An important message for Part 90 Class B signal-booster users
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An important message for Part 90 Class B signal booster users
Let’s say that a sports arena has a two-way radio system that is used by its food-and-beverage vendor, which has an office in the bowels of the arena. As a result the radios used by personnel can’t pick up the signals that are being transmitted by the company’s antenna—attached to the city’s tallest building, located several miles away—when they’re in that dead spot. So, the company contacts the two-way radio dealer that installed the original system and asks the dealer to troubleshoot the problem.
The dealer installs a signal booster, but never tells the company, which now is responsible for the device. Soon after, the signal booster starts to cause harmful interference to the radios used by city police officers who are supplementing the arena’s security detail. It takes weeks to determine the problem, because there was no record the signal booster’s location and no one knew that it even existed, as the two-way radio dealer had closed up shop in the interim.
While it may be hypothetical, the scenario described above isn’t far-fetched, Tilles said. More to the point, it underscores why the FCC’s action was necessary.
“So the police spend countless hours trying to find the source of the interference and, by the way, they only found out that it exists because they had an emergency, and they weren’t able to use their radios,” Tilles said. “So, we need to know where these suckers are.”
Municipalities increasingly are writing ordinances that require a certain level of public-safety signal within buildings, to make sure that their officers and firefighters always have a signal when they’re in there, Tilles said.
“That’s fine,” he said. “But, if you don’t know where they are or who’s responsible for making sure that [the signal booster] is doing its job properly, you’ve got bigger problems. That’s the other reason for doing this.”
Considering the importance of this, some might be wondering why the FCC opted for registering signal boosters as opposed to licensing them. But Mark Crosby, president and CEO of the Enterprise Wireless Alliance, which handles frequency coordination for the business/industrial sector, explained that there’s a good reason for that.
“You don’t want to license these,” Crosby said. “There are hundreds of thousands of them out there—it would be a mess.”