosen, and a lot of other factors, as to just how much BBOPL interferes with such a device. I'm sure some wouldn't be affected while others would be rendered useless.

Re:SheevaPlug "jammers" (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159608)

But if a spy sticks a wall wart in an outlet in a room with a bug in it, it can transmit easily to several other houses in the neighborhood with a receiver plugged into the wall in the same way.

No. The transformers that downconvert the higher transmission voltage to the household voltage are very bad at carrying RF upstream. Powerline RF works only on things fed by the same transformer.

BPL requires special hardware to get it past the large transformers, and ends at your transformer. It gets put on fiber or copper as a normal network there.

It'd depend on the receiver being used, the frequency chosen, and a lot of other factors, as to just how much BBOPL interferes with such a device. I'm sure some wouldn't be affected while others would be rendered useless.

BPL won't appear as RF on your outlets, it won't interfere with anything using your household wiring. What it DOES do is radiate from the high tension lines and interfere with radio signals, such as creating a horrendous noise floor on any HF radio nearby. But it isn't conduction that causes the problem, it is radiation.

Re:SheevaPlug "jammers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162456)

You can find them if you disconnect all power using devices and provide your own clean isolated power to the area you are searching.

You then can sweep the power line and watch for activity. The wave forms are well known. It requires some signal conditioning, isolation and a 50,000 spectrum analyzer or some kid with a cheap DSP+FPGA development board and enough brains to use i.

Powerlines and spooks. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156354)

I do not understand what this has to do with blacks down in Alabama eating KFC all day?

BPL is a failure (2)

theygoto11 (2027152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156444)

BPL (Broadband over Power Line) turns power lines into giant transmitting antennas. What could possibly go wrong? http://www.arrl.org/broadband-over-powerline-bpl [arrl.org] http://www.arrl.org/news/city-of-manassas-to-end-bpl-service [arrl.org] http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-shows-ibec-bpl-systems-are-interfering-violating-fcc-rules [arrl.org] Yes, these are are Ham Radio references because we are the ones using the spectrum that BPL interferes (sometimes on a shared basis with other services).

from Amateur Radio Operators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36158246)

It's interesting the defense of interfering is, "those complaining are ham radio operators." What the post implies is we should minimalize the expertise of those of the general public who are not working for corporations making money off interfering technologies. We should value the input from those who have passed tests on radio theory and law all the more. They understand radio frequency quite well, having the technical means and interest in locating illegal interference.

Re:from Amateur Radio Operators? (1)

fred911 (83970) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162090)

Spurious emissions,
  And yes.. they still have allocation of precious spectrum, probably worth millions available to anyone who is licensed. Still a pretty worthy cause... if ask me..

sk

Emergency service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156538)

Isnt HAM radio primarily needed in emergencies, when there is no other means of communication?

So, either you will have broadband over powerline, or it will be down.
You need HAM radio when it BPL is down, so it wont interfere anyways..

Re:Emergency service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156786)

And How do you think amateur radio operators prepare for emergencies? It's called practice. A lot of amateurs practice on a daily basis with contests and just general contacts made on the air.

NB4W

Re:Emergency service (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156846)

Why would you post as AC, and give out your home address as well?

I guess this is your address:
Gary W Bell

75 June Dr

Campbellsville, KY 42718

USA

Re:Emergency service (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36157004)

(Yet a third AC here.) Maybe because he doesn't have a /. account? Not all of us do, you know -- and after years of reading and posting AC, I'll be damned if I'm gonna sign up and be mocked as a 7-digit newbie. My posts can stand or fall on their own merit.

Re:Emergency service (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156796)

That's the only time that the rest of the world notices HAM radio, but it has lots of other uses and people use it all the time.

But think for a moment: if the only time you can use HAM is during an emergency, then no one will know how to use HAM, making it unavailable during an emergency.

Re:Emergency service (1)

Urban Nightmare (147344) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158248)

Really... You posted that as a reason to allow BPL? What happened to following the FCC rules. Mainly the "will not cause harmful interference" clause. As a amateur radio operator I can't cause harmful interference else they can take away my license to operate.

