Recently the radio amateurs most affected by the Washington Island BPL project were visited by representatives of IBEC. It appears that the Washington Island Electrical Co-op was making a good faith effort to arrange for notching of their BPL system of the Amateur Radio Bands for these amateurs directly in proximity of their shacks.
Several interesting things were learned (I must clarify I was not present and these are recounted by Islanders):
- While manual introduction of notching local to this static QTHs was planned, the mobile operator or casual operator working elsewhere on Washington Island would face un-notched BPL.
- It was confirmed that the BPL gear was loosing its notching settings, in some cases several times a day. IBEC is working on correction of the loss of configuration on power-down, as the present gear doesn’t all maintain settings.
- The present system is running at half the expected throughput for much of system, though a few segments are up to speed. This speed is aggregate and would be divided between the users on a segment.
- The notching problem was serious enough that two IBEC team members came up from Alabama to work on the Island System.
- The Electrical Co-op’s manager made his FIRST visit to some of the ham’s shacks, despite years of invitation to come and visit.
- An additional investment by the Co-op is in the works to add “Smart Meter Reading” by BPL with a corresponding expected elimination of several Island jobs.
Each of these points deserves a bit of pondering as for their greater meaning.
That Mobile Operators would be unprotected is a very open admission of the Washington Island Electrical Co-op/IBEC system operating outside of it’s licensed frequencies, and an open statement of no intention to rectify this problem system wide.
Someone needs to explain to IBEC and the Washington Island Co-op that there are no second class FCC licensees because they operate Mobile, and absence of a licensed Amateur’s Shack does not create a free-for-all for their equipment to operate where specifically not licensed.
Having demonstrated that their equipment can operate within its license ANY of their gear operating elsewhere needs to be either corrected or shut down.