"by W6MAZ on November 22, 2009
A guy in my club cannot use 20m because of his neighbor's new AT&T digital entertainment package. He wipes it out on transmit with anything over a few watts."
That should have read that "the neighbour cannot use his new AT&T digital entertainment package because the ham next door wipes it out on transmit with anything over a few watts, and AT&T refuses to fix it". The ham was there first, and the AT&T system is acting like a radio receiver when it is not supposed to, so the neighbour should take it up with AT&T to fix the problem. That's whose responsibility it is. The ham should politely "co-operate, but OPERATE". If the ham community keeps on caving in to these jerks, soon we won't be able to operate ANYWHERE.
Our greatest threat is not that commercial interests will take our bands away (at least on HF) at the next WARC, although we must always keep our eyes open for any such indications; our greatest concern at the moment has to be the proliferation of cheap, poorly designed consumer products and other technology that unnecessarily pollutes the HF spectrum with buzzies and hash, and which also malfunction in the presence of LEGAL rf fields emanating from LICENSED stations. Just a few examples include BPL, the new digital/LED traffic signals, plasma TV's, touch lamps, HomePlug/U-verse and other gadgets, and whatever new product came on the market this morning to spew additional trash in our bands.
The latest one I have heard about causes RFI all over the CW portion of 40m. It sounds like a buzz saw, with many sidebands +/- 10 KHz. The signal was reportedly 20 dB over S9, and the problem was found to be about a block away: An Ooma phone hub VOIP phone. People buy these for $250 and get free phone calls over the net. It's just the hub - you plug a phone into it. You also plug it into your residential telephone wiring (after disconnecting from the local carrier), so you can use other jacks.
The unit is always oscillating. Most of the energy radiates from the unit via the wall jack, which is what you use to access your house wiring system, and also makes a nice antenna. The oscillation frequency is stable. If you unplug the wall jack, it will only radiate 2-3 feet.
It is high time that hams, swl's and other users of the HF spectrum began to raise holy hell over these companies' lack of cooperation and the FCC's refusal to to their job enforcing rules already on the books.
I have noticed that a lot of stuff like power tools and computer peripherals now have what looks like a little cylindrical shaped toroidal noise suppressor on the power cord or computer cable, so it appears that some manufacturers are at least making a stab at dealing with the problem. How difficult or how expensive would it be for the makers of the Ooma garbage to insert a simple rf filter in the cord or plug that goes into the telephone wall jack, or for AT&T's U-Verse provider to run fibre optic cable all the way to the customer's house right up to the phone, internet and TV jack?
There are over 600,000 licensed hams in the US. If 600K people would start bitching and complaining, and loudly, congress, the FCC and the manufacturers might take notice. There were probably fewer than 600,000 people nationwide raising hell, rightly or wrongly, at this summer's town hall meetings, and look what that produced.