Also I'm in to HAM radio for the building, experimenting and talking to like minded people on the air. Not for emergencies. No if there is an emergency I'll gladly help when and where I can but its not my main purpose for using amateur radio.

Encapsulation (4, Funny)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156556)

Isnt there a way to digitise HAM radio, encapsulate it and transmit it over IP?

HAM over IP would be the solution to most of the interference problems

Re:Encapsulation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156614)

Yes there is, such as D-STAR or EchoLink, but some hams want to do it the traditional way: by radio waves.

Re:Encapsulation (2)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156712)

In the true spirit of Ham we should call it:

Ham Accessing Lined Fiber for Asynchronous Signal Switching - Error Detection.

It's almost recursive too. ;)

Re:Encapsulation (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156722)

Packet radio [wikipedia.org] does this, though not usually with IP. If you're willing to transmit it slowly enough (typically 1200 bits/s with the AX.25 data layer) and the FCC allows it (applicable to the United States), sure, but if you can't hear CW because of noise, you won't be able to digitize anything.

Re:Encapsulation (1)

awehttam (779031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156776)

Hamsphere [hamsphere.com]

Re:Encapsulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156974)

Heh, that's about as close to ham radio as a telephone.

Re:Encapsulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36156864)

You're missing the ENTIRE point of amateur radio. Hint: The clue's in the title.

Ham isn't an acronym, by the way.

Yeah, it's called VOIP. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36157086)

Seriously, the whole point of HAM is it is independent of any infrastructure. HAM over IP? Seriously, just crank up Skype then.

Re:Encapsulation (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157144)

Are you kidding or really don't get it. Amateur radio is about the radio part of it. And yes there are repeaters that are linked by IP but the point is to use the radio. Also what good does that do if you are trying to communicate from a boat in the middle of the Atlantic or some place with no Cell service or Internet?

Re:Encapsulation (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157192)

The former

Re:Encapsulation (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157206)

I mean it was intended to be a joke, but people took it seriously somehow :)

Re:Encapsulation (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157478)

That is the problem on Slashdot. Way too many people on here that would say that these days. I was hoping that it was a joke. Forgive my error and thank you for restoring my faith in Slashdot for a moment. Hey at least I asked.

Re:Encapsulation (1)

AB3A (192265) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157346)

It's called IRLP [irlp.net] . However, the primary purpose of ham radio is radio communications over bands ranging from medium waves through SHF.

On a broader note: it isn't just ham radio that will be affected, but also low band VHF users. And remember, if the signal leaks, it can also be interfered with.

The whole notion of stuffing broadband traffic over power lines has been tried and proven unworkable in many attempts on both sides of the Atlantic. Power lines were never designed to be balanced transmission lines such as a CAT 5 cable. They will radiate and they'll also pick up significant levels of short-wave signals. There has also been demonstrations that broadcast FM reception, and the new digital audio broadcasts will all be interfered with.

This is the very definition of insanity: It has been documented time and time again in many countries over several decades that sending broadband signals over power lines makes terrible RF noise and suffers from poor performance. And yet people continue to think that if they try it, that somehow it might work.

Re:Encapsulation (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157826)

Yeah and kill the whole point of HAM in the process.

Re:Encapsulation (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158034)

Isnt there a way to encapsulate IP, modulate it, and transit it over HAM radio?

IP over HAM radio would be the solution to most of the ISP problems

Violation of treaty (5, Interesting)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156598)

There are international treaties concerning radio interference. Among the provisions of these treaties are sections defining amateur radio frequencies which are not to be assigned to other usage or interfered with. If power line communications interferes with amateur radio and emergency radio services [nato.int] , the country in question is in noncompliance with the treaties involved. The governing body of these treaties is the International Telecommunications Union [itu.int] ; the United States and the United Kingdom are both signatories. (actually, almost every country on Earth is, with the non-signatories being North Korea and their ilk)

In the United States at least, treaties come immediately after the Constitution in being the highest law of the land (the Supremacy Clause). Depending upon where you are, your kilometerage may vary.

