FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

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FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby m0lsx » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:28 am

I have just put in a Freedom of Information request regarding the 5 watt dual band handhelds.
I have asked about any action taken over nuisance behaviour in the 136-174 MHz & 400-520 MHz band segments, but excluding the amateur radio spectrum. If they have any evidence of these radios being used by unlicensed operators in the marine band & if they have taken any action over non compliant radios on the PMR 446 licence free segment of spectrum.
It will be interesting to see if they regard these radios as an issue & if they have taken any action over their use.

Edited to add, I know there are plenty of other radios available, but the price, ease of availability & sheer quantity of these 5 watt dual band radios, make them different to anything else.
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Re: FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby FreqFreak » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:39 am

Why stir things up?
Better to let sleeping dogs lie, IMHO
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Re: FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby m0lsx » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:50 am

FreqFreak wrote:Why stir things up?
Better to let sleeping dogs lie, IMHO


It will also be interesting to see how Ofcoms actions are first across the whole of these radios spectrum & then in comparison to a band as safety sensitive as Marine & a licence free band like 446.
We know from posts on various forums that some (& some is too many) who get these radios do not have a clue what they are doing & we know that some who use them without any form of licensing, know what they are doing & just do not care.
So such a request is not stirring things up, as that is done by inappropriate use of these radio. My request is about seeing what Ofcom sees in terms of complaints & investigations.
Over a year ago the RSGB posted on their forum that someone was writing an article about high power use on 446 & suggesting Ofcom were pursuing cases through the courts. This FOI request will tell us, hopefully, a little more about this situation, as Radcom has yet to publish anything about it.
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Re: FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby thelad » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:17 pm

Should be good to see what they come back with.
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Re: FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby AndrewIrvine » Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:31 pm

As freely available as these radio's are, it would be silly to abuse networks etc, because they would just buy / hire in digital sets. Someone I worked with in Blackpool in 1995 had a handheld radio capable of keying up on police frequencies, also someone used Morecambe's channel in 1997 to ask the officers if they wanted pizza's.
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Re: FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby m0lsx » Sun Jul 19, 2015 2:26 pm

AndrewIrvine wrote:As freely available as these radio's are, it would be silly to abuse networks etc, because they would just buy / hire in digital sets. Someone I worked with in Blackpool in 1995 had a handheld radio capable of keying up on police frequencies, also someone used Morecambe's channel in 1997 to ask the officers if they wanted pizza's.


A licensed amateur used a dual band radio to make racist comments & cause problems to a Prison in, I believe it was Kent. The problem is those who pirate (that is those who deliberately or through lack of care/intelligence use others frequencies) do not care about anything but themselves.
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Re: FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby G4RMT » Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:33 pm

I can't really see what you've done it for? The authorities are patently unconcerned with any interference to services that do not generate income, or are properly identified as protected services. PMR 446 is totally uncontrolled, and seems to work for those who use it. If somebody gets fed up with the idiots, then they can buy a license and move to less crowded spaces. My radio microphone systems on channel 38 aren't protected but work fine. Occasionally we get problems, but usually it's just channel occupancy that is the trouble - The Government know many people use equipment they have no license for. Licensees even have callsigns, but nobody ever uses them. Channel 70 users are still in many places using the ch 69 allocation they were ejected from and nobody really bothers. I dare say many marine band users have not got the license they should have, but is it really an issue when they behave?

What information are you expecting? They will no doubt tell you some figures, assuming anyone has collated them. The coastguard can determine roughly where a land based abuser is, and the Police can attempt to find them. If they are interfering with essential services then the authorities can make the trip into the area to try to locate them electronically. As far as I'm aware that's what happens.

In the old days when people were listening to Police channels, it wasn't unknown for the Police to know who some were, and even address them by name - as in "If you're listening Mr Mansi, please don't bother to attend - we know where it is..." or something similar. Back when I first got my license, I bought some radio equipment put onto the market by the Home Office - still on the Police channel for my town. It's what people do with them that is the issue, but now - it's hardly an issue is it?
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Re: FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby FreqFreak » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:40 am

I believe that the more you draw attention to the 'problem' the quicker the move to digital to avoid it, and where does that leave us?
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Re: FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby m0lsx » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:58 am

Edited to add the following quote..
G4RMT wrote:I can't really see what you've done it for?

About a year ago there was mention at the RSGB that someone was to write an article for Radcom about Ofcom pursuing some cases of PMR446 users using too much power through the courts.
http://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/rsgb-notices/2014/03/24/ofcom-rsgb-forum-15-march-2014/

I have not seen or heard of any 446 cases in the courts & the RSGB article has not been published. So I thought, rather than ask the RSGB if this story was still in production, I would ask Ofcom what they are doing & see out of curiosity if they do collate information about safety sensitive bands like marine separately. As Ofcom are very keen to push such interference potential in court cases & to the media.
Last edited by m0lsx on Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: FOI request re PMR dual band radios.

Postby m0lsx » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:48 am

FreqFreak wrote:I believe that the more you draw attention to the 'problem' the quicker the move to digital to avoid it, and where does that leave us?


No one moving to digital will avoid interference from a misused pmr radio, as FM will obliterate a digital signal easier than it will another analogue signal.
And as for motivating Ofcom by making a FOI, if you look at the FOI's made to Ofcom regarding radio, you will see that a large number are being made, in all probability, by those involved in free radio. They are about the details of raids on unlicenced broadcasters & look to be aimed at helping to build a picture of how & why, as well as where & who.
So I fail to see why 446 users should be concerned that questions are being asked about Ofcoms activity there.
My radio background includes operating as a land based broadcaster back in the 70's & 80's & back then we had no internet or FOI. But we still learnt a lot from the press coverage, written replies in Parliment, from evidence given in court & from personal experiences, both our own & our friends.
It is not a new phenomena to have to prioritise budget & resources. There have always been high priority stations deserving a raid & low priority stations who largely get left alone & by knowing how Ofcom does things. For example how they collate information & who they take to court, we can see how they prioritise things & what makes one unlicenced user a nuisance, another a high priority & another totally off Ofcoms radar.
For example there can be no doubt what so ever that what triggered the Radio Caroline raid in 1989 was their use of 6215khz, which was designated as a secondary marine emergency channel, together with the fact that they were broadcasting a Dutch religious program on that frequency & that both these things together put pressure on the Dutch & allowed them to act.
By understanding what Ofcom collates, what Ofcom sees, we can understand what motivates them to act & if we know what they act on, we can better understand what it is best not to do.
The licence free 446 channels have licensed business users in the same spectrum, so it could be that Ofcom are not seeing this as a licence free issue & are being motivated to act on high power 446 users due to complaints from it's business customers.
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