Don’t Suffer with Interference Problems
Imagine the frustration of purchasing a new two-way radio system, receiving your official FCC license only to key up your system and learn that it’s virtually unusable because of interference. The interference could be excessive noise, overheard conversations or even direct harassment messages — basically, anything that is unwanted and prevents you from using your two-way radios. Some licensees don’t need to imagine it, because for them, this is an unfortunate reality.
The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) has an agreement with the FCC authorizing EWA to help identify and resolve interference issues for Industrial/Business radio users.
Let’s take a look at a few real examples and how they were resolved:
- A taxicab company was experiencing rude prankster interference in the form of loud music being played for hours, disguised voices making direct threats to the owner, and the use of obscene language. EWA checked all licensed users on that frequency in the area and no likely suspects were identified. The taxicab company worked closely with EWA and provided detailed information used to file a complaint with the FCC Enforcement Branch. An investigation revealed that the harassment came from unlicensed users, who were unhappy past employees of the taxicab company. They were contacted and their radios shut down.
- A cancer center started receiving interference from a school district utilizing new digital radios on the same frequency, which caused unbearable noises to be heard on the cancer center’s analog radio system. EWA identified and worked with the school’s radio dealer who was able to resolve the problem and FCC notification was not necessary.
- A large farming operation was receiving interference from a GPS system, which sounded like a series of blips and machine gun fire. Convinced it was coming from a neighboring farm they contacted EWA. The licensee accused of causing the problem worked with EWA and proved that it was not their radio system by turning off their radios. The farmer receiving the interference continued to hear the digital noise even though the radios were turned off. The cause of the interference was tracked to an unlicensed user and FCC Enforcement was notified. Oh, and the farmers remained friendly.
- A cab company was receiving interference from a county Board of Education system sharing one of their frequencies and located less than four miles away. EWA was contacted and discovered this user was not in compliance with the 2013 FCC mandate to move to narrowband operation and had continued to transmit on wideband emissions. Once notified of the problem, the county system was brought into narrowband compliance and the interference problem was solved.
- Employees at a family fun center were hearing loud and extremely foul language from a logging camp on their radios. The radios were being used around small children so it was a significant problem. EWA notified FCC Enforcement who identified and shut down the loggers, who were operating an unlicensed system. The family fun center and many parents were grateful.
- A nursing home found it impossible to use their radio system every Thursday through Saturday due to a nearby auto auction business operating on a co-channel frequency. EWA made contact with the auto auction company, which produced a copy of their valid FCC radio license. In working with the radio dealer for the nursing home, it was determined that although the license was issued on the correct frequency, the radio programming had been done incorrectly at the site where the interference occurred. Subsequently, the auto auction company has ceased operations at the interfering site and they have filed for a license modification to change frequencies.
Perhaps the best rule to follow when operating radios in a shared environment is the one we learned in kindergarten about sharing . . . coordination, cooperation and always play nice!