Re:Violation of treaty (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156970)

That's not true, we have to adhere to treaties before we adhere to the constitution, that's been pretty well accepted in terms of SCOTUS rulings. Which is unfortunate because it means that things like the WTO can't be undone without signing a new treaty that declares the previous one to be null. Which in practice doesn't happen, which is why the process for signing a treaty is of such importance.

Re:Violation of treaty (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157038)

we have to adhere to treaties before we adhere to the constitution, that's been pretty well accepted in terms of SCOTUS rulings.

That's really scary if it's true, mainly because the U.S. can sign a treaty with only the President and a simple majority of the Senate.

Re:Violation of treaty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36157272)

Why do you think that the RIAA and MPAA pushed for ACTA? To circumvent the normal legislative process.

Re:Violation of treaty (2)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157612)

Except it's not. Treaties don't override the Constitution and any interference between the two would have to meet the same requirements as an amendment addition to be valid in the US. If they're found to be non-constitutional, they're invalidated.

Re:Violation of treaty (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159208)

Possibly, but can you name a single instance where SCOTUS didn't back the treaty? Which is sort of the point, as long as SCOTUS can't find a treaty which isn't constitutional it's very much an open question. But, for the time being one has to assume that we can't back out of treaties without everybody else agreeing to it.

Re:Violation of treaty (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158446)

SCOTUS is out of it's mind. The Constitution is the one and only delegation of governing authority from the people to the federal government. Without it, they're just an occupying force. Therefor, they cannot have any power to negotiate anything that voids the Constitution as they would void themselves in the process.

That's not to say it isn't being done anyway since the Constitution is being systematically voided anyway, but it doesn't make it right or even acceptable.

Re:Violation of treaty (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159218)

Strictly speaking, what the constitution says on the matter may or may not agree with SCOTUS. I'm not aware of them ever finding a treaty to be unconstitutional even some which are of questionable constitutionality.

Re:Violation of treaty (1)

rk (6314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162786)

"Anarchy is the sure consequence of tyranny; or no power that is not limited by laws can ever be protected by them." - Milton

Re:Violation of treaty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159538)

That's not true, we have to adhere to treaties before we adhere to the constitution

We do? And what if we don't? What nation is going to invade the US and make us obey the treaty?

Re:Violation of treaty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159636)

That is a common but incorrect assertion. Matter-of-fact, SCOTUS rulings indicate just the opposite:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0354_0001_ZO.html

Reid V. Covert 354 U.S. 1 (1957)

...
Article VI, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, declares:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; . . .

There is nothing in this language which intimates that treaties and laws enacted pursuant to them do not have to comply with the provisions of the Constitution. Nor is there anything in the debates which accompanied the drafting and ratification of the Constitution which even suggests such a result. These debates, as well as the history that surrounds the adoption of the treaty provision in Article VI, make it clear that the reason treaties were not limited to those made in "pursuance" of the Constitution was so that agreements made by the United States under the Articles of Confederation, including the important peace treaties which concluded the Revolutionary [p17] War, would remain in effect. [n31] It would be manifestly contrary to the objectives of those who created the Constitution, as well as those who were responsible for the Bill of Rights -- let alone alien to our entire constitutional history and tradition -- to construe Article VI as permitting the United States to exercise power under an international agreement without observing constitutional prohibitions. [n32] In effect, such construction would permit amendment of that document in a manner not sanctioned by Article V. The prohibitions of the Constitution were designed to apply to all branches of the National Government, and they cannot be nullified by the Executive or by the Executive and the Senate combined.

Re:Violation of treaty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36158368)

Treaty talk is almost irrelevant. Interference is ILLEGAL by long standing US law, too!

