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2005 News Releases




Tasmanian BPL Trial – WIA strategy

Date : 08 / 04 / 2005
Author : Phil Wait - VK2DKN

The Radiocommunications Act, 1992, protects radiocommunications services from “substantial interference”.

The word “interference” is simply defined by reference to it being attributable to the emission of electromagnetic energy by a device, and so otherwise it should be given its ordinary meaning as amateurs would understand the word. The word “substantial” should also be given its ordinary meaning in its context.

Clearly, interference that effectively stops an amateur station from transmitting because the operator does not know whether the transmission will cause substantial interference to another station because he knows the noise level is so high that he will not hear other stations must be, we say, substantial interference.

As part of our fight against BPL interference, we as radio amateurs should attempt to quantify what “substantial interference” means to us.

In order to do that, we must understand the radio noise conditions are that we operate in, and then compare the measured level of BPL interference to the non-BPL enabled noise floor. The extent by which BPL interference raises the noise floor is an important factor in arguing a case of substantial interference.

This is why we have developed the following 6-point plan for the upcoming Aurora Energy BPL trial in Hobart.

 Determine the location of the trial
 If possible, measure the background noise level in that area prior to the trial.
 Measure the noise / interference level during the trial.
 Publish our results in the context of substantial interference to the amateur service and other HF users.
 If local amateurs are affected by BPL interference, to encourage and support their interference complaints to the ACA
 On a wider scale, to develop a criteria for what constitutes substantial interference to the amateur community.

As we have advised in previous WIA News editions, we have been developing and validating methods and tools to assist in assessment and measurement of ambient noise and interference. Those tools are now ready for use.

Understanding our operating environment, in particular with respect to ambient noise and interference, and being able to describe that environment quantitatively, assists us to develop criteria for classification of interference as substantial.

Being able to soundly argue that interference is substantial is essential to pursuing action under the interference provisions of the Radiocommunications Act.


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