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Comment: Re:Another view (Score 1) 57

The issue, at least in the US, is that we're expected to be self-policing. The FCC, as an extension of the IRU, puts severe limits on speech over the airwaves. I'm sure the UK is similar. When encrypted information is transmitted there's no way to know if the information is in compliance. For example, imagine an ambulance service installing ham radios in all their vehicles then instructing their drivers to get amateur licenses. They could start using the local repeaters for business communication and no one would be able to prove it. The ambulance company could say they were conducting a drill, or that the drivers were just rag chewing during their downtime because they enjoy the hobby, whatever.

BTW, in the US, amateurs have been setting up DMR repeaters. Most of these repeaters are capable of encrypted communications. It's just a setting in the software.

Comment: Re:bad idea (Score 2) 57

I agree that whackers are a problem with modern ham radio, but they do help protect the bands (especially UHF and above) just because the ARRL can wave the disaster flag at the FCC every so often. I got into the hobby to play with radios and experiment, not be a "hero."

But I also think there's been a massive overreaction by the health care industry because of HIPAA, and DHS' attempt to co-opt the bands under the guise of disaster relief after the FCC screwed up the police bands with narrow banding. I've participated in traffic nets. I'm a big boy and know what counts as health and welfare traffic. And I also understand that most of the time hams should be sending "I'm OK" radiograms to family members outside the disaster zone and helping keep the shelters stocked, not sending doctor's email over our bands.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 509

by grumling (#47462753) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Mortgage rates have nothing to do with why you shouldn't pay off your home loan. Your home loan is your single biggest tax deduction...

Maybe if you have a million dollar home. Most people who own modest homes don't pay out that much interest. Even if they do pay a lot out in interest, say $10,000, that still works out to be around a $200-300 write off. Spend $10,000 to save $200? Great advice!

The vast majority of people get their biggest deduction from having children and using the standard deductions. Small business owners get to write down a lot of their business expenses. Mortgage interest deductions aren't the deal they're made out to be.

Comment: Re:Apple stole nothing (Score 1) 194

by grumling (#46763065) Attached to: How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

When I was picking options for my last car I decided not to go with the in dash navigation system, simply because I knew I could install a bracket for my phone that did much more than the nav system. If the nav system was $300 more than the "premium" stereo (with line-in) I could have justified it, but it was a whopping $1800 more than the mid-range system, which I'm sure wasn't cheap (it was part of the package). For what basically is a small PC running VXWorks or some such real-time OS and a DVD drive.

Comment: Re:External touchscreen (Score 1) 194

by grumling (#46763003) Attached to: How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

Exactly! Just provide a display and hooks to the steering wheel controls (use something standard like Bluetooth HID profiles and HDMI). No need to come up with your own "solution" that will be obsolete in 3 years, or worse, lock me into a monthly fee.

The problem continues to be that car manufacturers want to control the whole "experience" no matter what, because they know that their products are remarkably similar to everyone else's products. The stereo/info-tainment system is about the only part of the car that isn't designed by DOT regulations, so that's where they differentiate themselves from other manufacturers.

Comment: Re:CATV leakage is an issue too (Score 1) 158

by grumling (#46205895) Attached to: L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

You're sort of confusing leaks and ingress, but because they go hand in hand you get a pass. A leaking cable system usually doesn't cause problems for the cable system, except that a break in the shield will often cause an impedance mismatch, which will in-turn cause microreflections (standing waves) on the transmission line. I've driven out poorly maintained plants, where my leakage detector never stopped, but for the most part the plant still was able to deliver good bit error ratios and decent analog pictures.

Comment: Re:"Must accept harmful interference..." (Score 1) 158

by grumling (#46205837) Attached to: L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

I don't know what the cost of repair was, it wasn't up to our club to fix it. In fact, I'm not entirely sure it has been fixed yet, but if we don't get resolution we can contact the FCC. We all hope it doesn't come to that, and I'm sure the owner will cooperate with us since we rent space in the same building.

Comment: CATV leakage is an issue too (Score 5, Informative) 158

by grumling (#46203179) Attached to: L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says

As Verizon (especially) lights up LTE they bring in trucks that look for problems in the 700MHz bands. They are taking a proactive approach to cleaning up the band before RFI causes problems. This makes sense since LTE uses QAM and high symbol rates to push data, meaning that the carrier to noise requirements are much higher than 3G. Most cable companies use the same frequency band, up to 750MHz. To make matters worse, cable systems use QAM carriers too, so the demodulators can get confused and pick up the wrong carrier.

Cable companies monitor their plant for signal egress from broken coax, cracked housings, poor craftsmanship, etc (leakage), but usually around 115MHz, in the aeronautical bands (since there's been cases of planes lining up on leaks instead of the glide path). Because some types of leaks are frequency dependent, a system that looks great in the aeronautical band might leak like a sieve at 700MHz. In fact a certain set top box happened to have vent slots that made a perfect antenna at 700MHz.


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