Strange Story (3, Interesting)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36156810)

So GCHQ’s spectrum manager wrote this letter on official letterhead in March and somehow released or leaked it. The GCHQ claims it was not an official document, and insinuates as a ham operator the spectrum manager was trying to further his own hobby's agenda. The UK ham operators lobbyist group "Ban Power Line Technology" [ban-plt.co.uk] has a copy of this "unofficial" letter and is using it to prove that this technology is damaging the public good, but nothing is "official". How convenient for the GCHQ.

Ironically, i could easily see this having the opposite effect that the GCHQ is hoping for. I think more people care about having privacy in their home than inconveniencing ham operators.

Re:Strange Story (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36166300)

Just build some chicken wire into your walls below the plaster and put on your tinfoil hat when you go outside. Privacy and stylish headware.

The address goes on the light fixture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36157164)

Everyone knows that.

Writers from hams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36157288)

Everyone knows the best writers descend from hams. Right?

As an amateur radio operator in the US... (2)

johnthorensen (539527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36157336)

The ARRL (read: ham radio lobbyist group - I hate lobbyists but I do count them as one of the less evil ones) has been fighting this battle for a decade or so. This is a really really old issue. However, there's no doubt that powerline networking interferes with amateur radio. However, most people consider it Someone Else's Problem (apologies to Douglas Adams). Hams have traditionally been very successful with defending their spectrum, and it's sort of surprising to me that the battle continues. Probably because they're up against the Energy industry, whose lobbyists are uberl33t.

Re:As an amateur radio operator in the US... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159314)

Of course the flip side of it is that we can generate enough noise of our own to render BPL unusable. Wifi, too - want to see how well your 50mW wifi router manages against my 400W 2.4GHz amp?

A more serious problem is that someone thought it would be a great idea to put all the car remote central locking fobs on 433.920MHz - right in the middle of the digital modes segment and right beside one of the common internet voice gateway channels. Fire up your transmitter around there, and watch everyone fail to unlock their cars...

Re:As an amateur radio operator in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159900)

Or defeat the safety mechanism on your microwave oven and stand clear while you fire it up with the door open. That'll sort your WiFi out.

Re:As an amateur radio operator in the US... (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36160214)

Of course the flip side of it is that we can generate enough noise of our own to render BPL unusable. Wifi, too - want to see how well your 50mW wifi router manages against my 400W 2.4GHz amp?

Yep.. I think most of us nerds round here do.. but we also know how easily cheap hand held equipment can locate the position of such a powerful transmitter with surprising speed and accuracy (having a 50ft radio mast in the back garden helps with this.)

After which it's just a question of contacting the relevant authorities with the data, and asking them to check the findings. They'll probably even give you a receipt as they enter your premises to seize the equipment, accompanied by the police and using force if necessary. In the UK no court order would be required, just the say so of the relevant Environmental department official. Shutting down and seizing rouge transmitters is something that happens surprisingly often, partly due to our influential friends in the music business being rather anti pirate radio.

Something to consider as you nurture your plans for revenge? yes/no?

Re:As an amateur radio operator in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36161848)

Actually, at least, in the US, one of the wifi channels overlaps with a ham band. So if you have the right ham license, and you identify with your call sign, and you don't encrypt your traffic and you don't use your communications for business, and maybe a few other things, then you can legally go up to 1500 watts.

Re:As an amateur radio operator in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162882)

"Shutting down and seizing rouge transmitters is something that happens surprisingly often...

Ok, but what do they do about the blue transmitters? Or Bob Saget, for that matter?

Heh... WV is crowded... "Full House"

Re:As an amateur radio operator in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163438)

Well, yeah. But as a legally licensed amateur radio operator I can legally transmit half a kilowatt on 2.4 GHz band. and an unlicensed wi fi dongle has non protection whatsoever.

The relevant authorities could be really interested why a person without license has a 50 ft mast and a 2.4 GHz receiver.

Re:As an amateur radio operator in the US... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#36171284)

After which it's just a question of contacting the relevant authorities with the data, and asking them to check the findings.

That's the thing, though. I can do that *legally*. If my licensed radio equipment obliterates your *unlicensed* radio equipment, then tough shit - you get to move, or buy better gear.

Re:As an amateur radio operator in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36160632)

Of course the flip side of it is that we can generate enough noise of our own to render BPL unusable. Wifi, too - want to see how well your 50mW wifi router manages against my 400W 2.4GHz amp?

Have you forgotten that hams have only a secondary allocation on the 70cm band?

And in the US there is work afoot to remove that allocation completely [usatoday.com]

Re:As an amateur radio operator in the US... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#36171320)

Have you forgotten that hams have only a secondary allocation on the 70cm band?

BPL isn't on 70cm, though. Its operating frequencies seem to be designed to drop harmonics all over the HF amateur bands, causing particularly nasty interference on 40m and 20m. It turns out, though, that having a 20m dipole parallel to the mains wiring going into the house means that as little as 15W on 14MHz jams BPL completely, rendering it useless.

Ghosts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36157804)

Anyone else read that headline and thought this story would be about ghosts?

could it be Nick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36158186)

http://g8pzt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/fourpak/people.htm#g6awt

Ofcom forced to release PLT test report (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158626)

Let's be quite clear: Ofcom knew about the interference. Years ago they commissioned a report on particular BT PLT devices with a reputable testing house and the report confirmed that the devices were non-compliant - but the report was kept under wraps. Every complaint made by shortwave users (BBC, SWLs, hams, etc.) was responded to with the indication that Ofcom had no evidence that the devices were non-compliant. So one guy made a FOIA request that relevant reports were released. Ofcom refused to release them, citing exemptions to the FOIA.

But the Information Commissioner demanded a release. And the report was finally released, confirming that Ofcom were lying, and demonstrating that Ofcom are not, in fact, an impartial regulator at all, but in bed with industry.

The RSGB's latest press release on the matter. [rsgb.org]

To summarise: Ofcom are a bunch of corrupt bastards.

People from pork (2)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158832)

"reveals that the writer of the letter comes from a ham."

I would pay big bucks to watch a ham bear a child. Even more for it to spawn a grown adult.

Somewhat less for slashdot to have good editors.

Re:People from pork (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36160160)

Both radio hams and Hollywood hams bear children on a regular basis.

Granted, it was almost certainly the letter, not the writer, that came from a ham, but if you were to believe that the word "ham" could only refer to pork, the idea of a ham writing a letter would be just as confusing to you as the idea of a ham having a child.

No interference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159640)

There is no interference? Really? The powerline networks interfere with the HF band. This is the band used for over the horizon radar (the Russian Woodpecker was really over the horizon radar). Its tricky how the back scatter stuff works, and how the advanced signal processing can pull images out of the refracted over-the-horizon signals (and it might be even more tricky using surface waves). Radar normally only operates line of sight, and a 2200 foot high antenna has a view of something at the horizon with 0 elevation of about 53 miles. With back-scatter and refraction, its closer to 600 miles. No interference from lan over mains? Really?

Hint: The radio engineers for the spooks ARE hams (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161724)

No surprise that the complaint comes from a ham. I have known a number of people who engineered radio systems for the military and intelligence community and every last one of them was also a ham.

If you're building fancy one-off radios for the spooks, building them for yourself for playing is trivial. And if you're INTERESTED enough in the tech to be good at engineering it you're probably interested enough to use it for a hobby.

Re:Hint: The radio engineers for the spooks ARE ha (1)

cmcguinness (228476) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162434)

I was thinking the same thing. It's similar to how people who program for a living tend to have nicer computers at home too...

Blaming Amateur Radio Operators (1)

Ozoner (1406169) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162160)

Wasting my breath I know, but...

> ... the British regulator says that objections to powerline all come from radio amateurs

The truth is that BPL interferes with ALL radio systems, however the Radio Amateurs are the only qualified observers who are bothering to express their concerns at this time. The Commercial and Official bodies will finally start to panic when the interference becomes disastrous.

Blaming in Hams merely proves that you are biased or lying.

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